Crispy Chicken Thighs

March 23, 2017

By Anna Varriano

This is a quick, easy, economical, and delicious way to cook chicken. I first tried it at my brother’s house during one of his famous multi-course farm-to-table gatherings. He has a wonderful hobby farm where he grows loads of gorgeous veggies and also raises pastured chickens for eggs and meat. This recipe works best if you have a convection broil setting on your oven, which you’ll need to preheat to 400F (read through the instructions for alternatives if you don’t have a convection broil setting). Depending on the size of the chicken thighs and how hungry everyone is, 8 thighs will usually feed 4 people. You can make more, just adjust the amount of ingredients accordingly.

You Will Need:


  • 8 chicken thighs with skin on and bone in (antibiotic & hormone-free would be good, organic would be better, pastured would be best!) – cut off excess fat and skin then wash thighs under cold running water and pat dry with paper towel
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 heaping tsp smoked paprika
  • pinch of pepper (or hot chili if you like)
  • pinches of unrefined sea salt (eg. Celtic sea salt, Himalayan sea salt) – I like using a coarse salt for this recipe if I have it on hand.
  • a large mixing bowl
  • a baking sheet

Step 1 – Make The ‘Rub’


Combine and mix olive oil, both of the paprikas, and pepper and/or hot chilis (suit your taste) in a large bowl until well blended (salt is for a bit later!)

Step 2: Coat Thighs With The ‘Rub’


Put the thighs in the large bowl and mix and massage them well until they are nicely and evenly coated with the rub. I use vinyl gloves for this to keep my hands clean.

Step 3: Into The Oven


Put the thighs on a baking sheet, spreading them out evenly. Sprinkle each thigh with sea salt and then put into preheated oven on the lowest rack. I have never bothered greasing or lining the baking sheet with anything. Quite a bit of rendered chicken fat will be on the baking sheet by the end of the cooking time. I’ll share a cleaning tip with you at the end of the recipe!

Step 4: Wait For 40 Minutes and Enjoy!


I have only ever made this recipe using the convection broil setting of my oven at 400F for 40 minutes and it has resulted in perfectly cooked, crispy chicken thighs every time. All ovens are different, so you may have to check on your chicken and adjust the cooking time – probably by a few minutes more or less. If you don’t have a convection broil setting, you will probably still get good results using a bake or roast setting – just check the chicken from time to time to make sure it’s crisping up without burning and that it’s thoroughly cooked. Serve with your favourite sides. I served this batch of thighs with my broccoli salad and baked sweet potato with some coconut oil and sea salt mashed into it. YUM!


p.s. Here’s a cleaning tip for baking sheet! I have never greased or lined my baking sheet for this recipe. When you take the chicken out of the oven, let it sit on the pan for a few minutes. Use a spatula (aka a flippy thing) to lift cooked thighs from the baking to serve them. Once you’ve got all the chicken thighs off the baking sheet, put it on a flat heat-resistant surface (I use my cooktop) and pour boiling water into it and let it soak while you enjoy your meal. Once the water has cooled, you should be able to easily scrape any stuck bits and pieces off the baking sheet with the flat end of a spatula, then wash/scour the baking sheet and it should be nice and clean again!

p.p.s. In my house, the cook usually doesn’t wash the dishes! :o)


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