Baking chicken thighs can be a difficult task if you’re doing it for the first time. To avoid baking them for too long or too short, you should know precisely how long to bake them for. How long does it take to bake chicken thighs?
It takes about 35 to 45 minutes for chicken thighs to bake in a 400 °F oven. To know exactly when they are done, you should set a timer and use a thermometer. The chicken is perfectly baked when its internal temperature is at 165 °F.
How long to bake bone-in chicken thighs vs. how long to bake boneless chicken thighs? Boneless chicken thighs will take about 10 minutes less to bake than bone-in thighs. See the table below for the time it takes for each to bake:
|Bone-In Chicken Thighs:
|Boneless Chicken Thighs:
Oven temperatures from 400 to 500 °F are ideal for baking your chicken thighs. Lower temperatures than 400 °F would prolong the baking time, while temperatures higher than 500 °F would shorten the baking time. But this applies only to temperatures up to 525 °F. Higher temperatures than that could burn your chicken.
Skin-on thighs take about the same time as skinless thighs. If you bake skin-on chicken thighs, you can turn on the broiler for the last 2-3 minutes of baking to make the skin extra crispy.
Read on to learn more about how long it takes to bake chicken thighs, tips for baking them faster, and easy step-by-step instructions.
How Long Does It Take to Bake Chicken Thighs?
It takes about 35 to 45 minutes for chicken thighs to bake in a 400 °F oven. The chicken is perfectly baked when its internal temperature is at 165 °F.
Chicken thighs are one of the best parts of the chicken because they are tender, flavorful, and have a good amount of fat. Choose skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs for the most flavor. Choose skinless, boneless chicken thighs for the least fat.
You can use the boneless thighs for recipes that you need to shred the chicken meat, but for dishes that you need the chicken thigh intact, such as fried chicken, you can choose the bone-in instead.
The below estimated times are for baking bone-in chicken thighs. If you are baking boneless chicken thighs, they will take about 10 minutes less. Skin-on and skinless chicken thighs take about the same time to bake; however, for crispier skin-on chicken thighs, you can turn on the broiler for the last 2-3 minutes of baking.
How long to bake chicken thighs at 350 °F: 50-55 minutes
How long to bake chicken thighs at 375 °F: 45-50 minutes
How long to bake chicken thighs at 400 °F: 35-45 minutes
How long to bake chicken thighs at 425 °F: 35-45 minutes
How long to bake chicken thighs at 450 °F: 30-35 minutes
How long to bake chicken thighs at 475 °F: 25-30 minutes
How to Bake Chicken Thighs in 35 to 45 Minutes
- Preheat the oven to 375-400 °F.
- Season your chicken thighs with your favorite seasonings.
- In an oven-safe baking dish, place the chicken thighs with some space between each piece.
- Place the dish in the oven and set a timer for about 35 minutes. Let the chicken thighs bake until their thickest part reaches 165-180 °F. This should take about 35 to 45 minutes.
- Remove the chicken thighs from the baking pan.
- Allow to cool down for a couple minutes.
- Garnish and serve with a side dish.
Factors That Affect Baking Time of Chicken
1. Size of the Thighs
The bigger the size of the chicken thighs, the longer you have to cook them. Use medium heat for cooking; so that you can cook the inner parts uniformly as well. Buy chicken thighs with the same sizes as much as possible; so that they all cook evenly at the same time.
2. Bone-In vs Boneless
As mentioned earlier, bone-in chicken thighs take about 10 minutes longer to bake than boneless chicken thighs. This is because it takes longer for the meat around the bone to heat up.
Skinless and skin-on thighs take about the same amount of time. If you want to crisp up skin-on thighs, you can turn on the broiler for the last 2 to 3 minutes of baking.
3. Frozen or Unfrozen
You should thaw frozen chicken thighs first before baking them. However, if you don’t have the time, you can bake frozen chicken without thawing, but the pieces may stick together. Also, it would take a longer time for the chicken to cook.
It would be best to thaw the thighs first because you will have to coat them with the ingredients first, anyway.
How long to bake frozen chicken thighs? It takes bout 50 to 60 minutes to bake frozen chicken thighs in a 375 °F oven.
The cooking temperature affects the length of your cooking time. The higher the temperature, the quicker is your cooking time. You may burn the outside for too high temperatures, but you may not correctly cook the inside portion. So, avoid these temperatures.
It would be best to use the appropriate temperature. Bake the chicken until the internal temperature of the chicken thigh reaches 165 °F. Use a meat thermometer to measure the temperature.
For 350 to 400 °F: boneless chicken thighs – 20-35 minutes; bone-in chicken thighs – 30-45 minutes.
For 425 °F: boneless chicken thighs – 20-25 minutes; bone-in chicken thighs – 25-30 minutes.
The best temperature for cooking chicken thighs is from 400-450 °F.
Humidity affects cooking time by preventing moisture evaporation and gluten coagulation, making it harder for the meat to cook. High humidity levels will prolong your cooking time. During dry weather, you can over-bake, causing the chicken thighs to become too tough.
As your altitude increases, your humidity decreases. Thus, it would take a shorter time in higher altitudes to bake chicken thighs.
Easy, Quick Baked Chicken Thigh Recipes
Below are two popular baked chicken thigh recipes that are easy to make and take little time:
1. Simple Baked Chicken Thighs
- Five medium-sized bone-in chicken
- One tablespoon vegetable oil
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 400 °F.
- Mix the salt and pepper and sprinkle both sides of the chicken thighs.
- Preheat an oven-safe pan/skillet to 170 °F.
- Add vegetable oil and heat for 5 minutes.
- Add the chicken thighs, taking care not to crowd the skillet.
- Cook for five minutes until light brown.
- Then, place the skillet in the oven and bake for another seven minutes until the chicken thighs are uniformly golden brown.
- After seven minutes, remove the skillet from the oven and transfer the chicken thighs to an appropriate plate.
- Serve with mashed potato, spaghetti, rice, or your favorite side dish.
2. Honey-glazed Chicken Thighs
- Three pounds, medium-sized, bone-in chicken thighs
- Eight garlic cloves, minced
- Two tablespoons (tbsp) vegetable oil
- Mustard (Two tbsp)
- Two tablespoons (tbsp) honey
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ teaspoon (tsp) red pepper flakes
- Preheat the oven to 400 °F.
- Season both sides of the chicken thighs using salt and pepper.
- In a separate bowl, combine the honey, mustard, garlic, pepper flakes, vegetable oil, and mix well.
- Marinate the chicken thighs. Ensure that all parts of the thighs are covered with the prepared mixture.
- Place the chicken thighs in an oven-safe baking dish.
- Bake for 35 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165-170 °F.
- Remove from oven. Let it sit for a few minutes.
- Serve with your favorite side dish.
How to Bake Chicken Thighs Faster
1. Cover It
Covering your baking dish can speed up your chicken thigh’s cooking time. This is due to the trapped heat inside the container that adds additional heat to the oven. Typically, baking the thighs doesn’t require you to cover the baking plate, but doing so would reduce the baking time by as much as five minutes.
2. Choose Boneless Thighs
Boneless thighs take less time to bake than bone-in thighs. The meat is tender and fleshier without the bones. So you can bake them for a shorter time that is around 20 minutes.
3. Choose Smaller Cuts
Smaller chicken thighs will reduce your baking time by quite a bit – up to five minutes. They could also be more convenient to eat than bigger pieces. They also tend to be tastier as the ingredients can penetrate deeper into the meat’s inner folds.
4. Use the Maximum Allowable Temperature
Baking temperatures can go as high as 450 °F to 475 °F. You can use this temperature when you want a shorter baking time. You have to be alert, though, in measuring the chicken thighs’ internal temperature, so you will not burn them.
We’ve finished answering the question: “How long does it take to bake chicken thighs?” Now, let’s look at some tips for baking chicken thighs quickly and easily.
Tips for Baking Chicken Thighs
- Always wear protective gear, such as cooking gloves and aprons, when baking. Often, skin burns or scalding occurs due to inadequate protection.
- Skinless and boneless chicken thighs are more straightforward to cook. You can cook them for 15 to 20 minutes. If you don’t have ample time to cook, boneless chicken thighs are the best choices for you.
- Remember to keep a meat thermometer handy to guarantee that you cool the meat sufficiently. All you have to do is stick the thermometer between the chicken thighs and read the temperature. Of course, you have to clean your thermometer thoroughly to prevent contaminating your food.
- Thaw the chicken thighs entirely before baking. You can thaw the chicken by placing it in a leak-proof plastic container and immersing it in cold water. Change the water after 30 minutes. You can allow the water to melt inside the fridge to prevent bacteria from growing. You can cook frozen thighs, but the baking time would double.
- Regardless of the oven’s temperature used in baking, the final determinant whether the chicken thighs are cooked or not is its internal temperature. It must reach 165-180 °F. Hence, having a meat thermometer in your kitchen would be helpful.
- Use an oven-safe baking dish that is deep enough to prevent the chicken thighs’ juices from overflowing while you’re baking. The chicken’s natural juices will add a unique flavour to your dish.
- Please take note of the factors affecting your baking time, and adjust them accordingly. It is best not to hasten your cooking to allow the meat to bathe in its natural juices. This process would add more flavour to your chicken dishes.
- There are various ways to cook chicken thighs, aside from baking. You can deep fry, broil, grill, boil, or roast them. Chicken meat is the most savoury of all animal meats. They are softer than pork meat but firmer than fish meat so that you can create various delectable dishes with it.
- The baked chicken thighs can go well with the following: potato salad, mashed potatoes, Brussels sprout salad, roasted potatoes, roasted mushrooms, macaroni salad, corn on the cob, and rice.
- You should not leave leftover cooked chicken thighs at room temperature for more than 2 hours. You must place the leftover food in the fridge to prevent bacterial contamination. Reheat the portion when you want to eat it.
- Always cook your chicken thighs thoroughly as bacteria, such as campylobacter species and salmonella cam contaminate the chicken and enter your body, causing food poisoning. The symptoms are vomiting, diarrhoea, fever, headache, and nausea.
- When properly wrapped, the cooked chicken thighs can last for three days in the fridge. If you want your chicken dish to last longer, you can put it in the freezer to make it last from four to five months.
- When reheating your leftover chicken thighs, preheat the oven to 325 °F. Line a baking pan/plate with aluminium foil. Place the chicken thighs and brush them with vegetable oil. Wrap the thighs with the foil. Reheat until internal temperature reaches 165 °F.
Conclusion – How Long to Bake Chicken Thighs?
So, how long does it take to bake chicken thighs? It takes 35-45 minutes to bake medium-sized chicken thighs in the oven. This is with a preheated oven temperature of 400 °F.
How long to bake bone-in chicken thighs vs. how long to bake boneless chicken thighs? Boneless chicken thighs will take about 10 minutes less to bake than bone-in thighs. See the table below for the time it takes to bake at different oven temperatures:
|Bone-In Chicken Thighs:
|Boneless Chicken Thighs:
Don’t cover the chicken thighs and wait until the chicken thighs’ internal temperature reaches 165-180 °F. When the internal temperature is at 165, the chicken is ready.
You may want to use other cooking temperatures, such as 425°F. This temperature will cook your chicken thighs a little bit faster from 25 to 35 minutes. Either way, you have to consider the meat’s internal temperature as your cooking marker.
Don’t be afraid to experiment. Be creative and patient. Before long, you will know precisely how long it takes to bake chicken thighs.