How to Cook Chicken Thighs in a Pan

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Chicken thighs, along with the leg and wings make up the dark meat portion of the bird. These cuts cook relatively quickly whether cooking on the stovetop in a frying pan or in a baking pan in the oven. Naturally juicer than the breast of the chicken, dark meat retains a tender texture without extra fuss. Using a covered pan, particularly in the oven, allows the meat to cook a little faster. Boneless, skinless thighs cook slightly faster than bone-in, but not by much.

How to Cook Chicken Thighs in a Pan
(Lydia MacDougal /Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • Frying Pan
  • Oven-ready baking pan
  • Olive oil or butter
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon fresh garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • Meat thermometer
Step 1

Add one tablespoon of oil or butter to the pan and heat slightly without scorching. This step prevents the meat from sticking and adds a little extra flavor. If you are using a non-stick pan and prefer not to use added fats, this step is not necessary.

Lydia MacDougal /Demand Media
Step 2

Saute half an onion with a teaspoon of fresh garlic for flavor before putting the chicken thighs in the pan.

Lydia MacDougal /Demand Media
Step 3

Place the chicken in the pan, season with salt, pepper or other preferred seasonings and cover the pan over a low-to-medium heat for 20 minutes. Adding one quarter-cup of broth or bouillon at this stage makes for a slightly more flavorful meal.

Lydia MacDougal /Demand Media
Step 4

Lift the lid of the pan and turn the thighs over using a pair of tongs. Do not pierce the meat with a fork, as this will release the juices of the meat. Leave the cover off while the thighs cook for another 10 minutes, letting the thighs slightly crisp.

Lydia MacDougal /Demand Media
Step 5

Turn the heat down and check the temperature of the thighs. Cook chicken to an internal temperature of 165 degrees for safe eating. Use a cooking thermometer to check the temperature by placing the probe in the thickest part of the thigh. When they have reached 165 degrees, remove from the heat and serve immediately.

Lydia MacDougal /Demand Media
Step 1

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Lydia MacDougal /Demand Media
Step 2

Lightly grease the bottom of the baking pan with oil or butter. This prevents the meat from sticking to the pan.

Lydia MacDougal /Demand Media
Step 3

Place the chicken thighs in the baking pan and season. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place in the oven on the middle rack. Set the timer for 30 minutes.

Lydia MacDougal /Demand Media
Step 4

Carefully take the pan out of the oven after 30 minutes and remove the foil. Place back in the oven for ten minutes, allowing the chicken to brown while finishing cooking. Remove and serve.

Lydia MacDougal /Demand Media

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Tips & Warnings

  • Use seasoning salt, paprika, cumin or rosemary to flavor the chicken thighs.

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