Crispy Chicken Thighs with Caramelized Lemon Rinds

The next time you juice a lemon, don't toss the rinds! Instead, wrap them up and save them in the fridge, then make this easy chicken recipe. It works with zested lemon rinds, too. The rinds get cooked down with the chicken and maple syrup, resulting in sweet and tangy pan drippings designed for drizzling over everything.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 30 min
  • Active: 15 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (about 2 1/2 pounds)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon vegetable oil or other neutral oil

2 tablespoons maple syrup

Halved, juiced rinds of 2 lemons


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Pat the chicken thighs quite dry with paper towels. Sprinkle them on both sides with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. 
  3. Heat a large ovenproof skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat. Add the oil and heat until shimmering. Add the chicken thighs to the skillet skin-side down and nestle the lemon halves around them so the cut sides touch the skillet. Cook until the chicken skin is very golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes. (The lemon halves should char, but if they start completely blackening, lift them up and place them on top of the chicken as it cooks.) 
  4. Lift up each lemon half, brush the cut side with maple syrup and return to the skillet cut-side down. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast until the chicken is almost cooked through, 5 to 7 minutes. Flip the thighs so they are skin-side up, then continue roasting until no longer pink near the bone, another 5 minutes. Serve the chicken with the saucy pan drippings spooned over. 
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