Chicken Thighs
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The Chicken Thighs (“Cuisse de Poulet” in French) are the portion of the Chicken Leg from below the hip to the first leg joint. Remember that the Chicken Leg does not perfectly mirror our own human leg. The Chicken Thigh (NAMP # P1033) is the uppermost part of the leg, the portion that contains the Femur bone. A Chicken Thigh is made by cutting a whole Chicken Leg and removing the Drumstick (and patella), which leaves the thigh.

Availability

Chicken Thighs are available all year long.

Production

Chicken Thighs are Dark Meat and may include some of the pelvic meat (but no pelvic bones), some of the illium (the Chicken Oyster), but no back skin. Chicken Thighs typically have attached fat that should be Trimmed-up with a sharp knife or scissors before use. Chicken Thighs can be purchased as Bone-In Chicken Thighs or Boneless Chicken Thighs where the butcher has removed the Femur.

At retail, Chicken Thighs can also be found as part of a Chicken Thigh with Back Portion and as part of Rear Poultry Halves, Half Chickens, Whole Chicken Legs or Chicken Leg Quarters.

Purchasing

The Chicken should not have any defects, cuts or broken bones. It should not have any lingering feathers either. The skin color can range from cream white to corn yellow. Any color within this range indicates suitable quality. The differences in color are only a byproduct of the feeding practices of the poultry farmer. Different areas of the country have different skin color preferences, and the farmers usually adjust their feeding regimen to meet those preferences.

With a selection in mind, look it over. Are there bits of frost or ice formations on or around your intended purchase? Ice and frost can indicate a Frozen Chicken being passed off as a Fresh Chicken. While you are looking, check the “Sell-By Date,” which is 7 to 10 days after the Chicken was slaughtered. If the bird is out of date or even approaching its Sell By Date, look for another bird. Properly refrigerated Chicken will only last a few days past the Sell By Date once you get it home.

Even with a good date on the package, you may want to ask the butcher how long that particular Chicken Thighs has been sitting in the case. Avoid spending your money on something that has been sitting there a few days. The longer they are out in the store, the shorter time they will last in your refrigerator.  

Finally, complete your purchase decision with a “Smell Test.” Does your Chicken that has passed all the other tests smell neutral or does it smell off?  Oxygen and light can cause fats to go rancid. Chicken Fat is mostly composed of Unsaturated Fat, which breaks down more easily and quickly than Saturated Fat (the predominant fat in Beef and Pork). This means that Chicken keeps less well, even in the modern refrigerated distribution system. There isn’t likely to be a problem, but there could be, and your nose is a good first line of defense. While all bad Poultry won’t smell, all smelly poultry is bad.

With the perfect specimen selected, place the Chicken Thighs in its own plastic bag. Most stores provide them hanging from a wall near the Poultry case or you can probably find some in the produce section or grab some from the checkout stand on your way in.

We advise separately bagging the Chicken to try and prevent Cross-Contamination. Place the bagged Chicken by itself in a corner of your cart. It should not be sitting on top of, or over, anything else. You don’t want any raw chicken juices dripping onto and contaminating anything else, especially ready-to-eat foods.

Get the raw or frozen Chicken Thighs home as quickly as reasonably possible. In high heat (90°F or higher), it may only last an hour in a hot car before starting to spoil. If you live far from the store, consider investing in a cooler to protect your purchases.

Once home, it is best to use your raw meat as soon as possible. If you cannot use it immediately, you will want to store it safely out of The Food Danger Zone, either frozen or refrigerated.

This may seem like a lengthy purchasing process at first, but soon it will become second nature, and your family, and your budget, will thank you.

Storage

With your poultry purchase unpacked at home, if you are planning to store it, you should do a little preparation to ensure the best outcome for a longer chill or freeze.

If you plan to use your Chicken shortly and are going to refrigerate it, just place it in your refrigerator in the lowest of the meat drawers in the coldest part of your refrigerator. It should be in its original packaging, and optimally be inside a plastic bag. Placing it in a plastic bag will help prevent any raw juices from inadvertently dripping out and Cross-Contaminating other foods. If it won’t fit in your lowest meat drawer, place it as low as possible and don’t store any ready-to-eat or previously cooked food below it. If nothing is below it, escaping juices, if any, won’t spoil other food. If you want to learn more about safely handling Raw product visit Smart Kitchen’s Food Handling Exercises, and the Refrigerated Storage Resource Page.

Stored this way, you should be able to refrigerate Chicken safely (below 40°F) for 2 to 3 days before using it but since fresher is better, we recommend cooking it as soon as practicable.

If you plan to Hold your Chicken frozen the following will apply.

Using this method, the frozen Chicken Thighs (held at or below 0°F) should last for 3-4 months but will begin to lose flavor after 2 months. Fresher is still better, even with frozen Chicken.

The best way to Thaw (the link has more on thawing) Chicken is in the refrigerator over a day or so. To thaw in a hurry, frozen Chicken can be removed from its packaging and thawed in an hour or so by placing it in a container with perforated sides (like a Colander) and continuously running cool water over it in the sink until it is thawed. If using this quick thawing method, keep an eye on the clock and be mindful of how long your product has been in The Food Danger Zone. 

Do Not Re-Freeze Previously Thawed Chicken. Also be aware that since you were thawing Raw you will need to Sanitize your sink and equipment accordingly.

For chicken leftovers or extra pieces, separate them into smaller portions for fast, safe cooling, then store them in a storage container or labeled zip-lock bag. Move them out of The Food Danger Zone as quickly as possible to the freezer or refrigerator. Cooked Chicken or Chicken Parts can be held refrigerated up to 4 days.

Culinary Uses

Chicken Thighs can be used in Soups, Stews, and Gumbo.

Chicken Thighs can be used “as-is” or prepped and manipulated before being cooked. Common preparations include: Battering, Breading, Blackening, Stuffing, Barding, Marinating (short term or overnight in the refrigerator and towel dried before use), De-Boning, Skinning, etc.

Chicken Thighs can also be cooked by any of the various methods covered below and then “Pulled” (meat removed from the bones by pulling off the pieces by hand). Pulled Chicken Thigh meat is useful for Sandwiches, Salads, Soups, Tacos, Burritos, Ground Chicken, etc.  Chicken Thighs are also used to make Turkey Ham.

Chicken Thighs can be cooked by Dry Heat Methods such as Grilling, Pan Frying, Sautéing, Baking, Roasting, Barbecuing, Stir Frying and Deep Frying. Chicken Thighs can also be cooked with Moist Heat Methods such as Poaching, Stewing, Braising, Fricassée, etc. The important thing to remember about Chicken Thighs is that they are predominantly Dark Meat and can cook longer (almost twice as long) as Chicken Breasts before drying out.  If cooking Thighs and Breasts together, one way to minimize the difference in cook time is to de-bone the Chicken Thighs so their cook times are closer.

All of the chicken meat has to be cooked to a safe Final Cooking Temperature of 165° F (74° C). Because there is Carry Over Cooking involved, the Pull Temperature™ for Chicken Thighs should be 155° F (68° C). Using a Meat Thermometer is the best way to check that all of the food has reached a safe Internal Temperature for consumption.

Portion Size

Allow 10-12 oz of Chicken Thighs per person.

Pairings

Dried Herbs & Spices - AniseAllspiceCardamomCayenne PepperCelery SeedsClovesCorianderCuminCurrantsCurry LeavesCurry PowderMustard SeedsNutmegPaprikaRed Pepper FlakesSaffronSaltSea SaltKosher SaltSesame SeedsStar AniseWhite SugarBrown SugarBlack PepperWhite PepperPink PepperTurmericChili PowderBay LeafCinnamonTarragonParsleyOreganoBasilGarlic PowderRosemaryDillMintSavory

Fresh Herbs OreganoChivesParsleyCilantroBasilSageTarragonMarjoramThymeRosemaryChervilDillCorianderMintSavory

Dairy MilkButtermilkButterYogurtCrème FraicheSour Cream

Wet Ingredients Beer, Coconut MilkOilsCreamFish SauceSoy Sauce, Grand Marnier, Sherry, Stocks, Wine, Vermouth, Vinegars, Whisky, Brandy, Cider

Thick Ingredients Hoisin Sauce, Honey, Maple Syrup, MayonnaiseMolassesMustardsTomato Paste

Vegetables Artichokes, Bell Peppers, CapersCarrotsCauliflowerCeleryCelery Root, Chile Peppers, GarlicOnionsGingerKaleLemongrass, Mushrooms, PotatoesSpinachTomatoes, Turnips, Turnip Greens, Chard, DaikonEndiveEscaroleParsnipsLeeks

Fruits Apples, OlivesAvocados, Bananas, Figs, Raisins, Cranberries, Dates, Guava, Grapefruits, Grapes, LimesLemons, Oranges, PeachesPomegranates, Pears, Apricots

Nuts AlmondsCashewsHazelnutsWalnutsPeanutsPine Nuts

Meats Bacon, Ham, ProsciuttoPancetta, Sausages, Turkey

Nutritional Value USDA
CHICKEN,BROILERS OR FRYERS,THIGH,MEAT&SKN,RAW
Amount Per 100g
Calories 221
%Daily Value*
 
24%
Total Fat 16g
3%
Saturated Fat 4g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
32%
Cholesterol 98mg
3%
Sodium 81mg
4%
Potassium 204mg
0%
Total Carbohydrate 0g
0%
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 0g
Protein 16g
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Gluten Free

Yes

Low Fat

Yes

Low Calorie

Yes