Maple-Mustard Baked Chicken ThighsSome things are just difficult to explain.

For example, how can one man be so attractive yet so clearly resemble an otter? (Yes, I am referring to Benedict Cumberbatch. Click the second link if you want to laugh for 45 minutes).

Also, how can I be so excited about Outlander, when GAME OF THRONES is back on Sunday! (Hey, I can see you making a face but the blog is called NERDS with Knives so it’s not like you were misled.)

And finally, how can the easiest dish to cook also be the most delicious thing ever? This sounds like hyperbole, which granted, I am guilty of a million times per day but I’m not yanking your chain here. This seriously might be the best weeknight dinner we’ve ever made.

Maple-Mustard Baked Chicken Thighs

There’s something about the combination of spicy dijon mustard and sweet maple syrup that is just insanely good. I’ve had people who claim that they don’t like either mustard or maple syrup say this is the best chicken they’ve ever had. It’s weird. I can’t explain it and I’m not going to try but I encourage you, even if you think you don’t like mustard, to give this one a go. I’ve even made it without the garlic and rosemary, and it was still fantastic.

I especially like making dishes like this on weeknights when my brain is simply too tired to fuss around. I just want to mix some stuff together, bung it in the oven and not have to think about it until it’s ready. That’s the beauty of a recipe like this. It’s very hard to mess up. In fact, this would be a perfect recipe for someone who is learning to cook and is maybe not that comfortable in the kitchen because it’s not a lot of work but the results are spectacular.

Maple-Mustard Baked Chicken Thighs

I like to substitute a couple tablespoons of grainy mustard for the smooth because I love that texture.

Maple-Mustard Baked Chicken Thighs

Covering the edge of the baking dish with foil helps with clean-up. Always a plus, right?

Nerd Tips:
  • Don’t wash raw chicken! If it’s wet, just dry it well with paper towels.
  • You can mix the sauce together with the chicken and let it marinate up to a day ahead. When you’re ready to cook, place the chicken and all the sauce into a baking dish. This is helpful if you have a bit of time in the morning and want to just throw it in the oven at night.
  • Don’t like (or have) rosemary? Thyme, sage or tarragon would also be yummy.
  • Dried herbs are much stronger than fresh so use less than half the amount listed if substituting.
  • If you’re using breasts instead of thighs, be careful not to overcook them or they can get dry. They also tend to cook faster so check them after 25 minutes.
  • Two useful items for this recipe. An 8 x 8 inch baking dish and an instant read thermometer.
Maple-Mustard Baked Chicken Thighs

I love the little brown bits on the top.

Maple-Mustard Baked Chicken Thighs
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 3-4 servings
Ingredients
  • 6 boneless skinless thighs (or breasts)
  • ½ cup dijon mustard (you can substitute up to 2 tablespoons of grainy mustard for smooth if you like that texture)
  • ¼ cup real maple syrup (not pancake syrup)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or grated (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 tablespoon rice or white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450º F.
  2. (Note: you can marinate the chicken up to a day ahead, or cook immediately. If marinating, place the sauce and chicken in a sealable bag and mix to make sure it's entirely coated. Then follow the cooking direction below)
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together everything except the chicken. Line the sides of an 8x8 inch baking dish with foil (this helps with cleanup since the sugar in the sauce tend to burn.) Place the chicken in the dish making sure there is enough room for each piece to fit easily. Pour the sauce over and mix it around to ensure each piece is coated on both sides.
  4. Bake for 35-40 minutes, basting the top of the chicken once or twice, until meat is fully cooked (165ºF on an instant-read thermometer). If it's not dark enough, you can broil it for a minute or two but be careful not to burn it.
  5. Let the chicken rest for at least 5 minutes, then serve with extra sauce spooned on top.

Maple-Mustard Baked Chicken Thighs