Photo: Jennifer Causey; Styling: Lindsey Lower
Hands-on Time
15 Mins
Total Time
25 Mins
Serves 6 (serving size: 1 thigh)

The skin is a treat. Here are four keys to making it crispy: First, pat the skin dry before you season it. Second, place the chicken, skin side down, in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Your pan may spit a little fat and smoke as if you were frying bacon. If that bothers you, then turn the heat down, increase the cook time, and gently render the fat from the skin. Third, watch the edges of the skin. When they go golden, pop the skillet in the hot oven. Fourth, flip the thighs during the last few minutes. Hot air will wash over the skins, crisping them.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 500°. Meanwhile, place chicken thighs, skin side up, on a cutting board. Place plastic wrap over chicken; pound chicken to about 3/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Pat chicken skin dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle chicken evenly with salt, paprika, and pepper.

Step 2

Heat a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken to pan, skin side down; cook 8 minutes (let them be until the edges start to turn golden). Transfer hot pan to oven. Bake at 500° for 7 minutes. Turn chicken thighs over, and bake an additional 4 minutes or until chicken is done.

Ratings & Reviews

I AM A CHICKEN THIGH CONVERT! Delicious recipe... one concern...

April 26, 2015
Five stars without a doubt. This recipe is so tasty it's unbelievable. I never eat "dark meat" and only have eaten chicken breasts all my life. After reading the article with this recipe, I was challenged, or rather my husband was! Even better! We decided to cook the thighs in the cast iron skillet outdoors on the grill and then bring them in to finish baking in the oven after reading about the splattering of grease. Only 1 Tablespoon of oil. BUT... WOW! Splattering like you've never seen. We had to cover with foil to walk from the grill to the oven inside. Then once inside the oven it started to smoke. Not a little, but where we had to open every window and pull out box fans. Someone please tell me a way around this (use much less than 1 tablespoon of oil?), because these thighs are so amazing I'm risking the oven being a disaster once again. I cannot deduct stars because I have to clean my oven! These are unbelievable, moist, delicious, like the best fried chicken of your life. BONUS - it encourages you to clean your oven! Not a bad thing in the long run! We will make this again!


November 15, 2016
This recipe is so easy and so very delicious.  The thighs are super crispy, just as stated, and very moist.  I use my cast iron skillet on my outdoor grill side burner.  I further bake the thighs on my grill with the cover down.  The 500 degree isn't perfectly accurate so I simply bake a little longer depending upon the size of chicken thighs. No worry of splattering indoors or the need to clean my oven.  At least not with this recipe.

How hot?

April 14, 2016
My oven won't go to 500 degrees.

Superfast crispy chicken thighs...says it all!

July 13, 2015
I made this over the weekend. Used 2 large chicken legs and cut them in half. Marinated these in leftover pickle juice for 6+ hours and then drained well. Wipe each piece thoroughly with paper towels before frying. Took a lot longer to cook the thighs in the oven since they were different sizes...will just use all thighs or all drumsticks next time. The thighs were super moist but I could tell the drumsticks were getting dry. Very crispy and simple to make. Added these to linguine and clam sauce....YUM!