These baked chicken thighs are seared for a crisp golden brown skin then topped with lemon and thyme and roasted in the oven for a quick flavorful dish, perfect for a weeknight dinner.
Why this recipe works
In this recipe we sear the chicken thighs skin side down on the stovetop to produce a beautiful, crisp golden brown skin and then transfer the cast iron skillet to the oven to continue cooking them through. The acidity of the lemon and savoriness of the thyme balance with the richness of the chicken thighs to produce a flavorful dish that is perfect for a quick and easy weeknight meal.
With just a few simple ingredients this lemon chicken dinner is packed with flavor.
How to prepare chicken thighs
Begin by trimming any excess fat or skin from the chicken thighs. Then drizzle with olive oil and rub to evenly coat the thighs. Season liberally with salt and pepper on both sides.
How to make baked lemon chicken thighs
- Preheat your oven to 400°F. While the oven heats, add the thighs skin side down to a cold cast iron skillet. Set over medium heat and cook undisturbed for around 10 to 12 minutes, until the skin is crisp and golden brown. The flip the chicken thighs.
- Add the thinly sliced lemon and thyme sprigs to the pan on and around the chicken and squeeze any remaining juice from the remaining ends of the lemon over top of the chicken.
- Transfer the skillet to a 400°F oven and cook for around 15 minutes until the chicken is cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F. To keep the skin crisp move the lemon slices off the top of the chicken skin for the last few minutes of cooking.
Recipe Tips and FAQs
Starting with a cold pan, instead of a typical preheated pan, allows the fat in the chicken skin to render more slowly. This produces a much crispier skin and reduces the chance of burning the skin.
The safest way to know when chicken is done is to check the internal temperature with a digital thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat, avoiding the bone. The chicken thighs should be cooked to a temperature of 165°F. Unlike chicken breasts, which quickly dry out, a few degrees over won't hurt because thighs have more fat.
Store leftover chicken thighs in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
Reheat leftovers in a 325°F oven until warmed through. Smaller portions can be reheated in the microwave.
What to serve with chicken thighs
For this chicken dinner I like to serve a green vegetable like my garlic green beans and a starchy side like rice or potatoes. My Instant Pot mashed potatoes or herb roasted potatoes are both great choices. A simple side salad like my apple walnut salad is another great option.
More Chicken Dinner Ideas
- Creamy Chicken Florentine
- Grilled Chicken Legs
- Mediterranean Chicken Orzo with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Spinach
- Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole (Without Soup!)
- Cast Iron Roasted Chicken Breasts and Potatoes
Baked Chicken Thighs with Lemon and Thyme
- 2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 large lemon, sliced
- 10 to 12 sprigs fresh thyme
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. While the oven heats, drizzle the chicken with olive oil and rub to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Then add the chicken, skin side down, to a cold cast iron skillet and place over medium heat.
- Cook for 12 to 13 minutes without disturbing the chicken. When the skin is crisp and golden brown flip the chicken skin side up and arrange the lemon and thyme sprigs on and around the thighs.
- Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast for around 15 minutes, until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
- For the crispiest skin, remove any lemon slices from the chicken skin during the last few minutes of cooking so that all of the chicken skin is exposed.
* All nutrition information we provide are estimates based on third party calculators. We encourage you to calculate these on your own for accurate results.