Easy Baked Chicken Thighs in Creamy Sauce Recipe

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These Italian-style easy-baked chicken thighs in a creamy sauce are flavorful, juicy, and perfectly served over rice or crusty bread to soak up the delicious sauce. Enjoy!

You will also love my simple baked chicken thighs and chicken in mushroom sauce.

saucy chicken thighs in a pan with sauce. Basil leaves as garnish.
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Why you’ll love this recipe

You’ll love this delicious Italian-style baked chicken thighs recipe in a creamy sauce.

  • Rich Italian Flavors: The combination of dried oregano, basil, and paprika brings a burst of authentic Italian flavors to the dish, creating a satisfying and savory taste.
  • Juicy and Tender Chicken Thighs: Searing the chicken thighs before baking ensures a crispy skin while keeping the meat juicy and tender, providing the perfect texture in every bite.
  • Creamy Tomato-Based Sauce: The creamy sauce, made with a blend of heavy cream and tomato paste, adds a luscious and velvety texture to the dish, enhancing the overall taste and providing a delightful sauce to coat the chicken.

You’ll also love my Roasted Chicken Recipe, Stuffed Chicken Breasts, and Chicken in Mushroom Sauce.

up close of juicy chicken on plate with the pan sauce and a basil leaf.

Simple Ingredients

This is one of those easy recipes you will make repeatedly! This recipe is easy to prepare without compromising taste.

ingredient shot.
  • Chicken Thighs (Bone-in, Skin-on): Chicken thighs provide a juicy and flavorful base for the dish, with the bone and skin adding richness to the overall texture with the crispy skin.
  • Salt and Black Pepper: These seasonings enhance the taste of the chicken, providing a balanced and savory flavor profile.
  • Dried Oregano: A staple herb in Italian cuisine, dried oregano adds a robust, earthy aroma and taste.
  • Dried Basil: Another classic Italian herb, dried basil contributes a slightly sweet and peppery flavor, enhancing the overall herbal notes.
  • Paprika: Paprika introduces a subtle smokiness and a mild heat level, complementing the other spices and adding depth to the seasoning.
  • Olive Oil: For searing the chicken, olive oil imparts a rich and fruity flavor, enhancing the dish’s overall taste.
  • Tomato Paste: Tomato paste serves as the base for the sauce, providing a concentrated tomato flavor and a natural thickening agent.
  • Garlic: Minced garlic adds a pungent and aromatic element, infusing the dish with a savory depth.
  • Chicken Broth: Chicken broth forms the liquid base for the sauce, imparting a savory and umami flavor while deglazing the pan.
  • Heavy Cream: Heavy cream contributes to the creamy texture of the sauce, creating a luxurious and velvety consistency.
  • Parmigiano Cheese: Grated cheese adds a rich and nutty flavor, enhancing the sauce’s creaminess and providing a savory umami boost.
  • Fresh Basil: Chopped fresh basil serves as a garnish, adding a burst of freshness and a hint of sweetness to the finished dish.
  • Fresh Parsley: Chopped fresh Italian parsley complements the flavors with its bright and herbaceous notes, adding freshness.

See the recipe card for quantities.

How to make Oven Baked Chicken Thighs in Sauce

Quick Preparation: These basic steps and oven-baking methods make this recipe a convenient choice for a delicious and satisfying meal without spending excessive time in the kitchen.

How to make oven baked chicken thighs recipe step-by-step photos: dry the chicken thighs.

Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towels. Season each thigh with the spice mixture, ensuring they are well-coated on both sides.

How to make oven baked chicken thighs recipe step-by-step photos: make the seasoning.

In a small bowl, combine salt, black pepper, dried oregano, dried basil, and paprika.

seasoned chicken thighs ready to cook.

Season the chicken with the spice mixture.

How to make oven baked chicken thighs recipe step-by-step photos: placing the seasoned chicken thighs in the pan with oil.

Heat olive oil in an oven-safe skillet or cast iron pan over medium-high heat.

How to make oven baked chicken thighs recipe step-by-step photos: cooking thighs in the oil to brown.

Sear the chicken thighs, skin side down, until golden brown, about 4-5 minutes per side

How to make oven baked chicken thighs recipe step-by-step photos: cooked chicken thighs on a plate.

Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside.

How to make oven baked chicken thighs recipe step-by-step photos: add the cream to the tomato sauce.

In the same skillet, add tomato paste and minced garlic. Sauté for 1-2 minutes until the garlic becomes fragrant.

How to make oven baked chicken thighs recipe step-by-step photos: stir in the cream to the tomato paste sauce.

Pour in chicken broth, scraping the bottom of the skillet to release any browned bits. Bring to a simmer.
Stir in heavy cream and cheese until the sauce is smooth and well combined.

How to make oven baked chicken thighs recipe step-by-step photos: cooking thighs in the skillet.

Return the seared chicken thighs to the skillet, skin side up, placing them in the sauce.

How to make oven baked chicken thighs recipe step-by-step photos: cooking thighs int he skillet with the sauce.

Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and the skin is crispy. 

Garnish with fresh basil and parsley before serving.

saucy chicken thighs in a pan with sauce. Basil leaves as garnish.

Substitutions

Here are some potential substitutions you can consider based on ingredient availability or dietary preferences:

  • Chicken Thighs: You can substitute bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs with boneless, skinless chicken thighs or chicken drumsticks. Adjust the cooking time accordingly to ensure they are cooked through.
  • Dried Oregano and Basil: If you don’t have dried oregano or basil, you can use Italian seasoning as a convenient substitute. It typically contains a blend of dried herbs, including oregano and basil.
  • Paprika: Smoked paprika can be used as a substitute for regular paprika if you want to add a smoky flavor. Alternatively, you can use a pinch of cayenne pepper for a bit of heat.
close up of baked chicken thighs in sauce.

Variations

  • White Wine Reduction: Deglaze the pan with white wine before adding the chicken broth. The wine adds a subtle acidity and depth of flavor to the sauce.
  • Lemon Zest: Incorporate freshly grated lemon zest into the sauce for a bright and citrusy kick. This adds a refreshing element to the richness of the dish.
  • Caprese Style: Season with basic Italian seasoning, then top the baked chicken with fresh mozzarella slices and cherry tomatoes during the last few minutes of baking. Garnish with fresh basil for a Caprese-inspired twist.

Equipment

chicken thighs in a plate with sauce and a slice of bread.

Storage

These chicken thighs in the sauce will last in the fridge for about 4 days. You can freeze cooked chicken thighs for up to 5 months. Freeze the sauce separately from the baked chicken thighs.

To freeze, use a freezer-safe container, leaving space for expansion, and thaw in the refrigerator before reheating. When reheating, ensure the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C)

Top tips for best results

  • Quality Ingredients: Start with high-quality chicken thighs and fresh ingredients. This will enhance the overall flavor and texture of the dish.
  • Room Temperature Chicken: Allow the chicken thighs to come to room temperature before cooking. This ensures even cooking and helps the chicken stay juicy.
  • Proper Seasoning: Season the chicken generously with a well-balanced blend of salt, black pepper, and Italian herbs. This ensures that each bite is flavorful.
  • Hot Searing: Sear the chicken thighs in a hot pan with olive oil to achieve a golden-brown crust. This step locks in juices and adds a delicious texture to the skin.
  • Aromatics: Incorporate aromatic ingredients like minced garlic early in the cooking process. Sautéing them releases their flavors, enhancing the overall taste of the dish.
  • Deglazing the Pan: After searing the chicken, deglaze the pan with chicken broth. Scraping up the flavorful browned bits from the bottom adds depth to the sauce.
  • Creamy Sauce Balance: Achieve a balanced and velvety sauce by slowly incorporating heavy cream and Parmesan cheese. Stir continuously to prevent lumps and ensure a smooth consistency.
  • Oven Temperature: Preheat the oven to the specified temperature (375°F or 190°C) before transferring the skillet. Consistent heat ensures even cooking and a crispy skin.
a slice taken out of the baked chicken in sauce with fork and knife on plate.

FAQs

Can I use boneless, skinless chicken thighs?

Yes, you can use boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Adjust the cooking time as boneless thighs cook faster than bone-in ones.

How do I know when the chicken is cooked through?

The chicken is cooked through when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness.

Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:

Serving Suggestions

What pairs well with baked chicken? This dish pairs well with pasta, rice, mashed potatoes, or crusty bread to soak up the creamy sauce. Here are some delicious side dishes for this easy dinner recipe.

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Oven Baked Chicken Thighs Recipe

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4.8 from 5 reviews

This Italian-style baked chicken thighs in creamy sauce is flavorful, juicy, and perfectly served over rice or crusty bread to soak up the delicious sauce. Enjoy!

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (you can also use boneless skinless chicken thighs cook 5 minutes less)
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup grated freshly grated parmigiano cheese (Parmesan cheese)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. In a small bowl, combine salt, black pepper, dried oregano, dried basil, and paprika.
  3. Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towels. Season each thigh with the spice mixture, ensuring they are well-coated on both sides.
  4. Heat olive oil in an oven-safe skillet or cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Sear the chicken thighs, skin side down, until golden brown, about 4-5 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside.
  5. In the same skillet, add tomato paste and minced garlic. Sauté for 1-2 minutes until the garlic becomes fragrant.
  6. Pour in chicken broth, scraping the bottom of the skillet to release any browned bits. Bring to a simmer.
  7. Stir in heavy cream and cheese until the sauce is smooth and well combined.
  8. Return the seared chicken thighs to the skillet, skin side up, placing them in the sauce.
  9. Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the skin is crispy. 
  10. Garnish with fresh basil and parsley before serving.

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About Elena

My dream is to share delicious wholesome recipes that you will share around the table with all your loved ones. The memories surrounded by food are the heart and soul of CucinaByElena.

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9 Comments

  1. The chicken came out very tender and juicy. But I felt it was a bit lacking flavor from the sauce to eat with the chicken. So I added some Italian seasonings and thickened its sauce.

    I love your recipes as always.






  2. This was quick, simple, truly delicious & beautiful to serve. We all loved it & have leftovers for tomorrow night. Very highly recommend.






  3. This recipe is SO delicious and so easy! It is one that everyone cleared their plates which is rare! The flavors are amazing . No boring chicken here