Looking to put a healthy spin on deep-fried chicken? This oven fried chicken thighs recipe provides the crispiest breading while keeping the meat inside tender and juicy.
Baking chicken is one of my favorite ways to cook this protein, as it never fails me. But I crave a deep-fried breaded chicken every once in a while (hello, KFC).
If you’ve tried our air fryer fried chicken before, you’ll love this oven baked version. The skin is crispy, while the meat is moist and juicy. The best part? There is no deep frying, so it has a fraction of the oil of traditional fried chicken.
Table of Contents
- Why you’ll love this recipe
- Ingredients to make oven fried chicken
- How to make oven fried chicken thighs
- Flavor variations
- Tips for success
- Serving suggestions
- Storage instructions
- Recommended tools to make this recipe
- More delicious chicken thigh recipes to try
- Frequently asked questions
- Oven Fried Chicken Thighs
Why you’ll love this recipe
For me, frying chicken in the oven is one of the best ways to get crispy chicken without fuss and mess. It’s also a healthier alternative to deep frying. My family ADORES fried chicken thighs, so I love making this as a delicious alternative.
- It’s super crispy. The flour cornstarch coating yields crunchy results even when the chicken is baked and not fried. Cornstarch is key- make sure you don’t skip it.
- It’s a lot healthier. Like air fryer chicken thighs, this recipe makes crispy breaded chicken without added oil. If deep-fried chicken is your jam, our fried chicken wings are always a hit.
- It’s mess-free. I hate how deep-frying chicken turns my stove into an oily mess. Oven ‘frying’ omits all of that.
Ingredients to make oven fried chicken
If you’ve made our spicy or hot honey chicken sandwiches before, you’ll notice the ingredients are quite similar but the major difference is that none of the oil is needed! Here is what you’ll need.
- Chicken thighs. I like to use a mix of bone-in and boneless chicken thighs. Use your preferred cut. I also like to add some chicken drumsticks, too.
If you like white meat, use chicken breasts or wings instead. These cuts take less time to cook, so adjust the cooking time.
- Buttermilk. Thanks to its acidic properties, buttermilk helps tenderize the chicken.
If you don’t have buttermilk, use regular milk and add a teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar per cup.
- Salt and pepper. Add to taste.
For the breading:
- Flour. All-purpose flour works well for the breading. Swap it with gluten-free all-purpose flour if you can’t eat gluten.
- Cornstarch. The secret ingredient that yields a super crispy golden crust.
- Salt, pepper, smoked paprika. I feel like this crispy baked chicken doesn’t need any more seasoning.
How to make oven fried chicken thighs
As with any recipe that uses some form of breading, you need some order to keep things neat and easy. Here’s the easy way to cook them up.
Step 1 – Prepare your workstation
Add the buttermilk, salt, and pepper to a large mixing bowl and mix well. Add the chicken pieces and let them sit in the buttermilk for 10 minutes.
Step 2 – Bread the chicken thighs
In a shallow bowl, mix your breading ingredients.When it’s time for breading, use a pair of tongs to remove the chicken pieces from the buttermilk. Allow the excess liquid to drip off. Dredge the chicken in the breading mixture, ensuring they are coated on all sides.
Step 3 – Bake
Grease a baking tray with oil. Parchment paper can prevent the chicken from sticking to the pan.Arrange the breaded chicken on the baking tray, leaving some space around each piece. Bake the chicken for 25 minutes, flipping halfway through.
The texture of this oven fried chicken is what makes it shine. But if you want to pump up its flavor, here are some variations.
- Use more spices and herbs. Chicken is one of the most versatile ingredients when it comes to seasonings. You can add a variety of spices and herbs to the breading to change up the flavor of the fried chicken. Some spices and herbs you can use are onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, mustard powder, and dried herbs like thyme, basil, and oregano.
- Add hot sauce to the buttermilk mixture. Be generous with it if you want some seriously hot chicken, and add only a drop or two if you want some subtle heat.
- Switch the breading. Use panko breadcrumbs instead of flour. Doing this will give the chicken a more texturized crunchy finish (it’s similar to Chicken Milanese or cutlets).
Tips for success
- If you have time, you can marinate the chicken thighs in buttermilk for up to 24 hours. The long marinating time will yield juicier and more tender results.
- When baking the chicken, place a wire rack set inside the baking tray. This creates hot air circulation around the chicken pieces, making them crispy on all sides.
- For the crispiest results, start with a very hot oven. Turn on the oven as soon as you start the chicken preparations.
Like any good chicken dish, the sides you can pair with it are pretty much unlimited. Here are some ideas:
- All the potatoes! My personal favorite, but our family adores some air fryer French fries or sweet potato fries. You can keep things simple with a simple baked white or sweet potato.
- Salads. Any simple green salad works, or something more elaborate like a green goddess or orzo salad.
- Sautéed vegetables. While the chicken is baking, quickly saute some broccolini, Brussels sprouts, carrots, or asparagus.
- Starches and grains. Simply steamed basmati rice is great, as is sushi rice for something a little different. You can keep the carbs down by trying it with cauliflower rice.
To store. Leftover chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
To freeze. For the best results, flash-freeze the crispy chicken first. Then transfer it to an airtight bag, push out the excess air, and freeze for up to 6 months. Allow the chicken to defrost in the fridge before reheating it.
To reheat. Reheat the leftovers in the oven preheated to 350F degrees until heated through. Turn on the broiler for the last few minutes to make the breadcrumb coating extra crispy. Don’t reheat breaded chicken in the microwave, as it will become soggy.
- Baking sheet. Non-stick and so easy to clean.
- Mixing bowls. My go-to bowls are perfect for just about everything.
- Wire rack. These are my favorite ones that also come with a baking tray attachment (which is so good for oven fried chicken thighs!).
More delicious chicken thigh recipes to try
- Sous vide chicken thighs
- Pollo Asado
- Peruvian chicken
- Chicken Adobo
- Chicken tikka masala
Frequently asked questions
Can I fry these?
Yes, you can use this recipe to make deep-fried chicken. Prepare the chicken as instructed and fry it in oil preheated to 350F degrees. Chicken thighs and drumsticks take around 15 minutes to cook and get crispy. Check the internal temperature to make sure they are properly cooked.
Is flour or cornstarch better for crispy chicken?
Due to its lower starch content, flour doesn’t get as crispy as starch when fried. Instead, it prevents the chicken from drying out. Cornstarch, on the other hand, prevents gluten development and helps create a light and crispy coating. Cornstarch also helps achieve a nice golden color. To get the best of both worlds, use a mixture of flour and cornstarch.
What flour is best for fried chicken?
The higher is the protein content in flour the more oil the crust will absorb. Thanks to its moderate protein content, all-purpose flour is the best flour to use for frying.
Oven Fried Chicken Thighs
5 from 4 votes
Looking to put a healthy spin on deep-fried chicken? This oven fried chicken thighs recipe provides the crispiest breading while keeping the meat inside tender and juicy.
Servings: 8 chicken thighs
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 25 mins
Total: 35 mins
Rate This Recipe
- 2 lbs chicken thighs mix of boneless and bone-in
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, generously spray it with cooking spray, and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, add the chicken thighs, buttermilk, salt, and pepper, and let it sit for 10 minutes. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, cornstarch, salt, pepper, and smoked paprika together.(Video) Crispy Baked Chicken Thighs With Skin | EASY!
Using tongs, pick up marinated chicken thighs and shake off excess buttermilk. Moving quickly, dip the chicken in the breading on both sides.
Add the breaded chicken thighs on top and spray each one with more cooking spray. Bake for 30-35 minutes, flipping halfway through.
Once the chicken is golden brown and reaches an internal temperature of 165F, remove them from the oven and serve immediately.
TO STORE. Leftover chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
TO FREEZE. For the best results, flash-freeze the crispy chicken first. Then transfer it to an airtight bag, push out the excess air, and freeze for up to 6 months. Allow the chicken to defrost in the fridge before reheating it.
TO REHEAT. Reheat the leftovers in the oven preheated to 350F degrees until heated through. Turn on the broiler for the last few minutes to make the breadcrumb coating extra crispy. Don’t reheat breaded chicken in the microwave, as it will become soggy.
Serving: 1chicken thighCalories: 325kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 21gFat: 20gSodium: 701mgPotassium: 299mgFiber: 1gVitamin A: 262IUVitamin C: 0.003mgCalcium: 48mgIron: 2mgNET CARBS: 13g
Course: Main Course
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Why is my chicken thigh skin not crispy in oven? ›
If you find the chicken thigh skin isn't as crispy as you would like, it could mean the skin may not have been dry before you added it to the oil. Make sure to pat the chicken dry before seasoning, and if you want even more assurance, place the chicken in the refrigerator, uncovered, to let the skin dry out a bit.How do you keep fried chicken crispy and juicy? ›
The best way to keep fried foods crispy? Just place them on a cooling rack set over a baking sheet. If you're frying multiple batches, throw the whole setup into a low oven to keep everything warm as you keep frying and adding to the rack.How long should I put chicken thighs in the oven? ›
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.How come my fried chicken isn't crispy? ›
If your oil temp is too high, your fried chicken will be scorched on the outside with meat that is undercooked. If the oil is too cool, your chicken will be greasy and will lack the golden-brown crispy exterior you want.What is the trick to crispy chicken skin? ›
You can also get a nice crust on chicken by starting it out in the oven: follow your recipe, or heat the oven to between 400° to 450°F, place a rack in the top third (the hottest part) of the oven and slide a pan of chicken pieces in, skin side up. The skin will be crisp by the time the chicken is cooked through.How do you get crispy skin in the oven? ›
Use A Hot Oven
The most important part of getting the skin really crispy is having a good hot oven. That means preheating it to 425 degrees on convection. Convection baking circulates the air around the outside of the chicken as it cooks, so that it cooks faster, and allows it to become much crispier.
That trick is a sprinkling of baking powder, and it'll get you the crispiest, crackliest bites of fatty, salty skin imaginable, whether you're cooking just one thigh, a plate of wings, or an entire bird. Baking powder, it turns out, is good for quite a lot more than baking.How do you keep chicken crispy in the oven? ›
We like using a rack instead of simply plopping the chicken on a foil-lined baking sheet because the rack allows the oven's hot air to reach and crisp-up every single nook and cranny in the chicken skin. A quick word on whether or not you should cover the chicken in foil.Does cornstarch make chicken crispy? ›
Cornstarch is one of our recommended ingredients for the crispiest fried chicken. Cornstarch is often used in Asian fried chicken recipes. The combination of the flour with cornstarch produces the crispiest result.Is it better to bake chicken thighs at 350 or 400? ›
Baking chicken thighs at 400 degrees Fahrenheit will ensure that they are cooked through while also keeping them juicy and moist. This is the ideal temperature for baking chicken thighs, as cooking them at a higher temperature will make them dry out.
Can you overcook chicken thighs in the oven? ›
Can you overcook chicken thighs? While you can overcook chicken thighs, it is more difficult than overcooking chicken breasts. This is another reason I love cooking chicken thighs. It results in juicy meat as long as you bake until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.Is it better to bake chicken thighs at 350 or 375? ›
The key to achieving perfectly cooked chicken thighs is baking them at 375F (190C) or until the internal temperature reaches 175F (80C). The oven's temperature is just right for the chicken to cook evenly and get that golden brown glow.How do you make crispy chicken without overcooking it? ›
If you crank your oven to at least 450°F and position a rack in the top third (the hottest part) of your oven and slide some chicken in there skin-side-up, the skin will be crisp by the time the chicken is cooked through. To help it out, baste it a couple times while it roasts with pan-drippings, butter, or oil.What makes fried food more crispy? ›
When the food enters the hot oil, the water on its surface begins to boil off, which is where the bubbles come from when frying. This instant chemical reaction dehydrates the outer layer, producing crunchiness and sealing moisture into the interior of the food.Does butter or oil make chicken skin crispy? ›
“People put butter on the chicken skin with the idea that it's going to help it become crispy — it doesn't,” he laments. “It helps the skin to go brown because the solids in the butter brown, but it doesn't make it crispier.” Instead, he recommends using vegetable oil after thoroughly drying your bird.Does salting chicken skin make it crispy? ›
The lesson here: for crispy skin, stick with a high-temp roast. Coating the chicken in baking powder and salt before cooking produced an intensely crispy skin—at first.Does olive oil make chicken skin crispy? ›
Fried chicken is the perfect food to serve for Superbowl Sunday. Here is an easy to make recipe for fried chicken that is oven fried in extra virgin olive oil. This one-pan recipe results in juicy chicken with flavorful, crispy skin.What oven mode is best for crisping? ›
Pizza mode is a pretty common setting on most ovens. The combination of the fan and both the upper and lower heating elements are designed to blow pizza lovers away by ensuring a crispy base. The setting can alternatively be used for meals that require browning, or simply taste better when crispy.Which oven setting makes food crispy? ›
The broil setting on your oven cooks food quickly with direct heat, typically at 550℉ (289℃) and produces a seared finish that's similar to grilling. Smaller or countertop ovens preheat to the broiling temp faster so you can quickly finish baked or slow-roasted dishes with crisp browned edges.What ingredient makes things crispy? ›
Interestingly, cornstarch contains 25 to 28 percent amylose, which is higher than the amount in wheat or potato starch (which are 20 to 22 percent amylose), and this is why cornstarch works the best for making crispy coatings on fried foods.
Is cornstarch or baking powder better for crispy chicken? ›
Cornstarch Is the Secret to the Crispiest Fried Chicken.Can you use flour instead of baking powder for crispy chicken? ›
Flour – Helps form a crispy coating around the chicken. Baking Powder – Forms a reaction with the skin and helps dry it out, which is crucial to a crispy skin. Cayenne Sauce – Frank's Red Hot or something similar. This is not a wing sauce, although that can be used.What's better for fried chicken cornstarch or baking powder? ›
The short of it: Cornstarch works much better than baking powder for wings.How do you crisp chicken skin before baking? ›
Pre-heat oven to 450F. Dry the chicken skin on the chicken with paper towels. Pull off the chicken skin from the breast, thigh, or drum with a paper towel. Lay on an aluminum lined baking sheet and bake chicken skins in the oven for ~10-15 minutes at 450F.How to get crispy chicken skin without frying? ›
Place the chicken skin in a single layer, skin-side down, on top of stainless steel wire rack on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Pop the tray in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Then, flip the chicken skins skin-side up and bake for 10 more minutes or until golden and crispy.
According to Serious Eats, baking powder will soak up the chicken juices on the wing and will bubble as it bakes in the oven. The end result is a blistered, browned, and crispy chicken wing! Coating chicken wings in baking soda (instead of baking powder) will raise the pH and can help brown and crisp the wing as well.How long to leave cornstarch on chicken? ›
Dredging/Coating: I always use a well seasoned flour. I use regular AP flour, but add rice flour or cornstarch for that extra crunch and plenty of seasonings like paprika and celery salt. Don't just dredge it in the flour and fry away. Let this sit overnight, 8-12 hours preferably, or 4 hours minimum.Can you coat chicken in cornstarch instead of flour? ›
You easily can use cornstarch instead of flour as a coating for fried chicken, fried fish, or other fried dishes. Cornstarch will create a crisper coating that will hold up to sauces better and will absorb less of the frying oil (leading to a lower-fat meal).What can I use instead of corn flour to make chicken crispy? ›
White flour (AKA plain flour or AP flour) is the best substitution for corn flour in frying, IMVHO. The taste will be a little different, but both types of flour produce a crispy crust on fried foods.Is it better to cook chicken thighs high or low? ›
Low heat produces more tender chicken thighs
While chicken thighs are pretty versatile pieces of meat to cook with, it's best to avoid using high, intense heat. According to Allrecipes, the skin on chicken thighs browns relatively easily.
Is 425 too high for chicken thighs? ›
Whether they're on a sheet pan, in a skillet, or in a saucy marinade, the best temperature for cooking boneless, skinless chicken thighs in the oven is between 400°F and 450°F, with 425°F being the temperature we rely on most often.At what temp are chicken thighs most tender? ›
While chicken leg and thigh meat are still safe at 165 degrees F, it is recommended to cook it to an internal temperature of about 170-175 degrees F to improve the flavor and tenderness.Why are my baked chicken thighs tough? ›
Throw the chicken-cooking rule book out the window. We all know the golden rule of cooking chicken: Don't overcook it. Doing so leads to dry and leathery meat.Why did my chicken thighs come out chewy? ›
What causes chewy chicken? There are a number of reasons that could be factors in why your chicken is chewy. These include undercooking, overcooking, and leaving the meat uncovered for too long, which essentially dries out the meat.Should I flip chicken thighs? ›
Generally, chicken thighs should be cooked at medium temperature (350-375 degrees F) for about 12-15 minutes total, flipping them half-way through.Do you cover chicken thighs when baking? ›
Baking uncovered helps the skin to get crispy. To get the skin extra crispy, you can broil the chicken during the last few minutes of baking. Be sure to use a broiler-safe baking dish. Bake chicken thighs skin side up and do not flip or move the chicken as it bakes.Should I bake chicken thighs on top or bottom rack? ›
Where should oven racks be placed for roasting a chicken or turkey? Chicken is best cooked on the middle rack. The bottom or lowest oven rack is best for roasting larger cuts of meat or whole turkeys.How long do chicken thighs take to bake at 400? ›
- 350°F – 50-55 minutes.
- 375°F – 45-50 minutes.
- 400°F – 40-45 minutes.
- 425°F – 35-40 minutes.
The ideal temperature to cook your chicken should be around 275 °F – 320 °F (135 °C – 160 °C). As you start to decrease temperature beyond this threshold, the skin will become rubbery. The chicken fat needs to be cooked into the meat, and that cannot happen when your temperature is very low.Why is my chicken skin soggy? ›
Choose the Right Bird
The extra water dilutes the chicken's natural juices, creating bland meat and soggy skin, which is much harder to crisp up. Go air-chilled instead. This method of cooling birds with cold air rather than water leaves chickens without dilution from added water.
How do you're crisp chicken in the oven? ›
To reheat fried chicken in the oven, the best method is to turn the oven on high and bake it fast. Preheat the oven to 400°F, and place room-temperature leftovers on a wire rack set on a baking sheet. The wire rack helps hot air circulate to crisp up the underside of the chicken.Can you overcook chicken thighs? ›
One of the most underrated and not-talked-enough-about qualities of chicken thighs is that it's nearly impossible to overcook them. The beauty of dark meat! Unlike the other most common cut of chicken (breasts), thighs are extremely forgiving when it comes to cook times.Can you use baking powder to make chicken crispy? ›
That trick is a sprinkling of baking powder, and it'll get you the crispiest, crackliest bites of fatty, salty skin imaginable, whether you're cooking just one thigh, a plate of wings, or an entire bird.How do restaurants get their chicken so moist? ›
marinating in a cornstarch/cornflour sludge then deep frying or blanching in water before proceeding to cook in the stir fry. egg whites – sometimes the above method is also done using egg whites. chemical tenderiser.Does hot water make chicken skin crispy? ›
His most popular video to date is his chicken skin hack and he explained that all you need is one simple thing to ensure your skin is perfectly crispy. And that one thing is… boiling water. Mohammad said: “Boiling water tightens up chicken skin and makes your wings crispy after you cook them.”