You only need ONE PAN to make these super crispy skin cast iron chicken thighs! A crunchy bite on the outside, the juiciest meat on the bone, and a luscious white wine pan sauce.
Why you'll love it
If you are a fan of as few dishes as possible, but still want a meal that "sticks to your bones" this recipe is for you; but there are more reasons than that to make this recipe:
It's one skillet
One skillet gets you the crunchiest skin to bite into, the chicken is baked in that same pan in the oven until the meat is juicy and falling off the bone.
The rich, delectable pan sauce is made in that very same skillet, where the chicken thighs can be nestled back into, and the entire dish can be served out of.
Easy pan sauce
Speaking of pan sauce, this stuff is soooo good and it only takes a few easy minutes.
Because it's made in the same skillet, all that flavor gets infused, much like this Roast Chicken with Apples dish. You'll want every last drop of it, so scrape it all up with a homemade Crusty Bread.
Inexpensive and fool proof
Chicken thighs are a really inexpensive cut of meat, and are much more forgiving than chicken breast. They difficult to overcook, and you can practically guarantee they'll be juicy no matter what.
Choose skin-on chicken thighs, about 2-3 pounds.
Choose a dry white wine (not sweet). Some common ones varieties of dry white wine are Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay.
How to prepare
(Full recipe instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of the page.)
Preheat your oven, and also heat the cast iron skillet up on medium high heat, and drizzle with a few tablespoons of olive oil.
Take the chicken thighs out of the package and pat dry with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture; this helps crisp the skin.
Season both sides of the chicken thighs liberally with salt and pepper and place them SKIN SIDE DOWN on the hot skillet.
Don't move them at all; allow the skin to crisp until it releases without pulling, and a nice golden brown crust has formed. It will take about 10 minutes. Once it's ready, flip each piece over to the other side.
Transfer the skillet directly to the preheated oven and bake uncovered, 20-25 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165°F with an instant read thermometer.
Use a pair of tongs or a spatula to remove each piece of chicken out of the pan and arrange on a plate. Avoid stacking them or piling them up, to keep the skin as crispy as possible. Let the chicken thighs rest for 5-10 minutes like this.
Make the sauce
While the chicken rests outside of the hot skillet, return the skillet to the stove top on medium high heat.
Leave all drippings in the pan, along with any brown bits. Add a tablespoon of flour and whisk into the grease until smooth.
Pour in the wine, the chicken broth and add the herbs and garlic cloves.
Increase the heat to high, and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, whisking occasionally for 5-7 minutes. The flavors of the herbs and garlic will infuse into the pan sauce along with the flavors in the pan.
You can fish out the herbs and garlic cloves with a slotted spoon for a smoother sauce, once it has finished reducing.
Nestle the chicken thighs into the sauce, skin side up. Remove from the skillet from the heat.
Serve chicken thighs with a bit of sauce spooned over, or drizzled on a plate to lay the chicken in.
As I mentioned before, this sauce is so rich and delicious, you might want to consider serving it with a homemade Crusty Bread to sop up every last bit.
Don't move the chicken thighs once you've placed them skin side down; you'll know it's time to flip when they release from the pan without pulling or sticking, about.
While the fat renders under the skin it can do quite a bit of splattering. Be careful of this splattering; use a splatter screen if you have one.
Don't cover the chicken with foil or a lid to prevent splattering, because it will steam the chicken and create soggy skin.
Acidic foods can break down the seasoning and oxidize the pan, but for a well used pan, most professionals agree that pan sauces among other things are safe to cook in cast iron. Here is more information and further reading.
Additional substitutions if you prefer not to use wine:
- Substitute wine with additional chicken stock/broth plus 1 teaspoon white or white wine vinegar.
- Use store bought "cooking" wine (not drinkable).
- Substitute wine with half chicken broth/stock plus apple juice.
Cast Iron Chicken Thighs with Pan Sauce
- 2-3 pounds chicken thighs bone in, skin on
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1 cup white wine dry
- 2 cups chicken broth or stock
- 2-3 cloves garlic peeled, smashed
- 3-4 sprigs thyme and rosemary can substitute 1-2 teaspoons total of dried herbs
- salt and pepper
- Heat oven to 425 degrees.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet to medium high heat.
- Pat 2-3 pounds of chicken thighs dry with a paper towel, and liberally season with salt and pepper on both sides of the chicken thighs.
- Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil on hot skillet.
- Placing chicken thighs skin side down in the skillet and don't disturb. Allow them to cook for about 10 minutes until a fat renders and golden brown crust has formed; they should pull easily away from skillet without pulling of the skin.
- Flip over the chicken thighs and transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer reads 165°F.
- Use tongs or a spatula to remove chicken thighs from the skillet, and set aside on plate. Allow them to rest for 5-10 minutes while you prepare the sauce.
- In the same skillet, whisk in a tablespoon of flour until smooth.
- On the stove top on high heat, add the cup of wine, chicken broth/stock (2 cups), garlic cloves and herb sprigs and whisk.
- Cook the liquid, herbs and garlic cloves on high heat until it has reduced by half. If desired, remove the herbs and garlics with a slotted spoon. Salt and pepper to taste if necessary.
- Return chicken thighs to pan, nestling into the pan sauce, and remove from heat.
- Pat the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel to remove moisture.
- Allowing the chicken thighs to "air out" in the fridge, uncovered for at least an hour will also dry out the skin, and make it crispier.
- Don't stack the cooked chicken thighs while they rest to avoid steaming them which will make the skin soggy.
- Don't drown the chicken thighs in sauce to serve, and wait until right before serving to spoon a little over the chicken, or under the chicken on the serving plates.