These tender, juicy chicken thighs develop an amazing crispy seasoned outer skin in the oven, and they take only about 40 to 45 minutes prep and cook time from start to finish. And they are surprisingly easy to fix with only five ingredients! Olive oil, garlic, and a packet of dressing mix are all you need to make this recipe.
The ranch dressing mix gives them extraordinary flavor, and they brown beautifully in the oven. You can finish them under the broiler for even crispier skin, but that probably won't be necessary. The recipe calls for bone-in chicken thighs with skin, but whole chicken legs or drumsticks would be excellent as well.
Feel free to change the seasonings to suit your taste. For extra garlic flavor, use 2 to 3 pressed cloves of garlic. And if you don't have a packet of ranch dressing mix, you can make it from scratch (see below).
The chicken is great for any night of the week, and they would be fabulous for a picnic or tailgating party. And the recipe is easily scaled up for a crowd.
- 4 to 6 chicken thighs (bone-in, with skin on)
- black pepper (to taste)
- 1 (1 oz.) packet dry ranch salad dressing mix
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 clove garlic (pressed)
- Heat the oven to 400 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet or baking pan with foil.
- Place the chicken thighs in the pan, skin-side-up, and then sprinkle them lightly with freshly ground black pepper.
- In a small bowl combine the dressing mix with the olive oil and the pressed or finely minced garlic. Blend well.
- Brush the dressing and oil mixture over the chicken thighs.
- Bake the chicken for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the thighs reach a temperature of at least 165 F (74 C), the minimum safe temperature for poultry (according to the USDA). To check the temperature, use an instant-read food thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a few of the largest chicken thighs, not touching bone.
- Note: If you are cooking the chicken in advance for a picnic or to take to an event, cool them quickly and refrigerate them until you are ready to pack the cooler. It's important to keep food at 40 F or colder. An insulated cooler with ice packs or ice should be sufficient, but don't open it until you're ready to eat. Alternatively, if you plan on serving them hot, keep the cooked chicken above 140 F for transportation and serving.
Tips and Variations
- Quick Homemade Ranch Dressing Mix Substitute - In a small bowl combine 2 tablespoons of buttermilk powder, 2 teaspoons of dried parsley, 1/2 teaspoon of onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon of dried dill weed, 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.