Crispy chicken thighs draining on a wire rack

Perfect Crispy Skillet Chicken Thighs

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These Perfect Crispy Skillet Chicken Thighs have revolutionized weeknight dinners for me!

Chicken thighs in a cast iron skillet end up with wonderfully crispy skin and get on the table quickly.

Pair it with a sauce and some veggies, and your meal is ready to go! Paleo, gluten free, keto, and low carb.

Closeup of a crispy-skinned chicken thigh with text overlay

How to prep chicken thighs for skillet cooking

The most difficult portion of this recipe is the prepwork before cooking. But trust me when I say it’s WORTH IT and it really doesn’t take that long!

First, you’ll want to make sure you buy bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. Do NOT use skinless chicken thighs for this recipe — the thighs will only be “crispy” because of the skin!

When you’re prepping to cook, use a kitchen shears to cut the bone out of the thighs. One end of the bone usually has a bit of cartelige as well — cut that off too.

This’ll probably seem frustrating at first, but as you do it, the process gets easier.

BONUS: save your bones in the freezer for chicken stock or broth down the road. Boom! That’s resourceful.

Once the bones are cut out, turn the chicken thighs skin side up on a cutting board. Use a meat mallet to pound the chicken thighs to an even thickness. This makes a different in even cooking — and literally takes a minute! So don’t skip this step.

(If you don’t have a meat mallet, you can use a potato masher like me!)

Now you’re ready to season the thighs and get cooking!

How to serve crispy cast iron chicken thighs

One thing I enjoy about posting recipes like this: you can customize it as you see fit for serving! Use whatever sauces or sides you’d like.

Adjust the flavor with sauces and spices

Personally, my family and I love eating these thighs plain. The crispy skin and salt used when cooking are all we need!

However, every once in a while a craving for something new will strike. Here are a couple sauces that go really well with crispy chicken thighs:

If you opt to add spices to the thighs, I suggest sprinkling them on just after they come out of the skillet. Since we’re cooking at such high heat, spices tend to burn if you add them before cooking.

Sides to round out the meal

Since the chicken thighs are so quick and easy to make, that demands that the veggies and sides you serve with this meal are just as easy!

We often serve roasted potato rounds and roasted veggies with this meal. For the veggies, we’ll roast whatever we have on hand — broccoli, carrots, brussels sprouts, you name it!

In the summer, crispy chicken thighs pair well with salads; you can even slice the finished chicken thin and add it to a salad in place of chicken breast! The skin on the thighs will add a nice crunch.

Can I keep leftovers in the fridge?

Yes, with one caveat.

The skin will lose its crispiness. Really, this recipe is best enjoyed right away.

Since this recipe is so quick, I think it works best as a weeknight dinner where the leftovers/prepped meals are gone and you need something fast. But it doesn’t work super well for meal prep.

But that’s just my opinion; you are certainly welcome to try any leftovers and see if less crisp skin is a dealbreaker for you!


Did you try this recipe? I’d love to hear what you think! Comment below or tag me on Instagram.

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Crispy skillet chicken thighs on a wire rack

Perfect Crispy Skillet Chicken Thighs

  • Author: Chelsea Joy
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

These perfectly crispy skillet chicken thighs that are perfect for weeknight meals! Once you get the basics down, you can create all sorts of new flavors by pairing the thighs with different with spices and sauces.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon kosher sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Instructions

  1. Lay chicken thighs skin side down on a cutting board. Using a sharp kitchen shears or paring knife, cut away the bone and cartilage attached to the ends of the bone. Save the bones in a freezer-safe container for broth!
  2. Flip the chicken thighs over so they’re skin side up. You’ll notice the thighs are much thicker on one end than the other. Use a meat pounder/tenderizer to pound the chicken thighs to an even thickness — this ensures even and fast cooking! Season the chicken thighs with kosher salt.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken thighs skin side down. Cook for 5 minutes, until the skin is golden brown and nicely crisped. The fat will splatter — a splatter guard is extremely helpful for this kind of cooking! Use kitchen tongs to flip the thighs and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, until cooked through. Remove to a wire rack or paper towel-lined plate to drain excess fat. Serve immediately.

Keywords: chicken thighs, crispy chicken, paleo, gluten free, whole30, keto, low carb

Chelsea

I'm Chelsea, the author behind Chelsea Joy Eats! I believe life should be full of flavor. I enjoy creating recipes that are nourishing, flavorful, and satisfying. When not experimenting in the kitchen, I usually have a camera, barbell, or mug of coffee in hand. My posts may include affiliate links, which means if you click through a purchase something, I make a small commission at no cost to you. It helps me fuel my coffee habit and pay rent!

2 thoughts to “Perfect Crispy Skillet Chicken Thighs”

  1. Made this tonight and it was delicious. Was a hit in my house and I will never make pork chops the old way again. Super easy and fast!!!! Thank you for the wonderful recipe.Have a good Day

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