Cast Iron Chicken Thighs with Bacon is a fast and easy meal! Perfect for making gluten-free crispy chicken! Pair it with your favorite side dish, and you're set.
If you're a fan of fried chicken, welcome. There's nothing quite like the crunch of the chicken paired with that crisp and delicious outer coating. Everyone in my household craves that texture and taste, and that is how this recipe was actually created.
I knew that I needed to find the perfect balance between crispiness and taste - without the ability to use flour or anything else with gluten.
All I needed was a little bit of time - and this cast iron chicken thighs recipe was perfected! It's so good, you don't even miss the fact that the outer layering isn't coated in flour. Trust me when I say that we've been enjoying this skillet chicken recipe a couple of times a month, and it's a hit!
Speaking of food chicken recipes, be sure to check out my Italian Herb Chicken as another easy and delicious dinner option. If you are here for crispy skin then these Garlic Butter Chicken Wings are a must!
Avocado oil - Adds a healthy fat and crisps up the chicken skin.
Chicken thighs - Make sure to leave the skin on and use bone-in chicken, if possible. Skin-on chicken thighs are what make this recipe crispy!
Bacon- Use any bacon that you like. Thick-cut bacon works well, as it really adds flavor.
Salt and pepper - To taste.
How to make Cast Iron Chicken Thighs
Step One: Put the oil in a large cast iron skillet on medium heat. You want the pan to be nice and hot to ensure you get crispy skin on the chicken.
Step Two: Season the chicken using salt and pepper
Step Three: Place chicken thighs skin side down in the hot cast iron pan. Cook for 7-8 minutes without flipping until the skin crisps and is golden brown.
Step Four: Flip the chicken and then add the bacon between the chicken pieces.
Step Five: Cook until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees and the bacon is fully cooked and crisp.
If the bacon cooks before the chicken is done, place the bacon on top of the chicken. The chicken can continue to cook, and the bacon grease will add saltiness to the chicken.
Use different oil - Olive oil or coconut oil are both good options for frying the chicken as well. You just need to make sure that you heat the pan well and that the oil that you're using is one that cooks well with high heat.
Add more seasonings - Chicken seasoning would be delicious on the chicken thighs skin-side, as would thyme, rosemary, Everything bagel seasoning, and even some chili powder for some spice. You can change it up to your cravings to season chicken thighs.
Use a different cut of chicken - While using chicken with the skin is important for the crispiness, that doesn't mean that you can't cook other cuts of chicken in the cast-iron skillet. Chicken breasts and boneless skinless chicken thighs can easily be cooked this way.
Add a sauce - If you have a gluten-free sauce that you like, you can drizzle it on the chicken or use it as a dipping sauce. You can also squeeze fresh lemon juice on top for extra flavor. It is also easy to make a pan sauce by adding some chicken broth or chicken stock, a splash of white wine, some chopped garlic, and cooking until it is thickened.
Cheese - Top with a slice of cheddar cheese for the last few minutes and let it melt over the chicken and bacon.
What is the total time needed to make crispy skin chicken thighs?
This cast iron skillet chicken thighs recipe is fast. Really fast. You need about 15-20 minutes, prep time included. Once you season and preheat the skillet to medium-high heat, all that's left to do is put the chicken in and cook.
Do I need to pat the chicken dry with a paper towel before adding seasoning?
There shouldn't be any reason that you have to do that. If the chicken is a little bit moist, that's good for folding the kosher salt and pepper onto the skin.
How do I store leftover chicken?
Leftover thighs mean that you have leftover protein to eat again, which is great for a fast and easy meal. Let the chicken cool down all the way, and then store it in an airtight container. Keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days.
To reheat, you can warm it up low and slow in the oven or put it back into a pan and warm it on the stove-top. You probably won't be able to get that crispiness back, but using a hot skillet can help you try.
Is this fried chicken recipe healthy?
The great thing about cooking chicken without flour is that it has zero carbohydrates and is extra low in calories. It's a great protein source that fuels your body all day long.
Chicken is also low in cholesterol, and since you're using minimal salt in the recipe, the sodium is also low.
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 4 chicken thighs bone-in skin-on
- 2 slices bacon halved
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Heat the oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Place into the skillet skin side down. Cook without moving the chicken for 7-8 minutes until the skin gets browned and crisp.
- Flip the chicken and add the bacon between the pieces of chicken.
- Cook until the chicken reaches 160 on an internal thermometer and the bacon is crisp.
- If the bacon crisps before the chicken is done simply place the pieces on top of the chicken.
I had to do 8 thighs instead of 4 b/c we have 6 people. It took quite a while to get the thighs done! They were not very tender.disappointing!
Did you put all 8 in the pan at once? If they are crowded they do take longer to cook. I'm sure why they weren't tender. In general, chicken thighs are very tender and hard to overcook.
Linda Bruton says
We don’t like dark chicken only white meat
You could try this with bone-in skin-on chicken breasts.