Herb-crusted pan-seared chicken thighs make a quick, flavorful dinner that the entire family will enjoy! Made with a quick homemade dry rub of seasonings like thyme, rosemary and garlic powder, pan-seared chicken thighs have a crisp outer skin and tender meat inside. These chicken thighs are a favorite weeknight dinner for any time of year.
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When my husband and I first got married, we had a pretty boring set of dinner options that we made all the time.
Growing up we ate a lot of chicken but everyone in my family much preferred white meat to dark meat. So when we first got married we made a lot of baked chicken breasts that were okay but never all that exciting to me.
Luckily five years of marriage and experimenting with cooking has helped me try all kinds of new dishes. I’ve really come to love cooking chicken thighs.
May 2022 update: You guys love this recipe! I first published in 2017 and I’m so happy these chicken thighs have become a part of your weekly routine (and even camping trips!) over the last five years. I updated this post with some new tips and tricks, related recipes and a shopping list. As always, let me know in the comments below if you have questions or just want to tell me how much you loved these chicken thighs!
Pan-seared chicken thighs recipe
Making bone-in chicken thighs used to intimidate me because I wasn’t sure I’d cook them fully or that I wouldn’t like them, but now I know they are one of the juiciest, most tender cuts of chicken. I even love to grill chicken thighs!
But as it turns out, when you have the right tools, like a meat thermometer, cooking bone-in chicken really isn’t that difficult at all.
Baking bone-in chicken is a fine solution, but I’ve found that pan-searing allows for a lovely crisp skin on the outside with perfectly tender meat inside.
Pan searing also cooks the chicken more quickly, without drying it out.
The technique on these pan-seared chicken thighs may be new for me, but the seasonings I used to help create that crispy outer skin are not new at all.
I have a bit of a thing for using thyme (also used on the recipe for apple pan-seared pork tenderloin) and adding rosemary and garlic powder to the mix seemed like a natural choice.
Here’s what you need to make these delicious chicken thighs:
- 1 pound skin-on bone-in chicken thighs (you can use boneless if you like — see note below)
- dried thyme
- dried rosemary
- garlic powder
- extra virgin olive oil
It’s a pretty simple ingredient list, and you might already have everything on hand to make them.
How to Pan Sear Chicken Thighs
Making pan-seared chicken thighs on the stove is easy. You can use bone-in or boneless thighs, but boneless ones won’t take as long to cook.
- Trim any excess fat from bone-in chicken thighs and pat dry with a towel. Keep most of the skin on as this helps these chicken thighs get crispy! If there is extra skin hanging off the meat of the chicken, you can trim that with a sharp knife or pair of kitchen shears.
- Combine spices in a small bowl, then liberally coat each piece of chicken with the spices on each side.
- Heat your olive oil in a skillet over medium heat (make sure you’re using one with a lid). Once the oil is hot (but before it smokes), add the chicken thighs skin side down. You should be able to cook 3-4 at once, without overfilling the pan.
- Let this side sear for about 3-5 minutes, until it easily can be removed from the pan to flip. If the skin is sticking, it needs another minute or two.
- Brown the other side for 3-5 minutes, then cover and continue cooking for about 15 minutes.
- Carefully remove the lid from the skillet (the fat from the chicken will be popping) and use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. You want to insert the thermometer all the way into the meat towards the bone. The internal temperature should be at least 165ºF.
If you haven’t experimented with bone-in chicken thighs on the stove before, you definitely should try it!
You can easily double this recipe, but be sure to cook it in batches. You do not want to crowd the pan, meaning do not add too many chicken thighs that they end up touching in the pan while cooking.
- Stainless Steel Frying Pan
- Meat Thermometer (We have gone through an embarrassing amount of meat thermometers and this one has held up the best!)
- Spatter guard or, at the very least, an apron (this chicken splatters!)
Can I use boneless chicken thighs?
You definitely can! We make this recipe with boneless thighs too. The cooking time won’t be as long and you won’t have as crispy of skin, but pan-searing boneless chicken thighs is my preferred method of cooking both bone-in and boneless chicken thighs.
Does this recipe work with chicken breasts, too?
It does! I always prefer to slice my chicken breasts in half (through the chicken) so they are thinner and will cook more evenly.
Again, your cook time may vary, so be sure to check for the proper temperature with your meat thermometer.
Why are bone-in thighs preferred?
Bone-in thighs are very difficult to dry out when cooking, which makes these thighs crispy and juicy!
What to serve with chicken thighs
These pan-seared chicken thighs go perfectly with so many sides! In fact, we love all of the sides below with other chicken dishes like these Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs.
For veggies, we like to make garlic brown butter green beans or slow cooker creamed corn. This easy oven-roasted broccoli is great because it can cook in the oven while I hang out over the stove. Air fryer asparagus is another easy one with minimal cleanup!
For a yummy bread, these goat cheese drop biscuits are divine.
If you make and love this recipe, please leave a ★★★★★ review below! It means so much to me when you try my recipes, and I’d love to know how it goes. Please leave a comment below if you have any questions.
- 1 lb skin on bone-in chicken thighs
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Pat chicken thighs dry with a paper towel.
- In a small bowl, combine thyme, rosemary, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
- Coat chicken with spice blend.
- In a heavy-bottomed skillet, heat extra virgin olive oil on medium heat.
- Sear chicken in pan and cook for about 3 minutes until skin has browned. Flip chicken and repeat on other side.
- After both sides are browned, place lid on pan and cook for about 15 minutes. Check internal temperature with a meat thermometer. Continue cooking if needed until internal temperature is 165°F .
Boneless chicken thighs can be substituted but cooking time will vary. Be sure to check temperature with an instant read meat thermometer.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 4
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 253Total Fat: 21.2gSaturated Fat: 4.9gCholesterol: 83.5mgSodium: 320mgCarbohydrates: 1.2gProtein: 14.3g