What are the best tips for braising chicken thighs?

Chicken must be fully cooked to destroy salmonella contamination.

The best tips for sautéing chicken thighs include browning them thoroughly in a stovetop skillet, tenderizing the meat with enough liquid flavoring ingredients, and cooking the chicken pieces long enough to thicken the liquid into a topping. Many cooks report better success with braising chicken thighs rather than other chicken cuts. Thighs have a higher fat content, which usually prevents them from getting dry or hard during the cooking process. Preparing chicken for saute typically involves rinsing and drying each piece before adding the thighs to hot oil or butter in a skillet. Most recipes don’t include instructions for seasoning raw chicken with dry seasonings before sautéing it, as this step is done with the added liquid.

Cranberry juice is sometimes used to sauté chicken thighs.

Sauteing chicken thighs involves partially immersing the browned pieces in the liquid and cooking them further until they are tender. Some cooks like to use canola or vegetable oil for this step, while others prefer to use butter. The average cooking time for browning chicken thighs is seven to ten minutes, depending on the size of each piece. A common mistake at first is browning the chicken for longer, which can cause the finished meat to be dry. Chicken thighs are usually more fully cooked during the sautéing process.

The pieces of meat being roasted should be the same size.

The liquid used to sauté chicken thighs can range from water to white wine and chicken broth, depending on individual preferences. Some cooks use fruit juice in flavors like orange or cranberry as a sweet option for braising chicken thighs. An important additional tip is to add only the amount of liquid that the recipe instructions dictate. Mixing too much or too little liquid for sauteing will affect the texture of the sauteed chicken dish. Favorite dry spices commonly added to the sautéing liquid include sea salt, cumin, or black pepper.

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Chicken thighs can be sautéed in a variety of liquids, including chicken broth.

Instructions for braising chicken thighs usually involve first bringing the liquid to a moderate boil before adding the chicken thighs, then lowering the stove’s temperature to medium. The chicken thighs are then typically cooked further in the liquid to sauté for an additional 40 to 45 minutes on average. Most experienced cooks recommend checking the center of each chicken thigh to ensure the meat is fully cooked. Adding a small amount of cornstarch usually thickens the cooking liquid into a glaze to add more flavor to the finished dish.

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