Baked chicken thighs are the best chicken thigh recipe for kids. Our recipe is quick and simple, prepared just the way kids like. Chicken thighs are seasoned and baked into a delicious dinner. Gluten-free.
This baked chicken thigh recipe is very easy to make. It’s perfect for those not yet comfortable in the kitchen, college students, and busy parents alike. It can be made with bone-in chicken thighs or you can substitute boneless chicken thighs if you’d like as well.
The flavor makes guests and family members think you slaved over dinner when really it will take 5 minutes to prepare the dish and you can relax while it bakes.
Are Chicken Thighs Kid-Friendly?
What they are: Chicken thighs are a portion of the leg that is referred to as the “dark meat”. The meat has a darker color and a higher fat content than “white meat”. As a child, my siblings and I always argued over who got the dark meat – it tasted the best! Chicken thighs also have a tender texture compared to the chewier chicken breast.
Why they’re a great buy: Chicken thighs are everywhere for good reason. They are an exceptional value. Not only do they deliver the most flavor of any cut of chicken, but they are also far cheaper than chicken breast.
What Are Boneless Chicken Thighs?
This popular cut of chicken comes with both the bone and skin removed. It’s quicker-cooking than bone-in thighs. This cut will run you a higher price tag as there is extra work done to the product. If you’re looking for chicken recipes for kids and are used to using boneless, skinless chicken breasts, try these instead. They have more flavor and will be moister than a chicken breast, and kids love them!
Chicken thigh recipes for kids are go-to meals at my home. I used to stay away from bone-in chicken thighs because I wasn’t sure what to do with them and I wasn’t sure how my family would like them.
I quickly found out the first time I made them that kids love chicken thighs! I typically made chicken breasts before this and I think my kids were amazed that chicken could be so juicy and moist, they ate their dinner that night with zero complaints.
How To Make
Making chicken thighs in the oven is a great way to get moist juicy chicken on the inside and crispy finger-licking deliciousness on the outside.
To begin, start by preheating the oven to a temperature of 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Simultaneously, prepare the chicken for baking. Gently pat the chicken thighs dry using paper towels to remove any excess moisture. This step is essential for achieving a desirable texture during the cooking process.
Next, it’s time to season the chicken. Take the prepared chicken thighs and arrange them on a baking pan or within an oven-safe skillet. The choice of the cooking vessel is important as it affects the cooking process and the final result. Once the chicken thighs are positioned appropriately, generously sprinkle the chosen seasonings over them. This step imparts flavor to the chicken and contributes to its overall taste.
With the chicken properly seasoned, it’s time to move on to the baking step. Place the baking pan or skillet with the seasoned chicken thighs into the preheated oven. Let the chicken bake for approximately 30 minutes. The baking process is usually done uncovered, allowing the heat to evenly cook the chicken and develop its flavors.
To ensure that the chicken is cooked to a safe internal temperature, it’s recommended to use a thermometer. When the thermometer reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit, the chicken is considered thoroughly cooked and safe to eat. However, for those who prefer a crisper texture to the chicken skin, an additional step can be taken. For this, you can switch the oven to broil mode and allow the chicken to broil for 1 to 2 minutes. While doing this, it’s important to keep a close eye on the chicken to prevent the spices from burning and becoming bitter.
Kitchen Tip: For more flavor, while cutting fat and calories, bake the chicken thighs with skin on, then take it off after cooking. If you want to cut back on calories and fat, simply remove the skin before cooking.
Elevate the flavor profile of chicken thighs by infusing them with a medley of seasonings, thereby introducing some variety into your meals. Experiment with these delicious spice combinations:
- Lemon, Sage, & Rosemary
- Garlic, Salt, & Olive Oil
- Paprika, Chili Powder, & Paprika
- Honey, Chili Powder, & Salt
These seasoning blends serve as the foundation for crafting delectable oven-baked chicken thigh recipes. To enhance the culinary experience, take it up a notch for younger palates by arranging the chicken and an array of vegetables on a baking sheet. Before baking, drizzle the vegetables with a modest amount of olive oil and season them with a pinch of salt and pepper. As the chicken thighs undergo their oven transformation, allow the vegetables to roast in tandem. To infuse an extra layer of taste, consider generously sprinkling any of the aforementioned spice combinations over the vegetables prior to roasting, along with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. This infusion of flavors is certain to create an enchanting and wholesome dish.
Frequently Asked Questions
To cook bone-in chicken thighs from frozen, simply increase the cooking time to 50-60 minutes. Make sure the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees using a thermometer.
If you’d like to get the chicken served more quickly, you can always broil your chicken thighs. It takes about 20 minutes to cook the chicken this way. Make sure the internal temperature of the thigh is 165°F or continue to cook until this temperature is reached.
First, put the frozen chicken thighs in a sealed, leak-proof plastic bag, ensuring a tight seal. Next, fill your clean sink with cold water. Submerge the sealed bag of chicken in the cold water, and remember to change the water every half hour to maintain its cold temperature. Thawing chicken using this method should take approximately an hour for 1 lb of meat. This technique helps ensure thorough and safe thawing of the chicken thighs.
- Allow the baked chicken thighs to cool down at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
- Place the cooled chicken thighs in an airtight container or wrap them tightly in aluminum foil or plastic wrap.
- Label the container with the date to keep track of freshness.
- Store the container in the refrigerator at or below 40°F (4°C).
- Before reheating, remove the chicken thighs from the refrigerator and let them sit at room temperature for around 15 minutes. This helps even out the temperature and prevents overcooking during reheating.
- Oven: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the chicken thighs on a baking sheet and cover them with aluminum foil to prevent drying. Reheat for about 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).
- Microwave: Place the chicken thighs on a microwave-safe plate. Cover with a damp paper towel to retain moisture. Use the microwave’s reheat or medium power setting in short intervals, checking and stirring in between until the chicken is heated through.
- Stovetop: Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Add a bit of oil or butter to prevent sticking. Place the chicken thighs in the skillet, cover with a lid, and gently heat for about 5-10 minutes, turning occasionally.
Remember, thorough reheating is crucial to ensure the chicken is safe to eat. Use a food thermometer to check that the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C). Consume reheated chicken within 3-4 days of initial cooking. If you want to freeze baked chicken thighs for longer storage, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil before placing them in an airtight container, and use within 2-6 months for the best quality.
More chicken thigh recipes for kids:
- Crockpot Chicken Thighs
- Chicken Cacciatore
- Coconut Chicken
- Instant Pot Frozen Chicken Thighs
- Maple Chicken Thighs
- Greek Chicken Thighs
- Instant Pot Bone-In Chicken Thighs
- Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
Favorite chicken recipes for kids:
- Chicken Pot Pie
- Crustless Chicken Pot Pie
- Crockpot Mexican Quinoa Chicken
- Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Chicken Enchiladas
- Instant Pot Chicken Stew
- Shredded Chicken Quesadillas
CKC Features both Gluten-Free Guidance and Kids Cooking Instructions: If you’re new to eating gluten-free we understand it’s overwhelming trying to figure out which foods may contain gluten and which ones don’t. All of our gluten-free recipes marked with this symbol ✅ represent foods that need to be checked for gluten or cross-contamination.
The ⭐️ symbol in the recipe below denotes the steps in which kid cooks may need a helper (depending on age). If there is no ⭐️ symbol, that step (or recipe) doesn’t require a helper.
Baked Chicken Thighs
- 6-8 bone-in chicken thighs ✅
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder ✅
- 1 teaspoon onion powder ✅
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley ✅
- salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat oven and prep the chicken. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pat chicken thighs dry with paper toweling.
- Season the chicken. Place chicken thighs onto a baking pan or in an oven-safe skillet. Sprinkle seasonings onto chicken thighs.
- ⭐️Bake. Bake for 30 minutes, uncovered or until your thermometer reads 165 degrees. For crisper skin, broil for 1-2 minutes, watching to not burn spices.
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*The photos in this post were updated in February 2022.