In partnership with ThermoWorks I’m going to walk you through the entire Lemon Roasted Chicken Thighs process with helpful tips to make it successful. All opinions expressed here are my own.
I’m constantly looking for easy weeknight recipes and these Lemon Roasted Chicken Thighs are currently my family’s favorite! We cook chicken a lot in our kitchen and regardless of how many new recipes I try, this is the one I come back to over and over again. I consistently get great results and those results have everything to do with the right cut of chicken and the right tools.
CHICKEN THIGHS VS. CHICKEN BREASTS
I’m not shy about my love for chicken thighs. I find them to be inexpensive, super tasty, and easy to cook. In fact, I think it’s one of the most reliable proteins I make. The portion size seems to be just right and the meat is just dark enough to stay tender, but not so dark that white meat lovers will be turned off. Chicken breasts, or light meat, are lean and naturally tender but easy to dry out. Chicken thighs, with their ability to break down collagen-gelatin, are a bit easier to cook without drying out. Thighs are one of those ingredients I always have on hand and can always make a weeknight meal out of.
TOOLS FOR SUCCESS
It’s super important to cook proteins properly in order to maximize their flavor and texture. I know that a lot of home cooks feel intimidated when it comes to cooking proteins properly at home, but it all comes down to the right tools. Whether you’re pan roasting chicken thighs or grilling a steak, the best thing you can do to ensure that proteins are cooked to perfection is investing in a reliable digital thermometer. I’d be lost without my ThermoWorks Thermapen and reach for it consistently throughout the week – especially when I’m cooking chicken.
TEMPERATURE TIPS FOR SUCCESS
I’ve heard from plenty of people at my dinner table that they don’t like dark meat, but I think that many of them don’t like it because it’s not always prepared correctly. All chicken temperatures are not created equal. Dark meat needs a higher temperature than light meat to become tender and juicy. If you cook thighs to the standard 165ºF that most people think of when they’re cooking chicken breasts, the thighs will technically be cooked and safe to eat, but far from finished properly. The dark meat will have a rubbery, chewy texture that can be off-putting to many (and understandably so!). But if you properly cook the meat, it becomes super tender and irresistibly delicious.
What this means for your chicken thighs is that rather than cooking them to 165°F they should be cooked to 175°F. This higher temperature will give you tender, juicy, tasty chicken thighs that will be perfect every time.
SEE HOW IT’S DONE
Now that I’ve (hopefully) convinced you to give chicken thighs a shot, check out my step-by-step recipe video with ThermoWorks where I’ll share my family’s favorite chicken recipe and how I use my Thermapen to check for the proper temperature. This recipe is frequently requested and always a success!
Lemon Roasted Chicken Thighs
Yield 4 servings
- ¼ cup Olive oil (divided)
- 8 chicken thighs (bone in, skin on)
- 1 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
- 4 garlic cloves (smashed)
- 1 bunch fresh thyme
- 2 lemons (1 thinly sliced, 1 juiced)
- ½ cup chicken broth
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
Heat a 12-inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Season the chicken with crushed fennel seeds, salt, and pepper. Place into hot pan, skin side down and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Once golden, flip and cook another 3 minutes. Remove to a plate, add remaining oil, brown remaining thighs and remove to plate.
To the cast iron skillet, add smashed garlic cloves, thyme, juice of 1 lemon, lemon slices, and broth. Season with salt, pepper and bring to a simmer. Add chicken thighs back to cast iron, allow to simmer an additional 5-7 minutes or until an internal temperature of 175°F is reached.