40 Best Chicken Thigh Recipes
Indonesian Coconut Rice with Chicken and Zucchini
Luscious is the word for this Indonesian version of chicken and rice. Coconut milk spiced with cumin and coriander cooks into the rice and sauces the whole dish.
Mexican-Style Chicken with Penne
Adding a small amount of canned chipotle chiles in adobo (available at most supermarkets) makes a basic tomato sauce smoky and complex. Finishing the dish with queso blanco and chopped cilantro leaves intensifies the Latin flavor.
Golden Chicken Thighs with Charred-Lemon Salsa Verde
Chef Nancy Silverton makes the dish even better by roasting lemon slices, so they’re lightly charred, before stirring them into a piquant salsa verde. The sauce is an excellent accompaniment to these crisp-skinned chicken thighs, but it’s also great with roasted fish and vegetables.
Chicken Chile Verde
The secret to this tangy and spicy stew by chef Deborah Schneider is the warm tomatillo-and-chile sauce; topped with creamy avocado and cool sour cream, it’s a perfect meal. Schneider sometimes swaps pork, cubed tofu, or vegetables like zucchini or mushrooms for the chicken.
Fried Chicken Tacos
"Right in Tijuana's red-light district sits Kentucky Fried Buches, where cooks fry chicken necks, skin on, to fill soft corn tortillas. I can't stop eating them," says Andrew Zimmern. "At home, I fry skin-on chicken thighs until they're supercrisp, then eat them with avocado-tomatillo salsa, my family's favorite."
Spice-Rubbed Chicken Thighs
"I grew up on chicken thighs," says Top Chef all-star Tre Wilcox. "These days I season them with crushed red pepper and star anise and braise them in a sauce with tomatoes and red wine."
Braised Chicken Thighs with Apples and Wild Rice
Erick Harcey, one of Minneapolis’ most celebrated chefs, serves this braised chicken with his supreme riff on Rice-A-Roni. Tart Granny Smith apples and cider vinegar not only tenderize the chicken thighs but also act as the base for the incredible sauce.
Chicken Thigh Yakitori
At Hong Kong’s Yardbird, the cooks don’t just cut up chicken thighs to skewer for yakitori: They separate the meat into several different muscles and grill each individually. “This allows each piece to be cooked at the same speed,” says co-owner Lindsay Jang.
Braised Chicken Thighs with Olives and Basil
Though it only cooks for half an hour, this dish has the satisfying, melded flavor of a long–simmered stew. Part of the explanation is that the garlic cloves are cooked whole and then mashed into the sauce. You'll always get a more mellow flavor from whole cloves than from chopped or crushed garlic.
Zesty Braised Chicken with Lemon and Capers
Sauvignon Blanc adds zip to the lemon-and-caper-infused liquid.
Andrew Carmellini learned to make posole with veal head; this recipe calls for chicken.
Beer-Braised Chicken Stew with Fava Beans and Peas
Paul Kahan is a big fan of chicken thighs because they have so much flavor and are so inexpensive—the best of both worlds. He braises the thighs in beer to make an excellent spring stew that he (naturally) pairs with more beer, such as Pere Jacques from Chicago's Goose Island Beer Company, a Belgian-style ale full of caramelized malt flavors.
White Bean and Chicken Soup
By using chicken thighs instead of breasts, Melissa Rubel Jaconbson gives this hearty, jalapeño-spiked soup ultrarich flavor.
Roast Chicken Thighs with Tomato-Tapioca Porridge
Wylie Dufresne is a genius at using avant-garde techniques to turn everyday ingredients into miraculous dishes.
Chicken Thighs Marinated with Homemade Ssam Paste
Chef Bill Kim’s recipes reveal what Korean barbecue is all about: salty-sweet, sticky, delectably charred meat. Kim uses miso, chile powder, fish sauce, sesame oil and ginger to flavor his Asian grilled chicken.
Chardonnay-Braised Chicken Thighs with Parsnips
In this easy one-pot braise, you get the best possible combination: crisp-skinned chicken and a luscious wine sauce.
Roast Chicken Thighs with Lentil Stew
José Andrés seasons his crisp chicken and rich lentil stew with smoky Spanish paprika called pimentón.
Crispy Chicken Thighs with Golden Raisin Compote
Serve chicken with buttered farro with chives.
Cider Vinegar-Braised Chicken Thighs
This is chef James Boyce's simple go-to, one-pot dish for entertaining. Serve the vinegar-braised chicken with buttered noodles, wheat berries or rice alongside, to soak up the tangy, buttery sauce.
Chicken Thighs with Spicy Tomato-Pepper Sauce
Gerald Hirigoyen named his restaurant after pipérade, a Basque vegetable stew that combines tomatoes, bell peppers and onions; here he uses a pipérade puree to braise chicken. He says children love this lightly sweet sauce: "Anytime I'm cooking for my son and need to get him to eat something, I use pipérade and call it ketchup."
Soy-Marinated Chicken Thighs with Shiitake Mushrooms
All cuts of chicken are rich in tryptophan. Breasts are leaner than thighs, but dark meat is still healthy; a 4-ounce skinless serving has just 11 grams of fat.
Farro Pasta with Chicken Scarti and Borlotti Beans
Farro is an ancient type of wheat that gives pasta a firm bite and sweet, grainy flavor. Chefs Steve Samson and Zach Pollack pair it with hearty, rustic sauces like this one, which gets its richness from quickly sautéed chicken livers.
Adobo Chicken with Bacon and Bay Leaves
In this very traditional Filipino dish, chicken stews in vinegar and soy sauce. If you can find coconut vinegar—made from the sap of the coconut tree—it’s delicious here.
Tarragon Chicken with Spring Greens
This aromatic chicken cooked with arugula, watercress and romaine lettuce makes a great one-skillet meal.
Sweet and Sour Bangkok-Style Chicken with Chiles
Andrew Zimmern's supertasty Thai chicken gets its heat from fiery fresh bird chiles in the quick homemade curry paste.
Chicken & Poblano Tacos with Crema
This is a variation on the chorizo tacos that Justin Large makes at Big Star. You can replace the chicken strips with chorizo; for a vegetarian taco, Large recommends subbing in crumbled spiced tofu.
For Roy Choi, these crispy egg-and-panko-coated chicken cutlets, generally made with pork in Japan, represent something major. “People think frying chicken cutlets is simple, but it’s like cooking pasta,” says Choi. “It’s a dish that seems remedial, but when you get it right, it changes the whole ball game. I call it the cult of katsu.”
Tunisian Chicken Kebabs with Currants and Olives
Susan Feniger’s sweet-and-tangy marinated chicken skewers are flavorful enough to eat on their own, but they’re even better with the chunky currant-and-olive relish.
Tangy Sort-Of Jerk Chicken
Chef Steven Brown flavors his jerk-style chicken with a highly spiced, tangy marinade, but there’s something else that makes it so good: a serious dry-brining. “Season the daylights out of the chicken thighs with kosher salt,” advises Brown. “Really season them. Think snow. Then let them sit for half an hour.”
Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce
These deliciously spiced grilled chicken skewers are perfect with a sweet-and-tangy peanut sauce.
Chicken with Candied Cashews
Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone often find inspiration in New York City's Chinatown. They transform Chinese cashew chicken into a fancy appetizer featuring the chicken "oyster"—the succulent piece of meat between the thigh and backbone, prized by French chefs.
Chicken Tinga Tacos
"The chicken is braised in the oven, but you can make it in a slow cooker or completely on the stove, in a casserole," says Jenn Louis. There are many versions of tinga—the smoky Mexican tomato sauce—and this one is especially easy, calling for only a few simple ingredients.
General Tso's Chicken
The version here is lighter than take-out because the chicken is only lightly coated in cornstarch and is pan-fried rather than deep-fried.