Your family will love these oven-fried chicken thighs, and they couldn't be easier to prepare and bake. The panko crumb coating ensures a crispy, crunchy crust with Parmesan flavor. Plus, they're relatively light when compared to traditional deep-fried chicken. Chicken thighs are also easy on the budget, and they are juicier and more flavorful than chicken breasts. Make the recipe with whole chicken legs or chicken leg quarters if you'd like.
Panko crumbs, a dash of garlic powder, and shredded Parmesan cheese give these chicken thighs a great-tasting, crispy coating. They're dipped in a honey and mustard coating before the crumb coating is applied. See the variations for more ingredient substitutions and ideas.
The chicken thighs are delicious with biscuits, mashed potatoes, and peas or green beans, along with a salad. It's a great chicken for a picnic, too. Potato salad and coleslaw are excellent options as well.
A package of chicken thighs often contains large and small pieces. Larger chicken thighs might have enough meat—about 4 ounces—for one serving, but smaller pieces could yield as little as 2 1/2 to 3 ounces. Eight chicken thighs should be enough for a family of six. If you are feeding small children, you'll probably have leftovers.
- 8 chicken thighs (about 3 pounds, bone-in)
- 5 tablespoons melted butter
- 3 tablespoons grainy mustard or a spicy mustard
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 1/4 cups panko breadcrumbs
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese (shredded, or about 1/4 cup grated)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
- Heat the oven to 400 F. Line a large baking pan with foil and lightly grease the foil or spray it with nonstick cooking spray.
- Pat the chicken thighs with paper towels to dry and trim any excess fat or skin. The skin adds juiciness and flavor, but feel free to remove it completely if desired. Sprinkle the chicken pieces lightly with salt and pepper.
- In a small bowl, combine the melted butter with the mustard, honey or maple syrup, and garlic powder.
- In another shallow bowl, combine the panko crumbs with shredded or grated Parmesan cheese, paprika, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and parsley.
- Brush or rub the chicken thighs all over with the butter and mustard mixture and then press all sides in the panko mixture to coat thoroughly.
- Place the coated chicken thighs on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until the chicken reaches 165 F.* The juices should run clear when chicken is pierced with a fork.
* The minimum safe temperature for chicken is 165 F. If in doubt, use a reliable instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the largest chicken thigh.
- Omit the syrup or honey from the mustard mixture. Or replace the syrup or honey with cane syrup or fruit preserves.
- For additional heat, add a dash of cayenne pepper to the panko mixture.
- Replace the salt with a seasoned salt blend or a Cajun or Creole seasoning mixture.
- Make the recipe with whole chicken legs or a combination of thighs and drumsticks.