8 Incredible Recipes for Chicken Thighs
We're all about this quick-cooking cut, which is cheaper
, tastier and way more versatile than breast meat.
Photo: © Alexandra Grablewski
The Throw-It-All-in-a-Pan-and-Done Dinner
Each of the ingredients in this dish pulls its weight, and then some—which means you get tons of flavor out of a minimal shopping list. Lemon, olives and capers are pretty much all you need, along with a dash of olive oil. The citrus juice helps make the chicken tender and mingles with the meat's juices to create a delicious sauce.
Get the recipe: Chicken with Olives and Capers
A Sweet Counterpoint for a Savory Meat
Chicken with lentils and green apples may not be a standard combination, but this recipe shows just how well they go together, offering explosive taste and texture. A breadcrumb coating helps make boneless chicken thighs crispy; you can cook them on a grill or in the oven. Serve them with cooked lentils, and ladle a few spoonfuls of a sweet-tart dressing made from cubes of Granny Smith apple, vinegar, mustard and olive oil on top.
Get the recipe: BBQ Chicken Thighs with Lentils and Green Apple Vinaigrette
An Asian Dish Where Every Bite Is Fabulous
Even if we make the most intensely delicious sauce for a stir-fry, somehow it doesn't fully permeate breast meat; the outside pieces will be coated and tasty, while inside pieces will be bland. Not so with dark meat; it seems to soak up the flavor so much better, with each piece having a deep chili-soy-garlic taste. This particular recipe also has a fantastic contrast of textures, from tender chicken to crunchy peanuts to celery that seems to fall somewhere in the perfect middle.
Get the recipe: Chicken Stir-Fry with Celery and Peanuts
A Way to Taste Summer Any Time of Year
Homemade salsa usually relies on superfresh tomatoes, yet this one calls for other vegetables, which, happily, you can find year-round: cucumber, red bell pepper and avocado. Mix them with lime juice, cilantro and honey, and you've got a quick and tasty topper for cumin-and-lime-coated chicken thighs that cook under the broiler in a matter of minutes.
Get the recipe: Spicy Chicken Thighs with Cucumber-Avocado Salsa
A Recipe That Makes Brilliant Use of All That Juicy Meat
Here's an example of a dish that would definitely not be as good if you used boneless, skinless breasts. It's a one-pot meal where an unexpected ingredient—croutons—soak up all of the flavor from the pan-roasted and baked chicken, and it's that dark and moist meat that creates some of the tastiest basting liquid. Along with lemon and vegetables, this is a perfect all-in-one meal.
Get the recipe: Lemon-Scented Chicken Thighs with Crispy Croutons and Carrots
A Foolproof Maneuver to Combat Dry Chicken Skewers
Meat on a stick runs the risk of being dried out and tough. Using boneless, skinless chicken-thigh chunks, though, pretty much guarantees that won't be a problem. This Thai-accented satay recipe would be great for entertaining, since you can cook it ahead of time (you can serve the skewers hot or at room temperature); it also lends a laid-back feel to a regular weeknight supper.
Get the recipe: Chicken Satay with Coconut-Lime Sauce and Jasmine Rice
The Crispiest Nonfried Chicken You Can Make
Broiling skin-on, bone-in thighs 3 or 4 inches from the heat source is a fast, easy technique for achieving crackly skin without the need for a carby coating. This recipe has you make an herb-lemon-garlic mixture and slide a little under the skin of each piece, infusing the meat with flavor. The broiler's direct heat cooks food quickly, so the chicken only needs about 5 minutes per side to be fully cooked with a lovely golden edge.
Get the recipe: Crispy Herbed Chicken Thighs
The Trick to Making Lightened-Up Comfort Food Tasty
Trying to make a healthy meatball you actually want to eat can be challenging, since leaner cuts of beef and turkey often turn out dry. Chicken thighs, though, will give moist, tender results. You can grind the meat yourself, using a food processor; just cut it into 2-inch chunks, place the meatballs on a baking sheet in a single layer, cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 30 minutes. Then, pulse the chicken in the machine (less is more) until you can form it into balls.
Get the recipe: Chicken Meatballs