How Long Should You Bake Chicken Thighs?

We get into precise oven temperatures and cook times.

April 21, 2022

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Crispy baked chicken thighs in a creamy spinach artichoke heart sauce


Crispy baked chicken thighs in a creamy spinach artichoke heart sauce

Photo by: EzumeImages/Getty Images

EzumeImages/Getty Images

By Layla Khoury-Hanold for Food Network Kitchen

Layla Khoury-Hanold is a contributor at Food Network.

Chicken thighs are one of our favorite weeknight dinner staples—they’re budget-friendly, cook up quickly with juicy results and are high in protein. Plus, they lend themselves to batch cooking for feeding a crowd or meal prep for weekday lunches. But how long should you bake chicken thighs to achieve golden, juicy chicken thighs without drying them out? What’s the difference between baking boneless and bone-in chicken thighs? Here, we share our top techniques for baking chicken thighs and a few of our favorite baked chicken thigh recipes.

How to Bake Chicken Thighs

Read on for how to cook chicken thighs in the oven. For more info on all the different ways to cook chicken thighs, check out our story How to Cook Chicken Thighs Perfectly, According to a Chef Who Makes Them Every Day.

How to Bake Boneless Chicken Thighs

Once you learn to bake boneless chicken thighs, you’ll make it on repeat to have juicy-tender protein on hand to add to all manner of dishes, from grain bowls to wraps to salads. Follow these steps from our Meal Prep Roasted Chicken Thighs to get perfect results every time.

Meal Prep Roasted Chicken Thighs

The idea of cooking ahead of time to have dinner or lunch ready to go all week is grand and all if you don't mind eating the same thing over and over again. There's another way: Make these juicy thighs, stow them in the fridge, and then use them to serve up a Spanish Rice Bowl, Apricot Chicken Salad and more.

1. Prep the Chicken

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Toss the chicken with olive oil, salt and pepper until evenly coated.

2. Bake the Chicken

Place the chicken on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until golden, about 25 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 165 degrees F.

3. Serve the Chicken

Serve the chicken in whole pieces or sliced crosswise into strips.

4. Store the Chicken

Let the chicken cool completely, then store in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 4 days.

How to Bake Bone-In Skin-On Chicken Thighs

When it comes to bang for your buck, bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs deliver a flavorful punch. Learn this fool-proof technique for golden-crisp chicken thighs, adapted here from our Orange Roasted Chicken Thighs recipe.

1. Preheat the Baking Sheet

Place a rimmed baking sheet in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 500 degrees F.

2. Arrange the Chicken

Remove the hot baking sheet from the oven and add the chicken skin-side up and season with salt and pepper.

3. Bake the Chicken

Return the baking sheet to the oven and roast until the chicken is golden and cooked through, about 30 minutes.

How Long to Bake Chicken Thighs

The size of the chicken thighs and the oven temperature at which you bake them will affect how long they take to cook. The USDA guidelines lists approximate cooking times of 40 to 50 minutes for 4-to-8-ounce chicken thighs roasted at 350 degrees. In our basic meal prep boneless chicken thighs recipe, they take about 25 to 30 minutes baked at 425 degrees F.

You’ll know the chicken thighs are done when they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. For the most accurate temperature reading, insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, taking care to avoid touching the bone for bone-in chicken thighs (this leads to an inaccurate reading). If you don’t own an instant-read thermometer, use visual cues to assess doneness. Use a small, sharp knife to cut a small incision in the thickest part of the thigh; the juices should run clear. Red or pink juices are an indicator that the meat hasn’t finished cooking. The exterior of the meat should be opaque (rather than translucent) and golden-brown in color. Gently pressing the meat with your fingertips should yield a responsive, tender touch; if the meat is too firm, it’s likely overdone.

Baked Chicken Thighs Recipes

This high-protein, whole grain dish proves that healthy and delicious are not mutually exclusive concepts. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs bake in a covered skillet on a bed of brown rice punched up with orange juice and zest until they’re tender and moist.

This recipe is exactly the kind of elegant comfort food that chicken thighs are capable of. Flavorful skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs roast together on a sheet pan with butternut squash until cooked, then they’re layered in a casserole dish atop creamy pasta and baked until the cheese gets melty and the chicken skin turns golden-crisp.

Turn bone-in, skinless chicken thighs into a juicy-crisp weeknight main the whole family will look forward to. Once the thighs are coated in a mayo-mustard mixture and seasoned dredge mix, they’re arranged on a rack atop a foil-lined baking sheet (easy cleanup!) and baked until golden-crisp.

To keep boneless chicken thighs moist as they cook, Ellie Krieger first marinates them in a soy-garlic-ginger mixture, then cooks them under a hot broiler. She starts the thighs skin-side down, then flips ‘em over and cooks them till crispy and cooked through.

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