Buffalo chicken thighs are made with bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, baked for crispy skin then covered in homemade wing sauce.
Buffalo chicken thighs are a meatier take on traditional Buffalo chicken wings. These bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs are baked until the skin is crisp then covered in homemade buffalo sauce made from cayenne pepper hot sauce and butter. They are low-carb and full of flavor.
These thighs pair well with carrot and celery sticks, as well as a healthy serving of homemade avocado lime ranch dressing or blue cheese dressing.
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- Game day recipe: Perfect for a hearty game day meal.
- Crispy buffalo chicken thighs: Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs are baked with baking powder just like chicken wings for crispy skin.
- Low carb: This is an easy low-carb chicken thigh recipe.
Most of these ingredients you will likely have on hand.
- bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- baking powder
- ground black pepper
- olive oil
- Frank's RedHot Original hot sauce (see Substitution notes below)
- Worcestershire sauce
- garlic powder
See the recipe card for quantities.
Preheat the oven to 425°F (220ºC). Pat the chicken dry and place in a zipper plastic bag with the baking powder, salt, and black pepper. Close and shake the bag to evenly coat the chicken.
Place chicken thighs on a parchment-lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.
Bake for 35–40 minutes or until chicken is cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F. The crispy chicken thighs will be a light golden brown.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt the butter on medium-low heat. Once melted, whisk in the hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic powder into the melted butter until combined.
When the chicken is done, pour or brush the buffalo sauce over the cooked chicken thighs until evenly coated.
Serve immediately with ranch dressing, blue cheese crumbles, green onions, and/or parsley (optional).
Tip: Pair this with my avocado lime ranch dressing.
This buffalo chicken thighs recipe is pretty basic, but I anticipate a few questions about substitutions.
- Baking powder - Be sure to use baking powder NOT baking soda. Baking powder helps to crisp the chicken skin when it bakes in the oven. If you're missing this ingredient, leave it out rather than trying to replace it.
- Hot pepper sauce - This recipe calls for Frank's RedHot Original. Buffalo wings are traditionally made with cayenne pepper sauce. Frank's also makes a buffalo wing sauce, but this contains "natural butter type flavor" and garlic powder. If you choose to use this product instead, do not add additional butter and garlic powder. Frank's is 450 SHUs on the Scoville scale. Some alternatives to Frank's include Original Louisiana Hot Sauce (450 SHUs) and Texas Pete's Original Hot Sauce (740 SHUs).
- Chicken - This recipe is for bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs because the skin crisps up in the oven. If you opt for boneless chicken thighs, you can skip the baking powder and reduce the cooking time to 20 minutes. Be sure to check the internal temp of boneless thighs with a meat thermometer. For chicken breasts, try this buffalo chicken breast recipe.
- Butter - You can use any type of butter or butter spread.
- Garlic powder - Onion powder will do in a pinch.
How to make buffalo sauce mild
Frank's is 450 SHUs on the Scoville scale which is one of the least spicy hot sauces. It has the medium heat of classic buffalo chicken and hot pepper sauce, but if you want to make your thighs more on the mild side, you can:
- Reduce the hot pepper sauce by half
- Add 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce.
- Add ½ teaspoon sugar
Tomato sauce is NOT the same thing as pasta sauce. You can find it in a can on the same aisle as diced tomatoes and crushed tomatoes.
You could also try a premade mild wing sauce, but the heat level rating is unclear.
For this recipe you need:
- Baking sheet/sheet pan: Mine is a quarter sheet because I have a small oven, but most ovens accomodate a half sheet.
- Parchment paper: I use pre-cut parchment paper.
- Basting brush: This is optional. I use a silicone basting brush. You can pour the sauce directly over the top of the thighs or you can toss the thighs in the saucepan if needed.
Store leftover chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days or the freezer for up to 4 months.
Be sure to use skin-on chicken thighs and prep the skin by patting it dry. Do not skin the baking soda when baking, this helps the skin crisp up. When the meat rests after baking, do not cover it. If covered, the steam will soften the skin.
Buffalo Chicken Thighs
- 4 chicken thighs bone-in, skin-on
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoon butter unsalted
- ¼ cup Frank's RedHot Original
- ¼ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ranch dressing or blue cheese optional
- fresh parsley roughly chopped, optional
- Preheat the oven to 425°F (220ºC). Pat the chicken dry and place in a zipper plastic bag with the baking powder, salt, and black pepper. Close and shake the bag to evenly coat the chicken.
- Place chicken on a parchment-lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 35–40 minutes or until chicken is cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt the butter on medium-low heat. Once melted, whisk in the hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic powder, until combined.
- When chicken is done, pour or brush the buffalo sauce over the chicken thighs until evenly coated.
- Serve immediately with ranch dressing, blue cheese crumbles, and/or parsley (optional).
Food safety tips
- Cook chicken to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash your hands after touching raw meat