β†’β†’Meal Prep: Quick Trick for Crispy Oven-Fried Chicken Thighs

Meal Prep: Quick Trick for Crispy Oven-Fried Chicken Thighs

Hi.

Today, we’re talking chicken. Oven-crisp chicken, at that.

I love good fried chicken, but good fried chicken is a lot of work and planning. And, quite frankly, I’m not interested in either when it comes to my meal prep.

Sometimes, I’m just trying to get my meal prep done while I’m in the kitchen doing something else. If I’m already at the stove stirring up a sauce, I’ll go ahead and spice up some sweet potato fries and toss them in the oven. And, while I’ve got the oven on for the sweet potato fries… I’ll prep some oven-fried chicken.

For me, I prefer chicken thighs. I know, I know. They’re so fatty, they’re so greasy. I know. Sometimes, it makes me a little ill, too. I can’t eat too much of it when it’s not cooked like this. The method I use for this recipe actually drains out much of – but not all! – the fat from the inside, leaving you with a moist but not so juicy that it’s practically raw piece of chicken thigh with an amazing crisp on the outside.

There’s also the fact that many people who “oven-fry” their chicken also put some kind of carb-based batter or coating on theirs. I’m skipping that, here. Chicken thighs already come with a skin that’s just fine for crisp and crunch, and most of the fat attached will be melted right off so that there’s nothing to worry about. I mean, we want some fat, here, but not a ton of it. Using the natural parts of the chicken – and draining off some of the unnecessary high-calorie fat – will yield a delicious piece of easily-reheatable chicken every time.

But why not drain out all of the fat, Erika? When it comes to reheating chicken, having a little fat left behind is what helps keep your chicken from turning into cardboard when you reheat it. Coming out of the toaster oven or microwave, your chicken will still be moist , and still have a bit of a crunch to it.

Can you do this with other cuts of chicken? I can’t say for sure. This might work on drumsticks, but it’s a definite “no” on anything skinless, because the skin is a huge part of the success of the recipe. I can’t recommend any cut other than the thigh.

Start with pre-heating your oven to 400 degreez, word to Juvenile.

I guess you don’t like my Juvenile references, ha? Okay, okay, I’ll stop.

raw chicken is just not sexy. sorry.

raw chicken is just not sexy. sorry.

Take your chicken, and lay it out on your cutting board like so, and sprinkle just a pinch of salt, cracked red pepper and black pepper across the top. (And, by a pinch, I mean a pinch and not a pile.)

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We’ll start by browning the chicken in the skillet, skin-heavy side down. In any other circumstance, you wouldn’t crowd your pan because it impedes your chicken’s ability to heat and cook through thoroughly and properly. Alas, we aren’t cooking our chicken here, merely browning the outsides, so it’s okay to crowd your pan a little bit. Besides, the individual pieces will shrink in the skillet, so while it may be crowded now, it won’t stay that way for long.

You should be using medium-high heat on this, which is something like a 6 on a 10-point scale for your stove. Should you use oil for this? It wholly depends on your skillet. Because I’m using a non-stick skillet, I can skip the oil. If you’re using something more along the lines of stainless steel, you might want a bit of oil. Don’t worry too much about added calories, here – the rest of the cooking process will actually drain quite a bit of any excess oil off.

For the record, to “brown” something essentially means to partially cook – or “par-cook” – something to the point where you give the outsides a separate and unique flavor from the insides. You’re giving the outside a golden “brown” color, but you’re also giving it mucho flavor. And, for the sake of this recipe, you’re cooking the outside to a degree that will result in it crisping in the oven, while the inside remains juicy. Win-win.

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You’ll cook it on this side for about ten minutes, and then – with your tongs – individually flip each piece over one at a time, so that the golden cooked-side is facing you. You’ll cook these for another ten minutes this way. If you’re using a steel skillet, you should have more than enough oil in the pan now for you to flip without needing any more. And no, there’s not really much need to replace the oil with fresh, here. It won’t be cooking for long enough for any of that to matter.

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For the next part, you’ll need a baking pan and a baking rack. I literally took one of my round baking racks and laid it flat across the top of one of my baking pans, and that worked just fine. The goal here is to let the fat drip off of the chicken in the heating process.

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Slide your chicken in the pre-heated oven, and let it cook for about 20 minutes total. Sprinkle a few dried herbs on it while you’re at it! I’m using rosemary, here.

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Check on it. You should see more oil dropped down into the pan, and the outside of the chicken is a rich, golden brown.

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If it’s not crispy enough to your liking, slide it right back into the oven and let it go for 5 minute intervals. Eventually, you’ll get a nice, deep golden brown like I did on my second batch!

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And you didn’t even have to bother with breading or batter to get it done!

Bulk chicken, meal prepped, ready to go, reheats well, great crunch? You won.

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By | 2017-06-10T11:21:01+00:00 January 26th, 2015|From Erika's Kitchen|22 Comments

About the Author:

The proud leader of the #bgg2wlarmy, Erika Nicole Kendall writes food and fitness, body image and beauty, and more here at #bgg2wl. After losing over 150lbs, Kendall became a personal trainer certified in fitness nutrition, women's fitness, and weight loss by the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She is also certified in sports nutrition by Precision Nutrition. She now lives in New York with her husband and children, and is working on her 6th and 7th certifications because she likes having alphabet soup at the end of her name.

22 Comments

  1. Danielle Rogers January 27, 2015 at 9:05 PM - Reply

    Do you oil in the skillet on the first step?

    • Erika Nicole Kendall February 3, 2015 at 11:05 AM - Reply

      It depends on whether or not you have a non-stick skillet. If you don’t, then a little bit of oil wiped across the pan should do the trick. So much oil will come out of the parts anyway, that adding a bunch to the pan would be a waste of good oil.

  2. Carla January 29, 2015 at 6:22 PM - Reply

    I can’t wait to try this recipe. I’m glad I found this website. I’m started my weight loss journey and needed some help. I think this is the right sight for me.

  3. Tanya February 1, 2015 at 6:42 PM - Reply

    Nice!! I gotta try this!

  4. Brittany February 7, 2015 at 7:26 PM - Reply

    This was BOMB!

  5. Candace February 8, 2015 at 5:56 PM - Reply

    What temperature do you bake it?

    • Erika Nicole Kendall February 9, 2015 at 11:32 AM - Reply

      Start by pre-heating your oven to 400 degrees, which is the temp at which you’ll bake. πŸ™‚

  6. Jhenny February 8, 2015 at 8:01 PM - Reply

    What temperature should the oven be?

  7. Cicely Jackson February 10, 2015 at 1:39 PM - Reply

    I am going to try this tonight! Thanks! Congrats on the new baby!

  8. Shannon February 12, 2015 at 11:43 PM - Reply

    I tried this. IDK, it just tasted like roasted chicken to me. It was good, though. The other oven fried chicken recipe is more like fried chicken IMO.

    • Erika Nicole Kendall February 15, 2015 at 11:56 AM - Reply

      If you didn’t get the crunch, either one of two things happened: Either you didn’t cook it long enough in the skillet, or the heat wasn’t high enough/it wasn’t cooked long enough in the oven.

      Unless you used skinless chicken thigh, you should definitely get the same result. Sorry this didn’t turn out for you this time! πŸ™

  9. Saba February 16, 2015 at 5:13 PM - Reply

    Amazing recipes Erika! Would you know the amount of calories in a serving of this? Thanks πŸ™‚

    • Erika Nicole Kendall February 17, 2015 at 9:58 AM - Reply

      No, I don’t, but I’d imagine it’s whatever the calorie count is for regular roasted chicken thigh, but with reduced fat quantity.

  10. Pen March 5, 2015 at 3:02 PM - Reply

    Trying this tonight. Thanks!

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