Cast Iron Skillet Chicken Thighs

Cooking chicken using this method is so simple and will result in perfect chicken thighs every time! Plus, the roasted garlic is amazing.

Overhead picture of cooked chicken thighs.

Chicken thighs seem to always end up being the least enjoyed portion of a chicken. Obviously chicken breasts are really popular and extremely versatile. Chicken wings are the ultimate in pub and game-day food. Even drumsticks are more popular than the thigh. Anytime we order a bucket of fried chicken, it is the thighs that are left at the bottom of the bucket.

But, with this recipe, the chicken thigh will no longer be the last chosen, but quite possibly become the most requested. These cast iron chicken thighs are juicy and have a ridiculously crispy skin. You might almost think it came from your favourite fried chicken restaurant.

Cooked chicken in a skillet.

What Makes These Chicken Thighs So Good?

These chicken thighs are cooked using two different cooking methods but they stay in the cast iron skillet the whole time. First, they are pan fried on the stovetop and then they are placed in the oven to finish cooking.

The end result of this method is a skin is super crispy while the meat is tender and juicy. I am not overstating it when I say that these chicken thighs are addictive. Every time I make them, these get gobbled up really quick. There are never leftovers.

Raw chicken in some hot oil.

Ingredient Notes

  • Chicken Thighs – I use ‘bone in – skin on’, chicken thighs. While you can use boneless and skinless thighs, you will be missing out on so much flavour. This method truly works best with the skin still on.
  • Garlic Cloves – whole cloves and lots of them!!
  • Oil – I use vegetable oil, but any oil that can handle high heat will work fine.
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Expert Tip! Be careful not to overcrowd the cast iron skillet. I could have squeezed a couple more thighs in the skillet, but that will reduce how well the skin renders. I find that in my cast iron skillet, six is the perfect number of chicken thighs.

Raw chicken and garlic in a pan.

Start Frying On The Stovetop

Start by preheating the oven to 425F. Heat the oil in a cast iron skillet on medium high heat.

Season both sides of the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Once the oil is hot, slowly lower the chicken thighs, skin side down.  Lowering the chicken thighs into the oil slowly, helps the skin create a sear which will prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the skillet.

A pair of tongs flipping over a piece of chicken in a frying pan.

Time To Add The Garlic!

After the chicken thighs have been in the skillet for 5 minutes, toss in the garlic cloves all around the chicken thighs. Continue to pan fry for another 10 minutes.

Expert Tip! Before the skillet goes in the oven, I like to move the thighs around and just lift them up to ensure that they are not stuck to the bottom of the skillet. Trust me when I say that the smell is incredible!

Partially cooked chicken in a cast iron skillet and placed in an oven.

In The Oven It Goes

Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. While this is baking, the skin will be rendering and producing a super tasty and crispy skin.

Baked chicken thighs with roasted garlic.

How Long To Bake Chicken Thighs

After they have baked for 15 minutes, flip the chicken thighs so the skin side is up. I also like to turn the garlic cloves so the other side can crisp up.

Continue to bake for another 10 minutes. By this time, the chicken thighs should be fully cooked and likely have an internal temperature around 180F. Take the skillet out of the oven and let the chicken thighs rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Overhead picture of cooked chicken thighs.

Even though there are very few ingredients, these chicken thighs are packed with flavour. They are nice and garlicky with the perfect balance of salt and pepper.

Don’t be surprised if the first thing you do with these chicken thighs is pull off and eat the skin. So good!!!!!

Baked chicken and garlic.

More Chicken Recipes!

This is essentially a base recipe for how to cook the chicken thighs using this method. Instead of the garlic, salt and pepper, you can use different seasonings, marinades and sauces. Here is a recipe using the same cook method but using citrus and an asian marinade: Tangerine Chicken Thighs.

Here are other great chicken recipes.

Cast Iron Chicken Thigh Recipe

4.70 out of 5
10 reviews
The ultimate recipe for cooking chicken thighs in a cast iron skillet. Start on the stovetop and finish in the oven.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Resting Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 6 thighs


  • 6 chicken thighs , bone in and skin on
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 12 garlic cloves


  • Preheat oven to 425F. Heat oil in cast iron skillet over medium high heat.
  • Season both sides of the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Place chicken thighs, skin side down and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Place the garlic cloves in the cast iron skillet all around the chicken thighs. Cook for another 10 minutes.
  • Place the cast iron skillet in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Use tongs to flip the chicken thighs so the skin side is up and bake another 10 minutes or until the chicken thighs register an internal temperature of 180F. 
  • Remove from the oven and let the chicken thighs rest for 5 minutes. 
  • Serve.


Per serving:

Calories: 318kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 18gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 110mgSodium: 475mg

Nutrition Disclaimer


Overhead picture of cooked chicken thighs.

Did you try this recipe?

Leave a comment and let me know how it turned out. Or, take a picture to share on Instagram and tag me @theblackpeppercorn.

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Recipe Rating


  • 5 stars
    This recipe is simply awesome! I’ve made it for several years, and we all love it! 😋 Just today, I looked you and the recipe up so I could share it with others. 😃

    • Reply
  • 4 stars
    I think because I used half as many chicken thighs the pan didn’t cool down as much as yours when I initially placed them in it. After the first 5 minutes at mendium high the skin was starting to burn.

    • Reply
  • 5 stars
    OMG….This was amazing. We loved it and it was sooo easy. I used 2 leg quarters instead and it worked out wonderfully. I did cut the legs from the thighs. yummy – thanks for the recipe Steve

    • Reply
  • 5 stars
    Hi Steve,
    I made this chicken yesterday and it was to die for! Delicious! I accidentally found your website but I’m sure glad I did! Gonna try some of your other recipes!
    Thank you Steve!

    • Reply
    • Hello Pauline! Thanks for stopping by. I am so glad you enjoyed the chicken. It is my favourite way to cook thighs. So good!!

      • Reply
  • 5 stars
    Tried this the other night, Wow! Best chicken I have ever made or had in my life! I cooked it for my girl and I and she thought so as well. Thank you for making me look good. 😁

    • Reply
  • Recipe turned out perfect! Meat was very flavorful.
    During this “Stay Home” Monday, my home smelled like a “Soul Food Sunday Afternoon”!

    • Reply
  • Should I decrease time using only 3 thighs?

    • Reply
    • I have not tried it with just three, but I think the cooking time should remain the same. If anything, maybe start checking it a little earlier to see if they are done.

      • Reply
  • 5 stars
    We love this recipe! It tastes great and is simple to make without using tons of dishes to prepare it. It makes a great meal to make in the middle of the week when you come home tired from work and don’t exactly feel like watching over a hot stove.

    • Reply
  • 5 stars
    Delicious! My boyfriend and I made these the other night. We loved it so much we went out and bought more chicken thighs to make it again tonight. The skin comes out perfectly crispy and the flavour is amazing! Thanks for the recipe 🙂

    • Reply
  • 5 stars
    Personally, I love chicken thighs. I find them to be much more satisfying and appealing than drum sticks or wings. I like this particular recipe because they are pan fried rather than simply backed in an oven. Not everyone likes Garlic however, so if you’re looking for an alternative to Garlic Cloves, I like using Apple Slices and Shallots with this recipe.

    • Reply
  • Every time I make this my smoke alarm goes off… any ideas for how to prevent this? At first I thought it was the garlic burning, but the second time I did it without the garlic, the smoke alarm still went off.

    • Reply
    • I just open a window and turn on the hood above the stove. That keeps the smoke to a minimum.

      • Reply
  • 3 stars
    Bit splattery. How would it come out if I put a lid on it?

    • Reply
    • I use a piece of foil loosely sitting on top of the pan. Then I take off the foil during the last 10 minutes of oven cooking and it comes out great!

      • Reply
  • SO glad chicken thighs were on sale at our local grocer’s this week — good eatin’ for a mere pittance. I agree, they’re often overlooked and underappreciated, but they’re my hubby ‘n’ my favorite “chicken part.” Juicy and flavorful! Thanks for your tips on crisping up the skin, too, Steve.

    • Reply

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