The entire family will love this foolproof method for tender, juicy baked boneless, skinless chicken thighs! They’re inexpensive, easy to prepare, super versatile, and can be enjoyed whole, chopped, or shredded in hundreds of healthy meals!
Recently, I’ve enjoyed sharing simple go-to chicken recipes like baked boneless chicken breasts, air-fried chicken wings, and crispy fried chicken. Now it’s the turn of this baked skinless chicken thighs recipe. Boneless thighs are economical, easy to prepare, and become delectable with just a simple spice mix. Plus, the darker meat makes it harder to “mess up,” meaning tender juicy results the entire family will love!
This boneless, skinless chicken thigh recipe contains a simple spice rub full of mouth-wateringly good flavor. It is perfect for pairing with tons of meals. Though you can just as easily swap it out with your own marinade, spice rub, or sauce.
Just last week, I used them to make shredded chicken tacos. I also used the leftovers chopped and added them to salads and pasta salads. This chicken stores, freezes, and reheats well (without drying out) and this is another massive bonus.
Best of all, this process is relatively quick. Either marinate it overnight or give it a quick 20 minutes before baking and in around 30 minutes of cooking time. And you have a healthy protein ready to boost weeknight meals!
Perfect for busy (or lazy) weeknights. Gluten-free, low-carb, and keto-approved.
Oven-Baked Boneless Chicken Ingredients
Make delicious oven baked boneless chicken thighs with a simple but delicious spice blend.
- Chicken Thighs: I use boneless, skinless chicken thighs. You can use skin-on chicken if preferred. If using frozen chicken, ensure it’s fully defrosted first. I prefer organic, free-range chicken when possible.
- Olive oil: Or another neutral cooking oil. Butter would also work (or a combination of butter and oil). The fat helps the seasonings stick and also locks in the juices of the baked chicken thighs.
- Seasonings: I used a simple but super flavorful chicken seasoning made of:
- Garlic powder,
- Onion powder,
- Smoked paprika,
- Chili powder (or cayenne),
- Cumin powder,
- Ground coriander seeds,
- Lemon pepper seasoning – regular black pepper works in a pinch.
How to Make Easy Baked Chicken Thighs
Learn how to bake boneless chicken thighs with this foolproof method in an oven in under 40 minutes (minus marinating time!)
First things first, pat the meat dry with clean paper towels. This will make it easier for the seasonings to adhere.
Should You Marinate Boneless Chicken Thighs Before Baking
There’s no need to marinate for a basic baked boneless chicken thighs recipe. Instead, you could just brush on some oil and your desired seasonings and bake immediately. For more flavor, though, I recommend marinating. To learn how to marinate chicken thighs, follow the steps below.
How to Season Boneless Chicken Thighs Before Baking
Combine the spice and about 1/2-2/3 of the oil in a small bowl and mix well.
Then, in a large bowl/baking dish, season the chicken by drizzling the mixture over the meat. Use your hands to rub it all over (use gloves if preferred).
How Long to Marinate Boneless Chicken Thighs
Cover the dish with plastic wrap (cling film) and refrigerate it to marinate. If you’re running short on time, then even a quick 20-30 minutes of marinating will infuse the meat with more flavor. I recommend marinating chicken for up to 24 hours when using this seasoning mix. If you’re using a highly acidic chicken thigh marinade, I recommend a maximum of 10-12 hours.
How Long to Bake Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
When you’re ready to bake the chicken, preheat the oven to 400ºF/200ºC. Brush the remaining oil over a large baking tray/dish. Arrange the marinated chicken on it, with some space in between.
Transfer the tray to the oven. Bake the chicken thighs for between 30-40 minutes (based on the size and thickness of the chicken thighs).
To ensure the chicken is cooked properly, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken. The internal temperature should read 165ºF/75ºC to be safe. If you don’t have a thermometer, cut into it and check the juices are running clear (not pinkish/red). Likewise, the meat shouldn’t be pink at all.
To avoid overcooked, dry chicken, I recommend cooking until the internal temperature reaches 160ºF/71ºC. The residual heat will bring it above 165ºF/75ºC while it rests.
Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes, loosely covered with foil. Then enjoy the oven-baked boneless skinless chicken thighs, either whole, sliced, or shredded (with two forks).
How Do You Store Baked Chicken Thighs
Allow the chicken to cool (for no longer than 2 hours). Then transfer it to a covered dish/airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
You can freeze boneless chicken thighs whole, sliced, or shredded. For full/sliced pieces, flash freeze them (not touching) on a tray. Then transfer them to a freezer bag for up to 3 months. Shredded chicken can go straight into a freezer bag.
Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before enjoying it chilled or reheating it.
How to Reheat Leftover Boneless Chicken Thighs
To avoid overcooking and drying the meat, I recommend reheating it in a covered skillet. Or in the oven in a foil-covered pan. Add a splash of water or broth. The steam helps to keep it tender and juicy.
What to Serve with Boneless Chicken Thighs
You can enjoy the roasted boneless chicken thighs either whole or sliced/diced/shredded in many meals and alongside several sides:
- Shredded in tacos, burritos, quesadillas, etc.
- Sliced or shredded in sandwiches and wraps.
- Shredded over a baked potato or baked sweet potato.
- With a side of baked fries (or air fryer fries from frozen) or sweet potato fries.
- Sliced in salads or whole pieces with grains (brown rice, bulgur wheat, or quinoa).
- Shredded/chopped and mixed into warm pasta or cold pasta salads.
- Whole alongside vegetable sides:
Marinating chicken with acidic ingredients like lemon juice, buttermilk, or yogurt will help to make for more tender meat. Alternatively, you could use a meat mallet. Cover the meat in plastic wrap, then pound it with the tenderizing tool evenly across the surface.
Avoid foil if you’re cooking the thighs skin-on and want crispy skin. If you’re cooking skin-off boneless chicken thighs, foil over the pan helps to create steam.
That will keep the meat tender and juicy. However, it’s not a “must.”
Over-marinated chicken can become an awful combination of mushy yet tough chicken as the fibers break down too much. Depending on your marinade, go for 12 to 24 hours maximum.
Even if you don’t plan to eat the skin, keeping it on will protect the meat from drying out when cooking. Plus it adds some extra flavor.
The downside is that you lose a ton of flavor if you remove it after cooking. That’s why I set my sights on creating a recipe for super juicy results for skinless boneless chicken thighs in oven.
Pan-frying the chicken on the stovetop takes under 20 minutes. It provides a wonderful crispy golden crust outside the chicken (without skin). To do so:
Pat the chicken dry and season/marinate as written above. Then heat a well-seasoned cast iron skillet or a nonstick skillet over medium heat with oil/butter.
Sear the chicken thighs, undisturbed for 5 minutes, or until they easily flip over, and cook for a further 3-5 minutes.
More Chicken Recipes
- Whole Roasted Chicken
- The Best Chicken Seasoning
- Chicken and Rice Soup
- Middle Eastern Chicken Shawarma
- Chicken Brine Recipe
If you try this easy boneless chicken thigh recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!
Easy Oven-Baked Boneless Chicken Thighs
- 30 oz skinless, boneless chicken thighs use skin-on chicken if preferred; if using frozen chicken, ensure it's fully defrosted first
- 1/4 cup olive oil or butter
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning optional – or black pepper and a little lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- Food Thermometer optional
- Pat the meat dry with clean paper towels. This will make it easier for the seasonings to adhere.
- Combine the spice and about ½-⅔ of the oil in a small bowl and mix well.
- In a large bowl or baking dish, drizzle the mixture over the chicken and use your hands to rub it into the meat (use gloves if preferred).
- Cover the dish with plastic wrap (cling film) and refrigerate it to marinate. Marinate chicken thighs for 20-30 minutes minimum or leave it overnight, up to 24 hours.
- When you're ready to bake the chicken, preheat the oven to 400ºF/200ºC. Brush the remaining oil over a large baking tray/dish and arrange the marinated chicken on it, with some space in between.
- Transfer the tray to the oven and bake the chicken thighs for between 30-40 minutes (based on the size and thickness of the chicken thighs).To ensure the chicken is cooked properly, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken. The internal temperature should read 165ºF/75ºCto be safe. If you don't have a thermometer, cut into it and check the juices are running clear (not pinkish/red). Likewise, the meat shouldn't be pink at all.To avoid overcooked, dry chicken, I recommend cooking until the internal temperature reaches 160ºF/71ºC. The residual heat will bring it above 165ºF/75ºC while it rests.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes, loosely covered with foil. Then enjoy the oven-baked boneless skinless chicken thighs, either whole, sliced, or shredded (with two forks).
For Air Fryer Boneless Chicken Thighs
- Season/marinate the chicken as written above.
- Place the chicken thighs in a single layer in your air fryer basket, with some space between them. Air fry at 380ºF/195ºC for about 18-20 minutes, flipping it at 12 minutes until it reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF/75ºC.
- Store: Allow the chicken to cool (for no longer than 2 hours), then transfer it to a covered dish/airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.Freeze: You can freeze the thighs whole, sliced, or shredded. For full/sliced pieces, flash freeze them (not touching) on a tray, then transfer them to a freezer bag for up to 3 months. Shredded chicken can go straight into a freezer bag.Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before enjoying it chilled or reheating it.Reheat: To avoid overcooking and drying out the meat, I recommend reheating it in a covered skillet (or in the oven in a foil-covered pan) with a splash of water or broth. The steam helps to keep it tender and juicy.Use a thermometer to check the reheated chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF/75ºC.
- Use even-sized pieces: If not, use a meat mallet to pound the meat into an even thickness, so they cook evenly.
- Take off the chill: Remove the boneless skinless thighs from the fridge 20-25 minutes before baking to help them cook more evenly.
- Pat the chicken dry: For the seasonings to adhere. It also helps make crispier edges (even with no skin!)
- To avoid overcooking chicken: Take the internal temperature of the meat first after 20 minutes and every 4 minutes after as needed until it reaches 165ºF/75ºC.
- Leave the chicken to rest: For 10 minutes after baking. The juices within will redistribute and settle, so you don’t lose them when cutting into the meat (and end up with dry chicken).
- Utilize the pan juices: Use the drippings to make a simple brown gravy or other sauces.
- Use a rimmed baking sheet: To catch all the chicken juices. Line it with foil/ parchment paper for even easier cleanup.