Perfect Pan Seared Chicken Thighs
There’s only one word to describe these incredible, pan-seared chicken thighs: PERFECT. Juicy bone-in chicken thighs, seared until crispy then oven-roasted and finished with a rich white wine pan sauce. It’s a gourmet recipe that’s surprisingly easy, but elegant enough to impress any guest.
🍗 What Makes This Recipe So Good
- This recipe for pan-seared chicken thighs is one that everyone in my family has requested for almost every special occasion for years. Of course, I’m happy to oblige because it’s a super simple recipe that doesn’t take much time or effort at all… even though it looks (and tastes) elegant and delicate.
- The combination of cooking methods is what puts this chicken dish over the top! The chicken thighs are seared until the skins are beautifully crispy, almost as if you fried them. After that, they’re oven-roasted to perfection, ensuring the chicken is cooked through while staying tender and juicy. It’s a total 1-2 punch that absolutely makes this recipe.
- Of course, there’s a simple pan sauce that completes the whole dish. It’s a combination of shallots, white wine, chicken stock, butter, and fresh herbs that tastes totally gourmet – and is totally foolproof. It’s really versatile, though, so feel free to swap out ingredients for whatever you like best. You can even give the chicken thighs a nice dry rub if you want.
👩🏼🍳 Chef’s Tips
- Don’t force the chicken thighs out of the skillet. Seriously. Once you place them in the pan, leave them alone the entire 7-8 minutes. After that, try to lift them very, very gently. If they don’t release easily, let them sear another minute and then try again. Keep repeating the process until the skins do release easily – that’s the key to getting perfectly crispy chicken thighs in a skillet!
- If you’ve got time to spare and you really, really want to take this recipe to the next level, use my quick chicken brine on your chicken thighs before you begin this recipe. The brine flavors the chicken from the inside out, but it also makes the meat SUPER moist. That gives you a little buffer in case you forget to set your timer. 😉 Just be sure to pat the chicken completely dry before searing it, otherwise you won’t get that crispy chicken skin.
- Now that you know the magic method for perfectly pan-seared chicken thighs, you can use it for literally any recipe that calls for bone-in, skin-on chicken. No, really! I use it all the time myself. Maybe you recognize it from my cranberry apple chicken thighs recipe?
More of Our Favorite Chicken Skillet Recipes
Perfect Pan-Seared Chicken Thighs
For the Chicken Thighs
- 4 medium bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs approximately 1 ½-2 pounds
- sea salt to taste
- 2 teaspoons neutral oil avocado oil, refined, coconut oil, olive oil, etc.
For the Sauce
- ½ cup finely minced shallots
- 1 cup dry white wine or chicken stock
- 1 ⅓ cups chicken stock
- ¼-½ cup finely chopped fresh herbs thyme, rosemary, sage, etc.
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter or ghee; at room temperature, cubed
Serving Suggestions (All Optional)
- mashed potatoes or steamed potatoes
- pasta of choice
- Cutting board
- Paper towels
- Large oven-safe skillet
- internal meat thermometer
- Large plate
- wire whisk or silicone spatula
- Preheat oven to 375° Fahrenheit. Adjust oven racks as needed so that skillet sits in center of oven.
- Place chicken thighs on cutting board. Pat chicken completely dry on all sides with paper towels. Liberally season chicken with sea salt, then flip chicken over and salt other side. Set chicken aside.
- Heat skillet over medium-high heat. When pan is very hot, add oil and swirl pan to distribute oil evenly across pan surface. Continue heating pan until oil is hot and shimmery.
- When oil is hot, place chicken thighs in skillet skin-side down. Sear chicken thighs 7 to 8 minutes or until skin is golden brown and releases easily from pan. If skin sticks to pan, continue searing until skins release easily.
- Flip chicken thighs over, then immediately place skillet in preheated oven. Roast chicken thighs 15 minutes, or until internal temperature of chicken reaches 162° to 163° Fahrenheit. Note: skillet will be very hot. Always use potholder when moving skillet or checking chicken temperature.
- Once temperature is reached, carefully remove skillet from oven. Transfer chicken thighs to plate and set aside.
- Discard all but 2 tablespoons chicken fat from skillet, then return skillet to heat. Reduce heat to medium-low.
- Allow skillet to cool slightly, then add minced shallots. Sauté shallots, stirring frequently, approximately 2 to 3 minutes or until softened.
- When shallots have softened, add white wine to deglaze skillet. Stir to incorporate wine, making sure to scrape up any browned bits of chicken that might be stuck to bottom of skillet.
- Increase heat under skillet to medium-high. Allow mixture to boil until liquid is reduced by 50%.
- Add chicken stock to skillet and bring liquid to boil again. Boil mixture until liquid has reduced by 50%. Mixture should be slightly thick, resembling sauce rather than soup.
- Stir in fresh herbs of choice, then remove skillet from heat. Allow mixture to cool slightly, then add butter and whisk until butter is completely melted. Taste sauce and add salt as desired.
- Plate chicken thighs with sides of choice. Ladle butter sauce over chicken thighs and serve immediately.
- Shallots: Minced garlic and finely chopped onion can be used in place of the shallots for a slightly different flavor.
- Dry White Wine: I recommend pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc for recipes like this.
- Make it Alcohol Free: Replace the white wine with additional chicken stock, or use no-sugar-added apple juice.
- Make it Paleo: Replace wine with chicken stock. Use ghee instead of butter.
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.
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