These Easy Dutch Oven Chicken Thighs Will Be Your New Go-To

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Whether you're new to the world of Dutch oven cooking or a seasoned pro, these simple Dutch oven chicken thighs will become a new family favorite.

No kitchen should be without a Dutch oven. It’s the secret weapon of home cooks everywhere to create tasty single-pot meals for their families. Known for its unique shape, a Dutch oven has a heavy domed lid that locks in moisture during the cooking process. This marriage of form and function means that meals prepared in a Dutch oven are always tender, juicy and full of flavor.

Dutch oven chicken thighs are one staple that you’ll definitely want to try. This version uses potatoes, carrots, garlic and rosemary for a flavorful, filling dish.

If your family loves this Dutch oven chicken thighs recipe, they’ll also love these other great Dutch oven chicken recipes—or check out how to cook a whole chicken in a Dutch oven.

How to Make Dutch Oven Chicken Thighs

Ingredients

  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 1-1/2 pounds)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound red potatoes (about 4 medium), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 4 medium carrots, sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed

Step 1: Sear the chicken

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Next, season the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. In an oven-safe Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the chicken skin-side down. Let your chicken cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until the skin is crispy and golden brown. Then flip and sear the other side until brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and discard drippings.

Editor’s tip: For extra flavor, you can reserve the drippings in the pan rather than discarding. Use the drippings in place of the remaining tablespoon of olive oil for the next step.

Vegetables for Dutch Oven Chicken ThighsLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

Step 2: Add vegetables and seasonings

Add the remaining ingredients to your Dutch oven. Toss the veggies to coat in oil and place the seared chicken thighs on top of them.

Step 3: Bake and serve

Cover the Dutch oven with its lid and then bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked and the vegetables are tender. Test the chicken for doneness with an instant-read meat thermometer. The chicken is fully cooked when the thermometer reads 170° to 175°. Serve immediately.

Once you’re done cooking, learn how to clean your Dutch oven to keep it looking new.

Cooked dutch oven chicken thighs after bakingLauren Habermehl for Taste of Home

How do you brown chicken thighs in a Dutch oven?

Dutch ovens are the best for one-pot meals because you can sear, simmer and braise, all in the same vessel! The best Dutch oven recipes start by browning the meat in a little oil.

Start by heating a tablespoon of olive oil in the Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the oil starts to shimmer, add the seasoned chicken thighs, skin-side down. We recommend using long-handled kitchen tongs to add the chicken, as it can spit and splatter when it hits the hot oil.

Then, let the chicken cook, undisturbed, for 5 to 6 minutes, until the skin is crispy and golden brown. We like to flip it over and cook the other side until it’s lightly browned, about 3 minutes, before removing the chicken from the Dutch oven.

At this point, the chicken is still raw, so after you add the vegetables to the Dutch oven you’ll want to bake the chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 170°.

Why does chicken skin stick to the Dutch oven?

When you’re browning the chicken thighs, the chicken skin can stick to the Dutch oven if the pan isn’t hot enough. Make sure you let the oil preheat in the pan for a few minutes before adding the chicken. It’s also possible that you didn’t add enough oil to the pan. If you’ve already started cooking when you discover these issues, increase the heat and add an extra splash of oil to the pot. Let the chicken sit for another minute or so to see if it will release naturally before trying to force it up.

It’s also important to let the chicken skin sit, undisturbed, for at least 5 minutes before trying to flip it. If you try to flip it earlier, the fat under the chicken skin won’t have a chance to render out, causing the skin to stick.

How do I keep Dutch oven chicken juicy?

Adding a little liquid to the bottom of the Dutch oven can also help keep chicken thighs extra moist and juicy. We recommend adding 1/2 cup of cooking liquid before putting it in the oven. You can use chicken stock, lemon juice, beer, wine or fruit juice to flavor to the chicken.

Not all Dutch ovens are created equal. Check out our favorite Dutch oven brands.

How do I add more flavor to chicken thighs?

One of our all-time favorite seasoning blends is rosemary salt from Jacobsen Salt Co. Substitute for regular salt before searing, for an extra blast of flavor.

You can also chop fresh rosemary, thyme, sage or oregano and tuck it under the skin of each chicken thigh. For an indulgent meal, mix the chopped fresh herbs with a few tablespoons of softened unsalted butter and garlic. This compound garlic-herb butter is delicious and will add an extra layer of moisture. Try an easy flavored butter recipe with these chicken thighs.

Up Next: Our favorite boneless chicken thigh recipes.

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Lauren Habermehl
Lauren Habermehl is a recipe developer, food photographer and creator of the blog, Frydae. She is a prolific quoter of FRIENDS, lover of weekend DIY projects and procrastinating fitness enthusiast who enjoys exploring the Milwaukee-area with her husband, daughter and ugly mutt named Tyson Doodles.