Braised chicken thighs are very high on my list of family friendly dishes. It comes together in about an hour and the process literally couldn’t be any easier. My recipe uses plenty of vegetables and it serves the best with rice, since there is plenty of delicious sauce to pour over it.
NOTE: I’m using a large oven safe pan today, since the braising starts on the stovetop, but the final 15 minutes of magic happen in the oven. I’m making this to make sure the skin on our chicken thighs becomes nice and crisp. In case you don’t have a pan like this, transfer the chicken thighs into a baking dish once fully cooked and broil them for a few minutes in the oven.
What Does It Mean To Braise Meat?
It’s simple, braising basically means to cook the meat partially submerged in some liquid. We can use stock, broth, wine, beer, water… or a combination, depending on the recipe.
You can braise basically any type of meat, even the toughest and cheapest cuts. But today, we are making braised chicken thighs, so let’s stick to that. I wrote a bit more about the method in another recent recipe here on my blog, check this Braised beef recipe to find out more.
8 chicken thighs – use as many as you can fit into the pan in one layer
10 cherry tomatoes
1 small zucchini
1 medium red onion
4-5 garlic cloves
1 bell pepper (yellow or red)
2 spring onions
2-3 tablespoons of butter
Salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon of red paprika
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1.5 cups chicken broth or stock
How to Make Braised Chicken Thighs
Watch the video recipe or scroll down for step by step instructions:
Let’s start by seasoning our chicken thighs. Go in with a splash of olive oil and properly coat each piece with it, from both sides. The olive oil will serve as a binder, so that all the other seasonings stick to the thighs better.
Next comes a generous amount of salt and of course, some freshly ground black pepper. I’m also using a simple blend of spices that I’ve made. It consists of garlic powder, red paprika and onion powder mixed with a 1-1-1 ratio. I have used about 3 teaspoons of this mix in total. In case you have some favorite spice mixture of yours, feel free to use that one.
Flip the thighs now and properly season the other side as well. Don’t be afraid to go a bit heavier with the spices, chicken thighs are quite large and the seasonings will also make the sauce taste better. The sauce is actually what makes this recipe special!
Use your hands to make sure that all parts of the chicken are properly seasoned, flip them around a few times so that all the spices stick to the skin and meat. Once seasoned, set them aside and let marinate for a few minutes, unless you are in a hurry.
To further improve the final flavor, it’s a good idea to brown the chicken thighs first, before braising. So let’s do that. Heat up some olive oil in a large oven safe pan, skillet or some other dish with a large flat bottom that you have a lid for.
NOTE: In case that you don’t have a lid for the dish you decided to work with, you can always use aluminum foil. One way or another, the dish needs to be covered with something when braising, that’s a must.
Add the thighs into the pan and brown them on high heat from both sides. This will take just a short while, maybe 3 or 4 minutes per side.
Once browned, remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
Let’s prepare the vegetable base now. Drop 2 or 3 tablespoons of butter into the pan and let it melt. It will mix nicely with the drippings from our chicken thighs.
Proceed with adding the vegetables. I have already cut all of them into smallish chunks as you can see on the photo. Today, I’m using 4 cloves of garlic, one medium sized yellow bell pepper, about 10 cherry tomatoes, 1 small zucchini, 1 medium sized red onion and 2 spring onions.
Note: These are my preferred types of veggies to use when making braised chicken thighs. You can use the same ones or replace some, in case there is something you don’t like. This recipe is very versatile, use whatever vegetables you want.
Mix the veggies up with the buttery base and add a touch of Italian herbs. As mentioned earlier, when braising chicken thighs we need some liquid in the pan so go on with one and a half cups of chicken broth or stock and mix it with the veggies.
I love the smell of rosemary, so let me add 2 sprigs into the pan. Thyme or oregano would work well with this braised chicken thighs recipe as well!
Now return the browned chicken thighs back to the pan. Place them atop of the vegetables, so they are not fully submerged in the liquids, if possible.
Cover the pan with the lid, turn the heat down to medium and braise the chicken thighs and vegetables for about 30 to 40 minutes, based on the size of the thighs used.
Once the meat is tender enough for a fork to slide in and out easily, it’s time for the next step.
Grab the pan and put it into the oven. I’ve preheated it to 250 C or 475 F. Give it about 15 minutes or until the skin becomes golden brown and crispy. You can also use the broiling mode for the final 5 minutes.
And this is what these finished braised chicken thighs look like. I think these turned out really great. A bit of chopped parsley for garnish and we are ready to serve.
My preferred side dish to serve with this dish is definitely rice. There is a lot of delicious sauce waiting in the pan, it would be a sin not to use it. And rice definitely soaks it up the best. Alternatively, you can use mashed potatoes as well, that would be my second choice.
Optional Tips And Q&As
- Don’t like chicken thighs? This recipe would work great with chicken drumsticks too. The only change would be a slightly shorter braising time.
- How long does this meal stay good for? You can safely store this dish in the fridge for 3 days.
- How to reheat braised chicken thighs? Microwave is probably the easiest option in this case.
- Is this dish suitable for freezing? Not really, cooked vegetables do not freeze the best, they would most likely fall apart while defrosting.
- You can make this dish even better by adding a glass of dry red wine, do this at the same time as adding the butter and give it a few minutes so the alcohol evaporates.
- Looking for an alternative braised chicken recipe? Try this one with olives and herbs.
Braised Chicken Thighs
- 8 chicken thighs
- 10 cherry tomatoes
- 1 small zucchini
- 1 medium red onion
- 4-5 garlic cloves
- 1 bell pepper yellow or red
- 2 spring onions
- 2-3 tablespoons of butter
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon of red paprika
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon of onion powder
- 1.5 cups chicken broth or stock
- Start by seasoning the chicken thighs. Coat them with olive oil, then add salt and black pepper from both sides. I’m also using a premade spice mixture that consists of just red paprika, garlic powder and onion powder with a 1-1-1 ratio. Feel free to use your favorite blend of spices instead.
- If you have the time, let the meat marinade for at least 1 hour, the chicken will be more flavorful this way.
- Heat up a splash of olive oil in a large oven safe pan and brown the chicken thighs from both sides. 3 to 4 minutes per side is enough.
- Once browned, remove the thighs from the pan and set aside.
- Add 3-4 tablespoons of butter into the pan and let it melt. Add all the vegetables now. I’m using garlic, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, red onion and spring onions. Feel free to modify this to your likings.
- Mix the vegetables with the buttery base and add a touch of Italian herbs.
- Pour in about 1 and a half cups of chicken broth or stock. I love rosemary so I’m adding 2 sprigs as well.
- Now place the chicken thighs back into the pan. Place them atop of the vegetables so they are not fully submerged in the liquids.
- Cover the pan with a lid and keep braising on medium heat for about 30-40 minutes, based on how large the thighs are.
- Check the thighs now, once the meat is tender enough for a fork to slide in easily, it’s time for the next step.
- I love my chicken with a crispy skin so it’s time for the oven. Preheat it to 250C / 475F and place the pan inside, without the lid this time.
- Bake the thighs for about 15 minutes or until the skin is golden and the meat is fully cooked and super tender. You can also use the broiling mode for the final 5 minutes or so.
- Serve the finished braised chicken thighs with a side of rice or mashed potatoes.