Cast-iron chicken thighs cooked to perfection in a skillet, using only the stove top. Juicy meat and crispy skin, a minimum amount of work and ingredients.
Stove Top Chicken Thighs
Juicy and crispy cast-iron chicken thighs cooked entirely on the stove top. If you are looking for chicken thighs baked in the oven, have a look at these Baked Chicken Thighs.
Chicken thighs and a cast-iron skillet: a match made in heaven. What you will get? Incredibly crispy, golden skin and tender, moist meat. So good, so simple, you will make this recipe again and again.
A simple side dish to go with it – most anything would do – and dinner is served. Your whole family will love these stove top chicken thighs and will probably ask for seconds.
This is more of a technique than a recipe, when I think about recipes, I think about ingredients and ways to combine them into something tasty. This is not very much the case with these stove top chicken cooked in a cast-iron skillet.
- Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs are best. They have the most flavor, the skin will get really crispy and savory due to the spices, you will just love it!
- The chicken thighs I use normally weigh between 150 g-175 g/ 5.3 – 6.2 oz.
- Except for the thighs, there are not many other ingredients to mention. Just basics like oil, salt, pepper, and, if you wish, some sweet ground paprika.
- However, the paprika is totally optional, the chicken thighs will taste just as delicious without it.
Paprika powder can also be replaced with other spices of your liking, for instance:
- Any spice mixture for chicken you like.
- Other kinds of ground paprika: hot, sweet smoked, or hot smoked.
- Curry powder of your liking.
- You can also add some garlic powder to any of those other spices.
- Don’t use fresh chopped garlic to spice the chicken, it will burn during the rather long frying process.
- You can add two large garlic cloves to the pan and think about turning them regularly as well. Remove them from the skillet, if they start turning too dark.
- This recipe is perfect for a cast-iron skillet. (Amazon affiliate link)
- However, it will work in a non-stick pan as well. Just make sure that the pan is thick-bottomed.
Technique for making chicken thighs in the cast-iron skillet
- Dry the chicken thighs with kitchen paper before rubbing with the spices.
- By the way, it makes no sense at all to wash the chicken, the bacteria that might be on it will not be destroyed, which will only happen during the cooking process. The only thing you will “achieve” when washing the chicken is to transfer some of that bacteria onto your sink.
- Rub the chicken with the spices all over.
Skillet and stove top:
- Place the skillet on the stove top and let it get really hot.
- When the skillet is hot, place the chicken in it, skin side down.
- Turn the heat down to medium-low heat.
- Don’t overcrowd the pan or the skin will not render that nicely. I can fit 5 large or 6 smaller thighs into my 30 cm/12-inch skillet.
- Turn the skillet on the stove, once or twice during this time. My experience is that the skillet might get unevenly hot and you will get darker skin on one side of the skillet if you don’t move the skillet or the meat around.
- Another issue when using a gas stove top is that the flame might burn stronger on one side, that is the case with my own, so I always have to think about turning the pan around.
- And you might want to use a splatter guard, the fat rendering process will create a fair amount of splatter. (Amazon affiliate link)
Cooking times for the stove top chicken thighs:
- Cook the chicken on the skin side for 10 to 12 minutes or until the skin is deeply golden.
- Don’t move the chicken in the pan for the first 5 minutes or so or you might break the skin. Once the fat has rendered properly, you will be able to move the chicken around as you wish.
- Move the chicken and the skillet around a few times in between to make sure that all the pieces are cooking evenly.
- Check in between, if you feel the color turns too dark too quickly, lower the temperature.
- After 9-10 minutes check the color of the skin, it should be deeply golden.
- Flip the chicken and continue cooking for another 15 minutes, moving the skillet and the meat a few times in between.
Check the meat:
- Check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer, it should be of 74-77 degrees Celsius/ 165-170 degrees Fahrenheit.
- If you don’t have a thermometer, make a cut with a small sharp knife near the bone, the meat should be completely cooked through, no signs of red or pink.
- If the chicken thighs are larger, you might need to increase the cooking time slightly.
- Check again after 3-5 minutes.
Pretty much anything you feel like eating would be great with these cast-iron chicken thighs!
- Try those golden potato cubes you can see in the picture: cube the potatoes, mix them with one tablespoon olive oil, salt, pepper, and other spices or dried herbs to taste and roast at 200 degrees Celsius/ 400 degrees Fahrenheit until cooked through, about 30 minutes.
- Or how about serving the stove top chicken thighs with sweet chili dip and potato wedges, garlic smashed potatoes, or mashed potatoes with garlic?
- BBQ rice or buttered noodles would be great as well.
- When it comes to vegetables, you can make a simple salad with yogurt dressing or raspberry vinaigrette, simple white cabbage salad or German coleslaw, roasted whole carrots, corn tomato salsa, and so on.
More cast-iron chicken recipes?
Cast-Iron Chicken Thighs
- 4-6 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs (between 150 g-175 g/ 5.3 – 6.2 oz each)
- fine sea salt
- black ground pepper
- sweet paprika powder Note 1
- 2-3 garlic cloves and 2-3 sprigs rosemary optional (Note 1)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Heat a large cast-iron skillet. In the meantime, dry the chicken thighs with kitchen paper and rub them with the spices on both sides.
- Add the oil to the pan and swirl the skillet around to cover its bottom with oil. Slowly, add the chicken thighs to the pan, skin side down. Don’t overcrowd the pan.
- Turn the heat down to medium-low. Cook the chicken on the skin side for 10 to 12 minutes or until the skin is deeply golden. Don’t move the chicken in the pan for the first 5 minutes or so or you might break the skin. Once the fat has rendered properly, you will be able to move the chicken around as you wish.
- Turn the skillet on the stove, once or twice during this time, the skillet might get unevenly hot. If you use a gas stove top, move the skillet around a few times as well, as the flame often burns stronger on one side.
- If you feel the skin turns too dark too quickly, adjust the temperature.
- After 9-10 minutes check the color of the skin, it should be deeply golden. Flip the chicken and continue cooking for another 15 minutes, moving the skillet and the meat a few times in between.
- Check if the chicken is cooked through with a meat thermometer, the internal temperature should be of 74-77 degrees Celsius/ 165-170 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t have a thermometer, make a cut with a small sharp knife near the bone, the meat should be completely cooked through, no signs of red or pink. If the chicken thighs are on the larger side, you might need to increase the cooking time slightly. Give it 3-5 more minutes and check again.
- The sweet paprika is optional. You can also replace it with other spices, like spice mixtures for chicken, other sorts of paprika powder, curry powder, and so on. If using garlic cloves and fresh rosemary, don’t forget to turn them around in the pan as well, and remove them from the pan if they turn too dark.
- Using a splatter guard is recommendable.