There are few foods as heavenly as perfectly roasted chicken, and these sheet pan chicken thighs are foolproof (don’t miss the video below!). You end up with juicy, flavorful meat and gorgeously crispy skin. Best of all, since the chicken roasts over a winter panzanella salad, you also end up with a complete, one-pan meal. Choir please!

Sheet pan chicken thighs in bowl with warm panzanella salad

Easy sheet pan chicken thighs

Sheet pan dinners are a lifesaver not only on busy weeknights, but also when entertaining. Vegetables and meats roast together on one pan until they’re tender, golden and way more delicious than the sum of their parts. Best of all, clean-up is a breeze!

In this recipe, chicken thighs are cooked and served over a hearty winter salad for a dinner that’s just as fitting on a Tuesday as it is on a weekend dinner party with friends.

Sheet pan chicken thighs on plate with winter panzanella salad and sheet pan in background.

Winter Panzanella Salad

If you follow me on Instagram stories, you might know that panzanella, or Italian bread salad, is a staple in our house in the summer. It’s traditionally made with fresh tomatoes and stale bread, but this winter panzanella incorporates wedges of fennel, red onion, kale, chunks of baguette (which toast up in the oven) and lemon wedges (which turn caramelized and sweet). The salad gets tossed with a roasted garlic vinaigrette for a sweet-tart-bitter-caramelized-crispy-comforting side dish, which, in my opinion, is the very best kind.

Sheet pan chicken thighs on plate with sheet pan in background

How to perfectly roast chicken thighs

I not only love chicken thighs for their rich flavor, but also because they cook in only thirty minutes! The key to perfectly roasted, juicy chicken thighs is to cook them at a high temperature and to remove them from the oven when their internal temperature reads 165-170˚F.

One of my top five kitchen tools is my ThermoWorks Thermapen Mk4, which is seriously the thermometer of all thermometers (it’s also the number one brand recommended by Cooks Illustrated/America’s Test Kitchen). It’s the fastest and most accurate thermometer out there, and I use it for not only meats and fish, but also to test the doneness of breads, cakes, custards and candy. It will change the way you cook, I promise (no more poking and prodding!).

Sheet pan chicken thighs on pan with meat thermometer taking temperature

FAQ

How do you make crispy chicken thighs?

The trick to making crispy chicken thighs is to toss them with olive oil (along with any seasonings – in this case, salt, pepper, dried oregano and paprika), and roast them in a single layer at high heat. In this recipe, the thighs are cooked at 475˚F until the skin is crispy and the juices run clear.

What kind of sheet pan is best for sheet pan dinners?

Use a sturdy rimmed 13×18-inch sheet pan. If you don’t have a pan that large, you can use two smaller pans instead.

Can you use different vegetables in the winter panzanella salad?

Yes! You can swap out the fennel for cubes of winter squash, broccoli and/or cauliflower.

For a different variation, try these Sheet Pan Roasted Chicken Thighs with Potatoes & Kale (pictured below).

Chicken and veggies on a sheet pan with a bowl of aioli in the center.

Tips for making sheet pan chicken thighs:

  • You can serve one or two chicken thighs per person, depending on how hungry you are and the size of the thighs. I usually go for two thighs for my husband and I, and one for each kid. Feel free to use drumsticks in place of the thighs.
  • For a gluten-free version, use a gluten-free baguette. I use one of the small baguettes in an Udi’s 8.4-ounce package (half the package). A gluten-free baguette is featured in these photos, and a regular baguette is used in the video.
  • Cut the red onion and fennel into wedges, leaving the cores intact (the cores will hold the wedges together). You can check out how to do this in the video below.
  • The chicken roasts at a high temperature, allowing it to cook quickly. This means your oven might get a bit smoky, but don’t fear! Turn on your fan if you have one, or crack a window if you have a finicky fire alarm like I do.
  • A good-quality, instant read thermometer is a must when roasting meats. I recommend this Thermapen Mk4, which is the most sensitive and accurate thermometer I’ve found. I use it for everything from burgers, to fish, to bread and custard.
  • You’ll need a sturdy, rimmed sheet pan for this recipe, like this one. Also, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but I adore these pre-cut parchment sheets, which have improved my quality of life by an embarrassing measure (check out my shop for more of my kitchen favorites!).
  • You have the option of using a mini food processor for the dressing. I use mine for all kinds of sauces, dressings and toppings (you can find a bunch of other food processor recipes in my first book, The Food Processor Family Cookbook!).
  • For a different take on a sheet pan chicken dinner, try these Roasted Chicken Thighs with Potatoes and Kale with Garlic Aioli!

Thank you to ThermoWorks for sponsoring this blog post! While I was compensated for the post, all opinions are mine alone.

Other chicken recipes you might like:

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Sheet Pan Chicken Thighs with Winter Panzanella Salad (GF Option!)

This one-pan dinner of perfectly roasted chicken thighs with a winter panzanella salad is comfort food at its very best. The chicken thighs are roasted over wedges of fennel and red onion, torn kale leaves, chunks of baguette (which toast up in the oven) and lemon wedges (which turn caramelized and sweet), imparting flavor to the chicken (and vice versa). The vegetables and bread are then tossed with a roasted garlic vinaigrette to make an irresistible salad to accompany the chicken. Heaven! For a gluten-free version, use a small gluten-free baguette, such as Udi’s brand (half of a 8.4-ounce package).
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: sheet pan chicken, sheet pan chicken thighs, winter panzanella salad
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1 medium red onion, halved and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, halved and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 4 cups coarsely torn Tuscan kale leaves, from about 1 small bunch
  • 6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1 small lemon, preferably organic
  • 7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 French baguette or 1 small gluten-free baguette (such as Udi’s brand), torn into 1- to 2-inch pieces (about 4 cups torn)
  • 6-8 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs (about 3 pounds)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 475˚F (245˚C). Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper or foil (if using foil, rub it lightly with oil or spritz it with cooking spray).
  • In a large bowl, combine the onion, fennel, kale and garlic cloves. Using a microplane, zest the lemon and add the zest to the bowl. Thinly slice the lemon into rings and pop out the seeds. Add the lemon slices to the bowl, and drizzle in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and toss well to coat. Spread the vegetables on the prepared sheet pan. Arrange the torn baguette pieces evenly over top.
  • In the same bowl you used for the vegetables (no need to wash it), add the chicken thighs, oregano, paprika, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and toss well to coat the chicken. Arrange the chicken, skin side up, on top of the vegetables and bread on the sheet pan.
  • Roast the chicken for 15 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate (it won’t be fully cooked yet). Gently stir the vegetables and bread on the baking sheet. Rearrange the chicken on top, positioning any darkened pieces of bread under the chicken. Roast 12-15 minutes longer, or until the juices run clear and the internal temperature reads 165-170˚F (70-75˚C).
  • Transfer the chicken to a clean plate. If you’re using a gluten-free baguette, slide the pan back in the oven for 2-4 minutes to crisp up the bread (there’s no need to do this if using a regular baguette, as it holds up better). Pick the garlic cloves off the sheet pan, and squeeze them into a mini food processor or small blender (alternatively, if the garlic cloves are soft enough and/or if you’re feeling lazy, mash them up with a fork). Add the apple cider vinegar and maple syrup, and season with salt and pepper. Process until smooth. Add the remaining 4 tablespoons of olive oil and process again until incorporated.
  • Scrape the vegetables and bread into a large bowl, and drizzle with about half of the dressing. Toss to coat, and season with salt and pepper to taste (feel free to add more dressing if you think it needs it). Spoon the salad into shallow bowls or onto plates. Arrange 1-2 pieces of chicken on top, and drizzle with a bit more dressing. Serve any additional dressing at the table.

Notes

Tips:
  • You can serve one or two chicken thighs per person, depending on how hungry you are and the size of the thighs. I usually go for two thighs for my husband and I, and one for each kid. Feel free to use drumsticks in place of the thighs.
  • For a gluten-free version, use a gluten-free baguette. I use one of the small baguettes in an Udi’s 8.4-ounce package (half the package). A gluten-free baguette is featured in these photos, and a regular baguette is used in the video.
  • Cut the red onion and fennel into wedges, leaving the cores intact (the cores will hold the wedges together). You can check out how to do this in the video below.
  • The chicken roasts at a high temperature, allowing it to cook quickly. This means your oven might get a bit smoky, but don’t fear! Turn on your fan if you have one, or crack a window if you have a finicky fire alarm like I do.
  • A good-quality, instant read thermometer is a must when roasting meats. I recommend this Thermapen Mk4, which is the most sensitive and accurate thermometer I’ve found. I use it for everything from burgers, to fish, to bread and custard.
  • You’ll need a sturdy, rimmed sheet pan for this recipe, like this one Also, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but I adore these pre-cut parchment sheets, which have improved my quality of life by an embarrassing measure.
  • You have the option of using a mini food processor for the dressing. I use mine for all kinds of sauces, dressings and toppings (you can find a bunch of other food processor recipes in my first book, The Food Processor Family Cookbook!).
  • For a different take on a sheet pan chicken dinner, try these Roasted Chicken Thighs with Potatoes and Kale with Garlic Aioli!

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