Pan Fried Chicken Thighs

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These pan fried chicken thighs (a.k.a. pan seared chicken thighs) are an essential recipe for busy weeknights, quick healthy dinners, or anytime you have an extra pack of chicken to use! I’ll show you how to make chicken thighs on the stovetop super fast — they go with everything from salad to pastas. And best of all, pan frying chicken thighs makes the meat super juicy and flavorful with minimal ingredients.

Like my recipe for creamy garlic chicken thighs, this pan fried version cooks meat quickly right on the stovetop — but simplifies the process even more with pantry seasonings and a quicker pan sauce.

Why You’ll Love This Pan Fried Chicken Thighs Recipe

  • Savory, comforting flavor
  • Tender and juicy chicken
  • Easy, buttery pan sauce
  • Naturally low carb and gluten free (no flour or breading needed!)
  • Done in 20 minutes
  • An easy main dish to pair with salads, rice, or any veggie
Pan fry chicken thighs on the stovetop like shown here for an easy dinner.

Ingredients For Pan Frying Chicken Thighs

This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for frying chicken thighs in a pan, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.

  • Chicken Thighs – Pan fried bone-in chicken thighs create the juiciest results. If you prefer, you can remove the skin and bones (or buy boneless skinless chicken thighs) and make pan seared boneless chicken thighs instead. For boneless chicken, follow the same recipe, but keep in mind that boneless will cook much faster. If you want to use chicken breast, follow my pan seared chicken breast recipe instead.
  • Spices – Including sea salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper. See more seasoning ideas below!
  • Olive Oil – I like the flavor of extra virgin olive oil in this recipe, but any neutral cooking oil works.
  • Unsalted Butter – For making an easy, buttery pan sauce. Ghee would make a good whole30 substitute, and butter flavored coconut oil would work for a dairy-free or paleo swap.
  • Chicken Broth – This is used for the chicken thigh pan sauce as well. I’m using a low sodium version, as we’re going to season the meat with salt. You can also use bone broth instead.
VARIATIONS: Add different seasonings!

Ingredients for frying chicken thighs in a pan.

How To Cook Chicken Thighs In A Pan

This section shows how to pan fry chicken thighs, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique. For full instructions, see the recipe card below.

  1. Prep chicken. Pat chicken very dry with paper towels. Season on both sides with sea salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper.
  2. Sear. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken skin side down, in a single layer. Pan sear chicken thighs for 3-5 minutes on each side, flipping once, until golden and crispy.
Seasoned thighs on a cutting board.
Pan fried chicken thighs in skillet.
  1. Add butter and chicken broth. Be sure to add them around the chicken (avoid placing directly on the skin). Let the butter melt.
  2. Cook. Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and continue to cook the chicken thighs on the stovetop until they reach an internal temperature of 170 degrees F.
Butter melting in the pan.
Finished chicken thighs on the stovetop.
  1. Plate. Transfer chicken thighs in the frying pan to a plate and rest for 5 minutes. Serve with the juices from the pan.
Plated pan seared chicken thigh recipe with zucchini.

How Long To Pan Fry Chicken Thighs?

Stovetop chicken thigh recipes should cook the meat until an internal temperature reaches a minimum of 165 degrees F. However, for juicier chicken, cooking to 170 degrees F is ideal. This comes out to about 3-5 minutes per side for searing, followed by 4-8 minutes of cooking chicken thighs in the pan covered. Always use a meat thermometer to check for doneness.

Tips For The Best Pan Seared Chicken Thighs

Tips For The Best Pan Seared Chicken Thighs

If you fry chicken thighs in a pan, keep these important tips in mind.

  • Pat the chicken very dry. Don’t skip this step! It ensures the chicken gets a golden crust on the outside.
  • Start skin side down. This way, you can render some of the fat in the pan and make the skinless side easier to brown.
  • Give it space. Make sure you only cook one layer of chicken at a time in the pan, giving yourself enough space to flip it. Work in batches if needed.
  • Only flip once. The chicken will cook more evenly that way and won’t dry out.
  • Don’t forget to rest. Resting allows the juices inside the chicken to settle, so the pan fried chicken thighs stay juicy after you cut into them.

Storage Instructions

  • Store: Cool, cover, and store chicken in airtight containers in the fridge for 2-4 days.
  • Reheat: Heat in a warm skillet with the lid on, in a 300 degree F (covered in foil) until warmed through, or in a microwave at low power.
  • Freeze: Wrap chicken tightly and store in the freezer for 2-3 months. Thaw overnight before reheating.
Pan fried chicken thighs finished.

What To Serve With Stovetop Chicken Thighs

There are so many dishes that pair with this chicken! Try it with these side dishes:

More Easy Chicken Recipes

For a weeknight chicken dinner, you can’t beat these quick and easy meals!


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Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.

  1. Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towels.

  2. Season chicken thighs on both sides with sea salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper.

  3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken in a single layer, skin side down. Sear chicken thighs for 3-5 minutes, until the bottom side is golden brown and crispy.

  4. Flip the chicken and sear for 3-5 more minutes, until golden brown on the other side.

  5. Add the chicken broth and butter to the pan, around the chicken but not directly over the skin. Move the butter around, until melted.

  6. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover the pan with a lid. Cook chicken thighs on the stovetop for 4-8 more minutes, until the internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees F, preferably 170 degrees F (77 degrees C) for juicy chicken thighs.

  7. Remove the chicken from the pan and transfer to a plate. Rest for 5 minutes before serving with the pan sauce.

Recipe Notes

Serving size: 1 chicken thigh

Nutrition Facts

Amount per serving. Serving size in recipe notes above.

Calories 339

Fat 28g

Protein 21g

Total Carbs 1.1g

Net Carbs 0.9g

Fiber 0.2g

Sugar 0.2g

Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.

© Copyright Maya Krampf for Wholesome Yum. Please DO NOT SCREENSHOT OR COPY/PASTE recipes to social media or websites. We’d LOVE for you to share a link with photo instead. 🙂

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