Cast Iron Skillet Chicken Thighs Recipe | StupidEasyPaleo.com

Cast Iron Skillet Chicken Thighs

Cast Iron Skillet Chicken Thighs are a game-changer for a simple weeknight dinner.

Cast Iron Skillet Chicken Thighs Recipe | StupidEasyPaleo.com

Now, what makes this recipe special isn’t the flavors or the ingredients; it’s the method.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know my style in food, photography, and life is simplicity. Doing fewer things better is where it’s at for me!

This Cast Iron Skillet Chicken Thighs Recipe was born out of frustration. When I lived in Scotland a few years ago, we had a convection oven, and it resulted in the most crispy chicken skin imaginable.

Watch the cooking show episode for Cast Iron Skillet Chicken Thighs:

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Fast forward to living back in the States with a normal gas oven. Try what I might, I could never get the skin on chicken thighs to come out perfectly until I started playing around with this method.

(Don’t like chicken thighs? This method works with split chickens or chicken legs too, just be sure to adjust the cooking time.)

Cast Iron Skillet Chicken Thighs Recipe | StupidEasyPaleo.com

How Long Do You Cook Chicken in a Cast Iron Skillet?

It totally depends on if you’re cooking the whole thing on the stove top or you’re going to use the oven, too. It usually takes about 45 minutes when I sear the skin side on the stove top and then finish roasting the chicken thighs in the oven.

Remember, this recipe is more about the steps, so no hate mail if you were expecting creative ingredients or big flavors.

The whole point is to create the perfect texture. Oh, and texture – especially crispiness or crunch – is one of the ways to make food more exciting!

Tips for the Best Cast Iron Skillet Chicken Thighs

I use bone-in chicken thighs. For one, they’re usually less expensive. And, I save the bones for making Stovetop Bone Broth or Instant Pot Bone Broth which to me makes the whole idea of buying bone-in thighs worth it. (If you must use boneless chicken thighs, check out this recipe instead.)

You need a large cast iron skillet for this, ideally 12 inches in diameter for 4 chicken thighs. My Lodge skillets have never let me down, and the bonus here is that the chicken goes from the stove top to the oven in one dish. Saving on dishwashing later? Count me in! Not sure how to clean your cast iron skillet? I’ve got a tutorial here.

I recommend using a splatter screen for this (this is the one I use). You’ll be rendering the chicken, skin-side down, and it can splatter quite a bit. I use ghee as the cooking fat because its smoke point is so high. If you want to nerd out on why ghee is so awesome, check this out.

I usually double this recipe and use a second skillet which give us instant leftovers.

Cast Iron Skillet Chicken Thighs Recipe | StupidEasyPaleo.com

Which Spices Go Best With Chicken Thighs?

Sometimes, I’ll add a spice mix like curry powder or smoked paprika (my favorite spice) to the meat side of half the chicken, and the other half, I’ll leave plain except for salt and pepper.

That way, I can season the meat when I reheat it with whatever flavor profile I want (ex: garlic, Italian herbs, curry powder, etc.). I don’t put spices or herbs – other than salt and pepper – on the skin side because they’ll burn.

What to Serve With Chicken Thighs

Make it a full meal by serving with Hasselback Sweet Potatoes or Cauliflower Fried Rice.

They’d also be delicious with a simple green salad or a paleo-friendly cole slaw on the side. Since chicken thighs are so adaptable, the sky is really the limit here.

Okay, on to the full method for making this Cast Iron Skillet Chicken Thighs Recipe!

Cast Iron Skillet Chicken Thighs Recipe | StupidEasyPaleo.com

Cast Iron Skillet Chicken Thighs Recipe

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Gluten-Free, Paleo
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 530 kcal
Author: Steph Gaudreau

This Cast Iron Skillet Chicken Thighs Recipe is a game-changer. It's one of the simplest ways to make crispy chicken in the oven every time! Get the full recipe here and make these tonight.



  • 2 lb chicken thighs bone-in
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp spice mix of choice optional
  • 1 tbsp ghee


  1. Get ready. Preheat the oven to 425ºF. Pat the chicken thighs dry on both sides with paper towel. Sprinkle the skin side with some of the salt and pepper. Flip and sprinkle the meat side with the rest of the salt, pepper, and whatever spice mix you choose. (You don’t have to season the meat if you prefer a more neutral taste.)

  2. Sear the chicken. Place a large cast iron skillet over high medium-high and add the ghee. You want the skillet to be really hot so make sure the fat is shimmering.

    Add the chicken thighs, skin side DOWN, and try to leave some room between them so they don’t touch. Cover with a splatter screen, and sear skin side down for 5-8 minutes, depending on the strength of your burners. Be patient. Don’t keep poking at the chicken. It’ll release easily from the pan once it’s ready to flip, but you want to make sure the skin is rendered and crispy. Remove the splatter screen. Flip the chicken so the meat side is down.

  3. Roast it. Use a pot holder or kitchen towel to move the skillet right into the oven. Roast the chicken in the oven for 20-30 minutes until they’re cooked through and no longer pink. It depends on the size of the chicken thighs, so keep an eye on it once 20 minutes has gone by. Serve hot out of the oven.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

These can be made ahead of time on your meal prep day. To reheat, place them skin-side down in a cast iron skillet and place over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, flipping once during the process.

Save the bones so you can make homemade bone broth!

Nutrition Facts
Cast Iron Skillet Chicken Thighs Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 530 Calories from Fat 369
% Daily Value*
Fat 41g63%
Saturated Fat 12g60%
Cholesterol 231mg77%
Sodium 756mg32%
Potassium 464mg13%
Protein 36g72%
Vitamin A 175IU4%
Calcium 18mg2%
Iron 1.5mg8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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72 Responses

  1. Hi Steph,

    Once you add the thighs, did you lower the flame on the stove? I heated my skillet on high until the oil was shimmering, added the chicken and the skin burnt within 5 minutes 🙁

        1. Hi Mike…I really have to apologize here. I realized that I cooked the recipe on the burner (on our 70 year old range) that’s a bit weak. I adjusted the recipe to reflect that.

  2. Made this tonight and it turned out perfect..it really is a game changer! I made a tomato curry cream sauce to go with it and it was delicious!! Thanks for the recipe!!

  3. Made these last nite. My husband loved them! Wondering what you think about trying to do the same thing with split chicken breasts. Have you ever tried it and how much longer do you think they would take?

    1. Hi Kelly,

      I think you can but I would probably leave them in the oven longer and bump the temp down to 400F.

  4. made this last night. Perfect! I always by boneless thighs because they are so easy to make but the bone-in just became a new favorite. Simple, quick and super good. Thank you!

  5. Did this for dinner tonite and by far the best chicken we ever had and we have had lots of chicken meals. Thank you soooo much for this new fave!

    1. You could. It has a high smoke point. I prefer a fat like ghee because it’s more nutritious but peanut oil works in principle.

  6. I didn’t have a splash screen so I used a sheet of aluminum foil laying over the top of the skillet without touching or coming too close the the chicken. I think heat reflected onto the chicken makes it cook faster also because I never have to cook it more then 8 minutes stove top 20 minutes oven. Perfect. Every. Time. Thanks for this great recipe!

  7. Just moved the thighs into the oven, looking awesome n crispy so far!
    I did not add pepper on the skin side, however. i have some reason to believe it burns just like other spices. I did add it on entering the oven though!

  8. This THE BEST chicken recipe! I love El Pollo Loco’s chicken (crispy outside, tender inside and flavorful) and have been searching for a recipe that would deliver on all of these things. The simple seasoning recipe that this calls for is just perfect too. I feel like I could serve this to guest and impress. Thank you for teaching me the secret to crispy, delicious, and surprisingly easy to make chicken!

    1. Hi I think this is possibly my favorite chicken thigh recipe ever. I didn’t add anything other than kosher salt and fresh ground pepper in a wonderful cast iron handed down from my grandmother. It tasted like chicken simply perfect.

  9. Our family LOVES this recipe! Do not “tweak” it. It is absolutely fabulous just the way it is. Skin is crispy, flavor is fantastic and it leaves you wanting more! Lodge pan, refined coconut oil, salt, pepper on skin side and spice of choice on meat side (we use poultry seasoning and curry along w/more salt/pepper) and ta-da! Delicioso!!

  10. Newly bachelorized and trying to learn to cook. Made these but didn’t use the splatter screen. Will NOT do that again! What a mess, but I was warned.
    Great meal, quick and easy. I’ll probably make these at deer camp next year or on a work weekend.
    Any use for the once used coconut oil w/chicken flavor?

    1. Hey Tom…I probably would just discard the oil. You could do something like fry up some potatoes or veggies in the used coconut oil once you remove the chicken but generally I don’t save oil that’s already been through the cooking process.

  11. Made this recipe for the 2nd time today. First time was just for me and this time I shared with the hubby and kids. It came out perfect both times. I’ve been working on cleaning up our meals and it has been met with a very dull grumble. Well this recipe is the first one my husband has enthusiastically endorsed. Yeah! Progress! Thanks for your creative, tasty and healthy ideas.

  12. Excellent recipe for my 12″ iron skillet. The chicken came out superb!! It will be a hard decision now between cooking chicken like this or by my old tried and true way of cooking it the indirect way on the Weber grill. I have had a renewed interest in cooking with cast iron and now that my old skillets are back to being well seasoned the fun is on! I am a 100% disabled veteran from service with the 82nd ABN DIV and cooking provides me a peaceful and zen like experience. Thanks for sharing a great recipe!!

    1. Lewis, I’m excited to hear that you enjoyed it! Cooking is super zen, and I’m really glad that it’s peaceful for you.

  13. I have to say I was a little skeptical at first on trying these with the ghee,but I’m not a fan of coconut oil really. I typically use evoo since we are paleo eaters. This was my first time cooking with ghee and let me tell ya,these are a new favorite of my husbands and mine. The skin is actually crispy!! The flavor is nothing but short of amazing. We will be making these again very soon. Time and time again. Thank you!!!

    1. Hi Cynthia, Thank you for sharing your thoughts, I’m sure you’ll find more valuable information exploring the site. Have fun!

  14. I’ve been doing this in a cast iron grille pan followed by a convection oven. With this pan I don’t add any oil. It’s obviously a seasoned pan so there is a film on the iron but I have not found a need to add oil to cook thighs.

    The only better way to cook bone in thighs I discovered when I got my wood pellet grille. Wood fired smoke with push button oven like temperature control.

    1. Hi Patrick, Thank you for sharing your thoughts, I’m sure you’ll find more valuable information exploring the site. Have fun!

  15. Hi Steph, So glad to find this simple recipe. I bought Bone-In thighs yesterday at Aldi’s $.69 a pound! I had no idea how I would cook them until I found your recipe. Using your recipe, I cooked half, I had over 5 lbs! I have a flat top electric stove, you cannot use cast iron on it as it will break it. I used my large SS Revere Skillet, with an S S lid. I had a large container of Coconut Oil, almost empty, about 1 T. & added 1 T of Butter to the skillet, washed the thighs, took off extraneous skin, fat, salted & Peppered them. Flipped and S&P again, then a generous dollop of Curry Powder. Meanwhile, I had my Cast Iron Circular Griddle for Pancakes in the portable Convection Oven at 325 was heating. I timed the thighs, flipped them in the Stainless Steel skillet and let them cook for three minutes. I took the SS skillet to the Oven, opened the door and forked them in one by one to the Iron Skillet. Set the timer for 20 and I am done! Thank you for a superb super savory solution that fits my idea of good, quick, tasty, and economical. This saves the oven cooking at least 30 minutes more, and the fat is out of the final phase! The timer just rang, they are done! I will let them ‘rest’ for an additional five minutes to fully cook and cool a little.
    A Superb way to cook, Thank you! Trudy

    1. Hi Trudy, Thank you for sharing your thoughts, I’m sure you’ll find more valuable information exploring the site. Have fun!

  16. I’m attempting this with skinless thighs….hoping it works….. we recently downsized and are left the grill behind. no plans for a grill purchase anytime soon. i miss good chicken and i don’t know another way to get it juicy without a grill. so here goes!

    1. Hi Sally…it will not work the same without the skin! The skin keep the moisture in. It’ll cook using this method but you may not get the same result.

  17. Me and my ex co worker have this joke about how white people (hes white, im dominican) dont season their chicken and i died laughing watching this. Thats not to say it didnt come out perfect. I loved the video, i just like more seasoning 🙂

    1. If you read the blog post it talks about the seasoning part. Season away!

      Interestingly, from a cultural standpoint…traditionally, cultures in the tropics / around the equator often heavily spiced / seasoned food to prevent spoilage due to the warmer climates. (Think Thai bird chilies, Jamaican jerk seasoning, Ethiopian berbere, etc.) There’s a whole book about it called Why Some Like It Hot by Gary Nabhan. Badly seasoned food is more often the result of badly trained cooks IMO but you’re allowed to have your own opinion 😉

  18. This was amazing ! I made it tonight for dinner and my husband and daughter said it was perfectly cooked, moist, crispy. I used salt, pepper and garlic powder and olive oil to cook it. I cooked it in the pan for 4 min on med-hi and baked for 20 min. SOOOOOO DELICIOUS! Thank you for sharing oxoxox

  19. I just made this dish tonight; 8 thighs in 2 Lodge skillets with oven roasted sliced/chopped potatoes and fresh string beans. I had the skillets screamin’ hot to sear that skin, and yes, be prepared for the splatter. 8 minutes or so on the skin side, then flipped the chicken and put into a 425 degree oven for 20 minutes. The potatoes were already in the oven for about 20 minutes when I put the skillets in and I did the green beans on the stove-top. Turned out so good! My family was delighted and so was I!

    1. Sounds perfect, Tim!! Thanks for stopping by and letting me know. Great idea with the potatoes and green beans!

  20. Johnny come lately with regard to this cooking method For chicken thighs. So simple and soooo good. Sprinkled curry powder – quick, juicy, crispy, delicious. My new go to!! Thanks!

  21. Frying chicken in the cast iron skillet brings back childhood memories of when my mom prepared chicken very similarly. I loved fried chicken then, as I still do today, but, now with healthier ingredients. Thanks for sharing additional ideas for sides and spices – my husband and I are enjoying the paleo way of preparing meals!

  22. I have been looking for a recipe for my son who likes chicken. (dark meat) I have tried all different cuts. Breasts, drumsticks etc. but I always come back to thighs. I had been frying boneless chicken thighs and I actually bought the bone-in,skin-on not realizing that the thighs were bone-in. (Costco) Then I came across this recipe. He really likes fried but I think we have found a compromise. Fried and baked. I made them yesterday and multiple other times and I have some in the oven as I am writing this. Great recipe thanks!

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Hi, I'm Steph!

Nutrition and fitness coach for women, Lord of the Rings nerd, and depending on who you ask, crazy cat lady. My mission is to help you fuel for more, not less: bigger muscles, strength, energy, and possibilities. We’ll do it with my signature blend of science, strategy…and a little bit of sass.


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