Oven Baked Chicken Thighs
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Oven Baked Chicken Thighs are crispy on the outside with tender dark meat on the inside. With a few tips and some simple ingredients, you can easily make delicious chicken thighs for a simple one pan dinner!
Why you’ll love this baked chicken thighs recipe
- Crispy and flavorful: Bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs become crispy when baked properly. Plus, the soy brown sugar marinade adds tons of flavor to the meat.
- Tender and juicy: The dark meat contains more fat than chicken breasts, baking up nice and juicy. They’re also more forgiving and less likely to overcook than chicken breasts.
- Quick and easy: This budget-friendly dinner is easy to make in about 30 minutes, whether you’re cooking for two or making a large batch to feed a crowd.
- Convenient: You can bake veggies and potatoes at the same time for an easy one pan dinner!
How to bake chicken thighs
- Whisk soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper until combined.
- Add the chicken thighs to the bowl and toss to coat thoroughly. Let marinate for 30 minutes or up to 8 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C).
- Remove chicken thighs from the marinade and place on the rack.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
- Broil for 2-3 minutes to make them extra crispy while deepening the color.
How to season baked chicken thighs?
Baked chicken thighs are very versatile and work with a variety of marinades and seasonings.
Marinade: In this recipe, I use a soy brown sugar marinade, which has a nice balance between savory and sweet flavors. It also acts as a brine which keeps the meat tender and juicy in the oven.
- Soy sauce: low-sodium recommended
- Brown sugar: helps the chicken to caramelize and become crispy when baked. You can substitute honey.
- Vinegar: white vinegar or apple cider vinegar work great.
- Garlic: freshly minced garlic is best, with garlic powder working in a pinch.
- Black pepper
- Olive oil
Seasonings: Instead of a marinade, you can also use a dry rub seasoning. Coat the chicken thighs with oil before rubbing with salt, pepper and seasonings like Italian seasoning, garlic powder, sweet paprika. Taco Seasoning and Fajita Seasoning also work well when you want to switch things up!
How long to bake chicken thighs?
In terms of how long to bake chicken, it really depends on your oven temperature and the type of chicken thighs. At 400°F / 204°C, bone-in chicken thighs need 35-40 minutes, or less if you’re using a convection/forced air oven. Boneless chicken thighs also require about 10 minutes less.
Here are chicken thigh bake times for a range of setups:
|Oven Temperature||Bone-in Chicken Thighs||Boneless Chicken Thighs|
|350°F (177°C)||50-55 minutes||40-45 minutes|
|375°F (191°C)||45-50 minutes||35-40 minutes|
|400°F (204°C)||40-45 minutes||30-35 minutes|
|425°F (218°C)||35-40 minutes||25-30 minutes|
Note: If you’re using a convection/forced air oven, bake for 10-15 minutes less than times above.
When the chicken thighs are done, juices will run clear and the bone will no longer be pink. However, it’s best to check for a safe internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) in poultry with an instant-read thermometer inserted into the middle of a thigh.
I recommend baking chicken thighs at a higher temperature for a shorter period of time, as they’ll be more tender than at lower temperatures.
Do you need to flip the chicken?
No, there’s no need to flip chicken thighs while baking. However, you can baste them with pan juices halfway through if you like.
Tips for making chicken thighs crispy in the oven
- I recommend bone-in and skin-on thighs to get crispy skin on top. The bone also helps them stay plump during baking!
- Shake off the excess marinade before baking and don’t pour leftover marinade onto the baking sheet. (If you’d like a sauce for serving, simply reserve half the marinade before use and boil for a minute in a saucepan.)
- Brown sugar from the marinade helps to caramelize and make the meat crispier.
- Place the oven rack in the upper third of the oven, where it’s hotter.
- Broil for 2-3 minutes in the end for extra crispiness.
What to serve with chicken thighs
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Oven Baked Chicken Thighs
- 2 pounds chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on (6-8 pieces)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce, low-sodium recommended
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons vinegar, white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 4 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- fresh parsley, minced - optional
- In a large bowl, whisk soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper until combined.
- Add the chicken thighs to the bowl and toss to coat thoroughly with the marinade.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to marinate for 30 minutes up to 8 hours.
- Place the oven rack in the upper-middle position. Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C).
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Then add a wire rack.
- Remove chicken thighs from the marinade and place on the rack with the skin side up, shaking off excess marinade. (Discard leftover marinade.)
- Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
- Broil for 2-3 minutes to make the chicken extra crispy and add a nice caramelized brown color.
- Garnish with optional parsley and serve.
- Recipe yield: 2 pounds or 6 bone-in chicken thighs are enough to serve 4 people.
- If you'd like vegetables with your meal, you can add broccoli, potatoes, carrots etc. to the pan for the final 20 minutes.
- You can double the marinade and reserve half for serving. Boil it in a saucepan and drizzle on the chicken when serving.
- Make-Ahead: you can leave the seasoned or marinated chicken thighs for as long as 12 hours or overnight before cooking.
- Storage: You can store cooked chicken thighs in the fridge for 3-4 days in an airtight container. Otherwise, you can freeze them for up to 3 months. Reheat thawed chicken thighs for several minutes in a skillet or microwave.
- Leftovers can be used for chicken sandwiches and other lunch ideas.
Please read our nutrition disclaimer.
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Editor note: Originally published Aug 3, 2018 and updated Sept 25, 2019