Chicken Recipes · Recipes

Pan Fried Chicken Thighs with Lemon

This could be the simplest way to cook bone-in Chicken thighs. After getting the skin nice and crispy, turn the thighs once to get them cooked through. Ready in less than 30 minutes, and they don’t have to be watched or monitored, except when you turn them over.

Paul Bertolli, in “Cooking by Hand: A Cookbook”, wrote about this technique, which he called “bottom-up cooking”. You don’t roast, and you don’t seer, and you don’t grill. You don’t do any of the things we’ve been taught to do to chicken. You just lay the chicken, skin side down, in a cast iron (or similar) pan. Then you leave it mostly alone for about 30 minutes, flipping only once after about 20 minutes.

Make sure that the thighs lie as flat as possible, which maximizes the skin for crisping. Use some olive oil (and maybe even some butter) to get the process rolling. The easiest version of the sauce has only chopped lemon rind stirred into the pan juices at the end.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2-4 bone-in chicken thighs
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Rind of half of a lemon, chopped


  1. Put the olive oil (and if using butter) into a large, heavy skillet over medium heat.
  2. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and add them to the skillet, skin side down and cover.
  3. Cook them like this, without moving them, until the fat has rendered out and the skin is deep golden brown and crisp, 15 minutes or so.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium-low if the skin begins to burn before it gets brown.
  5. Turn the thighs over and stir in the chopped lemon rind. Cover, so the pan acts like an oven.
  6. Continue cooking thighs until the meat closest to the bone is cooked through, about 8-10 minutes more. (Internal Temp should be 165)
  7. Serve the thighs with the lemon pan sauce. The chopped lemon rinds are completely edible.



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2 thoughts on “Pan Fried Chicken Thighs with Lemon

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