Perfect Pan-Fried Chicken Thighs

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Juicy, tender pan-fried chicken thighs with a golden-crisp skin are possible with just a spoonful of oil and a bit of patience.

The hardest part of this recipe is waiting while they slowly cook on the stove-top. You want the skin to be golden-brown with all the fat rendered before you turn them over. This chicken is completely worth the wait!

Perfect Pan-Fried Chicken Thighs recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen

This chicken recipe has become a staple in my house over the past few years. I made this chicken at least once a week for the first couple of months and I still make it at least once a month. The chicken turns out perfectly every single time.

My kids now ask for the “crispy skin chicken” every time they see me purchasing chicken.

Best Way To Cook Chicken

After making these pan-fried chicken thighs for a couple years, I decided to play with an oven method for achieving the same crispy chicken thighs. I’m thrilled to tell you that this Oven Baked Crispy Chicken is pretty amazing too.

My first choice for crispy chicken thighs is the pan-fried method, but a very close second (and perfect for the busiest of days) is the crispy chicken made in the oven. I’m so happy to have two great methods now for cooking perfectly crispy chicken.

Irresistible Mandarin Broccoli Salad is a terrific side dish with both chicken recipes, as is this Creamy Pasta Salad or this Panera Mac and Cheese. These Instant Pot Sweet Potatoes are next on my list to try with this chicken. What’s not to love about a piping hot silky smooth sweet potato that practically cooks itself?

How To Cook Chicken Thighs

When I finally learned how to cook chicken on the stove, I was in heaven. Crispy chicken thighs really are possible without deep frying or standing over the stove the whole time.

With a few tips in hand, you’re going to be making some amazing chicken in no time. First, you’ll want to start with a heavy skillet.

splatter-screen for your skillet will help cut down on the mess on the stovetop.

A small bowl with a cup of vinegar set next to the stove will greatly reduce the lingering aroma of this recipe through the rest of the night.

 
Perfect Pan-Fried Chicken Thighs recipe by Barefeet In The Kitchen

 

Chicken Thigh Recipe

  1. Pour a tablespoon of oil into a large stainless or cast-iron skillet over medium heat. (A non-stick skillet will work as well, although it isn’t required.)

  2. Generously sprinkle the skin side of the chicken thighs with spices and then place them in the hot skillet, skin side down. Sprinkle the other side of the thighs and then, without moving them, cook uncovered* for about 20-25 minutes.

  3. Let the chicken cook until the fat has rendered and the skin is deep golden brown and crisp; this could take as long as 30 minutes. If the skin is sticking to the pan, it likely isn’t finished on that side. Reduce the heat as needed if the skin starts to burn before it is evenly golden brown.

  4. Turn the thighs over and continue to cook for about 20 more minutes. When the meat closest to the bone is cooked through, the chicken is done.

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Perfect Pan-Fried Chicken Thighs

4.39 from 39 votes
Juicy, tender chicken thighs with a golden-crisp skin are possible with just a spoonful of oil and a bit of patience.
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Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 50 mins
Total Time: 55 mins
Course: Main Course
Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients 

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or light flavored olive oil
  • 4-6 chicken thighs depending on size (4 large pieces fill my skillet)
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • Optional spices: garlic and paprika

Instructions

  • Pour the oil into a large stainless or cast-iron skillet over medium heat. (A non-stick skillet will work as well, although it isn't required.) Generously sprinkle the skin side of the chicken thighs with spices and then place them in the hot skillet, skin side down. Sprinkle the other side of the thighs and then, without moving them, cook uncovered* for about 20-25 minutes. Let them cook until the fat has rendered and the skin is deep golden brown and crisp; this could take as long as 30 minutes.
  • If the skin is sticking to the pan, it likely isn't finished on that side. Reduce the heat as needed if the skin starts to burn before it is evenly golden brown. Turn the thighs over and continue to cook for about 20 more minutes. When the meat closest to the bone is cooked through, the chicken is done. Enjoy!

Notes

Please note that a splatter-screen for your skillet will help cut down on the mess on the stovetop and a small bowl with a cup of vinegar set next to the stove will greatly reduce the lingering aroma of this recipe through the rest of the night.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 278kcal · Protein: 18g · Fat: 22g · Saturated Fat: 5g · Cholesterol: 110mg · Sodium: 87mg · Potassium: 231mg · Vitamin A: 90IU · Calcium: 9mg · Iron: 0.8mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @WPRecipeMaker or tag #wprecipemaker!

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{originally published 4/17/13 – recipe notes and photos updated 12/20/17}

Perfect Pan Fried Chicken Thighs are possible with just a tablespoon of oil! get the recipe at barefeetinthekitchen.com

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Mary Younkin

Mary Younkin

Hi, I’m Mary. I’m the author, cook, photographer, and travel lover behind the scenes here at Barefeet In The Kitchen. I'm also the author of three cookbooks dedicated to making cooking from scratch as simple as possible.

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  1. Jane-Marie says

    This was the first time I made chicken thighs on the stove top. Always did them in the oven. I way prefer your method, Mary. They turned out absolutely perfect! Crispy skin and so juicy on the inside. My only suggestion would be DO NOT use vinegar to mask the smell because the smell is fantastic! lol5 stars

  2. Linda Sharp says

    OMG!!! Delicious……………….. Very tasty………….. I am so glad I saw, and tried your recipe, I usually cook chicken breasts and they are always dry. This is the FIRST time it didn’t come out dry…… I actually love chicken again! Yummy; Yummy; Yummy………Thank you so much5 stars

    • Linda C Sharp says

      Good morning Mary, I still LOVE this chicken, however it always comes out burnt on the skin side and my burner is on the lowest it can go! Should I cook it for a shorter time? I want to make sure it is cooked thoroughly…
      Please, any feedback would be greatly appreciated. YAAY I am eating chicken again!!! And loving it……………4 stars

  3. Jay says

    I’d never cooked skin-on, bone-in chicken before and I was apprehensive and unsure of how to even go about it. A Google search brought me here and I am so impressed! Came out very near perfect (I definitely wouldn’t say it burned, but I could probably have reduced the heat slightly as one or two pieces were darker than the rest) – medium heat, 20 mins per side and checked with a meat thermometer. Loved them, will definitely do this again!

    • Mary Younkin says

      Medium-high should work nicely. If the chicken cooks too fast or starts to burn, you’ll want to reduce the heat as noted in the recipe.

  4. Alyssa Kent says

    Making these right now and they smell amazing but my husband came in and flipped, caught him in the act and yelled nnnnnnoooooo! He said they’re sticking to the pan. Aaaahhhhhhhhhh. I think I can salvage it or at least trying. Told him not to touch again lol! Can’t wait to try this method!

  5. Kim says

    Just finished making “fried” chicken for our picnic lunch. I added turmeric and Old Bay Seasoning along with garlic power, paprika and S&P. Had my electric skillet out from making breaded pork cutlets yesterday & followed you “MEDIUM” heat instructions to perfection. I do not go by the temperature settings on the knob dial of the electric skillet—WAY TOO HOT. Used a temp gauge & cooked ~325-350. Thanks & will do again!

  6. Amarti says

    Wow! I have made pan fried chicken in the past, but this was fabulous. I cooked this exactly according to the recipe and it was the best fried chicken ever. I really like that my chicken came out with a crust that was like breaded chicken, but it wasn’t. The chicken was moist and I put a montreal seasoning on mine, so I did have to watch it so it wouldn’t over brown. Seasoning salt tends to make meats brown more. My chicken thighs were bone in and skin on and were pretty thick. I even browned them on the sides by standing them on their sides. Looking at the chicken it really looks like its breaded. My husband loved it. Served it with mash&mushroom gravy, cauliflower & homemade coleslaw.5 stars

  7. Sally Q says

    Uh, yeah, no. Even at medium heat, the fat rendered, the pieces loosened and the skins blackened within ten minutes on the first side. Lowering the heat caused doneness and texture issues on the other side. I’ll pass on this method, thanks.2 stars

    • Mary Younkin says

      That’s very strange, Sally. I’m guessing that you were using a semi-lightweight pan and not a heavy skillet. It shouldn’t have been hot enough to blacken the skin in just ten minutes. Even at high heat with a heavy skillet, I’ve never seen that happen.

  8. Geraldine Mott says

    Bone in, skin on chicken thighs are my favorite cut of chicken and this is the best recipe for them. Crispy skin, tender, juicy meat. In the past I have always covered the meat at some point in cooking but this recipe has changed my mind about doing that.5 stars

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