Spicy Lemon Paprika Chicken Thighs

18 Jan

These oven-baked chicken thighs are juicy, delicious, and easy-to-make — they are great during the work week, when you want to make a relatively simple dinner at home with a lot of flavor, and also yield plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day.


  • 2 lbs. organic chicken thighs, skin on
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsps cayenne power
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • Zest and juice of one lemon
  • ¼ cup organic olive oil

In a bowl, mix paprika, garlic powder, cayenne powder, salt and pepper.  Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, and olive oil, to create the marinade.  Check the taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary (you may want more spiciness here, for instance).

Add the chicken thighs and toss.  If you have the time, let the thighs marinade for a couple of hours –in full-disclosure, I often make this recipe when I don’t have time to marinate the thighs for much longer than 15 minutes, and the chicken still tastes delicious.

Preheat the oven to 215C (about 419F).  Lay out the chicken thighs in a roasting pan and roast for about 30 minutes, until cooked through.

Turn on the broiler and broil until the skin is lightly crisp, 2 to 3 minutes.  Take the roasting pan out of the oven, transfer the thighs onto a platter and let them rest for about 5 minutes before serving.

These chicken thighs are great the next day, even cold!


74 Responses to “Spicy Lemon Paprika Chicken Thighs”

  1. Buttoni January 19, 2012 at 5:03 pm #

    These look VERY good! I do a similar spice blend for chicken and seafood. Look forward to trying this!

  2. Alex January 19, 2012 at 11:54 pm #

    Mmm, there’s just something about paprika! This looks like a great blend–definitely have to try it out.

  3. Amy February 8, 2012 at 12:58 am #

    Oh my god. These may be the best chicken thighs ever!! Thanks!

    • tomoko February 9, 2012 at 2:31 am #

      Glad you enjoyed it!

  4. barefootandprimal February 9, 2012 at 2:25 am #

    I made this tonight and I must say it was a HUGE hit! I didn’t use as much cayenne though…I was afraid 😉 If you don’t mind, I will reblog and share this with everyone I know!

  5. barefootandprimal February 9, 2012 at 2:26 am #

    Reblogged this on barefootandprimal and commented:
    I made this dish tonight and it was AMAZING!

  6. Vanessa Hill April 21, 2012 at 12:43 am #

    Delicioso! Gratzie! I will have to reblog this on my site as well.

  7. Sarah JS May 4, 2012 at 7:26 pm #

    Not a thigh fan, do you think this would work with breast? It looks delicious!

    • tomoko May 4, 2012 at 9:17 pm #

      I’m sure it will – hope you enjoy!

  8. Jen May 8, 2012 at 6:27 pm #

    Made this tonight and the flavor was amazing! It will be on my regular rotation for sure!

  9. Molley Mills July 17, 2012 at 9:02 pm #

    I made this tonight for the first time. I really didn’t have a lot of marinating time but they were super juicy and a great hit. I was hoping to save some for lunch tomorrow but they were too popular.

  10. tillymonstar August 21, 2012 at 11:40 pm #

    Making this tomorrow evening– currently marinating in the fridge as we speak. I used smoked paprika. Smelled delish! What would you suggest as a side dish? I am thinking a green salad with a nice paleo ranch dressing. Yes?

    • tomoko August 21, 2012 at 11:44 pm #

      Yes! Sounds great – summery and delicious!

      • lanie stevens August 23, 2012 at 4:46 pm #

        i just have to say thank you so much for this recipe- I’ve made it 4 time this month already- so easy, economical and YUMMMM. I keep saying I’m going to try the thighs another way but I CAN’T- the whole household is hooked. thanks again

      • tomoko August 24, 2012 at 6:12 pm #

        Thank you for the lovely comment! So glad that you and your family love the recipe — I’m making them this weekend for a picnic!

  11. ann September 23, 2012 at 11:42 am #

    This chicken was awesome, moist full flavour, thank you for sharing, my husband thinks this is the best chicken dinner, I have made

    • tomoko September 23, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

      Fantastic! Glad it turned out well!

  12. ehalle February 25, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

    Are these bone-in or boneless? I usually get boneless but I think these look like they are bone-in…just don’t want to ruin the cook time!

    • tomoko February 25, 2013 at 6:41 pm #

      These are bone in!

  13. Eva February 26, 2013 at 6:09 pm #

    thank you so much for this recipe it is amazing!!! i used it on chicken breast and put it on the grill and it worked perfect

  14. Sheila March 21, 2013 at 10:46 pm #

    Just made this today and it was amazing!!! Have already shared the recipe with a couple friends! Thanks so much for sharing.

    • tomoko March 22, 2013 at 11:35 am #

      You’re welcome! So happy to hear that the chicken thighs came out great!

  15. Andrew March 28, 2013 at 9:11 am #

    I will be trying this, but I do believe there is specifically no salt in the paleo diet.


    • tomoko March 28, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

      Hi Andrew,
      If you try the recipe, I hope you enjoy it! My husband and I are not “hardcore” paleos as prescribed in the link you posted. We’re more along the lines of what Robb Wolf calls 80/20 paleo, since we drink wine and very occasionally eat cheese. He has a write-up about the various “paleo” approaches here: http://robbwolf.com/2012/10/24/shades-paleo/

  16. bskies April 24, 2013 at 11:11 am #

    Delicious!!! I replaced the cayenne with srirarcha sauce and it tasted marvelous 🙂

    • tomoko April 24, 2013 at 11:12 am #

      Awesome! Good idea with the sriracha!

  17. Molly June 6, 2013 at 8:23 am #

    This sounds yummy! Would it be ok to marinate these overnight or is that too long?

  18. Alex July 4, 2013 at 7:16 pm #

    did anyone else think there was too much olive oil???

  19. Orange November 12, 2013 at 7:38 pm #

    This was great. I used it on wings and we couldn’t stop talking about it. Thanks for this.
    I used 1 clove of garlic instead of garlic powder. I also used some chilli powder instead of cayenne.

  20. Cindy December 13, 2013 at 11:46 pm #

    Made this today. It is now my new favorite chicken recipe. Only marinated it for about 15 minutes but it still had an amazing flavor.

    • tomoko December 14, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

      Wonderful! So glad to hear you liked the recipe!

  21. Artie December 18, 2013 at 10:13 am #

    Sorry for this question, but what does ‘in full disclosure’ mean in regard to the marinade process? I’m from the UK and not too sure the meaning travels well! Thanks

    • tomoko December 18, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

      I just meant in the sense of “revealing” — almost like, “to be honest” — as in, “…to be honest, I often make this recipe when I don’t have time to marinate..” I hope that makes sense.

  22. Andrea January 4, 2014 at 4:41 pm #

    I’ve made this recipe several times now and it is damn good! Had to cut the cayenne in half, I don’t like things super spicy. So easy to just throw together on a weeknight!

  23. Cindy February 19, 2014 at 12:49 pm #

    Hi, I want to make this recipe tonight, but I only have boneless, skinless chicken thighs. So would I reduce the cooking time since they’re boneless? If so, approximately how long would you cook them?

    • tomoko February 19, 2014 at 12:53 pm #

      If they are boneless and skinless, they shouldn’t take as long to cook — probably 20 min? You could always take a piece out and cut it to make sure it’s cooked through! Good luck!

  24. Eva February 28, 2014 at 1:46 pm #

    This is one of my go – to fav recipes!! I highly recommend it! Thank you!! please continue to post recipes – i love them!

    • tomoko March 1, 2014 at 4:58 pm #

      Thank you so much!

  25. Hannah May 5, 2014 at 4:46 am #

    I was so over chicken for a while- up until I decided to try this reciepe! Wow, best tasting chicken and so easy to make! I’m obsessed!!
    Thank you so much for this wonderful reciepe, please keep posting more!

    • tomoko May 14, 2014 at 12:16 pm #

      Thank you! Glad you liked the recipe! Yes, I am quite behind on posting, but hoping to get back onto it as we approach summer. Please check back in! x

  26. Debi June 4, 2014 at 6:42 pm #

    Loved this ! Grilled tonight and very yummy

  27. Bashirah June 22, 2014 at 6:59 pm #

    What a good taste. I made this recipe for Sunday lunch and used the same spice rub for the accompanying baby red potatoes. Baked the potatoes on a seperate sheet pan. Made some braised cabbage, with rice. Amazing!!!
    This recipe is definitely going to be a HIT in my chicken recipes.

  28. Kendra October 12, 2014 at 8:38 pm #

    My husband and I love this recipe with a passion! Simple and delicious, it’s our go-to recipe.

  29. michelle January 7, 2015 at 9:07 pm #

    I made these tonight with boneless skinless thighs and a cut up breast. They are amazing!!! So delicious. Thanks for a great recipe.

    • tomoko January 28, 2015 at 10:46 pm #

      Glad you enjoyed it!

  30. Kim February 15, 2015 at 2:49 pm #

    I love this recipe with chicken! Really keen on trying with other protiens – do you think it would work with lamb?

    • tomoko February 25, 2015 at 1:53 pm #

      Hi Kim! I think it might – I haven’t tried it, but I would think the marinade would tenderize lamb. Let me know if you try it and if it works! xx

  31. Danielle February 25, 2015 at 9:27 am #

    Would you have a nutritional break down of these? These are my absolute favourite and want to know if I should or shouldn’t be over indulging in these 🙂

  32. CallingCard March 13, 2015 at 11:08 pm #

    Made this for a potluck this evening and everyone LOVED it. One of my friends won’t eat anything even a little bit spicy, so I left out the cayenne, but it was still really delicious. Not only that, but I saved on the cleanup by mixing the marinade right in the freezer bag before putting the chicken in to marinate. Easiest recipe I’ve made in ages! Thank you!

    • tomoko March 13, 2015 at 11:58 pm #

      Fantastic! Love that the recipe worked so well for you! Hooray! xx

  33. ldemgen@yahoo.com June 22, 2015 at 8:55 pm #

    So we’re new to the whole paleo world of eating having previously been a heavy pasta family and I stumbled upon this recipe in a search for more ideas. I made these tonight for my family and my 2.5 year old and 1 year old devoured them!! My 2.5 year old son asked for seconds and thirds, typically dinner with him is a struggle – not tonight! Thank you! (I did limit the cayenne a bit because of the kids, but I only cut it in half and they were perfect) I can’t wait to try more of your recipes 🙂


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