Before I knew how to cook, every “dinner” recipe seemed like too much work. They all listed obscure ingredients like half a lemon, three olives, and a single bay leaf.
Then one day I thought “Why do I need all those extra flavorings? I like plain chicken. I’ll just cook plain chicken.” I had a jar of Italian seasoning on hand, so I put that on top. The result: shatteringly crisp, crunchy, golden-roasted nuggets of rich dark meat. And it’s just as easy as the processed stuff, if you use the shortcuts below!
This recipe is practically foolproof. I recommend skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs because: a) of course you want some of that crispy golden skin; b) you can save the bones to make chicken stock later; c) they look larger and more impressive, and we eat with our eyes as much as with our stomachs; and d) they’re hard to overcook.
The biggest mistake you can make here is not cooking them for long enough. Allow at least 1.5 to 2 hours total for this recipe.
Final tip: Make sure your kitchen is well ventilated, or everything you own will smell of rendered chicken fat. Also, have any smell-sensitive people take a walk while you cook this.
- Chicken thighs
- Italian seasoning
- Salt & pepper
- Cooking spray
- Preheat oven to 425 °F (218 °C). Line metal baking sheet and/or roasting tin(s) with tinfoil.
- Spray tinfoil with cooking spray. Lay chicken thighs on the tinfoil, skin-side up. Spray thighs with cooking spray, then season liberally with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. (Salt makes the chicken skin extra crispy.) Flip thighs over and do the same on the other side.
- Place thighs in the oven (so they go in skin-side down, to start), and leave them until they get golden and crunchy. Theoretically, you should roast for 75—100 min, flipping once halfway through cooking time, but it depends on a lot of factors so just check them every half hour. (Err on the side of more cooking time, not less, and turn the heat down to 350 °F if they seem to be getting too dark on the outside.)
 I use three items for my Costco-sized amount of chicken, ~3 kg: an IKEA roasting tin, another random metal pan, and a baking sheet I got at the dollar store. (Also where I got the tongs!)
 I like the extra-wide heavy-duty tinfoil from Costco, since I can get away with only using one layer if I’m careful not to pierce it while flipping the chicken thighs. However, I didn’t have any on hand, so I used three layers of regular tinfoil (one sheet over each side, overlapping in the middle, then a third sheet down the middle on top).
Certain observers have cried out in horror, “But what about the environment?!” To which I say: “Are you volunteering to scrub the pans?” If yes, great, I’ll drop my dirty dishes off at your place from now on.”
The alternative to tinfoil isn’t “I waste precious minutes of my life scrubbing pans and clogging my sink with chicken grease,” it’s “I give up on cooking and buy frozen chicken nuggets or get take-out instead.” This is surely better for the environment than that.
 Or drizzle on some olive oil or other cooking oil and rub it around with a pastry brush or your hands. Cooking spray is key to making this feel as easy as the frozen processed stuff, though.