Ask me what cut of chicken I want to cook, and 9/10 times it’s going to be thighs. Truthfully I never understood why some people prefer breasts. Thighs are just better, FACT. They are fattier, juicier, and have a much larger room for error when cooking. Overcook a breast by 5 minutes and you are left with bad chicken. Overcook a thigh by 5 minutes and it’s just about the same. If you are part of the party that doesn’t like chicken thighs then maybe this garlic parmesan chicken thighs recipe will change your mind.
Take a stroll down the meat aisle in a standard supermarket and you will have a few cuts of chicken you can buy. Chicken breasts, chicken drumsticks, wings, boneless skinless chicken thighs, or bone-in skin-on chicken thighs. What you can’t buy is boneless, skin-on chicken thighs. Perhaps it costs too much for them to butcher the thigh bone out, or there is not much of a demand for this cut. Either way i never understood this. Unfortunately, for this recipe we need that cut.
Before you close this page there are some options. Either A, if you already have a great butcher have them cut out the bone or B, which is the more likely choice do it yourself. While this post does not go into how you remove the thigh bone, below are fantastic sources and tutorials on how to remove it. As someone who has done this countless times it is relatively easy, just make sure you have a good sharp knife.
Just to note, before you completely blow this section off and try this with bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs I highly advise that you don’t. Bone-in takes significantly longer to cook than boneless. The end result would be crispy on the outside however undercooked on the inside.
Large Skillet or Saute Pan – I like to use stainless steel for this, but most pans work here. Make sure it is large enough to cook several thighs at a time, if not all of them. Remember we don’t want to over crowd the pan.
Debone + Season – Debone the chicken thighs (see resources above). Pat both sides with a paper towel to absorb any moisture, and salt heavily with a hefty pinch of salt.
Cook the Chicken – Preheat a skillet over medium heat. You need to get it hot. A great trick to know when the pan ready is place a drop water on the pan. If the water sizzles and evaporates right away it isn’t hot enough. If the droplet of water becomes a bead that dances across the pan it is ready. Place the chicken thighs skin side down in the pan. No oil? Nope, if the pan is hot enough no additional oil is needed. Let the chicken cook on the skin side for approx. 15 minutes, undisturbed. Flip and cook for another 5 minutes on the other side. Depending on how large your chicken thighs are they will take somewhere around 20 minutes for them to be cooked throughout. If you are unsure always take the internal temp, cooked chicken needs to be at 165F degrees .
Make the Sauce – I use the word sauce loosely here. In a pan over low heat, melt the butter. Add in the garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes until soft and fragrant.
Toss – In a bowl with the hot chicken thighs, add the hot butter garlic, some parsley, and a generous amount of Parmesan cheese. Toss to coat and serve.
While this is a simple and straight forward recipe there are a few things that can go wrong. Sticky chicken, flabby skin, oil everywhere, whatever it may be below are a few tips on cooking these skin-on chicken thighs successfully.
Dry Thoroughly – Water + hot oil = splattering. Avoid splattering oil by drying the chicken thighs with paper towels prior to seasoning. Even the smallest amount of moisture will make a mess in the pan, not to mention splattering oil is dangerous.
Have a Hot Pan – A hot pan means the chicken won’t stick, it also means you won’t need additional oil to cook the chicken. Trust me once the skin renders down you will have enough fat in the pan.
Give them Space – Do not overcrowd the pan! These chicken thighs need some space to get crispy.
Do not Disturb – This one is hard but don’t play with or flip the chicken prematurely. Even if you are worried the skin is going to stick to the pan , checking and moving the thighs will potentially rip the skin and not allow for even crisping. When the skin is fully cooked and crispy is will come up easily.
These chicken thighs can be stores in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. When ready to reheat either pop in a an oven / toaster oven / air fryer at 400 for a few minutes until warmed throughout. I like to use my toaster oven air fryer to get the skin crispy again.
Looking for a dish to serve with these garlic parmesan chicken thighs? Check out the below!