Sheet Pan

Sheet-Pan Chicken Thighs With Magic Spice Blend

October  7, 2018
66 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

I make a big sheet tray of these spice-rubbed chicken thighs, eat one or two for dinner that night, then turn the rest into quesadillas, rice bowls, and leftovers throughout the week.

A note on the spice blend: The aim here is that you're making a Mason jar full of the stuff, then using it as you wish throughout the week. I like to keep the spice blend by my stove to sprinkle over everything: fried eggs, sliced cucumbers, chicken. Sprinkle it on the underside of bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, place them on a sheet pan (skin-side up), then season the skins lightly with more rub before cooking off.

Account for about 1 to 2 tablespoons of the spice blend per 2 pounds of chicken thighs and you should be good. —Eric Kim

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: 2 Quick & Easy Chicken Thigh Recipes Our Senior Editor Swears By. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons Magic Spice Blend, recipe follows
  • Magic Spice Blend
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons smoked paprika (you can use regular sweet paprika if you don't like the taste of smoked)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed, crushed in the palm of your hand
  1. Spoon all of the ingredients into a Mason jar and shake.
  2. Sprinkle the Magic Spice Blend generously on the underside of bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, place on a sheet pan skin-side up, then season the skins lightly with more rub. You can let this sit covered overnight in the fridge, or bake off right away.
  3. Roast at 400° F for 30 minutes, or until cooked through.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • betty888
  • Jane Prive
    Jane Prive
  • Picholine
  • Steven Williamson
    Steven Williamson
  • Eric Kim
    Eric Kim
Eric Kim was the Table for One columnist at Food52. He is currently working on his first cookbook, KOREAN AMERICAN, to be published by Clarkson Potter in 2022. His favorite writers are William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway, but his hero is Nigella Lawson. You can find his bylines at The New York Times, where he works now as a writer. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @ericjoonho.

47 Reviews

betty888 January 8, 2022
I didn't want to make a big batch of the spice mixture so riffed on the recipe - no exact ratios. Went light on the salt and omitted the celery seed as we did not have. I sprinkled it on a few boneless, skinless thighs. I basted them with the juices at the end and popped them under the broiler for a few minutes to caramelize/thicken a bit. So tasty and so easy! Served with white rice and roasted cherry tomatoes.
Jill January 7, 2022
This recipe is SOO tasty! I LOVE the simplicity of it… what’s easier than throwing some yummy spices together on your chicken and into the oven?! I do cut back on the salt a smidge for taste preference but have never experienced anything I couldn’t eat. I crave this recipe on a regular basis and have shared it with friends who also rave about it! Thank you, Eric!!
shirar November 2, 2021
So so so salty. Are you sure its 3 TABLESPOONS? I used 2 and it was way too much
Cynthia November 2, 2021
Did you have 2lbs of chicken? Did you just use 2 tablespoons of the spice blend on your chicken?
Christina P. June 3, 2021
The magic blend is everything! I’ve also used it on salmon and now my kids ask for it that way every time.
CaroleF2 February 4, 2021
Good choice for a quick and easy dinner. I was hoping for something with an exotic flavor, but I agree with kjmk assessment that it is more reminiscent of BBQ. I agree with Halli's assessment regarding the complaints posted about the chicken being too salty. These cooks must have used the entire balance of the Magic Spice Rub rather than measuring out the specified 2 tablespoons to season 2 pounds of chicken. I do not enjoy overly-salty food. I am sure that I would have reacted negatively if those were the results - but the chicken was fine. The only change that I made was to cut back on the cayenne because I used Hot Smoked Spanish Paprika. There was still a sizable amount of rub leftover after using the 2 tablespoons of rub in the recipe. I sealed it in a small Mason jar and stored in the freezer for future use.
Cynthia January 9, 2021
Not sure of previous comment (Janie) but I made this tonight as written and it was perfect. Nice blend of spices couldn’t have been easier. I double recipe because I had 4 lbs chicken thighs that I needed to cook. Now I have already cooked chicken for another meal. Thanks Eric!
Jane E. January 2, 2021
Awful! I am astounded that an organization it as reputable as Food 52 would have not tested this recipe better. The amount of salt makes it inedible. We had to throw the chicken out… Super disappointed!
Eric K. January 5, 2021
Hi Jane, I'm so sorry to hear. I'd love to figure out what went wrong: Admittedly the recipe is formatted in a confusing way - just want to make sure that you only used 2 tablespoons of the final spice blend for a full 2 pounds of bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (a lot of chicken)? All of these details make a difference. Also the brand of kosher salt may have affected the results... I still make these often for my family, so I'd love to trouble-shoot with you. -Eric
Jane E. January 2, 2021
Awful! I am astounded that an organization it as reputable as Food 52 would have not tested this recipe better. The amount of salt makes it inedible. We had to throw the chicken out… Super disappointed
Picholine January 2, 2021
I bet you didn’t use Kosher salt.
Jane E. January 3, 2021
I sure did!!
Picholine January 3, 2021
Well then , it’s just to salty. Maybe the cook will need to adjust salt and for me cayenne. Enjoy cooking.
Picholine February 4, 2021
Made this rub up and cut salt in half and used less cayenne.
Baked chicken thighs. It was tasty and worth making again .
karencooks December 22, 2020
Easy & delicious!!! Plan to make this recipe again and again!!!
kjmk December 17, 2020
I wish I could rave like others. The chicken tasted fine, but seemed to me to be just a slightly bbq taste. Nice crisp skin though, and recipe could be easier.
Jane P. March 11, 2020
My husband and I both thought this was delicious!! I make chicken thighs all the time and this is one recipe I will be using again. The spice mix was great and using it as a rub allowed the chicken to crisp up nicely. Yum!
Picholine March 24, 2019
Anyone cut back on cayenne? Think for my crowd it’s a bit too hot!
Can’t wait to try this recipe!
Sinamen78 June 2, 2019
Yes, I halved it. Could even go back another 1/4-1/2 t. if you want.
Sinamen78 June 3, 2019
Besides needing to back way off the salt and adjust cayenne accordingly, this is a VERY tasty recipe. Loved it. Company-worthy !
Dish06 January 23, 2019
Just yummy! The sugar had me saying...wwhhaaatt? But it's become a dish on rotation.
Barb January 1, 2019
Wr lived this recipe. It was easy, I had everything I needed which I love. The chicken browned nicely and the taste was unique and very delicious
Barbara B. January 1, 2019
I used only a tablespoon of kosher salt as others suggested, but it was still overpowering and I couldn't rescue it even by doubling everything else. Would be better to add salt in at the end, to taste.
Sinamen78 May 25, 2019
Wonder if that’s supposed to be “3 teaspoons” (1 T. salt) of salt ?
Halli June 2, 2019
Did you use only 2 Tbl of the finished spice mix? I'm trying to do the math for whether it seems like an unreasonable amount of salt, but 3 Tbl of 14 total Tbls would mean 3/14ths of a Tbl salt in each Tbl spice mix, so 2 Tbl mix would meam 6/14ths Tbl salt in the dish, or 3/7ths Tbl salt, or less than 1.5 Tsps salt in the full dish, which doesn't seem crazy for 2 lbs thighs. The directions don;t remind you to only use 2 Tbl mix, so I'm wondering if thst's what happened!
Ariella December 31, 2018
Delicious. Very special blend. I reduced salt to one tablespoon and it was perfect.
Steven W. December 30, 2018
I am quite sure I am the chicken thighs most fervent fan. I just LOVE them, any which way you do it--even boiled and tuned into pot pie--so these were an immediate favorite. The magic blend is really good even when I cut the cayenne in half (to taste for my family.) Thighs around here are often 77, 87 or 97 cents a pound so you can bet I stock up...the spice blend? I made a pint jar of it.
Eric K. December 31, 2018
Aw, Steven, that makes me so happy. Thanks for letting me know.
Ann December 30, 2018
Totally agree with all the previous accolades....
And it’s delicious on popcorn, too!
Eric K. December 31, 2018
Whoa! Love that idea.
Roy C. November 19, 2018
Definitely a Keeper! Easy to prepare and scales up really well. Going to try with boneless/skinless next time to see how it compares. Also want to try on salmon, as some have suggested. Thanks, Eric!
Eric K. November 19, 2018
Glad to hear, Roy. It's excellent on salmon. Some brief instruction here:
Roy C. November 19, 2018
Thanks again, Eric!
Helen November 5, 2018
This is really good. I had only boneless, skinless thighs on hand and used those. It was wonderful- big hit with my company. Easy and very tasty; this moves into the rotation!
Eric K. November 5, 2018
Delicious! The spice blend would probably penetrate boneless/skinless even better.
Helen November 6, 2018
Yes, i sprayed a sheet pan, sprinkled about 1/3 of the mix on it, then patted thighs into mix and turned pieces over. Sprinkled a little more on top. Covered pan and back in fridge for maybe 6 hrs. So spice blend was directly on the meat for several hrs. I will definitely make this again.
Eric K. November 6, 2018
Eric K. November 6, 2018
Glad to hear it!