These smoky bacon wrapped chicken thighs are the ultimate dinner that pleases everyone. Made in one pan, these are so simple and flavorful they will be your new dinnertime staple!
How To Make Them Smoky
First, choose a bacon that is hardwood smoked. Like applewood or hickory. This will lend itself towards the flavor a lot.
Second, don’t skip the smoked paprika in the rub. If you don’t have any on hand, you can substitute for standard paprika, but the smokiness will be lowered.
Third, you can add an optional drop of liquid smoke into the rub. I think this can overpower the flavor of the cooked bacon, but it helps give it an authentic smoked bacon wrapped chicken thighs taste.
Thick or Thin Sliced Bacon?
This is a matter of preference because both make crispy bacon when put under the broiler. It is just a difference of one minute.
For this recipe, I used thick cut because that is what I had on hand and it makes the bacon wrapped chicken thighs a bit smokier. However, the standard cut of bacon gives a better bacon to chicken ratio.
There is no right or wrong answer in choosing which piece of bacon is right for you. Focus much more on the flavor, not the cut.
How To Wrap The Chicken In Bacon
Wrapping the chicken is acutally not too complicated. Don’t worry too much about making it stick to the chicken because it will do that naturally as it cooks and crisps.
The important thing is that one end of the bacon slice is on the bottom. The preheated cast iron skillet will help sear the bacon to the chicken thighs, but only if the edge is there. And since no flipping is required for the chicken, this makes it easy.
A small chicken thigh only needs one slice of bacon. Large ones might require two.
To add a second slice of bacon, I recommend tucking one end under the end of the first pieces then continuing to wrap around. Try to get this double layered bacon piece on the bottom for that same searing. It helps the bacon hold to the chicken thighs.
Why Preheat The Pan?
This is a step many other recipes miss, but is crucial to success. Instead of cooking on a baking sheet, you cook on a preheated pan.
When you preheat the oven, add in the pan at the beginning to get it hot as well. This gets the bacon gets crispier on the bottom of the chicken thighs. The high heat immediately cooks the bacon before all of the fat releases, keeping the bottom from being soggy.
Additionally, it helps sear the bacon to the chicken so it doesn’t fall off. This simple step takes a little more time from you, but almost no effort. The result is an absolutely delicious bacon wrapped chicken thigh that
How To Know When It’s Done?
The easist way to determine if the bacon wrapped chicken thighs are done is with a thermometer. The chicken should read 165 degrees in the thickest part.
Since the chicken is wrapped in the bacon it is harder to judge based on appearance or texture. If you don’t have a thermometer on hand, you can give it a few extra minutes if you are nervous. The bacon fat helps keep it from drying out.
Top Recipe Tips
- Use boneless skinless chicken thighs. There is already enough fat coming from the bacon that the extra layer of skin just won’t get cripsy and be appetizing enough.
- If you use fresh garlic from a garlic press the rub mixture for seasoning the chicken will be thicker and damp. More like a paste. This isn’t a problem because the bacon fat will dampen and loosen it so it covers the whole thigh anyway. Don’t stress about getting ever inch covered.
- Add the salt and pepper into the small bowl with the rub mixture. This makes sure it doesn’t get forgotten. And let’s be honest, it wouldn’t work as well sprinkled over already salty bacon.
- Utilize the broiler in your oven to make the crispy bacon even crispier. While the chicken bakes, the bacon will as well, but the extra moisture from the chicken keeps it from happening as quickly as normal. Cooking under the broiler for 1-2 minutes helps this.
- The broiler also helps caramelize the brown sugar for extra flavor.
Bacon Wrapped Chicken Thighs Recipe
If you don’t have thighs on hand and want to make this with chicken breast you can. Just make sure to use a meat mallet to beat it into an even thickness, about 3/4″ all around.
It takes up more space in the cast iron, so keep in mind that you may need multiple pans or to cook in batches.
Simplify grocery shopping with this printable grocery list for this herbs de Provence chicken recipe. Everything is listed in standard grocery store amounts. If no size is specified, even the smallest package provides more than enough.
Happy Cooking! 🙂
Slightly Sweet Bacon Wrapped Chicken Thighs
- 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 5 garlic cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 Tablespoon fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 12 ounces thick cut bacon
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the cast iron skillet in the oven to heat with it and heat for 30 minutes.
- Combine the paprika, oregano, garlic, salt, pepper, and parsley in a bowl. Coat the chicken in it and wrap the bacon around the thighs. You will need 1-2 slices per thigh depending on the size.
- Remove the cast iron from the pan and place each of the bacon wrapped chicken thighs into the pan. Sprinkle with the brown sugar and place back in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees
- Heat the broiler and place the pan as close to it as possible. Cook for an extra 1-2 minutes or until the brown sugar and bacon and crisped.