There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who like dark meat, and those who look great in bikinis. For the 95% of us, this list is for you.
Packed with relatively lean protein, chicken thighs are the most versatile and cheapest option you could hope for. They work in any recipe, including often being a lighter substitute for pork, and they save your budget! So go ahead, get two bottles of wine because you were smart and got thighs. Worth their weight in gold, these babies. Like Bey, we like our thighs thick, golden brown, and forgiving.
1. Chicken Katsu
Better than take-out, and so easy, this is what chicken tenders grow up to become. Get the recipe here.
2. Slow-Cooker Chicken Thighs with Olives and Fennel
Hailing from Southern France, this dish feels fancy enough for impressing friends while coming together in mere minutes. Get our Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs with Olives and Fennel recipe.
3. Cracklin’ Chicken
This is better than what I imagine smoking crack must be like. Listen up kids, this chicken is actually better than hypothetical drugs! Get our Cracklin' Chicken recipe.
3. Rhubarb Braised Chicken
Tart and savory, like an agro-dolce, this is the perfect use for end-of-summer rhubarb. Get our Rhubarb Braised Chicken recipe.
4. Creamy Garlic Chicken Thighs
The title kind of captures this one. Perfection. Get the recipe here.
5. Thai Green Curry Chicken Thighs
When you’ve had the garlic and white wine preparation twice this week and still have some thighs to cook in the fridge, this will transform them into dinner that feels entirely different. Get our Thai Green Curry Chicken Thighs recipe.
6. Braised Buffalo Chicken
Your go-to late night craving gets the gourmet treatment here. Get our Braised Buffalo Chicken recipe.
7. Chicken Piccata With Lemon and Capers
A total classic due to the elegant balance of brine, acidity, and tender chicken. Get the recipe here.
8. Korean Grilled Chicken
Summer is wrapping up, but that doesn’t mean the grill is gone! These stay juicy even on a hot grill when you’re grabbing a beer and forget about them for a little while. Get our Korean Grilled Chicken recipe.
9. Roasted Thighs with Clementines and Arak
These thighs get glazed in sweet citrus, then caramelized to perfection. Get the recipe here.
10. Oven Fried Chicken with Honey Mustard Glaze
Crisp chicken with honey mustard that I can eat like an adult instead of scarfed off the kids menu? Done. Get the recipe here.
11. Buttermilk Baked Chicken Thighs
Just like your favorite deep fried gut bomb, only a touch lighter. Is diet fried chicken a thing? If so, it looks like this. Get the recipe here.
Vanessa W. Simmons is a former cook living in San Francisco, helping to run a food business. She's probably hungry, but if not she could eat.