An easy stove top chicken thighs recipe that the whole family will love. A child can even learn to make this. Simple ingredients and a simple recipe that will make boneless skinless chicken thighs a staple in your kitchen.
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Have you ever made chicken on the stove top and it turned out dry, rubbery, and disappointing?
Today we are going to change that!
I'm going to teach you how to make delicious and stupid simple stove top chicken thighs. Yes thighs!
The results are going to be juicy chicken that you will continue to make time and time again. Even my daughter can make this and does almost every time now. It's such a simple and easy recipe and an essential kitchen skill in my opinion.
Chicken thighs vs chicken breasts
I much prefer chicken thighs over chicken breasts. While breasts are a popular dinner item, thighs are superior in my opinion for several reasons.
- Difficult to dry out: Because of the higher fat content, chicken thighs are much less likely to become dry. Even if you accidentally overcook them as is easy to do, especially for beginner cooks, thighs are very forgiving. Breasts are just more delicate and are very easy to dry out. The goal is juicy, tender meat!
- More flavor: Dark meat just has more flavor than white meat. I personally love thighs for this reason and will always choose it over a breast.
- Easier to crisp: Because it's harder to dry out, you can really crank up the heat and get the thighs extra crispy without them turning dry and rubbery.
- Budget-friendly: Thighs are cheap. Bone-in and skin or or boneless skinless are both very budget-friendly and super versatile.
How to Make Stove Top Chicken Thighs
First pat chicken thighs dry with paper towels to remove moisture.
Next season chicken liberally one one side with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Preheat a large skillet over medium heat for several minutes until hot.
Add olive oil or avocado oil to the pan.
Place chicken thighs seasoned side down in the skillet and cook for about 3-4 minutes or until chicken has developed a nice golden brown coloring. While chicken is cooking, season the other side with more salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Flip and cook until browned on second side about another 3-4 minutes.
Check internal temperature in the thickest part of the chicken with an instant read thermometer. Once chicken has reached a temp of 165 degrees F, remove from skillet and set aside on a plate. Cooking time will vary, so make sure you are using a thermometer to ensure your chicken is done.
If chicken is not done but is brown, reduce heat to low and cover with a lid. This helps the chicken cook faster on the inside without burning.
After a few more minutes uncover lid and check the internal temperature again. Remove when it reaches 165, remove from skillet.
Serve as is or make a pan sauce from the drippings.
Optional Pan Sauce
Pan sauces only take a short time, but they add a lot of flavor and interest to the dish. If drippings are too burned, do not make the pan sauce. It will taste burned. If they are just dark brown, proceed with a five minute pan sauce if desired.
- Remove most of the excess fat and whisk in broth. You are deglazing the pan and scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the skillet. Almost any liquid can be used: wine, vinegars, or even water if in a pinch. They will all add a little different flavor, so once you have the basic recipe down, experiment with different liquids.
- Add spices. Stir in dried thyme and rosemary and simmer for a few minutes until sauce has reduced by about a third. You can play with the seasonings if you would like. Minced garlic, other dried spices, capers, or shallot are all good options.
- Stir in a pat of butter after sauce has reduced. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
- Pour sauce over chicken and serve.
Large skillet: I like to use a stainless steel skillet with a lid so a nice fond (browned bits) form on the bottom of the pan. You want your skillet to be large enough that the chicken can spread out. If they are too crowded in the pan, the chicken will steam and not achieve a nice brown color.
Instant read meat thermometer: Yes you can cut into the chicken to make sure it's not pink, but I much prefer an instant read thermometer. It helps the chicken retain the juices and ensures the chicken is the perfect temperature, not overdone and not undercooked.
Whisk: If making the optional pan sauce, you will need a whisk to stir the sauce as it comes together.
What to serve with skillet chicken thighs
There are so many options for side dishes, but here are a few of my favorites that I serve most often for an easy weeknight dinner.
- Baked potato (Use oven or microwave)
- Rice with spinach or peas frozen peas stirred in at the end
- Garlic green beans (easy frozen green beans recipe)
- Honey roasted beets and carrots (or any roasted vegetable, even frozen!)
- Roasted carrots and green beans
- Southern boiled cabbage
- Spinach and apple salad or any other simple salad
Other Easy Chicken Recipes
Easy Stove Top Chicken Thighs
- large skillet
- instant read meat thermometer
- 4 chicken thighs boneless skinless
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ cup chicken stock homemade will produce the best results
- ¼ tsp dried thyme
- ¼ tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tbsp butter
- Pat chicken thighs dry with a paper towel or kitchen towel on both sides.
- Season one side with half of the salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
- Heat large skillet over medium heat for several minutes until hot. Add oil.
- Place chicken thighs seasoned side down in the hot skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes until well browned on one side.
- Season the second side, flip and continue to cook for another 3-4 minutes.
- When browned on both sides, check for doneness with an instant read thermometer. You are looking for an internal temperature of 165 degrees F in the thickest part of the meat.
- If chicken is not done, lower the heat and cover with a lid and continue to cook for another few minutes until chicken has cooked through.
- Remove chicken from the skillet and set aside to rest on a plate.
- If making the pan sauce, remove all but a small portion of the excess fat.
- Add chicken stock and whisk, taking care to scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
- Add thyme and rosemary and continue simmering sauce for about 3 minutes or until it has reduced by about a third.
- Whisk in butter, taste and adjust seasonings if needed, and pour over chicken thighs.