May 23, 2024
Cooking chicken thighs to perfection is easier than you think, once you understand the correct timing, temperature, and cooking methods. With this complete guide, learn how to cook moist and delicious chicken thighs every time. Discover recipe ideas, seasoning tips, the importance of using a meat thermometer and more.


Cooking chicken thighs to perfection can be a challenge, especially for those who are not familiar with the ideal cooking times and temperatures. Undercooked chicken can be harmful to our health, while overcooked chicken can be dry and tough to eat. In this article, we will provide you with a complete guide to cooking chicken thighs, including step-by-step guidelines, cooking time recommendations, seasoning tips, and recipe ideas.

The Foolproof Guide to Perfectly Cooked Chicken Thighs: A Step-by-Step Tutorial

One essential factor to consider when cooking chicken thighs is timing and temperature. If you want to achieve moist and juicy chicken thighs, you need to cook them at the right temperature and time. Here is our step-by-step tutorial for cooking chicken thighs:

  1. Preheat your oven to 425F/ 220C or heat a skillet over medium-high heat on the stovetop.
  2. Season your chicken thighs with salt and pepper or your preferred seasoning mix.
  3. Place your chicken thighs in the pan or onto a baking sheet, skin side down first, and let them cook without moving them for 5-7 minutes until the skin is crispy and golden brown.
  4. Flip the chicken thighs and let them cook for another 5-7 minutes until they reach an internal temperature of 165F/ 75C.
  5. Remove the chicken thighs from the heat and let them rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Don’t Overcook or Undercook: How Long to Cook Chicken Thighs to Juicy, Tender Perfection

The cooking time for chicken thighs may vary based on several factors, including the cooking method, the size of the thighs, and whether they are boneless or bone-in. Here are some cooking time guidelines for different cooking methods:


Cooking chicken thighs on the stovetop is an easy and quick method that also gives a nice sear. It takes about 12-15 minutes to cook bone-in chicken thighs to an internal temperature of 165F/ 75C. For boneless thighs, it takes approximately 8-10 minutes to cook thoroughly. Make sure to flip them halfway through the cooking time to ensure even browning.


Roasting chicken thighs in the oven is another popular way to cook them. For bone-in chicken thighs, it takes approximately 35-40 minutes to cook at 425F/ 220C. For boneless thighs, it takes only about 20-25 minutes. Always use a meat thermometer to check the doneness level.


Grilling is a great way to acquire a nice smoky flavor and crispy skin. For bone-in chicken thighs, it takes approximately 25-30 minutes to cook at medium-high heat. For boneless thighs, it takes about 15-20 minutes. Always check the temperature with a meat thermometer before taking them off the grill.

From Stovetop to Oven: Different Cooking Methods for Chicken Thighs and Their Cooking Times

There are several ways to cook chicken thighs, each with its unique pros and cons. Here are some popular cooking methods and their recommended cooking times:


Sautéing is a method that cooks meat quickly over high heat, perfect for busy weeknights. Boneless chicken thighs cook in about 10-12 minutes. You’ll want them to reach an internal temperature of 165F/ 75C. Use a cooking oil that can tolerate high heat without burning, like grapeseed or avocado oil.

R oasting:

Although it takes longer, the oven-roasting method offers the most flavorful results, as the high heat causes the skin to crisp up while rendering the fat. Preheat your oven to 425F/ 220C. Bone-in chicken thighs will take approximately 35-40 minutes, while boneless thighs will cook in approximately 20-25 minutes. For extra flavor, baste the chicken thighs with your favorite marinade or sauce halfway through the cooking time.


Grilling chicken thighs packs in flavors that can’t be replicated in the kitchen. Bone-in skin-on chicken thighs work especially well as they hold up well during cooking and offer crispy skin. Turn the chicken thighs over regularly, making sure they reach an internal temperature of 165F/ 75C.

The Art of Seasoning: How to Marinate and Spice Up Your Chicken Thighs Before Cooking

Seasoning is key to bringing out the best flavors in your chicken. If you want to experiment with different flavors, here is a short guide to marinating and spicing up your chicken thighs:


Marinating chicken thighs is an excellent way to add flavor and to keep meat juicy while it cooks. Place chicken thighs into a sealable plastic bag, pour the prepared marinade over the chicken, and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight. Keep an eye on the acidity levels in your marinade, as too much acid from lemon juice, vinegar, or other fruits could turn your chicken mushy, and you don’t want that texture.

Spicing Up:

Dry spices and herbs are another way to give chicken thighs a boost of flavor. Try using a mix of smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and dried thyme to infuse your chicken with a smoky, aromatic flavor. Use about a tablespoon of each spice per pound of chicken thighs for best results. You could also add some fresh or dried rosemary or cilantro to give it a fresh spring flavor.

Thermometer vs. Timing: The Best Way to Check if Your Chicken Thighs are Cooked

Using a meat thermometer to determine when chicken thighs are properly cooked is the most accurate method. With typical digital meat thermometers, the probe is inserted into the thickest part of the chicken and left there until the temperature reaches 165F/ 75C. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh’s meat, avoiding contact with the bone to ensure an accurate reading. However, if you want to determine the doneness of the chicken without a thermometer, you can perform the classic ‘wobble’ test. Give the thigh a poke with tongs – if the chicken flesh feels firm and springs back, it’s ready for consumption!

One-Pan Wonders: Delicious One-Pot Recipes for Cooking Chicken Thighs to Perfection

Cooking chicken thighs in one pan is the true definition of convenience. Here are some recipe ideas that use chicken thighs as the main ingredient:

Lemon and Herb Chicken:

Combine lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt, and black pepper in a bowl. Add boneless chicken thighs to the bowl and coat them with the mixture. Transfer the chicken and the marinade to a preheated ovenproof pan and bake for approximately 20-25 minutes. Garnish with fresh herbs and lemon wedges and serve with a side of brown rice or roasted vegetables.

Sweet and Sour Chicken:

In a bowl, whisk together ketchup, pineapple juice, brown sugar, soy sauce, minced ginger, and vinegar. Cook chopped onions and garlic in an oiled skillet, adding boneless chicken thighs once the onions are translucent. Cook the chicken for a few minutes, then add sliced bell peppers and the sauce. Cook on medium heat untill the sauce thickens up. Serve over a bed of rice with some green onion for garnish.

Moroccan Spice Chicken:

Combine a tablespoon of paprika, a teaspoon each of ground cumin, ginger, cinnamon, and black pepper, and half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper before spreading it onto your chicken thighs. Roast the chicken for 35-40 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165F/ 75C. Herbs like cilantro, mint, parsley, and a squeeze of lemon juice give a delicious finishing touch. Serve atop quinoa or couscous with roasted veggies.


Cooking chicken thighs to perfection is easier than you think, once you understand the correct timing, temperature, and cooking methods. Remember to use an accurate meat thermometer, experiment with seasoning and marinades, and try out some of our recipe ideas to unleash the full potential of chicken thighs.

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