Baked buffalo chicken thighs are a simple, delicious weeknight meal idea or great for meal prep! Made with just 5 ingredients, these baked spicy chicken thighs are ready in under 30 minutes and require almost no prep!
Great for serving with potatoes and veggies or shredding for tacos, salads, pizzas or stuffing in potatoes.
Why you will love this recipe
- So easy to make – These buffalo chicken thighs are so simple, all you need to do is make the buffalo sauce and pour it over the chicken. Bake in a 400F oven for 25 minutes and dinner is done!
- Great for meal prep or parties – You can easily double or triple this recipe to make a large batch at once, just be sure you use a big enough casserole dish so they chicken doesn’t overlap during baking.
- Easy to find ingredients – You can find all the ingredients for these Whole30 buffalo chicken thighs at your regular grocery store, and they are all budget friendly too!
- Healthy recipe – these boneless buffalo chicken thighs are low carb, paleo, gluten free, dairy free and Whole30 friendly.
- Freezes well – if you happen to find boneless, skinless chicken thighs on sale, you can make a big batch and freeze some for later. I like to shred the chicken after cooking before freezing so that I can easily use the chicken in tacos, salads, on potatoes or in sandwiches, wraps or on pizzas as soon as it’s defrosted.
- Hot sauce – hot sauce is the base of the buffalo chicken marinade. I like Texas Pete, it’s not too hot and it’s easy to find in most grocery stores. You can use a spicier hot sauce if you really like things to be spicy!
- Extra virgin olive oil – olive oil helps to coat the chicken in flavor and helps to mellow out the hot sauce. You can also use avocado oil in place of the olive oil.
- Spices: Smoked paprika, salt, garlic powder (optional) – these spices help to elevate the flavors of the chicken. The smoked paprika brings a smokiness to the chicken that you don’t get from hot sauce. Salt helps to make everything pop and the garlic powder adds to the umami of the dish (making it more savory).
- Boneless, skinless chicken thighs – Chicken thighs are my go to when baking chicken in the oven. They are very forgiving; they stay juicy and moist (even if they are overcooked slightly) and are also more budget friendly. If you want to make this recipe with chicken breast, you will want to add 5-10 minutes to the cooking time depending on how thick the breasts are. Check out my tips on making the juiciest oven baked chicken breast.
How to make buffalo chicken thighs in the oven
Start by combining the hot sauce, olive oil, and spices in a small bowl or jar. Stir well.
Spread the chicken thighs out so they are flat in a casserole dish (you want something with high sides, a baking sheet would not be ideal for this recipe.
Pour half the buffalo mixture over the chicken thighs. Flip the chicken and move them around in the dish to distribute the hot sauce mixture. Pour the rest of the buffalo sauce over the chicken thighs, distribute it with your fork or spoon as best as possible. Flip the chicken again and place in a 400F oven for 25 minutes.
After baking, remove from the oven and check the internal temperature at the thickest part of the chicken thighs. You want the internal temperature to be at least 165F for chicken.
Optional: Spoon ½ teaspoon of hot sauce over each chicken thigh immediately after baking. This helps them look more appealing and helps intensify the buffalo flavor.
Serve as is or cut into bite size pieces or shred with two forks or your kitchen aid or hand mixer.
- Be sure to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Because they are boneless, they cook up quicker than bone-in thighs. If you happen to only find chicken thighs with the skin on, you can pull it off using a paper towel and a good yank. The paper towel helps you get traction on the slippery skin when pulling.
- Do not crowd the pan. This is especially true if you are doubling or tripling the recipe. You don’t want the chicken thighs to overlap too much when baking or the cooking time will be longer. The chicken thighs cook up quickly because they are relatively thin.
- Meal prep tip! Cube or shred the chicken before storing in the fridge. I find it’s much easier to shred chicken when it’s hot/warm vs. when it’s cold from the fridge. If you know how you will be using the chicken later in the week, cut or shred it ahead of time to save you time later in the week!
How to serve spicy chicken thighs
I like to serve buffalo chicken thighs just like any other chicken dish. Pick a starch and a veggie (or salad) and dinner is ready. However this is not the only way to use buffalo chicken. Some other great options include:
- Sandwich or wrap – pair with some fresh lettuce, tomatoes and homemade ranch dressing for an epic sandwich or wrap and pair with air fryer sweet potato cubes or roasted sweet potatoes and cauliflower for a full meal!
- Salads – cube or shred the chicken and pair it with lettuce and your favorite salad toppings. Serve with your favorite dressing (I have been loving this tahini ranch dressing)
- Tacos – a fun twist on taco night could be shredded buffalo chicken, avocado ranch dressing and your favorite slaw!
- On top of pizza or flatbread – Top your pizza or flatbread with extra hot sauce, steamed broccoli and a drizzle of ranch dressing for the ultimate slice!
- Stuffed in baked sweet potatoes or potatoes with a drizzle of ranch dressing and a side of broccoli or green beans!
Can you make baked buffalo chicken with chicken breast?
Yes! You can certainly make this recipe with chicken breast. If you want the chicken breast to cook in the same time as chicken thighs, cut the chicken breast in half by butterflying it at the thickest part (this creates into two thinner, flatter pieces of chicken). This will help the chicken cook faster and make it less likely to dry out when baking.
You can also make air fryer chicken tenders and add the buffalo sauce at the end for a simple flavorful dish.
Can you make buffalo chicken thighs in the air fryer?
Yes! Be sure to marinade the chicken in the hot sauce mixture for at least 15 minutes. Then transfer the chicken to the air fryer basket and cook at 375F for 12 minutes. Check out all the tips and tricks to making air fryer buffalo chicken thighs in this post!
- Fridge: Store leftover buffalo chicken thighs in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. If you plan on using leftovers cubed or shredded, doing that ahead of time can save time in later meals.
- Freezer: Freeze leftover buffalo chicken thighs in the freezer for up to 3 months. I like to shred the chicken then freeze it in ½ cup portions for easy use when defrosted.
- Hot sauce, olive oil and spices – you can also use ¼ cup of prepared buffalo sauce from your favorite brand.
- Chicken thighs – Boneless, skinless chicken thighs can be replaced with boneless, skinless chicken breast or turkey breast.
If you love this recipe, you should try
- Buffalo Turkey Meatballs
- Buffalo Cauliflower
- Buffalo Cauliflower Salad
- Buffalo Grilled Shrimp
- 10 Minute Skillet Italian Chicken
Baked Buffalo Chicken Thighs$6.61 Recipe/$1.65 Serving
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Combine the hot sauce, olive oil, salt, garlic powder and smoked paprika. Stir well.
- Add the chicken thighs to the casserole dish, flatten them out to a single layer.
- Pour 1/2 of the buffalo sauce over the chicken thighs. Flip the chicken.
- Pour the rest of the buffalo sauce over the chicken thighs. Flip the chicken again.
- Bake in a 400F oven for 25 minutes.
- After baking, check the temperature to ensure it's 165F in the thickest part of the chicken thighs.
- Optional: Spoon 1/2 teaspoon of hot sauce over each chicken thigh to increase the spice and color.
- Serve immediately or shred or cut into cubes.
- Fridge: Store leftover chicken in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. If you plan on using leftovers cubed or shredded, doing that ahead of time can save time in later meals.
- Freezer: Freeze leftover chicken in the freezer for up to 3 months. I like to shred the chicken then freeze it in ½ cup portions for easy use when defrosted.