This is one of many reasons to keep a package of chicken thighs on hand as a freezer staple. A cooking couple can get two or three meals out of it — and if you’re cooking for one, you’ll have a good supply of leftovers. Here, classic and simple flavors meld in a high-heat oven.

When you roast almost any meat on the bone, you get a flavor boost, and we all know what tastiness comes from crisped chicken skin. Here, we are removing both the thigh bone and skin — but wait! A generous slather of Dijon mustard and herbs will keep the meat moist and flavorful, while the boneless meat cooks more quickly. A decent trade-off.

A buttery coating of panko provides the crispy bits; here, we make sure those craggy dried bread crumbs will turn GBD — that’s golden brown and delicious — because we make that happen in a skillet instead of relying on the oven to do the job. If we waited until they turned brown in the oven without that prep step, the chicken might overcook.

For best freezer results, be sure to take the thighs out of their package, wrap each one individually in plastic wrap and then stash them together in a freezer zip-top bag. Label them with the date; they can be frozen for up to 1 year.


  • 2 teaspoons plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 12 cup panko (dried Japanese bread crumbs)
  • 6 sprigs thyme (may substitute fresh rosemary or parsley, or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 12 cup Dijon mustard
  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with aluminum foil (optional; for easy cleanup).

Step 2

Melt the 2 teaspoons of butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Stir in the panko and toast for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Remove from the heat.

Step 3

Pick off the fresh thyme leaves and place in a medium bowl with the mustard, whisking until well incorporated.

Mash in the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter (it may help to use your clean fingers to work it into the mixture).

Step 4

Grab the skin on each chicken thigh and pull it off; you can use a sharp knife to detach it, too. Discard (or freeze and reserve for another use).

Step 5

Scrape the flesh away from the thigh bone, then cut through where the bone is attached at the top and bottom.

Step 6

Season the chicken lightly with salt and pepper, then brush or slather the mustard mixture all over, placing the thighs in the baking dish as you work.

Step 7

Press the toasted panko evenly onto the top of each coated chicken thigh.

Step 8

Roast (middle rack) for 25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through; an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken should register 165 degrees, or the meat’s juices should run clear when the tip of a knife is inserted there.


Calories: 330; Total Fat: 17 g; Saturated Fat: 8 g; Cholesterol: 170 mg; Sodium: 580 mg; Carbohydrates: 12 g; Dietary Fiber: 0 g; Sugars: 0 g; Protein: 31 g.