Cracklin’ Crispy Chicken

Chicken thigh’s dark meat translates to reliable juiciness, but I prefer the white meat, so we added a couple of breasts along with the thighs to this crazy-good tasting Lemon Chicken Thighs dinner. No matter your choice of meat, their delectable skin will get as crispy as cracklin’ over a hot fire.

Capping off this one-skillet method is a punchy and bittersweet lemon vinaigrette built on the brown bits left in the skillet. And trust me when I tell you, that’s what you’re going to want to drag each bite of chicken through. Oohing and aahing all during dinner, we love-love-loved this meal!

img_0861You can see the breast skin got just as crispy as the thighs did. We served ours with lemony baby carrots (recipe below) and a side of couscous which was cooked with homemade chicken stock instead of water for even more flavor.

Both the poultry and the carrots are treated with lemons. In the case of the vegetables, make sure to use Meyer lemons, which are a cross between a citron and a mandarin—a hybrid citrus fruit native to China. The fruit is rounder than a true lemon, deep yellow with a slight orange tint when ripe, and has a sweeter, less acidic flavor.

And don’t skip the charring of the regular lemons in the chicken dish. Not only does the process help loosen them up to release their juices, but renders them bright and citrusy, and removes the bitterness. No reason why you couldn’t use Meyer lemons here too.

A few minor adjustments we made to the chicken directions included increasing the number of cloves and then chopping up the cooked garlic before adding it to the sauce. Also please note, depending on the size of your poultry pieces, you may have to add a few more minutes cooking time in the oven. Numerous reviewers admitted to cooking the chicken twice as long as the preparations call for, but ours were done in the original allotted time.

Lemon Chicken Thighs

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 4 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (white meat too if you prefer)
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 4 (or more) garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 lemons, halved
  • 1 1/2 tsp. honey
  • 1/2 tsp. Aleppo-style pepper (or red pepper flakes)
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Pat chicken thighs dry and season well with salt and black pepper. Place in a large resealable plastic bag and add vinegar. Seal bag and gently massage chicken to ensure all thighs are coated in vinegar. Chill 1 hour, turning once after 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Remove chicken thighs from bag and pat dry with paper towels. The drier the skin, the crispier it will be when cooked.
  3. Place chicken thighs, skin side down, in a dry large cast-iron skillet and set over medium heat. Cook undisturbed until they easily release from the pan, about 4 minutes.
  4. Continue to cook, moving chicken around occasionally to ensure the skin is cooking evenly, until golden brown, 8–10 minutes.
  5. Add garlic and transfer skillet to oven. Bake until chicken is cooked through, 10–12 minutes (longer if needed). Transfer chicken and garlic to a plate. When slightly cooled, chop garlic and add to sauce.
  6. Set skillet over medium-high heat and cook lemons, cut side down, until edges are deeply charred (they should be almost black), about 5 minutes. Transfer to plate with chicken and garlic and let cool slightly.
  7. Squeeze lemon juice into a small bowl; add chopped garlic, honey, and Aleppo-style pepper and whisk to combine. Whisk in oil and any accumulated juices on plate with chicken. Season vinaigrette with salt and black pepper.
  • Drizzle half of vinaigrette on a platter and set chicken on top. Serve with remaining vinaigrette alongside.
    img_0865I mean, look at how beautiful this meal is! And it’s even more delicious than gorgeous, if that’s possible…


    Adapted from Recipe by Molly Baz at Bon Appétit

    Baby Carrots with Meyer Lemon, Honey, Basil, and Mint


    These carrots may quite possibly be the BEST cooked carrots we’ve ever eaten!

    Baby Carrot with Meyer Lemon, Honey, Basil and Mint

    • Servings: 4-6
    • Difficulty: easy
    • Print


    • 1-1/4 lb. baby carrots, trimmed
    • 6 Tbs. unsalted butter
    • Kosher salt
    • 1 tsp. finely grated Meyer lemon zest, more for garnish
    • 6 Tbs. Meyer lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
    • 2 Tbs. honey
    • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
    • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh mint
    • Flaky sea salt, for serving


    1. Put the carrots, butter, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2  cup water in a wide, shallow sauté pan, and cover with the lid slightly ajar. Bring to a boil over high heat, and cook for 5 minutes.
    2. Remove the lid, and add the lemon zest, juice, and honey. Lower the heat to medium-high, and cook until the liquid forms a glaze, about 5 minutes more.
    3. Meanwhile, combine the basil and mint. Serve the carrots garnished with the chopped herbs, small mint leaves, more lemon zest, and a little flaky sea salt.

    Recipe by Deborah Reid from Fine Cooking

    Leave a Reply

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

    You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

    Connecting to %s