Crispy Oven Fried Chicken Thighs or Legs

Oven-Fried Chicken Thighs
Diana Rattray
  • 60 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 45 mins
  • Yield: 6 to 8 Servings
Ratings (56)

Crispy fried chicken doesn't have to be a messy, labor-intensive task. This chicken recipe uses two methods to make perfect oven-fried chicken with crispy skin and fabulous flavor. With this two-step skillet and oven method, you don't sacrifice the crunchy coating and flavor you get with deep fried chicken. 

This is an excellent way to fry chicken. The pieces are briefly fried to crisp the skin and then they're finished in the oven. There's less mess, less oil used, and the chicken is perfect every time.

If you have a favorite seasoned flour mixture, feel free to adjust the recipe. If you like spicy fried chicken, add a teaspoon or more of ground cayenne pepper to the flour along with the paprika. This is great chicken for a family meal or picnic.

I used chicken thighs in this recipe, but whole legs may be used, or use a cut-up whole chicken. Larger pieces might take longer, so check them with a dependable meat thermometer or instant-read thermometer. The minimum safe temperature for chicken is 165 F.

What You'll Need

  • 3 pounds bone-in chicken thighs (or whole legs, with skin)
  • 2 cups buttermilk (well shaken)
  • 1/2 cup hot sauce (such as Texas Pete's or Frank's)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground paprika
  • 1/2-1cup vegetable oil (for frying)

How to Make It

  1.  In a food storage bag, combine the chicken thighs with the buttermilk and hot sauce. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours or overnight.
  2. Heat the oven to 350 F.
  3. Place a rack in a large rimmed baking pan or roasting pan.
  4. Combine the flour, kosher salt, pepper, and paprika in a wide, shallow bowl or pie plate.
  5. Pour vegetable oil in a deep skillet or saucepan to a depth of about 1/2 inch.
  6. Heat the oil to 360 F.
  7. Remove the chicken pieces from the buttermilk mixture and dip in the flour mixture to coat thoroughly. Shake off excess.
  1. Arrange the coated chicken pieces in the hot oil — you might have to work in batches — and fry for about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until the coating is lightly browned. The chicken will brown more as it bakes.
  2. Remove the chicken to the rack in the baking pan.
  3. Bake the chicken thighs or legs for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the chicken registers at least 165 F on an instant-read food thermometer inserted into the thickest chicken thigh, not touching bone.

Tips and Variations

  • Replace the paprika with a good quality chili powder or salt-free Cajun or Creole seasoning.
  • Add 2 teaspoons of ground poultry seasoning and decrease the paprika to 2 teaspoons.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of onion powder and 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder to the flour mixture.

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