Cooking chicken thighs in the oven at 350 F is a popular method that yields juicy and flavorful results. Whether you prefer boneless or bone-in chicken thighs, it can all be prepared in various ways to suit your taste. We will explore the techniques and cooking times to cook chicken thighs in oven at 350 F, as well as 400F and other methods including cooking on stove, on grill, in air fryer or instant pot.
What are chicken thighs?
Chicken thighs are a cut of poultry obtained from the lower part of the chicken’s leg. They are known for their rich flavor and tender, juicy meat. Chicken thighs can be purchased with the bone-in and skin-on, or boneless and skinless, depending on personal preference and recipe requirements.
Chicken thighs are considered dark meat, in contrast to chicken breasts and chicken wings, which are classified as white meat. The dark meat of chicken thighs contains slightly more fat, which contributes to their succulence and flavor when cooked. This extra fat content also helps keep the meat moist and prevents it from drying out during cooking.
Chicken thighs are versatile and can be prepared in various ways, such as baking, grilling, frying, or simmering in sauces or stews. They are often used in a wide range of recipes, including main dishes, casseroles, stir-fries, and more. Due to their rich flavor and tenderness, chicken thighs are favored by many for their versatility and ability to enhance the taste of various dishes.
Nutrition facts of chicken thighs
The nutrition facts of chicken thighs can vary slightly depending on whether they are bone-in and skin-on or boneless and skinless. Here is a general overview of the nutrition facts for boneless, skinless chicken thighs (per 3.5 ounces or 100 grams):
– Calories: Approximately 209 calories
– Protein: Around 22 g
– Fat: Approximately 14 g
– Saturated Fat: About 4 g
– Cholesterol: Around 95 mg
– Sodium: About 70 mg
– Potassium: Approximately 250 mg
Chicken thighs are a good source of high-quality protein, providing essential amino acids that support muscle growth and repair. They also contain important vitamins and minerals, including iron, zinc, and B vitamins like niacin and vitamin B6.
It’s important to note that the nutrition facts may vary depending on the cooking method and any added ingredients or seasonings. If the chicken thighs have the skin on, the fat and calorie content will be slightly higher due to the added skin. Additionally, different brands and sources of chicken may have slight variations in nutritional values.
When considering the overall nutritional profile, chicken thighs can be part of a balanced diet, providing valuable nutrients while still being flavorful and satisfying. However, moderation and portion control are key to maintaining a healthy and well-rounded diet.
How long to cook chicken thighs in the oven at 350 °F (175 °C)
To cook chicken thighs in oven at 350 °F (175 °C), the cooking time can vary from 40 to 55 minutes, depending on boneless or bone-in thighs. Bone-in chicken thighs require a slightly longer cooking duration than their boneless counterparts. It’s important to note that these times are approximate and may vary based on the size and thickness of the chicken thighs.
Cook bone-in chicken thighs in oven at 350 °F:
- Preheat the oven to 350 °F.
- Pat the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel to remove excess moisture.
- Season the thighs with your favorite blend of spices and herbs.
- Place the chicken thighs on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
- Bake the chicken thighs for approximately 50-55 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature of 165 °F (74 °C), measured with a meat thermometer (learn how to check if your thighs are fully cooked in the next sections).
For boneless chicken thighs:
Follow the same steps as above, but reduce the cooking time to around 40-45 minutes, as boneless thighs tend to cook faster.
How long to cook chicken thighs in oven at 400°F
If you prefer a slightly higher cooking temperature for quicker cooking and a crispier skin, you can bake chicken thighs at 400 °F (200 °C). Here are the modified cooking times for both bone-in and boneless chicken thighs:
For bone-in chicken thighs:
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200 °C).
- Pat the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel.
- Season the thighs with your preferred seasoning blend.
- Arrange the chicken thighs on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.
- Bake for approximately 40-45 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 °F (74 °C) (learn how to check if your thighs are fully cooked in the next sections).
For boneless chicken thighs:
- Follow the same steps as above, but reduce the cooking time to around 30-35 minutes.
How long to cook chicken thighs in an instant pot/ pressure cooker
If you own an instant pot, you can also prepare chicken thighs using this convenient appliance. The instant pot offers a faster cooking time and helps retain moisture in the meat. The cooking duration with instant pot is quite similar to pressure cooker, around 15 minutes. Here’s a guide for cooking chicken thighs in an instant pot:
- Season the chicken thighs with your preferred spices and herbs.
- Preheat the instant pot and select the sauté function.
- Add a small amount of oil and brown the chicken thighs on both sides for a few minutes. It’s optional, you can also directly come to high pressure mode to cook the thighs.
- Cancel the sauté mode, add a cup of liquid (water, broth, or marinade), and secure the lid.
- Set the instant pot to high pressure and cook for approximately 10-15 minutes.
- Allow for a natural pressure release for 5-10 minutes before manually releasing the remaining pressure.
- Check the internal temperature of the chicken thighs using a meat thermometer to ensure it reaches 165 °F (74 °C) (learn how to check if your thighs are fully cooked in the next sections)
Cooking chicken thighs in instant pot is perfect for stew or soup. A suggestion for you is Chinese herbal chicken soup, which is not only healthy but also very simple and quick thanks to instant pot/ pressure cooker.
How long to cook chicken thighs on the stove
Cooking chicken thighs on the stove is another quick and delicious option. You can fry, stir-fry or boil them easily; however, it seems to take more time than using instant pot or oven. Here’s how to fry chicken thighs on the stove:
- Heat a skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat and add a small amount of oil.
- Season the chicken thighs with your desired spices and herbs.
- Place the chicken thighs in the hot skillet, skin-side down, and cook for about 5-6 minutes until the skin is crispy and browned.
- Flip the thighs and cook for an additional 5-6 minutes on the other side until they reach an internal temperature of 165 °F (74 °C) (learn how to check if your thighs are fully cooked in the next section).
- Remove the chicken thighs from the skillet and let them rest for a few minutes before serving.
How long to cook chicken thighs on the grill
Grilling chicken thighs adds a smoky flavor and beautiful grill marks to the meat. Follow these steps for grilling chicken thighs:
- Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
- Season the chicken thighs with your favorite marinade or dry rub.
- Place the chicken thighs on the grill, skin-side down, and cook for about 6-8 minutes per side.
- Use a meat thermometer to check that the internal temperature reaches 165 °F (74 °C)(learn how to check if your thighs are fully cooked in the next section in this post).
- Once cooked, remove the chicken thighs from the grill and let them rest for a few minutes before serving.
How to know chicken thighs are well cooked
To determine if chicken thighs are well cooked and safe to eat, you can follow these guidelines:
- Internal Temperature: The most reliable way to check if chicken thighs are cooked thoroughly is by using a meat thermometer. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh without touching the bone. The chicken thighs should reach an internal temperature of 165 °F (74 °C) for safe consumption.
- Juices: Another visual indicator is the color of the juices that come out of the chicken thighs. When fully cooked, the juices should run clear, without any traces of pinkness. If the juices are still pink or have a slightly bloody appearance, continue cooking until they run clear.
- Texture: Well-cooked chicken thighs should have a firm and tender texture. Use a fork or a knife to cut into the thickest part of the thigh. The meat should be opaque and easily pull apart, without any signs of rawness or pinkness.
- Visual Appearance: Cooked chicken thighs should have a golden-brown color on the outside and a slightly caramelized skin if it’s still intact. The meat should not have any pink or raw-looking areas.
It’s important to note that cooking times can vary depending on the size of the chicken thighs, the cooking method, and the specific recipe. To ensure food safety, always use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature, as color alone is not a reliable indicator of doneness.
Storing and reheating chicken thighs
If you have leftover cooked chicken thighs, it’s important to store them properly to maintain their flavor and quality. Here’s how to store and reheat chicken thighs:
- Let the cooked chicken thighs cool down to room temperature.
- Store them in an airtight container or wrap them tightly in aluminum foil.
- Place the container or foil-wrapped chicken thighs in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
To reheat, preheat the oven to 350 °F (175 °C):
- Place the chicken thighs on a baking sheet lined with foil and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until heated through.
- Alternatively, you can reheat the chicken thighs in the microwave by placing them on a microwave-safe plate and heating them in 30-second intervals until warmed.