Easy Marinated Chicken Thighs

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These Easy Marinated Chicken Thighs are marinated in a simple homemade marinade that packs them with flavor and makes them super juicy.

marinated chicken thighs

We love these chicken thighs for a tasty low-carb dinner idea. Whenever I can’t come up with anything to make, this is my go-to. It’s so tasty, and it only takes a couple of hours to marinate. If you happen to have leftovers, they’re great the next day too.

Why You’ll Love It

  • They’re Quick to Prepare: One of the best things about these low-carb marinated chicken thighs is how little time you’ll spend in the kitchen. Mix your marinade, toss in the chicken, and let them soak up the flavor. When you’re ready, just bake or air fry.
  • Bursting with Flavor: Despite their simplicity, these thighs pack a serious flavor punch. The marinade gives them a rich, zesty taste that doesn’t require any sugary or high-carb sauces.
  • Great as a main dish or salad: They make a great dinner, but also a great salad topping.

» You might also like these Honey Sesame Baked Chicken Wings.

Ingredients You Need

Ingredients for marinated chicken thighs
  • Chicken thighs – I use bone-in skin-on chicken thighs, but you can also use boneless skinless.
  • Soy sauce – I always use low-sodium soy sauce so it’s not overwhelmingly salty.
  • Brown sugarI use a brown sugar substitute that gives the sweetness and flavor with zero net carbs
  • Rice vinegar – I use Kikkoman rice vinegar that has no carbs or sugar.
  • Dijon mustard – Use your favorite brand of mustard.
  • Garlic powder – You can also use fresh garlic if you prefer.
  • Ground black pepper – More pepper will add more spiciness to the dish. Season to your liking.

Equipment Needed

  • Baking sheet (lined with parchment paper) – You could also use a baking dish if you don’t have a sheet.
  • Kitchen tongs – This is the easiest way to flip over the chicken while they’re baking.
  • Meat thermometer To check the internal temp of the chicken.

Helpful Tips

  • Reserve a small amount of the marinade to use as a glaze for the chicken thighs during cooking if you want to add even more flavor.
  • This chicken must be cooked to an internal temperature of 165° F so be sure to check with a meat thermometer.
  • Opt for organic or free-range chicken if possible. These usually have a richer flavor and are less likely to be pumped with water and preservatives, allowing the marinade to penetrate the meat more.
  • While it might be tempting to rush the marinating process, give your thighs ample time to soak up the flavors. Give a minimum of 2 hours, but overnight to 24 hours is better. The longer you marinate, the more pronounced and integrated the flavors become.
  • This basic marinade is a great starting point, don’t hesitate to tweak it to your liking. Add a little heat with some cayenne pepper, or a touch of smoke with smoked paprika.

How to Make Marinated Chicken Thighs

Step 1: Marinate

Chicken thighs in the marinade.

Mix the soy sauce, brown sugar substitute, rice vinegar, mustard, garlic powder, and black pepper together in a quart-sized plastic bag until combined. You can also put it in a bowl, but I prefer a bag.

I like to reserve a little bit of the marinade to use as a glaze for the chicken during cooking. It’s not necessary, especially if you are able to marinate overnight, but if you can’t, doing this will add even more flavor to the chicken.

A bowl of marinade.

Add the chicken thighs to the marinade and shake gently to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight. The longer they marinate, the better the flavor. I really prefer to give them 24 hours to really soak up the flavor.

Step 2: Bake

Preheat the oven to 400° F (205° C). Place the thighs onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon mat.

Bake for about 50 minutes, turning halfway through cooking. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165° F (74° C).

If you reserved any of the marinade from the first step, you can baste the thighs with it as they cook for additional flavor.

Marinated chicken thighs

How to Cook in the Air Fryer

To cook these thighs in the air fryer, place them in the basket – preferably not overlapping, but if you have to it’s fine.

Cook at 400° F (200° C), for 32-35 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through cooking. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165° F (74° C).

Marinated chicken thighs

What to Serve with Marinated Chicken

If you’re looking for a great side dish to serve alongside this main dish, why not try one of these recipes below. They will compliment this main dish very well and are all low in carbs so you can make a great keto or low-carb meal to enjoy.

Questions About the Recipe

How long can chicken thighs sit in marinade?

Let the chicken thighs sit in the marinade a minimum of 2 hours, but overnight to 24 hours is better. The longer you marinate, the more pronounced and integrated the flavors become. However, longer than a day and your chicken will start to break down and turn mushy.

Does marinating chicken thighs make a difference?

Yes, it does. These thighs pack a serious flavor punch because of the marinade. It gives them a rich, zesty taste. They won’t be nearly as flavorful without the marinade.

Do you wash chicken thighs before marinating?

No. You may think that washing chicken before you cook it will rinse away bacteria. But, it can be risky because it can spread the bacteria around with the water.

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Marinated chicken thighs

Easy Marinated Chicken Thighs

These Easy Marinated Chicken Thighs are marinated in a simple homemade marinade that packs them with flavor and makes them super juicy.
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Print Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Marinating Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 55 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 536kcal
Author :Laura Lynch

Equipment

  • Baking Sheet lined with parchment paper
  • Kitchen tongs
  • Meat thermometer

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds (907 g) chicken thighs 4 pieces bone-in skin on
  • 1/4 cup (59 ml) low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons (24 g) brown sugar or brown sugar substitute
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 g) garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1 g) ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Mix soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, mustard, garlic powder, and black pepper together in a quart-sized plastic bag until combined.
  • Add the chicken thighs and shake gently to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C).
  • Put the chicken thighs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon mat.
  • Bake for about 50 minutes, turning halfway through cooking. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read 170°F (76°C).

Notes

  • Reserve a small amount of the marinade to use as a glaze for the chicken thighs during cooking if you want to add even more flavor.
  • This chicken must be cooked to an internal temperature of 165° F so be sure to check with a meat thermometer.
  • Opt for organic or free-range chicken if possible. These usually have a richer flavor and are less likely to be pumped with water and preservatives, allowing the marinade to penetrate the meat more.
  • While it might be tempting to rush the marinating process, give your thighs ample time to soak up the flavors. Give a minimum of 2 hours, but overnight to 24 hours is better. The longer you marinate, the more pronounced and integrated the flavors become.
  • This basic marinade is a great starting point, don’t hesitate to tweak it to your liking. Add a little heat with some cayenne pepper, or a touch of smoke with smoked paprika.

Nutrition

Calories: 536kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 16g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 222mg | Sodium: 833mg | Potassium: 548mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 184IU | Vitamin C: 0.03mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 2mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Easy Marinated Chicken Thighs

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