The Easy 4-Ingredient Chicken Dinner Your Family Will Absolutely Love (We Promise!)

published Jun 6, 2024
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Overhead view of cooked chicken thighs in a white pan topped with herbs.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Rachel Perlmutter

There’s no avoiding chicken in my house. It’s one of the only things my two young children will consistently eat without complaint, which is precisely why there’s always a ton in my freezer. We prefer chicken thighs (there’s so much more flavor!), and while I personally love the extra-crispy skin that comes from searing them on the stovetop, my girls aren’t so wise. So I’ve turned to baking our chicken. 

If baked chicken sounds terribly boring to you, I promise it really doesn’t have to be! Our most basic, easiest baked chicken thigh recipe is packed with flavor. The key? A garlicky rub and a little lemon. 

Get the recipe: Baked Chicken Thighs

What Makes This Chicken Recipe So Good

Before we even talk about flavor, you must know that there’s zero chopping required. I repeat: NO CHOPPING. Even if you don’t have two little people causing chaos all around you while you’re trying to get dinner ready, this is wonderful — less prep time and mess means more you time.

Ease aside, it’s also a really delicious dinner that I’d totally be proud to serve guests. You’ll start by making a wet rub with olive oil, salt, garlic powder, smoked paprika, and pepper directly in the baking dish. (No need to dirty an extra bowl!) Pat the chicken dry then toss it with the wet rub, squeeze it with lemon juice, then roast it for 25 minutes or so. When it comes out of the oven, the thighs will be swimming in a super-savory pan sauce. 

Why This Recipe Works

Chicken thighs have more fat than chicken breasts, so there’s less risk of them drying out at a high temperature. For bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, 425°F is the ideal temperature for the skin to turn a nice shade of golden and the meat to cook through evenly. You could swap in boneless skinless chicken thighs (I have!), but they’ll cook much faster. 

The wet rub, which simply means that there’s a little oil mixed with the spices, very easily sticks to the chicken. Plus, those spices mingle with the juices from the meat to make the sauce. Don’t let it go to waste. You’ll want some rice (any kind!), couscous, creamy polenta, crusty bread, or mashed potatoes — anything to soak it up.

Get the recipe: Baked Chicken Thighs