If you're in the mood for a seriously tasty chicken recipe that is easy to make, look no further than this crispy oven-baked smoked paprika chicken. You won't need to raid the entire grocery store for this one. Just a handful of simple ingredients, minimal prep time, and you're good to go. Plus, it's a win-win for all you keto and gluten-free folks out there!
Today, I want to share with you a mouthwatering and hassle-free smoked paprika chicken recipe that bursts with flavor. These juicy chicken thighs are all dressed up in smoky paprika and garlic goodness. But the real star is the crispy skin. It's seasoned to perfection, and with an incredible golden-brown crunch it complements the juicy, tender meat underneath.
So, keep scrolling to find all the ingredients, step-by-step cooking process, and cooking tips that you need to follow for a successful meal every time you make it.
Let's start with the ingredient list you'll need to create a tasty feast with tender and crispy chicken thighs with smoked paprika rub. Here's the ingredient list you'll need:
- Chicken thighs: About 4 pieces of skin-on and bone-in chicken thighs will do the trick.
- Smoked Paprika: I opted for Spanish smoked paprika to infuse the chicken thighs with its rich, smoky aroma and slightly sweet, taste.
- Garlic Salt: For that rich and slightly pungent garlic flavor, I used store-bought garlic salt. The best part is that it usually contains a mix of various herbs and spices, making it the perfect all-in-one seasoning.
- Olive oil. I included olive oil as one of the marinade ingredients to not only infuse the chicken thighs with flavor but also to help achieve that beautiful browning during cooking.
How to Make Smoked Paprika Chicken Thighs
Now that you've got everything you need, let's dive into making those mouthwatering chicken thighs! Don't worry; it's super simple. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you through the process:
- Prepare the Chicken: Start by patting the chicken thighs really dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture.
- Prepare the Paprika Rub: In a mixing bowl, combine the smoked paprika, garlic salt, and olive oil to create a flavorful marinade.
- Marinate the Chicken: Place the chicken thighs in a large resealable bag or shallow dish. Pour the marinade over the chicken, ensuring each piece is thoroughly coated. Seal the bag or cover the dish with plastic wrap, then let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour to let the flavors infuse.
- Prepare the Oven Rack: Position your oven rack in the upper-middle position to ensure even heating, with close placement to the upper heating elements for extra crunch.
- Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C) to get it nice and hot for baking the chicken thighs.
- Prepare the Baking Sheet: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil for easy cleanup. For even browning, place a wire rack on top of the baking sheet to elevate the chicken and allow air to circulate around it.
- Bake the Chicken: Place the marinated chicken thighs on the prepared baking sheet and put it in the preheated oven. Bake for about 35-45 minutes or until the chicken thighs are fully cooked, and the internal temperature reaches 165°F (75°C).
- Serve and Enjoy. Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before serving.
There you go! With these easy steps, you'll have perfectly seasoned and tender smoked paprika chicken thighs that are sure to impress.
Variations and Substitutions
- Homemade Garlic Salt. If you prefer not to use store-bought garlic salt, you can still achieve that delicious garlic flavor by using garlic powder and kosher salt instead. It's super simple – for every 2 teaspoons of garlic salt required, just combine 1 teaspoon of garlic powder or 1 tablespoon of minced garlic and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt or ¾ teaspoon of sea salt. That way, you'll have your own homemade garlic salt blend ready to go!
- Smoked Paprika Boneless and Skinless Chicken Thighs. If you decide to go with boneless and skinless chicken thighs for this recipe, make sure to adjust the cooking time. About 30 minutes in the oven should be sufficient to ensure they're perfectly cooked and tender.
- Smoked Paprika Chicken Breasts. If you plan to use boneless chicken breasts, remember to flatten the meat before marinating. Once marinated, you can cook the chicken breast in a skillet for approximately 3-4 minutes on each side over medium-high heat. Alternatively, you can cook the meat in the oven at 425°F for 15-18 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken breast.
- Adjust the Seasoning. This chicken recipe aims to create a scrumptious dish using basic ingredients. Feel free to enhance the flavors by incorporating a variety of herbs and spices, such as black pepper, cumin, cayenne pepper, or onion powder, to suit your personal taste preferences.
- How to Substitute Smoked Paprika with Regular Paprika. Substituting smoked paprika with regular paprika is possible, but it may change the overall taste. If using regular paprika, consider adding a bit of ground cumin to compensate for the loss of the smoky flavor found in smoked paprika.
Recipe Tips for Success
- Pat Chicken Dry. Patting the chicken thighs dry with paper towels is crucial for crispy skin. Removing excess moisture allows it to crisp up beautifully while cooking, enhancing the dish's texture and taste.
- Cooking Time. Keep in mind that cooking time may vary based on chicken thigh thickness and oven type. Always check the chicken's temperature to avoid under or overcooking the meat.
- Use a Baking Sheet with Rack. Cooking chicken on a wire rack makes it crispy because the air can circulate all around the chicken, cooking it evenly. The wire rack lifts the chicken, so the heat reaches all sides, including the bottom. This way, the chicken doesn't sit in its own juices, and any extra moisture and fat drip down, helping the skin become crispy and delicious.
When dealing with leftover smoked paprika chicken thighs, it's essential to prioritize safety and freshness.
If you come across any chicken thighs that have been left at room temperature for over 2 hours (or over 1 hour when the temperature exceeds 90°F), it's best to dispose of them. You can find more info about it here.
Here's how to handle leftover smoked paprika chicken thighs:
- Let them cool down completely before you put them in the fridge or freezer.
- Store them in an airtight container to preserve their flavors.
- In the fridge, your delectable chicken thighs will stay good for about 3-4 days. But if you're looking to extend their shelf life, they can be frozen for up to 3 months.
How to Reheat the Leftovers
Here's how to reheat your leftover baked smoked paprika chicken thighs to ensure they stay just as tasty as when they were fresh out of the oven:
- Preheat Your Oven: Start by preheating your oven to around 350°F (175°C). This temperature works well for reheating chicken without drying it out.
- Prepare a Baking Dish: Take an oven-safe baking dish or a baking sheet and lightly coat it with cooking spray or a thin layer of oil. This helps prevent the chicken from sticking and keeps it moist.
- Arrange the Chicken Thighs: Place the baked chicken thighs in a single layer on the baking dish. It's best not to overcrowd them to ensure even heating.
- Reheat in the Oven: Put the baking dish with the chicken thighs into the preheated oven. Let them reheat for about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the quantity and thickness of the thighs. If you have a meat thermometer, you can use it to check that the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C), ensuring the chicken is safely heated through.
- Microwave Option: If you're in a hurry, you can use the microwave to reheat small portions of chicken thighs. Simply place the chicken thighs on a microwave-safe plate, and cover them with a microwave-safe cover or damp paper towel to trap moisture to prevent the meat from drying out. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until heated through.
- Air Fryer Option: You can reheat baked chicken thighs in an air fryer. Simply preheat the air fryer to 375°F and place the baked chicken thighs in an air fryer basket. Cook for about 4 minutes, flipping them halfway through.
Check Out More Delicious Chicken Thigh Recipes
I hope you'll enjoy this recipe and share it with friends! If you try it and don’t mind, please leave me a comment and/or give this recipe a rating. Be sure to subscribe to receive weekly recipes and follow me on Pinterest.
Smoked Paprika Chicken Thighs
- In a mixing bowl, combine the smoked paprika, garlic salt, and olive oil.
- Place the chicken thighs in a large resealable bag or shallow dish. Add the paprika rub to the bag and gently massage it onto the chicken, ensuring even coating, including under the skin. Let it marinate in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
- Position your oven rack in the upper-middle position then preheat your oven to 400°F/200°C.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil then place a wire rack on top.
- Place the chicken thighs on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 35 minutes or longer until the chicken thighs are fully cooked, and the internal temperature reaches 165°F (75°C). Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.