Baked Chicken Thighs is packed with delicious flavors from an easy citrus marinade. This easy recipe makes moist, perfectly cooked chicken in 45 minutes cooking time.
Baked Chicken Thighs is a staple recipe that will be on your ‘family loves’ list.
The flavors are fantastic and the chicken is perfectly cooked every time.
Oven Baked Chicken Thighs
Chicken breasts are very popular but the best flavor comes from chicken thighs.
Dark meat has more flavor and doesn’t dry out when being cooked.
This recipe purposely uses bone-in and skin-on instead of boneless skinless chicken thighs too.
The skin has more fat which keeps the chicken moist when cooking and adds flavor.
Cooking meat on the bone also adds flavor.
Recipe Ingredients + Notes
Olive oil. Adding oil to a marinade helps better convey the marinade flavors to the chicken and keeps it moister when cooking.
Chicken Stock. Use low sodium chicken stock. This allows the chicken from getting overly salty.
Rosemary. Fresh rosemary is chopped and added to the marinade.
Salt. We use kosher salt which is a less salty flavored salt.
Pepper. Use freshly ground black pepper if possible.
Citrus fruits: orange, lemon and lime. The juice and zest from one each of these fruits is used in the marinade. An additional lemon is sliced and baked with the chicken.
Chicken Thighs. Use bone-in skin-on chicken thighs for this recipe. They’ll have more flavor and stay moist.
Chicken Thigh Size
Chicken parts seem to vary wildly these days. It used to be ‘normal’ to have 8 chicken thighs equal between 2 1/2-3 pounds.
Now chicken thighs can be almost double in size. So you might only get 4 thighs for 2 1/2-3 pounds total weight.
This recipe is based on using 8 chicken thighs for a total weight of 2 1/2-3 pounds.
If you find 8 thighs to weigh more than that don’t worry!
You’ll need to adjust the cooking time to be long enough for the chicken to reach 165 degrees F internal temperature.
How to Make it – Step-by-Step
There are only two steps to make these chicken thighs in the oven!
STEP 1. Marinate the chicken.
In a gallon zip close plastic bag combine all ingredients besides the chicken. Olive oil, chicken stock, garlic, rosemary, salt, pepper, citrus juice and zest.
Mix together. This can be done by sealing the bag and shaking the ingredients together.
Add the chicken thighs. Squeeze the air out of the bag and seal.
Massage the marinade into the chicken from outside the bag. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator between 3-6 hours.
Do not marinate longer than 6 hours.
STEP 2. Bake the chicken.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Place the chicken thighs in a baking dish or on a sheet pan. Discard the marinade.
Add the lemon slices in between the chicken thighs.
Bake for 40-45 minutes until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees F.
Remove from oven and allow to rest 5-10 minutes before serving.
‘Resting’ allows the juices to redistribute for juicy chicken!
What to Serve with Baked Chicken Thighs
These oven baked chicken thighs are perfect any time of the year. In the summer just adding a green salad may make it a perfect meal.
For the colder months a hearty side dish is perfect. The flavor of the chicken is very flexible to pair with other flavors.
Here are some ideas:
Roasted Potatoes with Lavender
Mexican Fiesta Cauliflower Rice
Recipes FAQs + Pro Tips
Always zest the citrus fruit before juicing. It’s much easier this way.
To get more juice from citrus fruits: place in the microwave for 10 seconds before juicing!
Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator! Do not marinate at room temperature.
Do not marinate the chicken longer than 6 hours. The acids in the citrus fruits will begin to cook the meat.
Do not reuse the marinade. After raw chicken has been sitting in the marinade it should be discarded. The bacteria from raw meat can cause illness if ingested.
Easy tip for making marinade. Set the plastic bag in a large liquid measuring cup or mixing bowl. Fold the top out so the bag stays open while adding the ingredients.
This helps the bag stay stable so you don’t have to hold it while adding ingredients. Refer to the photo for Step 1 above.
Let the chicken rest after cooking. Allowing the chicken to ‘rest’, or sit out of the oven, for 5-10 minutes allows the juices to redistribute. This will produce the moist chicken we love!
When are chicken thighs done?
When they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
Use an instant read thermometer and insert in the thickest part of the chicken.
Do not touch the probe to the bone in the thigh or go all the way through the thigh. It should be in the center of the meat.
Here is my absolute favorite zester. It only take the outer peel never the bitter white pith underneath. It’s very fast and makes it feel like you are zesting butter.
Citrus fruit Juicer
I love hand held juicers. They make them in different sizes for different citrus fruits. They are the most efficient way to easily extract all the juice from the fruits that I’ve found.
Instant Read Food Thermometer
The only accurate way to know if meat is done is by temperature. An instant read thermometer does this instantly so heat isn’t escaping from the oven while you check the chicken.
It’s a must have kitchen tool for cooking meat or grilling meat.
Store leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
More Chicken Recipes You’ll Love!
- Grilled Chicken Thighs with Thai flavors
- Lemon Rosemary Chicken Thighs with Vegetables (Sheet Pan recipe)
- Cranberry Apple Skillet Chicken
- Salt & Pepper Roasted Chicken Thighs