Buffalo chicken thighs are a meatier take on a traditional Buffalo chicken wing. These bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs are baked until the skin is crisp then covered in wing sauce made from cayenne pepper hot sauce and butter.
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Buffalo chicken thighs are a great alternative to Buffalo chicken wings when you want a little more substance. 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.
On the hunt for more buffalo recipes? Try Buffalo Turkey Meatballs or Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Dip.
Most of these ingredients you will likely have on hand.
- bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- baking powder
- ground black pepper
- olive oil
- hot sauce (see Subtitution notes below)
- Worcestershire sauce
- garlic powder
See the recipe card for quantities.
Preheat the oven to 425°F. 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).
Tip: Try 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 hot pepper sauce (such as Frank's RedHot). 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 buter and garlic powder.
- Chicken - This recipes is for bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs because the skin crisps up in the oven. If you opt for boneless, skinless chicken thighs, you can skip the baking powder and reduce the cooking time to 20 minutes.
- Butter - You can use any type of butter or butter spread.
How to make buffalo sauce mild
I enjoy the medium heat of classic buffalo chicken and hot pepper sauce, but if you want to make your thighs slightly more on the mild side, you can:
- Reduce the hot pepper sauce by half
- Add 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce.
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.
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.
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 hot sauce
- 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. 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
Do these have to be baked? Could I sear/grill them in say a cast iron skillet until done and then toss them in the sauce?
Kelsey Smith says
Absolutely. I haven't tested those cooking methods, but I believe you would be able to skip the baking powder ingredient. That helps crisp the skin in the oven, but I don't think it would be necessary for the grill or cast iron.
These were easy to make and turned out really well. The medium heat option was just the right amount of heat for us and using chicken thighs meant that it made a good filling meal. Thank you.
Giangi Townsend says
They look amazing and with the right amount of heat. Printed the recipe to make it for my family. Thank you for sharing.
Dawn Conklin says
These are the best buffalo chicken thighs ever! Easy to make and I loved the flavor. Will be making these often!
Juicy and just the right amount of heat. Best served immediately.