Cast Iron Chicken Thighs are perfectly crispy on the outside and wonderfully juicy on the inside. We use our cast iron skillet to get crispy skin on the stove-top and then finish the dish off in the oven. This simple yet delicious, family-friendly dish takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish, and you will have a meal that everyone will love.
Cast Iron Chicken Thighs are the perfect combination of easy and impressive, making it a go-to for weeknight dinners and special occasions alike.
Now, I know what you're thinking. Chicken thighs? Really? But trust me, once you've tasted these thighs, seared to perfection in a hot cast iron skillet, you'll never look back.
The skin gets incredibly crispy while the inside remains tender and juicy.
Plus, cooking in a cast iron skillet gives the chicken a unique flavor that's just irresistible.
What I love most about this recipe, though, is its simplicity. With just a handful of ingredients you can create a dish that's truly restaurant-worthy. And the best part? It all comes together in under so quickly!
- Bone-in, Skin-on Chicken Thighs: If you prefer white meat, you could substitute with bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts but keep in mind that cooking times will vary. Likewise, this recipe will work with boneless skinless chicken thighs, but the cooking time will ned to be adjusted.
- Sea Salt: You could use kosher salt, table salt, or Himalayan pink salt if you'd like.
- Garlic Powder: Fresh minced garlic could be used as a substitute if you prefer. Onion powder could also be used.
- Smoked Paprika: This gives our chicken an irresistible smoky flavor. If you can't find smoked paprika, regular paprika will work, but you'll miss out on that smoky nuance.
- Black Pepper: White pepper could be a substitute if you want a milder flavor.
- Avocado Oil: We're using this for its high smoke point and mild flavor. Any other high-heat oil such as grapeseed or canola oil would work as a substitute. Olive oil could be used, but I don’t recommend extra-virgin.
- Lemon Slices: These will provide a refreshing citrus twist to our chicken. You could also use lime slices for a different citrus kick. Looking for even more flavor? Add some rosemary sprigs.
Step by Step Instructions
For the full cast iron chicken thighs recipe with measurements, see the recipe card at the end of the post.
Preheat your oven to a sizzling 425°F.
Tips and Tricks
- Preheat Your Cast Iron Skillet: Before placing your chicken thighs on your cast iron skillet, make sure to preheat your skillet. A hot skillet will give your chicken that beautiful, golden-brown sear we all love.
- Don't Overcrowd the Pan: Overcrowding the pan can cause the chicken to steam instead of sear, leaving you with soggy skin instead of that delightful crispiness. Make sure each thigh has enough room to breathe.
- Let It Rest: After your chicken is done cooking, let it rest for a few minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a juicier, more flavorful bite.
- Clean Your Skillet Properly: Remember, cast iron skillets are a bit different than your usual pans. Avoid using soap or harsh scrubbers. Instead, clean it with a brush and some coarse salt, then rinse and dry thoroughly to prevent rusting.
Let's talk about the side dishes that can take this meal from good to great.
First up, let's bring in some earthy flavors with Skillet Potatoes. Paired with our chicken thighs, this is comfort food at its finest!
Next, we have Balsamic Green Beans. A zingy, tangy side dish that brings a beautiful pop of color to your plate.
We love Broccoli Apple Salad. The sweet-tart apples, crisp broccoli, and creamy dressing make for a refreshing contrast against the rich chicken.
Last but certainly not least, we have Air Fryer Asparagus. It's a simple, healthy side that holds its own next to our robust chicken thighs.
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More Chicken Recipes to Try
- Spice up your grilling game with our Grilled Chipotle Chicken recipe. It's smoky, spicy, and just the right kind of kick for those warm summer evenings.
- For a quick and easy dinner that's sure to please, check out our Instant Pot Chicken Drumsticks recipe. They're fall-off-the-bone tender and bursting with flavor - a total crowd-pleaser!
- Want to bring a taste of the South into your kitchen? Try our Air Fryer Chicken Fried Steak. It's crispy, juicy, and guaranteed to make any dinner feel like a special occasion.
- And lastly, for all the cheese and bacon lovers out there (and let's be honest, who isn't?), our Cheesy Bacon BBQ Chicken is a must-try. It's smothered in gooey cheese, crispy bacon, and tangy BBQ sauce - a trifecta of deliciousness!
30 Minute Cast Iron Chicken Thighs
- cast iron skillet
- Preheat the oven to 425 ° F.
- Pat the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel.
- In a small bowl, mix together the salt, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and black pepper. Spread over the chicken thighs.
- Heat a cast iron skillet to medium-high. Add the oil and swirl to coat.
- Add the chicken thighs to the pan with the skin side down; cook for 5 minutes.
- Turn the thighs over and top with the lemon slices.
- Place the pan in the oven, and cook for 18 to 20 minutes, until an instant read thermometer registers 165° F.
- Allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.