Sticky Chicken Thighs with Apricot Glaze

By Amanda Paa – Updated August 27, 2021
4.67 from 3 votes
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Have you hopped on the chicken thigh bandwagon yet? If not, I think this easy recipe might be your one way ticket, no looking back. Like many, I grew up a child of the late 80’s, where fat was considered the devil and Jane Fonda was every woman’s 6:00 am pal. A typical “healthy” dinner consisted of baked chicken breasts with steamed vegetables and a sprinkle of reduced-calorie cheese, a glass of raspberry Crystal Light to wash it down. Oof.

Thank goodness we’ve taken back the roots of cooking AND embraced techniques and ingredients that let real food shine.

These Sticky Apricot Basil Chicken Thighs are a testament to both.

Sticky Apricot Basil Chicken Thighs (via heartbeet kitchen blog)

How to Make Crispy Chicken Thighs

I’ll be honest, chicken thighs seemed a little intimidating before I made them the first time. With skin-on and bone-in, how exactly do I do this? With help from Bon Appetit and my cast iron skillet, juicy chicken with salty, crispy skin was just 20 minutes away.

The most important piece is starting with a smoking hot pan and searing them skin side down to render out the fat, and give the thighs something to “fry” in. Think about it – this is why you love bacon.

And don’t forget to let those babies rest, just like you would with steak. This holds in all the flavor and lets the salt permeate into the meat.

How to Make the Crispiest Chicken Thighs

I could have served the finger lickin’ good thighs just like that, but another little trick is making a quick sauce from whatever jam or preserves you have.

I’ve learned that fruit brightens and balances meat really well, working harmoniously together.Ever notice why good restaurant meals are never heavy in one taste and lacking in another?

Crispy Chicken Thighs Apricot Glaze 5

With little effort thanks to apricot preserves from Cascadian Farm Organic, this basil infused glaze brought this meal from really good to “kick the table” delicious. A quick simmer with minced shallots, white wine vinegar and a little dijon mustard is all it takes.

And if apricot isn’t your favorite, this hot pepper jelly would be an excellent substitution!

Smothered on the crispy chicken after it comes off the pan, a sticky texture with a sweet & savory twist emerges.

Apricot Basil Glaze ~ delicious on chicken or pork
Sticky Apricot Basil Chicken via heartbeet kitchen blog

I served the chicken with roasted purple cabbage wedges, which I’ve been loving, and I think they almost need their post.

But for a quick method, just cut the core out of the cabbage, slice 1/2 inch thick slices, then coat both sides with olive oil and salt. Roast at 410 degrees F for 30 minutes!

More Chicken Recipes

Sticky Apricot Basil Glazed Chicken Thighs (gluten-free)
Sticky Apricot Basil Chicken Thighs (gluten-free)
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Crispy Chicken Thighs with Apricot Basil Glaze {gluten-free}

30-Minute Apricot Glazed Chicken Thighs

The secret to juicy, flavorful chicken thighs is to use bone-in and skin-on! The skin crisps up beautifully in a cast iron skillet, before brushing with a delicious apricot basil glaze.
4.67 from 3 votes
Prep Time :10 minutes
Cook Time :30 minutes
Yield: 3 servings
Author: Amanda Paa

SCALE:

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 pounds bone-in & skin-on chicken thighs (this was 3 chicken thighs for me)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

Apricot Basil Glaze

  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon smooth dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup apricot jam
  • 2 tablespoons minced basil

Instructions 

  • Rub chicken thighs with 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt. Let sit for 5 minutes, and set the oven to preheat to 400 degrees F.
  • Bring remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to medium high heat in a 12 inch cast-iron skillet. Wait until very hot, then add chicken thighs skin side down. Cook for 3 minutes, then turn heat down to medium and continue to cook for 5 more minutes so that it can “fry” in its own fat, until skin is golden brown. Flip thighs and cook for another 8 minutes. Brush chicken with it's own juices, then transfer skillet to oven. Cook for 8-10 minutes longer, until meat is cooked through and juices run clear, registering 160 degrees F.
  • While chicken thighs are in the oven, make the glaze. Heat olive oil to medium heat in a small saucepan. Add shallot and salt, cooking for 3-4 minutes until translucent. Stir in mustard, vinegar and preserves. Lightly simmer for 5-6 minutes, until slightly thickened. Remove from heat and stir in basil.
  • When chicken thighs have reached 160 degrees F, transfer to a plate, smother with glaze, and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Did you make this?

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May 31, 2015

COMMENT & RATE

I look forward to your comments, reviews and questions! If you love this recipe, please rate it when you leave a comment. Star ratings help people discover my recipes. Your support means a lot; thank you for being a part of the Heartbeet Kitchen community.

Amanda

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40 comments

  1. Karen

    4 stars
    Wow! This was awesome! I tweaked it a bit. I added chili crisp to the glaze for a little kick, I used thyme instead of basil (had some in my yard) and I added the glaze and hit it with the broiler to caramelize it. OUTSTANDING!!

  2. Maria

    5 stars
    Crystal Light!😂I drank that by the pitchers and am incredibly still here alive and well in spite of all the artificial sweetener and flavoring- Amen. In fact I typically would sneak into the fridge to refresh myself all sweaty while one of Jane’s videos was screaming at me from the living room- great times though in life I must admit. Just tossing this out there because I have only a whole roasting chicken rather than thighs right now- could I maybe dry brine, and serve the roasted chicken with this glaze? Or…?

    • Amanda Paa

      Hi Maria! Thanks for the note, I had a good laugh thinking about the Jane exercise videos of years past.
      I think the glaze would be wonderful on a whole roasted chicken! I would do a liberal salt and pepper dry brine.

  3. Margie

    Another great recipe!! DELICIOUS!!!

    • Steve

      5 stars
      These were delicious! I added a little extra mustard to cut some of the apricot sweetness but that’s probably dependent on the type of jam you use. Served them with herbed bleu cheese butter green beans. Fantastic combination.

      • Amanda Paa

        that sounds like a fabulous meal!

  4. Kaela

    THESE WERE SO GOOD. I made this tonight with chicken drumsticks (I was craving this but didn’t have time to go buy thighs!) and it was still a hit!!

    • amandapaa

      Yay! I’m so glad you liked the recipe. And chicken drumsticks is a fab idea.

  5. Sue

    Chincken thighs are my favorite. They seem to be more flavorful when cooked with skin on. However i do not Eat the skin due to heart problems so when done cooking i peeled it off, add some glaze and stuck under broiler for just a few mintues. Wonderful recipe

  6. Emm

    What would you recommend in place of the shallots? I don’t have any and need to cook something only with what I have on-hand.

    • amandapaa

      Hi! You could use minced onion instead of the shallot.

  7. Nikki

    So delicious. I made it twice in less than a week but with Pineapple Preserve instead of Apricot. Quick question though, in the recipe you have white wine vinegar listed twice. I am guessing that is a typo, correct?

    • Amanda Paa

      You are correct, I had repeated myself :). I updated the ingredient list, and am so glad you’ve enjoyed the recipe. I will take your tip and make it with pineapple preserves next time!

  8. kristie {birch and wild}

    Amanda, this looks delicious, even to a non-chicken eater! My husband will loooooove these. I wonder if I could glaze veggies with the apricot too? Maybe parsnips? What do you think?

  9. Smith. A

    Chicken thigh is my favorite dish. Thanks a lot that you made my favorite dish more delicious with this recipe. I have cook it. When I serve it to my family they can’t believe that how my chicken thigh get more tasty. They all are wounder. Again thanks Amanda.

    • Amanda Paa

      Yes, hope you enjoy this meal! Chicken thighs are so nutrient dense and delicious. Thanks for stopping by!

  10. Sylvie | Gourmande in the Kitchen

    Love that sweet and savory combination!

  11. Steph @ Steph in Thyme

    Apricot and basil sounds amazing! What a combination!

  12. Nancy

    I’ve never pan fried and then baked chicken thighs before. I’ll have to give it a try. And the apricot preserves…..yum!

    • Amanda Paa

      It definitely makes for the crispiest skin! Give it a try, just make sure the pan is very hot before you put them in it. The searing helps keep the juices in the meat.

    • Amanda Paa

      it’s amazing how crispy the skin gets with a really hot cast-iron pan. have a great week!

  13. Heidi @foodiecrush

    I’m with you on embracing the thigh. It’s my favorite part of the bird these days. Looks deeeeevine.

    • Amanda Paa

      bawk, bawk! nothing better than that juicy meat. and…… i like to save the chicken fat drippings to fry other vegetables in!

  14. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles

    Amanda, your apricot-basil glaze looks simply mouth-watering (I’ve tasted it several times over the last couple days :D ). As for the chicken thighs, my husband and I lived off them through law school — they are very economical relative to other cuts (great for students) and so, so juicy! There are still some recipes I prefer to use chicken breast but often we will opt for thighs. I must try this delightful recipe, it looks too good to resist!

    • Amanda Paa

      I agree – thighs are so economical! And juicy. The flavor just flows through them. And I do like to use breasts for things like kabobs, and if I am going to be making some sort of chicken salad where I know it will be mixed with several other things. Hope you enjoy the apricot basil combination!

  15. fabiola@notjustbaked

    Amanda, these look amazing! I love the photos and recipe, so making these!

  16. Liz @ Floating Kitchen

    Oh these look fantastic. I’m totally on the chicken thigh bandwagon. I love ’em! And your apricot-basil glaze looks finger-licking good!

  17. Emily

    I’m all about the chicken thighs but I need to buy bone-in, skin-on next time. Yours look cooked to perfection! Love the sauce idea, what an upgrade to dinner!

    • Amanda Paa

      yes! and organic chicken thighs are so reasonable in price too. xo

  18. Sarah @ SnixyKitchen

    It’s all chicken thighs in our house! These apricot basil ones sound out of this world, Amanda. And these photos are so ridiculously beautiful! Seriously – so perfect with the sheen of the glaze!

  19. autumn

    Team chicken thigh, forever! These flavors sound totally perfect, Amanda.

  20. Jolaine

    Looks and sounds delicious. I think I’d prefer a sauce that doesn’t have the sugar content of jam though.

  21. Millie | Add A Little

    I love chicken thighs! I always feel like they’re so much juicier and have more flavour! This apricot basil glaze looks insane!

    • Amanda Paa

      bawk, bawk! chicken thigh win :)

  22. Kara

    Yum Amanda! I love chicken thighs. SO much tastier than chicken breast. I’m all over this one! Thanks for sharing love!

    • Amanda Paa

      Chicken thighs always win! Thanks for stopping by Kara, xo.

  23. Hannah @CleanEatingVeggieGirl

    This sounds SO good!! Thanks so much for sharing :)

    • Amanda Paa

      I imagine the glaze would be great on grilled vegetables too Hannah – thanks for stopping by!

  24. Becky Winkler (A Calculated Whisk)

    Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs are my FAVORITE and I never thought to use jam with them! What a great idea. I’m definitely trying this! Gorgeous pictures, too.

    • Amanda Paa

      Yes for another person on the chicken thigh side of things! You can’t beat all their flavor and how they retain their juices. Hope you’re having a great weekend, xo.