How to Bake Chicken Thighs

5 from 37 votes

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The easiest roasted chicken thigh recipe — hard to imagine a better (and more economical!) weeknight meal.

Chicken Thighs with rice on plate.

I make no secret of my unbridled love of chicken thighs, baked and roasted chicken thighs, in particular, with the tender, juicy meat. The crackling skin, with a generous dusting of salt and pepper, made even crisper with a light rub of olive oil before heading into a very hot oven. My younger son can make short work out of two or three pieces and will pilfer any extra crispy skin from any non-alert family member’s plate. And you will be delighted with how forgiving they are to cook.

You can make a whole lot of wonderful roasted and baked meals with chicken thighs: Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken Thighs, Thai Chicken Thighs, Greek Roasted Chicken Thighs, and on and on. But there is something so simple and delicious about a plain oven-baked chicken thigh. Unadorned, perfect, delicious. Just 5 minutes into the oven! It is the perfect dinner to make when you are simply too worn out to think, too tired to cook, and not in the mood to spend much money.

Here, the simple baked chicken thighs are paired up with some Roasted Parmesan Brussels Sprouts and mashed potatoes. Mashed Potato Pancakes or Easy Cheesy Rice with Broccoli would also be an amazing side. In the summer, go for something more like Creamy Corn and Potato Salad with Bacon and Lemon Buttermilk Dressing and a salad.

Garlic Butter Chicken Thigh on a plate with greens and grains.

How to Bake Chicken Thighs: The best, the easiest baked chicken thigh recipe—it’s hard to imagine a better (and more economical!) weeknight meal.

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  • Chicken thighs – Make sure to use chicken thighs that have the bone inside and the skin on, as these will provide the most flavor and texture.
  • Olive oil – Helps the chicken skin get nice and crispy in the oven.
  • Salt and pepper – Be generous with the salt and pepper. These baked chicken thighs may be simple, but with enough seasoning, they truly shine!

How to Bake Chicken Thighs

  1. Prepare to bake: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or foil, or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Season the chicken: Rub the chicken thighs with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the oil. Place them on the baking sheet and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Bake: Bake the chicken for about 45 to 50 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through (an internal temperature of 165 degrees). Serve hot, room temperature, or cold.
Roasted Chicken Thighs on plate with mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts.

How Long to Bake Chicken Thighs

The baking time for chicken thighs depends on the oven temperature and the size and thickness of the pieces. Chicken thighs usually vary from 3 ounces to 6 ounces. The chart below is for chicken thighs that weigh about 4 or 5 ounces each. I like to bake the thighs at 400 degrees, which is technically more like roasting, to get a crispy skin.

Oven TemperatureCooking Time
350 degrees1 hour
375 degrees50 minutes
400 degrees45 minutes
425 degrees40 minutes
Baking Times for Chicken Thighs

Pro Cooking Tips

  • An instant-read thermometer will help you know for sure when your chicken is done. Chicken thighs are safe at the internal temperature of 165 degrees, but I like to cook them to an internal temp of 175 or 180 degrees, which ensures a perfect internal tenderness. Cooking chicken thighs a bit longer ensures that they won’t be stringy or chewy. But don’t cook them too long, or you will run into those issues.
  • If you don’t have an internal thermometer, you want to make sure to cook the thighs until the juices run clear, rather than pinkish, when you cut into them.
  • With poultry, dark meat is more forgiving than white meat in terms of not drying out and staying moist. If the chicken is cooked, but you want to keep it warm for a bit, you can just turn off the oven and leave it in there for another 20 minutes or so to keep it warm. It will still be nice and juicy when you are ready to eat it!
  • While olive oil, salt, and pepper are all you need for perfect, simple baked chicken breasts, there are also tons of potential variations. Try:
    • a mixture of paprika, dried thyme, and dried basil
    • minced fresh rosemary and lemon zest
    • za’atar
    • a blend of chili powder, ground cumin, and garlic powder

Sauces for Baked Chicken Thighs

And with that said, should you want to add a little something on top, do it…do it! Try drizzling them with green olive tapenade dressing. Other things that have ended up on a roasted chicken thigh in my house are Ramp Chimichurri Sauce, Kale Pesto Recipe, Nut-Free Basil Pesto with Pecorino Romano, Creamy Mustard-Oregano Sauce, Herb Dipping Sauce, and whatever is lurking around in the fridge.

Oven Baked Chicken Thighs with Green Olive Tapenade Dressing being spooned over.
Oven-Baked Chicken Thighs with Green Olive Tapenade


What do you do with leftover roasted chicken thighs?

Leftover roasted chicken thighs have so many uses — in fact, I often bake some extra ones so I can have them in the fridge for delicious leftover meals. The leftover chicken is great shredded and tossed into a soup, mixed into a chicken salad, or added to the top of a Caesar salad. Check out some more options: 35 Things To Make With Leftover Shredded Chicken.

What is the best temperature to bake chicken thighs?

I find that the best temperature to bake chicken thighs is 400 or 425 degrees. Chicken thighs can be baked anywhere between 350 and 425 degrees, but at 400 or 425 degrees, they have enough time to get super tender while still having the heat they need to crisp up the skin.

Should you cover chicken thighs in the oven?

It is not necessary to cover chicken thighs. The exposure to the air will not dry out the interior of the thighs, which are naturally moist and juicy. Leaving the thighs uncovered also allows the skin to get deliciously browned and crispy. This crispy skin is the best part! Sometimes, chicken thighs are covered in the oven for braises and liquid-based cooking methods, but in a simple baking/roasting recipe like this, uncovered is the way to go.

What to Serve With Baked Chicken Thighs

Because this is such a simple main dish, you might want to spend some time on the sides and turn this into a more showy meal. Think about Crispy Brussels Sprouts Salad, Butternut Squash Casserole, Scalloped Sweet Potatoes, or Potato Gratin. Or just keep it very simple and go for a salad, something like Maple-Roasted Butternut Squash, or Stewed Tomatoes and rice or mashed potatoes, for the world’s most reassuring dinner.

Roasted Chicken Thighs with green olive sauce being spooned over.

More Baked Chicken Thigh Recipes

Now that you have the basic version in your arsenal, give these other recipes a go.

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5 from 37 votes

Baked Chicken Thighs

The easiest roasted chicken thigh recipe — hard to imagine a better (and more economical!) weeknight meal.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4 People
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  • 8 chicken bone-in, skin-on thighs (about 2 ½ pounds)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)


  • Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or foil or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Rub the chicken thighs with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the oil. Place them on the baking sheet and season with salt and pepper.
  • Bake the chicken for about 45 to 50 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through (an internal temperature of 165 F). Serve hot, room temperature, or cold.


Oven Temperature Cooking Time
350 degrees 1 hour
375 degrees 50 minutes
400 degrees 45 minutes
425 degrees 40 minutes


Calories: 664kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 47g, Fat: 52g, Saturated Fat: 13g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 10g, Monounsaturated Fat: 22g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 283mg, Sodium: 223mg, Potassium: 592mg, Vitamin A: 225IU, Calcium: 23mg, Iron: 2mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

About Katie Workman

Katie Workman is a cook, a writer, a mother of two, an activist in hunger issues, and an enthusiastic advocate for family meals, which is the inspiration behind her two beloved cookbooks, Dinner Solved! and The Mom 100 Cookbook.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Nora says:

    Thank you for this easy-to-follow recipe for making chicken thighs! Loved it!

  2. Melinda says:

    This recipe was easy to make and turned out great! Baked chicken thighs were a terrific change of pace from chicken breasts. I served them with baked potatoes and salad. It was a hearty weeknight meal that honestly, was special enough to serve guests.

  3. Alexandra says:

    Thank you for this helpful post! I followed your instructions exactly and my chicken came out perfectly – crispy skin and juicy, tender meat. This is ideal for a simple dinner.

  4. Oscar says:

    Loved how easy these chicken thighs were to make and I loved how crispy they came out. We made a big batch for meal prep, thanks for the recipe.

  5. DK says:

    I was looking for a great recipe on baking chicken thighs and this one is perfect! The chicken came out so soft and tender!

  6. Annie says:

    A reliable, weeknight staple and so comforting!