These pan fried boneless chicken thighs are easy to make and full of flavor! They have the perfect combination of garlic, parmesan cheese and a couple simple spices.
Do you see those crunchies on top? Those crunchies are what makes this boneless chicken thigh recipe as delicious as it is! In order to get these crunchies, we do recommend using a cast iron pan.
Why are you going to love these crunchies? They are a delicious combination of parmesan cheese, garlic and spices. You can serve the chicken without them, but they really do add the best flavor to the chicken thighs.
These pan fried boneless chicken thighs have only a few ingredients, mainly seasonings.
- Chicken thighs – You want boneless skinless chicken thighs for this recipe. Bone in will take a lot longer to cook.
- Oil – We use extra virgin olive oil here, but you can use your favorite oil that you usually fry with. Just be sure that your oil doesn’t have a very low smoke point.
- Butter – Salted or unsalted is good here, depends on the amount of sodium. We quite often use salted but if we are out we use unsalted.
- Garlic cloves – No substitutions, they are part of the crunchies.
- Dried minced onion – We use the dried onion, it is easier and gives it a great flavor. I do not recommend using fresh onion as it will change the cook times to soften the onion.
- Red pepper flakes – You can adjust the amount depending on how spicy you like. The amount in the recipe is not enough to make it spicy, but adds just a little flavor. Add more if you want spice!
- Parmesan cheese – Store bought bottled parmesan cheese is best. I love fresh parmesan, but not in this recipe. Fresh does not hold up well to the frying.
The dry rub
- Garlic powder – No substitutions recommended.
- Paprika – We use regular for this, but you can use smoked if you prefer.
- Cumin – No substitutions recommended.
- Salt – Table salt or sea salt is what we use. You can adjust the amount of salt based on how much sodium you like. We use half a teaspoon.
- Pepper – We use black fresh ground pepper, but regular ground pepper is good.
Do I have to use cast iron?
No you do not have to use cast iron for these pan fried boneless chicken thighs, but I do highly recommend it. It is the only pan that will give you the best crunchies. This is because you can let the stuff stick to the bottom slightly and then scrape them off the bottom with a metal utensil. This is how the crunchies are the best!
You can use stainless steel or non stick for these thighs, but you will not get the same crunchies that you do with cast iron. Trust me, once you try this in cast iron you won’t use another pan for them!
We do not have any non stick frying pans so this hasn’t been tested on one, but you cannot scrape a non stick pan like you can stainless steel or cast iron.
If you use stainless steel and you find you cannot clean the bottom of the pan after removing chicken, heat the pan on the stove and slowly add a little water at a time to the bottom (should sizzle when you pour it in) while stirring with a wooden spoon. It should easily come off the bottom then. This works anytime there is gunk on your stainless steel pots and pans.
No matter what pan you use, a splatter shield is recommended so you don’t get burned or get oil splattered on your stove.
DO NOT use a ceramic coated Dutch oven to make these pan fried boneless chicken thighs. Scratching at the bottom of the Dutch oven will lead to scratches in your ceramic coating which can lead to ruining it.
Making the chicken thighs
This is an easy boneless chicken thigh recipe to make. They have a simple dry rub on them and at the end is when we make the delicious crunchies.
Prepping and cooking the chicken
First you want to mix the dry rub ingredients in a small prep bowl. Coat the chicken thighs with the dry rub and set aside for about 10 minutes.
Heat up your pan over medium heat until well heated. Pour in the oil and carefully add the chicken thighs. Place the splatter shield over top. You can loosely throw a piece of foil over the pan as well. You are covering it to prevent burns and splatters.
Cook for about 7-9 minutes on each side, until the chicken is no longer pink and cooked to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from the pan, cover loosely with foil and set aside.
Making the crunchies
Now you want to make the crunchies for the pan fried boneless chicken thighs. After taking the chicken out of the pan you add butter, garlic, minced dried onion and red pepper flakes. Stir for about 2 min while the garlic browns slightly.
The parmesan cheese gets added after the 2 minutes and you stir constantly. As you can see in the picture above, it will start to stick to the bottom of the pan. Stir and cook for about 30 seconds before adding the chicken thighs back in to the pan.
Once you add the thighs back to the pan, cook for about 2 minutes on each side. This is assuming your chicken was already at 165 degrees before removing from pan above. If they were not at 165 before, they need to be cooked until they are done.
Remove the boneless chicken thighs and set aside. You want to scrape the bottom of the pan to get these amazing crunchies out. This is where it is best to have cast iron because you can scrape them with a spoon without ruining your pan. With stainless steel, use a wood spoon so you do not put scratches in your pan. Do not scrape a non stick pan.
We put the crunchies along with some of the oil/butter mixture into a small bowl to serve with the pan fried boneless chicken thighs at the table. You can also pour the crunchies along with some oil/butter mixture directly over the chicken thighs before serving. We serve it in a bowl separately because everybody likes a different amount of crunchies.
Frequently asked questions
As long as your pan is well heated before adding the chicken thighs, it should take about 7-9 minutes per side. In this recipe we go with about 7-9 minutes each side at first. They return to the pan for another 1-2 minutes per side after cooking the garlic.
Take note that cook times may vary depending on pans, stoves and temperature settings.
I do not recommend using chicken breasts for this recipe. They do not hold up as well as boneless chicken thighs do in this recipe.
They should always be cooked to a temperature of 165 in the thickest part. You can judge when to check the temperature based on the cooking time and the color of the juices, but the temperature is how to know they are done for sure.
Short answer is yes it is. Once a cast iron skillet is up to temperature, the whole pan is the same temperature (including handles so be careful!) It distributes heat evenly which is important for pan frying meats.
You will also get the best sear in a cast iron pan compared to others so when frying something that needs a good sear, it is the best pan to run to.
In this recipe we recommend cast iron for the crunchies and searing the chicken.
Other great pan fried recipes
If you love pan frying, you will love these recipes too!
- Cast iron leg quarters
- Parmesan pan fried chicken breasts
- Chicken parmesan in cast iron
- Pork chops with mushrooms in a cream sauce
When making these pan fried boneless chicken thighs, we often make potatoes as a side dish. They do go well with many different sides including rice, pasta and even salad.
Pan Fried Boneless Chicken Thighs
- Cast iron pan (recommended)
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- 1½ Tablespoons dried minced onion
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 Tablespoons parmesan cheese see notes
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt see notes
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Mix all of the dry rub ingredients together. Coat all sides of each chicken thigh with the dry rub and set aside for about 10 minutes.1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon cumin, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Heat the skillet over medium heat until thoroughly heated.
- Add the olive oil to the pan and then the chicken thighs. Your chicken should sizzle when it hits the pan if it is hot enough – if not you will want to add another couple minutes to the cook time.3 Tablespoons olive oil, 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
- Cook for 7-9 minutes, flip and cook another 7-9 minutes until it is no longer pink and the internal temperature is at least 165. Remove from pan and set aside covered with foil.
- Add the butter, minced garlic, minced onion and pepper flakes. Cook stirring often for about 2 minutes. Add in the parmesan cheese and stir well.3 Tablespoons butter, 4 cloves garlic, 1½ Tablespoons dried minced onion, ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, 3 Tablespoons parmesan cheese
- Return the chicken to the pan and cook for about 2 minutes before flipping and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Scrape the crunchies off the bottom of the pan and serve on top of the chicken thighs.