One of my most common dinners to cook is chicken. But sometimes it can become pretty boring and mundane to cook chicken over and over the same way. And it can be so discouraging to go through the whole ordeal of, “Hey Mom, what’s for dinner?…Oh no, chicken again?!?!”
Well, what if you were able to respond to that question by saying, “Curry,” or “Fajitas,” or “We’re going to barbecue!” Doesn’t that sound way better than just hollering back, “Chicken!”
That’s why I am offering you some different ideas of how to spice it up in the kitchen and show you that there is quite a lot of interesting ways to cook chicken thighs.
Why Chicken Thighs
Most often I buy chicken thighs because I find that they are juicer and more flavorful than breasts and they happen to be a more economical choice which is always a bonus. They also cook up very quickly making it a great choice when your schedule is tight.
I do make sure to buy good quality chicken that is raised without antibiotics, free-range, non-gmo, and organic when possible. I aim for around one to one and a half pounds of chicken to feed my family (2 adults and two teens).
Chicken thighs are a good source of animal protein and are also higher in fat content than chicken breasts. But don’t be scared, this is monounsaturated fat, the good kind of fat that provides the nutrients our bodies and brains need.
Chicken thighs are also rich in vitamins and minerals. This makes them a nutrient-dense food that will satisfy your hunger and provide nourishment.
6 Different Ways To Cook Chicken Thighs
Here are my top six ways to cook chicken thighs!
- BBQ Chicken Thighs – Marinated and cooked on the grill, add your choice of BBQ sauce and your favorite sides for a delicious quick and simple dinner.
- Chicken Fajitas – In the mood for Mexican food? Fajitas are fancy, fun and surprisingly easy to make.
- Chicken Curry – Yes you can make Indian food too! In a hurry? Use a pre-made delicious curry sauce to move this meal along. Serve over rice with some toasted naan.
- Oven Roasted Chicken – A classic and hearty meal when paired with potatoes and served with a green salad.
- Chicken Noodle Soup – Warm and cozy with all the comfort you need on a chilly day. Simmer this on your stove-top or put it in your slow cooker while you are away for the day.
- Stir-Fry – Super flavorful and not difficult to pull off with the right sauces and spices. Can be cooked with simple ingredients you have regularly on-hand or splurge for more exotic ingredients if you want!
My favorite thing about these ideas is that they are all so unique in flavor and varied in cuisine types that you won’t get bored!
It is probably easiest to cook these meals by following recipes. This will help you get the feel for measurements and ratios of ingredients as well as what tastes good together.
It will also help you get your timing correct for how long to cook certain things before adding other ingredients. For example, you may not want to throw in all your veggies at the same time. If you are cooking broccoli and sliced mushrooms, you would wait to add the mushrooms since broccoli takes a lot longer to cook.
With practice, you will be able to cook things without referencing the recipe that much! Another thing you’ll notice is that you might use a recipe for awhile and then start making it your own by trying different ingredients and adding your personal touch! Who knows, someday you may be writing your own recipes to share!
A Note About Chicken Breasts
I am a fan of chicken thighs and cook them 95% of the time over chicken breasts. But if you prefer chicken breasts then by all means you should cook them instead! Each of these dinner ideas work well with either. Just keep in mind that chicken breasts may take a bit longer to cook through.
How Long Do you Need To Cook Chicken?
Generally speaking, after some experience, when you are making any of the above meals, you probably won’t be checking the temperature of your chicken. You will be able to tell by feel, look and if the juice is pink or clear. However, it is good to know that meat on thighs tends to be more pink and this is not the best indicator of the meat being cooked.
When you are starting out, I would recommend investing in a good meat thermometer so that you can feel confident that it is accurate and your meat is fully cooked. The recommended internal temperature for chicken is 165° F. However, I usually allow chicken thighs to go longer as it makes the meat more tender and juicy (opposite for chicken breasts!) The following safe-temperature chart is from the USDA:
|Product||Minimum Internal Temperature & Rest Time|
|Beef, Pork, Veal & Lamb Steaks, chops, roasts||145 °F (62.8 °C) and allow to rest for at least 3 minutes|
|Ground Meats||160 °F (71.1 °C)|
|Ground Poultry||165 °F|
|Ham, fresh or smoked (uncooked)||145 °F (62.8 °C) and allow to rest for at least 3 minutes|
|Fully Cooked Ham (to reheat)||Reheat cooked hams packaged in USDA-inspected plants to 140 °F (60 °C) and all others to 165 °F (73.9 °C).|
|All Poultry (breasts, whole bird, legs, thighs, wings, ground poultry, giblets, and stuffing)||165 °F (73.9 °C)|
|Eggs||160 °F (71.1 °C)|
|Fish & Shellfish||145 °F (62.8 °C)|
|Leftovers||165 °F (73.9 °C)|
|Casseroles||165 °F (73.9 °C)|
This chart is from USDA https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/food-safety-basics/safe-temperature-chart
Don’t be a boring cook! Just remember that it is helpful to plan your meals ahead; that way you can be prepared to cook up some amazing dinners when you feel like adding a little pizzazz to the kitchen.
I’d love to hear from you! Do you prefer chicken thighs or chicken breasts? Do you have any different ideas for meals to add to the list?
And as always, if you have any questions, comments, or tips you’d like to share please reach out in the comment section below and I will get back to you!
See you next time In The Kitchen With Me!
6 thoughts on “Different Ways To Cook Chicken Thighs”
Glad I found this, chicken is my favorite and my biggest source of protein (I work out, or try haha), but my cooking was getting boring with the same breaded and skillet chicken.
Been getting chicken breast this whole time, time to try some more thighs then, that chicken curry and naan sounds amazing. Which is just favorite dish out of all these? I’m curious to know, so I can start from there and see, thank you!
I like to work out too! It’s hard for me to pick a favorite! Top two for me right now are the fajitas and roasted chicken. I’ve been roasting a whole chicken every other week and making bone broth after. The collagen from that will support your bones and joints after working out! Hope you enjoy some of the reicpes! Will be adding more soon.
If I could, I would eat chicken at the least every other day haha, but the lack of variety wouldn’t be good for my health I think 😉 Anyway, I could still make different types of recipes with chicken. Would you happen to know where I can find Mediterranean recipes with chicken and spicy herbs, for example? Or different kinds of sauces, like for the barbecue? thank you for this oversight.
I haven’t cooked too many Mediterranean dishes but when I search for recipes I like to browse Yummly and Allrecipes for ideas. Barbecue sauce is pretty simple to make, I will add a recipe for that. But sometimes, I just use BBQ sauce from the store.
Thank you for your feedback!
Thanks for sharing temps for cooked meats! I’m always looking that up!
I’m glad you found the chart useful. Thanks for reading!