Best baked chicken thighs recipe is about to happen right here today! Tender, juicy chicken, coated in a bold, flavor-packed chicken rub, and quickly baked in a high-heated oven. Be sure to check out my tips and video below.

Baked chicken thighs in a large baking dish

I've said this before, but you can not go wrong with chicken thighs. They are convenient, affordable, and forgiving--you don't have to watch the pan like hawk to get good results.

And you can really play up the flavor, from cilantro lime chicken to Greek chicken, chicken cacciatore, baharat chicken, and today's oven baked chicken thighs, which is one of my personal favorites!

What I love about these oven baked chicken thighs

This is chicken thighs recipe I can totally get behind. First, it's easy to make in just one pan or baking dish. It is also the juiciest baked chicken recipe you'll try. Every bite is tender and succulent, it is hard to stop eating!

The star of this recipe tough is the bold chicken rub made of a few pantry staples including tomato paste, fresh garlic, and a few warm spices including cumin and smoked paprika (or sweet paprika, if you prefer).

The rub gives the chicken thighs a beautiful, mouth-watering color AND quickly infuses them with big smoky, warm flavors without the need to marinate! That's right, you do not need to budget time for the chicken to marinate, once you coat the pieces with the rub, you can stick them right in the oven to bake!

Chicken thighs baked in a baking dish

The chicken rub

Here is what you need to make the rub:

  • Tomato paste: this is where the beautiful mouth-watering color on your chicken will come from. Tomato paste is also a great way to add some umami. I used 5 tablespoons of tomato paste.
  • A good extra virgin olive oil. EVOO here will add depth and richness to the chicken rub and will make it easily spreadable (you want to make sure to get that rub evenly all over the chicken). A good-tasting oil can make all the difference here too, and you only need ⅓ cup (the oils I use are available at our online shop here).
  • Citrus. I used juice of 1 lemon for brightness and a bit of tang.
  • Garlic. My preference for this is fresh garlic, I used 4 large garlic cloves, minced (not shy with our garlic over here. It is all the flavor!)
  • Spices: 1 teaspoon of each dried oregano, smoked paprika, cumin, and black pepper. I love the smoky, warm, and rich tones the combination of these four spices provide. You can also try sweet paprika, in place of the smoked. And if you like a little spicy kick, you can add a pinch of cayenne or a bit of Aleppo-style pepper to the rub.

How to cook chicken thighs in the oven

This delicious oven baked chicken thigh recipe will quickly become your go-to, and it takes just a few simple steps (the print-friendly recipe is just below):

  • Season the chicken well with kosher salt
    Pat 8 chicken thighs dry. When you season, make sure to apply kosher salt on both sides of the chicken pieces and also underneath the skin. Because many of us do not eat the skin, it is important to apply the seasoning underneath the skin. Set the chicken aside for a little bit while you prepare the rub.

    Raw chicken thighs with skin on place on a baking pan
  • Make the chicken rub
    To make this wet rub, combine 5 tablespoons of tomato paste, ⅓ cup good extra virgin olive oil, and juice of 1 lemon. Add 4 minced garlic cloves, and 1 teaspoon each dry oregano, smoked paprika, cumin, and black pepper. Mix well. The rub will be thick but spreadable.

    Sauce for chicken thighs
  • Apply the rub to the chicken
    Like you did with the salt, apply the rub all over the chicken pieces, making sure you get underneath the skins for best flavor.

    Raw chicken thighs placed in a baking dish
  • Assemble and bake
    Lightly brush the bottom of a large 9" x 13" baking dish with olive oil. Arrange some onion slices on the bottom of the dish to act as a bed for your chicken. Arrange the chicken on top of the onions.

    And for fun, insert some onion and tomato slices between the arranged chicken thighs (as the chicken cooks, the tomatoes and onions will release some juices, imparting even more flavor)!

    Bake on the middle rack of a 425 degrees F heated-oven for about 40 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked through. I like to put it under the broiler for a couple of minutes to get golden brown crispy skins.
Baked chicken thighs in a blue baking dish

How long to cook chicken thighs?

In a higher heated oven set at 400 to 425 degrees F, baked chicken thighs will cook in about 40 minutes or so. The chicken is done when its juices run clear and skins gain a nice golden brown color. To be sure, use an instant read thermometer to determine if your chicken is ready; the internal temperature of the cooked chicken should register at 165 degrees F at the thickest part.

Do you need to flip the chicken thighs over when baking?

I do not flip the thighs over for this baked chicken recipe, you do not need to. It is baked uncovered, and so the skin on the chicken thigh should gain some good color as they bake. And If you find that the skins need more color, it's not a bad idea to use the broiler for a minute or two.

Can I make this with chicken breasts instead?

Yes, you absolutely can try baked chicken breast instead. Adjust the oven temperature to 375 degrees F and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Watch closely as chicken breasts can dry out if left too long. Use the broiler briefly if the skins need a little more color. Again, the internal temperature of cooked chicken should register at 165 degrees F at the thickest part.

How to reheat chicken without drying out?

If you have leftover baked chicken thighs, they should be stored in the fridge in a tight-lid glass container. They will keep well for 3 to 4 nights.

To reheat chicken, I like to use the oven set on a medium temperature like 325 degrees F. If you need to, add a little bit of liquid to the pan (water or broth) then cover with foil and heat until warmed through.

Tools & supplies for this recipe

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4.78 from 190 votes

Juiciest Baked Chicken Thighs Recipe

Suzy Karadsheh
Baked chicken thighs in a large baking dish
Best baked chicken thighs recipe is about to happen right here today! Tender, juicy chicken, coated in a bold, flavor-packed chicken rub, and quickly baked in a high-heated oven.
Prep – 20 mins
Cook – 40 mins
Total – 1 hr
Cuisine:
Mediterranean
Serves – 8 pieces
Course:
Dinner

Ingredients
  

  • 8 chicken thighs, bone in, and leave the skin on but trim excess fat
  • Kosher Salt
  • 3 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 vine ripe tomato, sliced into rounds
  • For the chicken rub
  • 5 tablespoons tomato paste
  • cup extra virgin olive oil, more as needed
  • 1 lemon, juice of
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Heat oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Season the chicken thighs with kosher salt on both sides and underneath the skins. Set aside briefly.
  • Make the rub. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the rub ingredients. Whisk until everything is well-incorporated.
  • Rub the chicken with the tomato rub on both sides, applying underneath the skins first.
  • Prepare a 9" X 13" baking dish. Brush the bottom of the dish with extra virgin olive oil. Arrange most of the sliced onions on the bottom. Arrange the chicken on top of the onions. Now add the rest of the onions and the sliced tomatoes between the chicken thighs. Pour in about ¼ cup of water from the sides of the baking dish.
  • Bake in the middle of your heated rack for 40 minutes or so, then, for crispy colored skin, put it under the broiler for a couple of minutes (watch carefully).

Video

Notes

  • Leftovers & Storage: bring any leftover baked chicken thighs to room temperature then store in the fridge in a tight-lid container. If properly stored, they should keep well for 3 to 4 nights. 
  • To make this with chicken breasts instead: use bone in, skin on breasts. Adjust the oven temperature to 375 degrees F and cook for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear (internal temperature should be 165 degrees). Watch carefully because chicken breasts do tend to dry out, so make sure to get them out of the oven as soon as they are done. 
  • Visit our online shop to browse quality Mediterranean ingredients including olive oils and spices used in this recipe. 

Nutrition

Calories: 312.9kcalCarbohydrates: 8.1gProtein: 20.1gFat: 28.1gSaturated Fat: 6.3gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 110.7mgSodium: 323.2mgPotassium: 540mgFiber: 2gVitamin A: 502IUVitamin C: 10.7mgCalcium: 49.9mgIron: 1.8mg
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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Absolutely amazing. Definitely a no bland boring chicken here. I thawed out the chicken thighs and when I went to cook it, I realized they were skinless and boneless. Just covered them in the sauce and reduced cooking time.

    Amazing. Will definitely make again. Definitely 5 stars!

  2. 5 stars
    Hi, I’ve been trying your recipes for a bit, love them all! So fortunate to have found you as I’ve needed to change my eating lifestyle for cholesterol and sugar reasons…over the last few months it has made a significant difference!
    Love cooking this way and so enjoyed “reading” your cookbook last night when I received it! Look forward to your emails and can’t wait to start trying the cookbook recipes!!! Thank you for this new way of eating!
    ❤️Brenda

  3. 5 stars
    This is my first recipe from your site and I'm definitely looking forward to trying more.

    I made this with boneless skinless thighs and used Vidalia onions Hungarian paprika sinceI had them on hand. The recipe is very easy to assemble and it turned out perfectly. I served over Uncle Ben's long grain and wild Ready Rice with a side of cucumber and purple onion salad.

    My very picky man even liked it so I will definitely make this again. Thank you.

  4. 5 stars
    The flavors of this chicken were absolutely delicious!! I marinated them in the fridge for 2 hours before and then baked them at 325 for ~90 min or so (careful not to burn the spices) and then broiled them for the last 5 minutes. I want to try this for our next BBQ!!!

  5. 5 stars
    Delish ! I made this recipe w 12 bone in/skin on chicken thighs ~ 425o 45 mins
    Cooked Perfectly ~ middle oven rack ~ no broiling required
    The Vidalia Onions & Vine Tomatoes were perfect ! Use a premium Tom Paste & Olive Oil

  6. 3 stars
    This is the first time you’ve steered me wrong, Suzy. Your recipes have changed my life and I’m very grateful. But cooking chicken thighs for 40 minutes at 425 degrees is a recipe for burned charred sauce and dried up chicken thighs. I was going to cut the cooking time in half but went with the recipe cause you’re always right. But if you cook chicken breasts at 425 for 20 minutes, why would you double the time for thighs?

    Other than this recipe I’m a major fan!!

    1. Hi, Jill. I'm so sorry :(. Ovens do vary, so that could be the cause of the problem here. I always recommend using a meat thermometer to test for doneness in order to get the best results.

  7. I have not tried this yet....Could I sub chicken/vegetable broth for the tomato paste? How would that taste or turn out I wonder?

    1. Hard to say, as it's not something I've tested. I feel like a lot would be missing without the tomato paste, but it might work. I'd love to hear how it turns out if you decide to give it a try!

  8. This recipe looks amazing! I want to try to with skinless/boneless chicken thighs. Any recommendations for cooking time and temperature?

    1. Hi, Yana! That will work just fine. You can use the same oven temperature, but boneless, skinless chicken thighs will cook quicker, so keep an eye on them. I recommend using a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature of the thighs. They're finished cooking when the temperature reads 165°F.

  9. 5 stars
    I made this for dinner tonight and it is so outstanding! The flavors marry together beautifully and my husband was oooing and ahhhing!!! He wants me to add this to our family repertoire. Highly recommended.

  10. 5 stars
    Made this last night with boneless, skinless thighs cooked for 25 minutes. When I made the rub I thought, “oh no this doesn’t look very appetizing “ Boy was I wrong!!!!! This dish is SO DELICIOUS!
    My husband and I both love it. Served it with whole grain pasta.
    Can’t wait to have this again and again and again!!!
    Thank you for a great recipe!

  11. 5 stars
    We thoroughly enjoyed this thigh recipe. I added a green bell pepper that I didn’t want to go bad and it tasted like fajitas! Thanks for such simple but flavorful dish.

  12. 5 stars
    So good and what a striking dish. My sisters thought I got it from a restaurant. I made it with four thighs, with the same amount of herbs and spices but not as much tomato paste. I cut the lemon in half and added it to the pan while cooking. Serve on the side and added some brightness. Am making it again tonight

  13. 5 stars
    Excellent recipe! The only thing I omitted was the lemon because my husband does not like anything with even a hint of lemon. It was still delicious. Next time I’ll definately put it under the broiler. A little confused on the nutrition. Is each piece approximately 312 calories? I’ll be trying more of your recipes for sure!

    1. Hi, Barbara. Yes, each piece is approximately 312 calories. Please note, though, that we use a very basic nutritional calculator here based on the recipe's ingredient list, so this is only a best estimate.

  14. 5 stars
    Made this tonight and my husband and I loved every juicy bite. Your recipes are my go to and they never fail!
    Thanks!!

  15. 5 stars
    Made chicken thighs this evening. I followed the recipe almost exactly - did not have fresh tomato on hand, so I omitted it, and increased amount of garlic. Chicken came out very tasty and did not require constant attention. I served it with baked asparagus that was cooked in the same oven along with the chicken. Will definitely make it again. Thank you, Suzy.