Crispy Baked Chicken Thighs with Mustard and Thyme

I like to think of myself as an organized person. I mean, I’m a film editor, for chrissakes. I basically organize millions of digital moments into a cohesive story for a living. So why is it that I cannot, for the life of me, plan ahead and shop for a week’s worth of recipes?

Is it because I was raised in New York City, where 24-hour bodegas and Korean markets permit, nay, encourage a person to decide at 11pm that they’re going to make a Chard Onion and Goat Cheese Tart even though there is neither chard, onion or goat cheese in the house? Why are you looking at me like I’m attempting to deflect blame for my questionable decisions? Ahem. Anyway, now I live in the boonies and that means I either have to:

A. Get organized and make a menu plan and corresponding shopping list at the beginning of each week.

B. Hit the lottery so I can hire a personal chef (one who allows me to post their recipes all over the internet and hover over their shoulder taking pictures as they cook).

C. Create delicious things that use pantry staples almost exclusively so I can continue my reckless and dangerously chaotic lifestyle.

Guess which one I chose?

I almost always have everything on hand for this recipe and, luckily, it also happens to be incredibly good. Obviously if  you eat chicken and enjoy crispy things, nothing’s going to beat real fried chicken but I think we can all agree that deep-frying is not really an option for an easy, healthy, weeknight dinner. This chicken though, is all those things and more. It gets great flavor from the tangy mustard, garlic and thyme and develops a crunchy, golden brown crust.

I also make a simple yogurt sauce to go with it (if I remember to make or buy yogurt), but it’s equally good with just a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of Maldon salt over the top.

Crispy Baked Chicken Thighs with Mustard and Thyme

Nerd Tips:
  • Don’t wash raw chicken!
  • If the chicken is damp from the package, dry it well or the mustard won’t stick.
  • Afraid of dry, over-cooked chicken? Unlike breasts which turn to dust if you even stare at them too long, thighs are extremely forgiving.
  • Don’t like thyme? Use a different herb (be careful with rosemary, it can be very strong).
  • Boneless skinless thighs won’t get as crispy but still work well.
  • Home-made breadcrumbs are fantastic here, but use whatever you have.

This was adapted from Melissa Clark’s Sheet Pan Supper recipe.

Crispy Baked Chicken Thighs with Mustard and Thyme
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 4-6 bone-in chicken thighs (or drumsticks)
  • 3 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
  • 2 teaspoons smooth Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons chopped thyme leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated or minced
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup bread crumbs (fresh, dried or panko all work)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • For Sauce
  • ⅓ cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon chives (or scallions), minced
  • Salt
  • Pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees
  2. In a small bowl, combine the butter, both mustards. thyme leaves, and garlic. Stir to combine.
  3. Dry chicken well and season with salt and black pepper. Rub mustard butter all over chicken. Place bread crumbs in a wide, shallow bowl. Coat the chicken evenly with bread crumbs, pressing down to make sure it sticks. Transfer to a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake until chicken is golden brown and no longer pink, 30 to 40 minutes.
  4. For the sauce: in a small bowl, combine yogurt or sour cream with lemon juice, lemon zest and chives. Season with salt and pepper to taste.