Weeknight Cooking

13 Ways Chicken Thighs Are Winning Dinner

Our best recipes to add to your weeknight rotation.

July  6, 2020
Photo by Bobbi Lin

There’s a reason we consider chicken a winner dinner. It’s an affordable, filling option with tons of variety. And if you’re going to break it down by cost, there’s a cut we’re flocking to: those thighs.

The average price of a pound of chicken thighs is about $1.00. But budget-friendly doesn’t have to mean boring. Chicken thighs shine in all sorts of dishes, from roasting and grilling to braises and sheet pans. Sure, they have bones, but they’re easy to eat around—and add tons of flavor. (Plus, I sincerely hope you choose to keep that crispy, tasty skin!)

Looking for ways to dress up a chicken thigh dinner? We’ve grabbed some of the most-loved recipes from our site. You’re sure to find a winner, or many, among them:


Our Best Chicken Thigh Recipes

1. Michael Ruhlman's Rosemary-Brined, Buttermilk Fried Chicken

A quick-as-can-be lemon rosemary brine not only adds flavor, it also keeps the thighs moist before they get a thick (crispy, crackly!) buttermilk crust. There’s no way you can mess this up.

2. Braised Chicken Thighs with Tomato & Garlic

Easy enough to be your weeknight go-to, this braise makes use of canned tomatoes and a healthy dose of garlic.

3. Chicken Adobo with Rice

“Vinegar and soy sauce work together in harmony to bring out the best in garlic and soften whole black peppercorns just enough to where when you bite down on one, it yields easily, filling your mouth with a welcome cheek-numbing spice that cuts through vinegar's tang,” says recipe developer Jackie Varriano. If that doesn’t have you salivating, I don’t know what will.

4. Caramelized Black Pepper Chicken From Charles Phan

This astonishingly flavorful recipe comes from Charles Phan, owner and executive chef of the Slanted Door restaurant in San Francisco, and stars a sauce you'll absolutely want to make an extra batch of.

5. Extraordinary Marinated & Roasted Chicken, Potatoes & Chickpeas

One-pot roasted chicken is great. But one-pot roasted chicken with crispy chickpeas and soft, marinade-soaked potatoes? Heaven.

6. Canal House's Chicken Thighs With Lemon

You'll want to tell everyone you love about this jaw-dropping technique from our Genius guru: “You don’t sear, and you don’t roast, and you don’t grill—you don’t do any of the things we’re taught to do to chicken. Instead, you lay the chicken, skin side down, in a barely hot pan. Then you leave it mostly alone for about 30 minutes, flipping only once. The skin becomes impossibly crisp, enough so to satisfy your darkest fried chicken cravings.”

7. Crispy Chicken Thighs With Chicken-Fat Fried Rice

Save the golden schmaltz from the crispy skillet chicken thighs to make a fried rice you'll love so much, you'll want to keep it in your rotation at least once a week.

8. Stuffed & Seared Chicken Thighs With Refrigerator-Door Mustard

You can stuff these thighs any which way you like—with anything from garlic to dried fruit—but the refrigerator-door mustard is a must.

9. Saliva Chicken Meatballs

This dish won't just make you "salivate upon first look," writes cookbook author and blogger Mandy Lee, "but the combination of soft poached chicken sitting in a spicy and numbing puddle of sesame sauce and chile oil is dangerously addictive."

10. Mochiko Chicken

"I think it's safe to say that most places have their own version, and Hawaii is no exception," writes Alana Kysar in her cookbook Aloha Kitchen. Here, tender chicken thighs are battered in mochiko flour (aka sweet rice flour), wrapped in nori, and fried until crispy.

11. Instant Pot Creamy Mushroom Chicken

This exceptionally comforting chicken is a cinch to make thanks to the Instant Pot, which does most of the work for you.

12. Malaysian Satay With Peanut Sauce

This chicken satay from Yi Jun Loh hits all the marks with "flavorful, succulent meat, a good char, and a great peanut dipping sauce."

13. Pappardelle with Chicken & Lemon-Anchovy Cream Sauce

This weeknight-friendly dinner nails the balance between simple and luxuriant—once you cook the pasta, the whole thing comes together in a single pan in under 30 minutes.

What's your favorite way to cook chicken thighs? Any recipes on our site you love?
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The Dynamite Chicken cookbook is here! Get ready for 60 brand-new ways to love your favorite bird. Inside this clever collection by Food52 and chef Tyler Kord, you'll find everything from lightning-quick weeknight dinners to the coziest of comfort foods.

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Join the Conversation

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • lisa1337
    lisa1337
  • Sam1148
    Sam1148
  • Alexandra V. Jones
    Alexandra V. Jones
  • FrugalCat
    FrugalCat
  • Meredith
    Meredith
Comment
Katie is a food writer and editor who loves cheesy puns and cheesy cheese.

6 Comments

lisa1337 July 7, 2020
You were great and everyone received so much from your experience and knowledge
Absolutely amazing, thank you for sharing your knowledge with me.
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Sam1148 September 19, 2018
Just stop it with the new new thing, affordable stuff.
You people..and I mean YOU PEOPLE, ruined affordable pork belly. It used to be poverty food for 1 dollar a pound at the piggly wiggly... But Noooo...now you're sous viding it glazing it and you can't find it at Winn Dixie anymore.
Same with BONE BROTH...used to be you could get marrow bones at the meat counter for either free or a buck a pound. And they'd slice them for ya...NOW...if they have them it's 4 bucks a pound or more. And Tripe...geeze they'd mostly give it away...nope not anymore.

Now, you guys are having a go with chicken thighs. Just stop it.
Go for Chitlins...call it 'snout to ass' cooking, Southern Calamari, and include a garden hose to clean them.
 
FrugalCat July 12, 2020
YES! So much used to be cheap, and is now "trendy"! I remember getting beef tongue practically free. Other things include oxtail, poultry necks, kidneys, lamb ribs, feet, and of course, pig ears. Even quinoa was cheaper than rice 30 years ago at the Peruvian grocery store. I guess if you go back even further, spring mix used to be called "weeds" and was not sold in grocery stores.
 
Alexandra V. May 25, 2018
I think it should read a $1.20 a pound, not pack?
 
Meredith May 27, 2018
Came to say the same thing! No way it’s 1.20 a pack haha
 
Emma L. May 28, 2018
Hi Alexandra and Meredith—thanks for this catch! We've updated the article accordingly.