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How much longer do bone-in thighs take to cook?

Cooking chicken thighs with the bone in versus boneless takes more time, but not a tremendous amount more. The bones act as insulation, slowing the cooking process slightly. However, bone-in chicken thighs deliver more flavor. When cooked properly, the bones impart extra chicken flavor to the meat. So bone-in thighs are worth the small amount of extra cooking time.

How Much Longer Do Bone-In Chicken Thighs Take to Cook?

Most chicken thigh recipes take about 30-40 minutes total cooking time if boneless. If cooking bone-in chicken thighs instead, you’ll need about 10 extra minutes. So expect bone-in thighs to take around 40-50 minutes total cooking time.

The exact time depends on a few factors:

Thickness of the Thighs

Thicker cuts of chicken need more time to cook through to the center. So if you have large, thick bone-in thighs they may take up to 60 minutes total cooking time. Thinner bone-in thighs may only need 45 minutes.

Cooking Method

The cooking method makes a difference too. Grill or broil bone-in thighs and they may cook faster, closer to 40 minutes. If braising or roasting bone-in thighs, expect closer to 50-60 minutes.

Simmer bone-in thighs in a soup or stew and they can cook even longer, 1-2 hours. But that long cooking time tenderizes the meat.

Cooking Temperature

Higher temperatures shorten the cooking time. Roasting bone-in thighs at 400°F takes less time than roasting at 350°F.

Always check for doneness by taking the internal temperature of the chicken. Bone-in thighs are safely cooked to 165°F.

Why Do Bone-In Thighs Take Longer?

There are two reasons why bone-in chicken thighs take longer to cook:

The Bones Act as Insulation

Bones conduct heat slower than the meat around them. So they act as a heat barrier, slowing down the cooking process.

With boneless thighs, heat can penetrate evenly from all sides. But the bones in bone-in thighs cause uneven cooking. The meat farthest from the bone cooks the fastest.

More Muscle Means More Cooking Time

Bone-in thighs have a bit more chicken still attached to the bone. This extra bit of muscle needs time to cook through.

Boneless thighs have already had the bones removed along with a bit of the meat surrounding it. So boneless thighs contain slightly less total chicken to be cooked.

Benefits of Cooking Bone-In Chicken Thighs

Although it takes longer, cooking bone-in chicken thighs has some major benefits:

More Flavorful

Bones add lots of extra chicken flavor. As the bone-in thighs cook, the bones release marrow, collagen, and other juices that get absorbed by the meat. This gives bone-in thighs a deeper, richer taste.

Juicier Meat

The extra connective tissues in bone-in thighs keep the meat remarkably moist and juicy. The bones help prevent the thighs from drying out.

Better Texture

Bone-in thighs tend to have a pleasantly firm, tender texture. The bones help the meat retain its structure instead of falling apart.

Tips for Cooking Bone-In Chicken Thighs

To get perfect bone-in chicken thighs every time, keep these tips in mind:

Trim Excess Skin and Fat

This helps the thighs cook evenly. Use kitchen shears to trim off any large flaps of skin or fat before cooking.

Pat Dry

Make sure the thighs are patted very dry before seasoning and cooking. Dabbing them with paper towels removes excess moisture that can prevent browning.

Use a Meat Thermometer

It’s the only way to accurately determine when the thighs are fully cooked to a safe 165°F internal temperature. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part without touching bone.

Let Rest Before Serving

Always let bone-in thighs rest at least 5 minutes after cooking. This allows the juices to re-distribute through the meat for moist, tender thighs. Tent with foil to keep warm.

Cooking Methods for Bone-In Chicken Thighs

Bone-in chicken thighs can be cooked many different ways. Some top cooking methods include:


Bake bone-in thighs in a 375°F oven for about 45-60 minutes until browned and crisp-skinned. Works great for easy weeknight meals.


Grill over direct medium heat for 8-12 minutes per side. Bone-in thighs get nice char marks and crisp skin from grilling.


Broil 4-6 inches from the heating element for 12-15 minutes total, flipping halfway. Broiling makes the skin extra crispy.


Fry bone-in thighs in 1/2 inch hot oil for 12-16 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. Yields very juicy, flavorful meat when fried.


Braise bone-in thighs in a sauce or broth for 45-60 minutes until fall-off-the-bone tender. The low, slow cooking breaks down the connective tissues.

Slow Cooker

Add chicken thighs to soups, stews, or braising liquid in a slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-6 hours.

Recipes for Bone-In Chicken Thighs

Here are some delicious recipe ideas that work great with bone-in chicken thighs:

Easy Baked Chicken Thighs

– 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 1 1/2 tsp salt
– 1 tsp black pepper
– 1 tsp paprika
– 1/2 tsp garlic powder
– 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Pat chicken dry and trim off excess skin/fat.
2. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, salt, black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne. Mix well.
3. Arrange chicken in a single layer in a baking dish. Brush olive oil mixture all over chicken.
4. Bake for 50-60 minutes until chicken is cooked through (165°F). Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

Honey Garlic Baked Chicken Thighs

– 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
– 3 tbsp honey
– 3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
– 3 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 tsp dried oregano
– 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1. In a small bowl, mix together honey, soy sauce, garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes.
2. Arrange chicken thighs in a baking dish and pour sauce all over chicken. Turn to coat.
3. Bake at 375°F for 50-60 minutes, basting every 20 minutes with the sauce.
4. Broil for 1-2 minutes at the end to crisp the skin. Serve hot.

Chicken Thighs in Tomato Sauce

– 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
– 1 tbsp olive oil
– 1 yellow onion, diced
– 3 cloves garlic, minced
– 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
– 1/4 cup chicken broth
– 2 tsp dried basil
– 1 tsp salt
– 1/2 tsp black pepper

1. In a skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Cook onions 3 minutes until translucent. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more.
2. Add crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, basil, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer.
3. Nestle chicken thighs into sauce. Spoon some sauce over the top.
4. Simmer gently for 50-60 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Serve over pasta or rice.

Creamy Mushroom Chicken Thighs

– 8 bone-in chicken thighs
– 1 tbsp olive oil
– 8 oz sliced mushrooms
– 3 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 cup chicken broth
– 1/2 cup heavy cream
– 2 tsp dried thyme
– 1/4 tsp nutmeg
– Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook mushrooms for 5 minutes until browned. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more.
2. Pour in chicken broth and cream. Stir in thyme, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
3. Add chicken thighs to the skillet in a single layer. Spoon sauce over the top.
4. Simmer for 50-60 minutes, turning chicken halfway, until cooked through.


Should I remove the skin from chicken thighs before cooking?

Chicken thighs can be cooked skin-on or skin removed. Leaving the skin on helps keep the meat juicy and adds flavor from the fat rendering. But remove it before cooking if you’re looking to reduce fat and calories.

What’s the minimum safe internal temperature for bone-in chicken thighs?

Cook bone-in chicken thighs to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F as measured by a meat thermometer for food safety. At 165°F they are hot enough to kill any potentially harmful bacteria.

Can I use bone-in chicken thighs in soup or chili?

Absolutely. Bone-in chicken thighs work great in soups, stews, and chilis. Cook them right in the broth or sauce for 1-2 hours until fall-off-the-bone tender. The bones impart extra flavor.

Should I season bone-in chicken thighs before or after cooking?

For best flavor and crispy skin, it’s best to season the chicken thighs before cooking. Sprinkle the seasoning over the chicken and pat it in before cooking so it sticks and fully penetrates the meat.


Cooking bone-in chicken thighs takes more time than boneless. Expect bone-in thighs to need about 10 extra minutes compared to boneless, with thicker cuts taking up to 60 minutes total cooking time.

The bones act as insulation and add some extra meat, slowing down cooking. But bone-in chicken thighs deliver much more flavor and juiciness, making the additional time worthwhile.

Cook bone-in thighs in the oven, on the grill, or simmered in sauces. Follow temperature guidelines and use a meat thermometer for perfectly safe, tender and delicious results every time.