Buffalo Chicken Thighs are perfectly spiced, crispy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside, perfect for Buffalo wing lovers who want more of a meal!
Buffalo chicken thighs are a delicious twist on the classic Buffalo chicken wings, offering a meatier and more satisfying experience. You might be familiar with the iconic flavor of Buffalo sauce. This dish takes that beloved taste and applies it to juicy, tender chicken thighs, creating a mouth-watering meal that's perfect for weeknight dinners, game nights, or even meal prep.
This was inspired by my honey garlic lemon pepper chicken thighs, bacon wrapped chicken thighs and easy honey chicken thighs recipes on this site, and pairs well with this amazing list of sides on what to serve with chicken cutlets.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- Buffalo chicken thighs offer a delicious blend of spicy, tangy, and savory flavors that will satisfy your taste buds, every time.
- This crowd-pleasing recipe takes a little more than 30 minutes to make, making it perfect for a busy weeknights.
- You have the freedom to cook your buffalo chicken thighs in a variety of ways, including baking, grilling and air frying.
- A delicious alternative to buffalo wings and you can easily adjust the spice level of this dish to suit your taste preferences, making it enjoyable for everyone.
This recipe uses ingredients you might already have in your home.
- Skin-On, Bone-In Chicken Thighs - Perfect crispy, flavorful skin and meat.
- Salt and Pepper - The ultimate flavor enhancers.
- Garlic Powder - Add garlic flavor or easy to leave out, if desired.
- Paprika - For flavor and color.
- Olive Oil - Your favorite vegetable oil will work well.
- Buffalo Wing Sauce (like Frank's RedHot) - Regular hot sauce will work if you want to use it instead or a spicier hot sauce if you enjoy more heat.
- Unsalted Butter - If use salted butter do not add any extra salt.
- Serve with Dip - Include a creamy blue cheese dip, quick blue cheese dip or buttermilk ranch dip, when serving, if desired.
- Fresh Carrot and Celery Sticks - Or your favorite fresh vegetables for serving, if desired.
See the recipe card below for the exact quantities of each ingredient.
Substitutions and Variations
Buffalo chicken thighs can be easily customized based on your preferences and the ingredients you have on hand. Here are a few suggestions to make this dish your own.
- More Flavor: Add a splash of Worcestershire sauce to your buffalo sauce for a little smoky flavor.
- Add Onion Powder: Add a sprinkling to your chicken thighs when you're seasoning them.
- Make a Sandwich: Shred the cooked meat and toss it with the buffalo sauce, then place it on your favorite bun or roll. Add toppings such as lettuce, sliced tomatoes, onions, and pickles.
- Add a Drizzle: Serve with a drizzle on top of each chicken thigh or with a small bowl full of blue cheese or ranch perfect for dipping.
- Add Sweet: For a touch of sweetness, add some honey to the buffalo sauce and mix well. The sweetness from the honey will balance out the heat from the hot sauce, creating a somewhat sweeter sauce.
- Spicy: Add a bit of chili pepper flakes, diced jalapeno pepper, cayenne pepper, homemade hot pepper sauce, our jalapeno powder, smoked jalapeno powder, or chipotle powder to the Buffalo mixture for a bit more heat. You can also increase or decrease the heat level by adding more or less hot sauce to the recipe.
- Air Fryer: You'll want to cook them at 375°F (190°C) for 22-25 minutes, flipping halfway through the cooking time, until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
- Grill: Preheat your grill to medium-high heat and grill the chicken thighs for 6-8 minutes per side or until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
This recipe could not be easier.
Rinse chicken thighs under cold water and pat them dry using paper
towels. Season both sides with salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika.
In a large oven-safe skillet or pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
Once hot, add the chicken thighs skin-side down. Cook for about 5
minutes or until the skin is golden and crispy.
Turn the thighs over and cook for an additional 3 minutes on the other
side. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine the hot sauce and melted butter.
Dip each chicken thigh into the buffalo sauce, ensuring each piece is
Place the coated chicken thighs back into the skillet. Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F (74°C) and the meat is no longer pink at the bone.
Remove from the oven and let rest for a few minutes. Serve with extra buffalo sauce, blue cheese or ranch dressing, and celery or carrot sticks, if desired.
Hint: Always check that the chicken is cooked to 165 degrees with an instant-read meat thermometer before serving.
This chicken is best the day it’s prepared but once cool, can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days inside your fridge, including the day you made them.
Divide the cooked, cooled chicken thighs into meal-sized portions. This will make it more convenient when you want to defrost and reheat them later. Place each portion into a freezer-safe bag or airtight container. Be sure to squeeze out as much air as possible from the freezer bag to help prevent freezer burn. Place chicken thighs into your freezer for up to 3 months.
Reheat in the microwave.
Thaw the chicken thighs in the refrigerator overnight, or use defrost on your microwave if you're short on time.
Air Fryer: Preheat your air fryer to 380°F and then place the chicken thighs inside the basket in a single layer for 10 minutes. Then flip them and cook for another 8-10 minutes. Make sure to check your chicken's internal temperature by inserting a meat thermometer into the thickest part of a thigh without touching the bone to ensure it reaches 165°F.
Oven: Preheat to 375°F (190°C). Next, take your leftover chicken thighs out of the fridge and place them in a baking pan, covered in foil, for 10 to 15 minutes or heated through. Keep an eye on the chicken and remove from oven once chicken is the desired internal temperature. If you prefer a crispier texture on the outside, carefully remove the foil or parchment for the last few minutes of reheating.
While reheating, some sauce may be lost or absorbed into the meat. To add Buffalo flavor, simply heat some additional Buffalo sauce on the stovetop or in the microwave and brush it all over each chicken thigh before and after heating.
What to Serve with Buffalo Chicken Thighs
When enjoying delicious Buffalo Chicken Thighs, you may need the perfect side dishes to complement your meal. Here are some ideas:
- Starch Side Dishes
- Broccoli Salad
- Grandma's Coleslaw or Jalapeno Coleslaw
- Bell Pepper Salad
- Greek Rice Salad
- Greek Pasta Salad
- Cucumber Salad
- Twice Baked Potatoes
- Air Fryer Frozen Sweet Potato Fries
- Air Fryer Corn on the Cob
- Air Fryer Parmesan Green Beans
- Roasted Broccoli
- Broccoli Cornbread with Cheese
- Corn Muffins
- Creamy Blue Cheese Dip, Quick Blue Cheese Dip or Buttermilk Ranch Dip, and fresh carrots and celery sticks.
- Searing the chicken provides really crispy skin so please don’t skip this step.
- You can substitute regular hot sauce in this recipe. The buffalo sauce includes more tang and makes it taste more like buffalo wings.
- Use a cast iron pan for best results. You can also use stainless steel but avoid non-stick pans for best results.
- Always check that the chicken is cooked to 165 degrees with an instant-read meat thermometer before serving.
- Before cooking, gently pat the chicken thighs dry with a paper towel to remove excess moisture to help achieve crispy skin.
- You can cook the thighs either in the oven or an air fryer. Both methods give excellent results, but the air fryer often provides crispier chicken in less time.
- If you're using the oven, make sure to rotate the chicken thighs halfway through cooking to ensure even cooking and browning.
- To achieve even crispier skin, feel free to broil the chicken thighs for a few minutes after baking, if desired.
- Allow the cooked chicken to rest for a few minutes before slicing or serving so juices can redistribute, leaving you with moist, tender meat.
Do you have questions about buffalo chicken thighs? Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about it.
For better flavor, lift the skin and sprinkle the seasoning directly on the meat below the skin, not just on the outside of the skin.
Yes, you can use baking powder on Buffalo Chicken Thighs. Just mix it with salt and black pepper, then shake it evenly on the chicken pieces in a zipper plastic bag. Check out our recipe for crispy baked chicken thighs that uses baking powder and brush chicken thighs with buffalo sauce before serving.
The best cooking method for buffalo chicken thighs depends on your preference. Baking, air frying and grilling are all excellent choices, delivering great flavor and tender chicken. Baking is a more hands-off approach, the air fryer will cook your chicken the fastest, while grilling provides a smoky, charred flavor. Feel free to choose the method that you find most convenient and enjoyable.
More Chicken Thighs Recipes
Do you like chicken thighs? Here some recipes you may also like to try.
Ready to get cooking? Remember that you can print this recipe if you would like.
Incredible Buffalo Chicken Thighs
For Serving (Optional)
- Blue cheese or ranch dressing
- Carrot sticks
- Celery sticks
- Preheat your oven to 400°F (205°C).
- Rinse chicken thighs under cold water and pat them dry using paper towels.
- Season both sides with salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika.
- In a large oven-safe skillet or pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
- Once hot, add the chicken thighs skin-side down. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the skin is golden and crispy.
- Turn the thighs over and cook for an additional 3 minutes on the other side.
- Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine the hot sauce and melted butter.
- Dip each chicken thigh into the buffalo sauce, ensuring each piece is generously coated.
- Place the coated chicken thighs back into the skillet. Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven.
- Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F (74°C) and the meat is no longer pink at the bone.
- Remove from the oven and let rest for about 5 minutes.
- Serve with extra buffalo sauce, blue cheese or ranch dressing, and celery or carrot sticks, if desired.
This post was originally published April 2018. It has been updated with new images and content.