With enough sophistication for family Sunday dinners, yet simple and easy enough for a quick weeknight dish, these pan-roasted jerk chicken thighs are the perfect main dish chicken entree.
So what’s the scenario? I want fried chicken, but don’t really want fried chicken. These pan-roasted chicken thighs are the solution. You get serious crispiness and a tender and juicy inside without frying and all the extra work that comes with it. I want jerk chicken, but don’t want to fire up the grill, then I guess its baked jerk chicken in the form of these pan-roasted thighs.
As a kid I preferred white meat, particularly breasts, but out of disappointment associated with black alpha male hierarchy I discovered the wonders of chicken thighs. In my house, the big dog in the house got the big piece of chicken which was always the breast.
I’m not sure if I were really ever into breasts; it was more about challenging tradition, rules, and authority. At the end of the day, I found my way and subscribed to the low end theory and passed on the thigh trait to my son. I ain’t mad nor bugging out, cause everything is fair when you’re living in the city. Keep your breasts and wings, cause thighs are that beautiful jazz we got!
Pan Roasted Chicken Thighs Ingredients
Skin-On, Bone-In Chicken Thighs
All the ingredients are pretty hands-free so offer quick and easy, babysitting free cooking. The ingredients are few, however, what’s pan roasted chicken without technique? Pay attention to the details with this recipe. Cook the thighs skin side down in a cast-iron skillet to render out the fat and make the skin as crisp as possible. When you’re done the chicken skin should feel like well cooked crispy bacon. The taste should be of the charts as well with jerk flavor coming through below and above the surface of the skin.
How To Make Jerk Chicken in Skillet (Step By Step)
Step 1: Season the Chicken
Liberally rub the seasoning mix all over the chicken. Using your finger lift up the middle part of the skin and apply some of the rub underneath the skin. Note you want to leave the edges of the skin attached to the chicken
Step 2: Brown the chicken
Heat oil in a cast-iron or heavy nonstick skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking. Nestle chicken in skillet, skin side down, and cook 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-high; continue cooking skin side down, occasionally rearranging chicken thighs and rotating pan to evenly distribute heat, until fat renders and skin is golden brown, about 8-10 minutes.
Step 3: Roast the chicken
Preheat oven 475 degrees F. Transfer skillet to oven and cook 10 more minutes. Flip chicken; continue cooking until skin crisps and meat is cooked through, about 5 minutes longer. Finish the chicken with a last sprinkle of seasoning.
These jerk chicken thighs pair well with any side. I decided to make jerk bowls so added smashed sweet potatoes, creamy grits, and Swiss chard. The sweet potatoes provide balance against the slight heat from the jerk seasoning.
The savory creaminess of the grits offers a contrast texturally to the sweet potatoes rendered crispy from the duck fat and the crispy thighs. The chard picked right from my garden for some farm to table action lightens the dish up and along with the citrus used in the sauce helps cut through the fat from the duck and that rendered from the chicken thighs.
Also, try them with any of these:
Expert Cooking Tips For Pan-Roasting Jerk Chicken Thighs
- Generously season the chicken below the skin as well as on the skin
- Use bone-in, skin-on thighs. They are more flavorful and the skin, when cooked properly, provides the crispiness. They are also budget friendly.
- Let the cast-iron skillet work its magic, so resist the urge to constantly move and check the chicken. The crispy skin is the foundation, the SHOW, for this dish, and frequent checking impedes this
- Let the chicken come to room temperature before cooking.
- Dry the chicken with a paper towel before cooking. Dry surface area helps to keep the chicken from sticking during cooking
- This recipe can get smoky so turn the vents on high and/or open your windows. Otherwise, you’ll be fanning your smoke alarm vents a while
For similar recipes you might like, try one of these:
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- 4 skin-on bone-in chicken thighs
- 2 tbsp Dry Jerk Spice
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Preheat oven to 475°. Season chicken with jerk spice, salt and pepper.
- Heat oil in a 12" cast-iron or heavy nonstick skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking. Nestle chicken in skillet, skin side down, and cook 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-high; continue cooking skin side down, occasionally rearranging chicken thighs and rotating pan to evenly distribute heat, until fat renders and skin is golden brown, about 10 minutes.
- Transfer skillet to oven and cook 10 more minutes. Flip chicken; continue cooking until skin crisps and meat is cooked through, about 5 minutes longer.
- Transfer to a plate; let rest 5 minutes before serving.