Asian Chicken Thighs


These Asian Chicken Thighs are a simple weeknight dinner that hits all the notes that you’ve come to expect from a well-balanced oven-baked chicken dish: savory, slightly sweet, tangy, and packed with umami. Plus, the Whole30 marinade can be ready in minutes!
An overhead shot of Whole30 Asian Chicken Thighs on a beige platter. There is a red banner that reads Asian Chicken Thighs, Paleo, Whole30, and gluten-free.
This winner winner Asian Chicken dinner recipe is an OG Nomster favorite, but my original step-by-step photos were old and ugly. But lucky for you, I’ve finally updated the pics and streamlined the steps for you!

The Easiest and Tastiest Asian Chicken Marinade

This simple marinade for my Asian chicken thighs will win over your pickiest eaters. Here are some helpful tips to make it just right:
  • If you’re doing a Whole30, simply replace the honey with some diced apple. Want a keto-friendly version?Leave out the sweetener and your chicken dinner will still taste great.
  • The easiest way to make the marinade is to dump all the ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor and blitz until smooth. If your blender isn’t super powerful, you’ll have to chop the marinade ingredients smaller before dumping them in.
  • You’re aiming for a marinade that’s saltier than you would use as a dressing—taste it before pouring it on the chicken! Even though the marinade will taste salty, they chicken will be perfectly seasoned.
  • Avoid using fresh ginger in the marinade because it contains an enzyme that can break down protein. (I learned this lesson the hard way when I was developing my Wonton Meatballs recipe.)

Can You Make This Dish with Other Chicken Parts?

Definitely! I’ve used this Asian chicken marinade marinade on spatchcocked whole chickens, boneless and skinless thighs and breasts, wings, you name it. Just remember that boneless and skinless chicken will cook faster so you should check the internal temperature earlier.

How Can You Make Asian Chicken Thighs Ahead of Time?

You can blend the Asian chicken marinade ahead of time and have it ready in your fridge for up to four days. Also, you can marinate the chicken for up to two days before roasting it. I don’t love freezing marinated raw chicken and thawing it to roast later because the chicken skin gets kind of tough. I’d rather roast the chicken and save the cooked chicken in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months.

What Do You Serve With It?

I love serving Asian Chicken Thighs with my Asian Cauliflower Fried Rice, Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, and Smashed Cucumber and Carrot Salad, but feel free to plate it with whatever your favorite vegetable side dish happens to be. When I’m super lazy, I just serve Asian Chicken Thighs with a big green salad.

How do you clean the dirty wire rack?

For this recipe, I recommend that folks elevate their chicken pieces on a stainless steel wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet when they roast them to ensure even cooking. Inevitably, the number one question I get when people try this method is how to clean the dirty rack afterwards.
Soaking a dirty wire rack in hot soapy water to clean it.

The key is to soak the rack IMMEDIATELY in hot soapy water. Just follow these steps:

  1. Transfer the chicken off the rack as soon as it’s out of the oven.
  2. Immediately place the rack upside down in the rimmed baking sheet and fill it with hot soapy water. Let the rack soak while you’re enjoying dinner.
  3. After dinner, scrub off any gunk on the rack with a sponge and place the rack in the dishwasher. (No dishwasher? Just continue scrubbing the rack with hot soapy water and rinse well.)
  4. Watch this quick Instagram highlight to see how I do it!

Time to make Asian Chicken Thighs!

Serves 6
Ingredients:
  • 6 scallions, trimmed and cut into thirds
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger (fresh ginger can make the chicken mushy)
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil or fat of choice
  • 2 tablespoons honey or if you’re on the Whole30 or avoiding honey, use ½ cup peeled and diced apple
  • 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
  • 1 tablespoon Red Boat fish sauce
  • ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3 pounds chicken thighs

Equipment:

  • All of my recommended kitchen tools are listed here.
Method:
First, let’s make the marinade! Break out your high speed blender or food processor and toss in the scallions, garlic, ginger, rice wine vinegar, avocado oil, honey (or diced apple), coconut aminos, fish sauce, sesame oil, salt, and pepper.
An overhead shot of the Asian Chicken marinade ingredients in an open Vitamix blender.

Blitz until smooth.

The Asian chicken marinade liquified in a Vitamix blender.

Place the chicken thighs in a large bowl or storage container and pour the marinade on top.

Pouring the paleo & Whole30 Asian chicken marinade over chicken thighs in a white stainless steel bowl.

Toss to coat the chicken thoroughly, and marinate it in the fridge for up to two days. (No time to marinate? Don’t worry—the chicken will still taste good, even with just a quick toss in the marinade!)

Tossing chicken thighs in a bowl filled with marinade with a pair of tongs.

When you’re ready to cook the chicken, remove the marinated thighs from the fridge and heat the oven to 425°F (or 400°F on convection roast) with the rack in the middle.

Someone holding a bowl of marinated chicken that have been removed from the fridge.

Place a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet and arrange the chicken skin-side down in a single layer.

An overhead shot of marinated thighs arranged on a wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet with the skin-side down.

Roast the chicken for 40 minutes, flipping the thighs skin-side up at the halfway point.

Someone flipping the chicken thighs skin-side up at the halfway roasting point.

These Asian Chicken Thighs are ready when the skin is crisp and browned and the internal temperature reaches 165°F.

An overhead shot of the gluten-free Asian Chicken thighs out of the oven with golden brown skin.

Serve immediately! (And don’t forget to soak your wire rack in hot soapy water while you eat dinner!)

[Originally posted on April 17, 2013. Updated on March 1, 2020.]


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An overhead shot of a platter of Asian Chicken Thighs topped with sliced scallions.
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Asian Chicken Thighs

These Whole30 Asian Chicken thighs are so easy to throw together on a busy weeknight. Your whole family will love them!
Course Dinner
Cuisine Asian
Keyword gluten-free, low carb, paleo, Whole30
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 428kcal
Author Michelle Tam

Ingredients

  • 6 scallions trimmed and cut into thirds
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger (fresh ginger can make the chicken mushy)
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey Whole30? Use ½ cup peeled and diced apple in place of honey.
  • 1 tablespoon  coconut aminos
  • 1 tablespoon  Red Boat fish sauce
  • ½ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 pounds chicken thighs

Instructions

  • First, let’s make the marinade! Break out your high speed blender or food processor and toss in the scallions, garlic, ginger, rice wine vinegar, avocado oil, honey (or diced apple), coconut aminos, fish sauce, sesame oil, salt, and pepper. Blitz until smooth.
  • Place the chicken thighs in a large bowl or storage container and pour the marinade on top.
  • Toss to coat the chicken thoroughly, and marinate it in the fridge for up to two days. (No time to marinate? Don’t worry—the chicken will still taste good, even with just a quick toss in the marinade!)
  • When you’re ready to cook the chicken, remove the marinated thighs from the fridge and heat the oven to 425°F (or 400°F on convection roast) with the rack in the middle.
  • Place a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet and arrange the chicken skin-side down in a single layer.
  • Roast the chicken for 40 minutes, flipping the thighs skin-side up at the halfway point.
  • The chicken’s ready when the skin is crisp and browned and the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
  • Serve immediately. (And don’t forget to soak your wire rack in hot soapy water while you eat dinner!)

Notes

Fresh ginger will cause your chicken to get mushy! Use ground ginger instead.

Nutrition

Calories: 428kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 32g | Fiber: 1g

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