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What Are the Best Tips for Roasting Chicken Thighs?

Eugene P.
Eugene P.

Roasting chicken thighs is a classic way to prepare the cutlets and one of the most simple. There are several methods that can be used, but most are geared toward achieving tender meat that is moist and full of flavor. If the skin is left on the thighs, then achieving crispy skin also is usually a goal that can take some effort. Important things to remember about roasting chicken thighs are to add moisture, if necessary; adjust cooking times if the thighs have been deboned; and ensure that the chicken has reached the proper temperature for doneness before removing it from the oven.

Whether to leave the skin on while roasting chicken thighs is a decision that should be made early on. If the skin is removed, the thighs will need to have another way to keep their moisture as they cook. When the skin is left on the chicken, some options might be harder to execute, such as using a marinade, because the skin could take longer to become crispy and might not become crisp at all. One option is to leave the skin on the chicken and cook it according to a recipe, placing spices under the skin. When the chicken is done, the skin can be removed and discarded, because it will have helped to keep the meat juicy during the cooking process.


A chicken thigh is very easy to debone, requiring just a little patience and a sharp knife. Should the bones be removed, the time required for roasting chicken thighs could be less than what would be required if the bones were left in. This is because more surface area is exposed to the heat. If the boneless thighs are packed into a pan with little to no space between them, then the cooking time will likely be the same as for bone-in thighs.

Marinades can help keep the meat of roasting chicken thighs moist. Some common examples include soy sauce and teriyaki sauce, orange and lime juice, yogurt and Italian salad dressing. Holes can be poked into the meat so the marinade penetrates into the chicken more easily. Certain recipes actually call for the thighs to be roasted in the marinade to ensure that they are as moist as possible.

For a simple preparation that will result in juicy meat and crisp skin, one should start the chicken in a heavy, oven-safe pan and sear the pieces for a few minutes on each side. The chicken can then finish cooking in the oven. Roasting chicken thighs in this way can help to keep the skin very crisp as the meat inside cooks. Another easy way is to roast the chicken only after the skin has been thoroughly dried and then lightly coated in oil and salted.

Finally, roasted vegetables are a perfect accompaniment and very easy to make while roasting chicken thighs. The vegetables can be placed in the same dish as the chicken, in which case the juices from the thighs will help flavor the vegetables. They also can be cooked separately in the same oven for roughly the same amount of time as the thighs so they can be served hot together. In some instances, certain vegetables can be mounded around the thighs to help hold moisture inside the chicken.

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