Food

23 easy recipes for juicy, flavorful — and cheap! — chicken thighs

Had your fill of chicken breasts but still want poultry for dinner tonight?

Time to consider some juicy and super-flavorful chicken thighs. The good news is that thighs tend to be much cheaper than breasts.

They're also more forgiving than white meat since you can grill them, stew them, and pan-fry them them without drying them out quickly. Thighs are also a great stand-in for richer meats, such as duck and even pork.

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Willie cooks up roasted chicken thighs

Play Video - 4:39

Willie cooks up roasted chicken thighs

Play Video - 4:39

So next time you want a piece of the bird for dinner, try one of these 23 boredom-busting chicken thigh recipes!

Honey-Hoisin Chicken Thighs with Stir-Fried Kale
Ching He Huang's Honey-Hoisin Chicken Thighs with Stir-Fried Kale.TODAY, December 5th 2016.
Nathan R. Congleton / TODAY
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In this recipe from Ching He Huang, baked chicken thighs get an incredible flavor boost from a sweet and savory marinade made with honey, hoisin, soy sauce, ginger, chili flakes and garlic. While the chicken cooks, make a pot of rice and prep the stir-fried kale. Or, for an even simpler meal, just roast your favorite veggies alongside the chicken.

Spice-Rubbed Chicken Thighs
Spice-Rubbed Chicken Thighs
Nathan Congleton / TODAY
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A spice rub with coriander seeds, anise, black pepper and red pepper flakes gives plenty of flavor to juicy chicken thighs in this recipe from chef Tre Wilcox.

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It can't get any easier than a stir-and-cook slow-cooker chili, and this satisfying white chicken chili is no exception. No need to sauté or brown the bird in advance since you'll still get tons of slow-cooked flavor from this comforting blend.

Dak Dori Tang (Spicy Korean Chicken Stew)
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Yosef Herzog / TODAY
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This sweet and spicy Korean stew with potatoes, carrots, onions and the chili paste gochujang is incredibly satisfying. And the recipe couldn't be easier: Just combine all the ingredients and simmer until the chicken is cooked, about 20 minutes.

One-Pot Creamy Chicken and Rice
One-Pot Creamy Chicken and Rice recipe
Maggie Shi
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Step away from the can of cream of mushroom soup and try this new — but very easy — take on a classic chicken and rice casserole. The slow cooker brings this all-American comfort food to the table with little work.

Mini Chicken Pot Pies
Mini Chicken Pot Pies
Nathan Congleton / TODAY
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Remember those store-bought individual chicken pot pies you loved as a kid? Upgrade the memories with this recipe for scrumptious homemade mini pot pies from chef Tory McPhail of Commander's Palace in New Orleans.

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"There are plenty of piccata recipes out there, but I love this one because it’s built on chicken thighs which are cheap and much more flavorful than breasts," says Alton Brown of his chicken piccata recipe. This dish is easy enough for weeknights but elegant enough for entertaining.

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Bite-size pieces of boneless, skinless chicken thighs are topped with fluffy biscuits in this super-easy slow-cooker casserole.

Oven-Roasted Chicken Thighs with Onion and Garlic
Nancy Silverton's Oven-roasted chicken and balsamic-glazed mushrooms
Nathan Congleton / TODAY
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6 to 8
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This five-ingredient roast chicken recipe from Nancy Silverton is destined to be your new go-to dinner. "It’s not a fancy preparation, but if you’re in the mood for a super-moist, very flavorful, comforting chicken dish, it doesn’t get any better," says Silverton. "These chicken thighs couldn’t be easier to make — just season them, throw them into the oven, and they cook while you put the rest of the meal together."

Filipino Chicken Skewers
Filipino Chicken Skewers
Nathan Congleton / TODAY
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"I grew up eating these skewers as a kid at almost every Filipino party I attended," says chef Leah Cohen of New York's Pig & Khao restaurant. "They remind me of my childhood." The sweet and savory skewers are seasoned with banana ketchup, ginger, garlic and soy sauce and get a kick from a surprising ingredient: soda. And since they can be cooked on a grill or in a grill pan, they're party-ready any time of year.

Spicy Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich
Lazarus Lynch // Son of a Southern Chef, LLC. / Son of a Southern Chef
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"I must admit, the fried chicken sandwich craze is very widespread these days, but I love mine for its spicy heat and extra crispy texture," says Lazarus Lynch of his fried chicken thigh sandwich with pickles, shredded red cabbage and a zingy spread that would taste good on just about anything. "This is a sandwich you will forever crave."

Zingy Braised Chicken with Pepperoncini and Olives
Ryan Scott's Mediterranean zingy braised chicken and a tzatziki-kale salad. TODAY, january 23rd 2016.
Angeliki Jackson / TODAY
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Convenient ingredients such as canned olives, canned tomatoes and jarred pepperoncini make this braised chicken recipe from Ryan Scott a snap to prepare.

Spiced Chicken with Lebanese Couscous
Lebanese spiced chicken
Zach Pagango / TODAY
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"Shawarma spices flavor the chicken in my one-pot, low-and-slow Djej b Finden with Moghrabieh," says Julie Taboulie of this fragrant and satisfying Lebanese main course. "The moist, tender chicken shares the stage with pearl onions and cremini mushrooms, all finished with fresh herbs, butter and white wine sauce over Lebanese couscous. This can be presented as a formal, special-occasion meal or as a rustic comfort food served straight from the pot."

Grilled Beer-Glazed Chicken Thighs
Chopped Grilled Chicken Thighs
Nathan Congleton / TODAY
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Fresh herbs, garlic and lemon perk up the flavors in grilled chicken in this recipe from Roger Mooking. The chef likes to serve the chicken over rice, but it would also be great in a salad or stuffed into a pita sandwich.

Chicken Legs "Osso Buco" with Gremolata
Chicken Osso Bucco
Anthony Quintano / TODAY
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No need to buy pricey veal for osso buco: Chef Scott Conant makes his comforting one-pot version of the Italian dish with meaty chicken thighs and drumsticks.

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In this recipe from Tim Love, chicken thighs are brined and rubbed with a spice blend so they have tons of flavor. And though the recipe title says "summer," these versatile thighs are wonderful year-round.

Braised Soy-Honey-Garlic Chicken
Braised Soy-Honey-Garlic Chicken recipe
Casey Barber
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6
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This easy one-pot recipe calls for just a handful of ingredients — including onion, garlic, ginger, soy and honey — but packs tons of flavor and is so versatile: Shred the meat and use it in sandwiches, wraps rice bowls and salads.

Slow-Cooker Chicken Chili
Slow-Cooker Chicken Chili
Grace Parisi / TODAY
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Who says chicken chili has to be made with white beans? This aromatic version calls for pink beans (but feel free to substitute pinto beans if you can't find pink beans), tomatoes and two types of chiles for plenty of flavor.

30 Garlic Clove Chicken
30 garlic clove chicken
Nathan Congleton / TODAY
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A slow braise in the oven mellows the bite of the garlic and makes for super-tender chicken in this easy, one-pot recipe from chef Craig Strong. Serve it with crusty bread for soaking up the flavorful juices.

Chicken Biryani
Palak Patel and Matt Lauer make Indian recipes on the Today Show. March 20, 2017.
Nathan Congleton / TODAY
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"Growing up in India, biryani was one of my favorite family meals," says chef Palak Patel, who shared this recipe. "The robust flavor of a variety of spices like cumin, coriander and garam masala bring warmth and heat to the biryani."

Al Roker's Barbecue Chicken Sliders
Al Roker's barbecue chicken sliders
Samantha Okazaki/TODAY
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Al Roker's fried chicken sliders with barbecue sauce are perfect for parties, picnics and tailgates. "My mom used to make and pack up chicken sliders, and I have fond memories of them," says Roker. "They always came out crispy, and even when we traveled with them, they didn’t get soggy."

Chicken Chipotle
Craig Strong's delicious five-ingredient chipotle chicken and bean salad
Samantha Okazaki / TODAY
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This one-pan, five-ingredient chicken with chipotle sauce couldn't be easier. Serve the spicy chicken with rice and beans or corn tortillas, sliced avocado and lime wedges.

Tater Tot Chicken Pot Pie recipe
Molly Yeh's Tater Tot Chicken Pot Pie recipe
Nathan Congleton / TODAY
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"This dish is the combination of two of my favorite dishes: chicken pot pie and tater tot hotdish (a super popular classic potluck dish in my region (I live on the North Dakota-Minnesota border.)," says Molly Yeh, who shared the recipe for this insane comfort food dish. "It is everything you could ever want on a cold winter's day! You've got veggies, protein, and carbs in one warming dish that can feed a crowd. And it's got tater tots, one of the jolliest foods in the world!"

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