Avoid This Simple Mistake When You Cook Chicken Thighs

Cooking chicken thighs in a cast iron pan; cooked chicken thighs on a plate topped with greens.

The only thing better than juicy, flavorful chicken thighs is chicken thighs with perfectly crisp, golden-brown skin. If you love crispy chicken thighs as much as I do, there’s one simple mistake you need to avoid when cooking them. (Well, two mistakes, if you count rinsing the chicken beforehand!)

In this post, you’ll not only learn why it’s a mistake to use a lid when cooking skin-on chicken thighs, but how to ensure your next batch of chicken thighs has deliciously crispy skin.

Why You Shouldn’t Use A Lid When Cooking Skin-On Chicken Thighs

If you’re aiming for chicken thighs that are juicy on the inside and crisp on the outside, cooking them with a lid on the pan is just about the worst thing you can do.

While cooking chicken in a lidded pan can help ensure it cooks evenly, it also traps steam inside the pan. A steamy cooking environment isn’t an inherently bad thing, but it will make it nearly impossible to achieve any sort of crisp exterior.

And searing the skin beforehand won’t help, either — in a steamy pan, all roads lead to soggy chicken skin.

How To Cook Perfectly Crispy Chicken Thighs

If you’re aiming to make perfectly crispy skin-on chicken thighs, there are a couple of ways to do it, but my preferred method involves a combination of pan-frying and oven-roasting. Start by using a paper towel to pat the exterior of the chicken thighs dry, and preheat your oven to 400°F.

Heat a thin layer of oil in a cast-iron skillet on your stovetop over medium-high heat until shimmering, then add the chicken thighs skin-side down. Cook them for 10 minutes without moving them, then flip — they should lift right off the pan, and the skin should look perfectly browned and crisp.

Transfer the skillet to your oven and roast at 400°F until the center of one of the thighs reaches an internal temperature of 165°F, about 15 to 20 minutes. Wait around 12 minutes to start checking the temperature for best (i.e. juiciest) results.

Now that you know the secret to making perfectly crispy chicken thighs, put it to good use by trying my favorite Honey Garlic Chicken! It’s a family favorite that comes together in a flash.

More useful poultry pointers for home cooks:

Do you have a favorite recipe or meal that uses chicken thighs?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Food & Recipes