How to Cook Juicy and Tender Chicken Thighs Every Time

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How to Cook Juicy and Tender Chicken Thighs Every Time

Chicken thighs are one of the most versatile and affordable cuts of meat. They are easy to prepare, full of flavor, and can be cooked in a variety of ways. Whether you want to roast, grill, bake, or fry them, chicken thighs will always come out juicy and tender if you follow some simple tips. In this article, you will learn how to cook chicken thighs perfectly every time and get some delicious recipes to try at home.

Why Choose Chicken Thighs?

  • Chicken thighs are cheaper than chicken breasts, but they have more flavor and moisture.
  • Chicken thighs have more fat and collagen than chicken breasts, which makes them more tender and succulent.
  • Chicken thighs are more forgiving than chicken breasts, which can easily dry out or become tough if overcooked.
  • Chicken thighs can be cooked with or without the skin and bone, depending on your preference and recipe.
Chicken Thighs
Chicken Thighs

How to Cook Chicken Thighs

Roasting Chicken Thighs

Roasting is one of the easiest and most popular ways to cook chicken thighs. You can season them with your favorite herbs and spices, and roast them in the oven until golden and crisp. Here are the basic steps for roasting chicken thighs:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced) and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towels and season them with salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you like. You can also rub some oil or butter on the skin to make it extra crispy.
  3. Arrange the chicken thighs on the prepared baking tray, skin-side up, and leave some space between them.
  4. Roast the chicken thighs for 25 to 35 minutes, or until the skin is browned and the meat is cooked through. The internal temperature of the chicken thighs should reach 74°C when measured with a meat thermometer.
  5. Transfer the chicken thighs to a platter and let them rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Roasting Chicken Thighs
Roasting Chicken Thighs

Grilling Chicken Thighs

Grilling is another great way to cook chicken thighs, especially in the summer. You can marinate them in advance to add more flavor and tenderness and grill them over high heat for a smoky and charred crust. Here are the basic steps for grilling chicken thighs:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together your favorite marinade ingredients, such as soy sauce, honey, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, etc. Add the chicken thighs and toss to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to overnight.
  2. Preheat the grill to high and oil the grates. Remove the chicken thighs from the marinade and shake off any excess. Season them with salt and pepper if needed.
  3. Grill the chicken thighs for 15 to 20 minutes, turning occasionally, or until the skin is charred and the meat is cooked through. The internal temperature of the chicken thighs should reach 74°C when measured with a meat thermometer.
  4. Transfer the chicken thighs to a platter and let them rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Grilling Chicken Thighs
Grilling Chicken Thighs

Baking Chicken Thighs

Baking is a convenient and healthy way to cook chicken thighs. You can bake them in a casserole dish with some vegetables and sauce, or a baking dish with some broth and herbs. Here are the basic steps for baking chicken thighs:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced) and lightly grease a baking dish or a casserole dish.
  2. Arrange the chicken thighs in a single layer in the prepared dish, skin-side up. You can also add some chopped vegetables, such as potatoes, carrots, onions, etc., around the chicken thighs.
  3. Pour some sauce or broth over the chicken thighs and vegetables, and sprinkle some herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, parsley, etc., on top. You can also season them with salt, pepper, and any other spices you like.
  4. Cover the dish with foil and bake the chicken thighs for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling and the meat is cooked through. The internal temperature of the chicken thighs should reach 74°C when measured with a meat thermometer.
  5. Uncover the dish and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the skin is browned and crisp.
  6. Transfer the chicken thighs and vegetables to a platter and serve with the sauce.
Baking Chicken Thighs
Baking Chicken Thighs

Frying Chicken Thighs

Frying is a quick and easy way to cook chicken thighs. You can fry them in a skillet with some oil, or deep-fry them in a pot with some batter. Here are the basic steps for frying chicken thighs:

  1. Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towels and season them with salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you like. You can also coat them with some flour, cornstarch, or breadcrumbs for a crispier texture.
  2. Heat some oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, or in a deep-fryer or a large pot over high heat. The oil should be about 2 cm deep for skillet-frying, or enough to cover the chicken thighs for deep-frying.
  3. Carefully add the chicken thighs to the hot oil, skin-side down, and fry them for 10 to 15 minutes, turning once, or until the skin is golden and crisp and the meat is cooked through. The internal temperature of the chicken thighs should reach 74°C when measured with a meat thermometer.
  4. Drain the chicken thighs on paper towels and serve hot.
Frying Chicken Thighs
Frying Chicken Thighs

Chicken Thigh Recipes to Try

Here are some delicious and easy chicken thigh recipes to try at home:

  • Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs: These chicken thighs are marinated in a sweet and savory honey garlic sauce, and baked in the oven until sticky and tender.
  • Lemon and Herb Chicken Thighs: These chicken thighs are seasoned with lemon zest, garlic, and fresh herbs, and roasted in the oven until juicy and crisp.
  • Spicy Korean Chicken Thighs: These chicken thighs are coated in a spicy and tangy Korean sauce, and grilled or broiled until charred and succulent.
  • Creamy Mushroom Chicken Thighs: These chicken thighs are cooked in a creamy and rich mushroom sauce, and served over rice or pasta.
  • Crispy Fried Chicken Thighs: These chicken thighs are dipped in a buttermilk and egg mixture, and coated in a seasoned flour and cornmeal mixture, and deep-fried until crunchy and moist.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do chicken thighs last in the fridge?

Raw chicken thighs can last for up to 2 days in the fridge, while cooked chicken thighs can last for up to 4 days. Make sure to store them in an airtight container or a ziplock bag, and keep them away from other foods to prevent cross-contamination.

How long do chicken thighs last in the freezer?

Raw chicken thighs can last for up to 9 months in the freezer, while cooked chicken thighs can last for up to 3 months. Make sure to wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or foil, and label them with the date of freezing.

How do you thaw chicken thighs?

The best way to thaw chicken thighs is to transfer them from the freezer to the fridge, and let them thaw overnight or for at least 12 hours. You can also thaw them in cold water, by placing them in a sealed plastic bag and submerging them in a bowl of cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes, and thaw them for about an hour per 500 g of chicken. You can also thaw them in the microwave, by using the defrost setting and checking them every few minutes. Do not thaw chicken thighs at room temperature, as this can cause bacteria growth and spoilage.

How do you reheat chicken thighs?

The best way to reheat chicken thighs is to use the oven, as this will preserve their texture and flavor. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced) and place the chicken thighs in a baking dish. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until heated through. You can also reheat chicken thighs in the microwave, by placing them on a microwave-safe plate and covering them with a damp paper towel. Microwave for 2 to 3 minutes, or until heated through, turning them halfway. Do not reheat chicken thighs more than once, as this can affect their quality and safety.

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