Cheap & Easy Chicken Thigh Recipes

by Beth - Budget Bytes
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Chicken thighs are one of my favorite ingredients to cook with because they’re fairly inexpensive, they always stay juicy and tender, and they can be added to just about anything. If you’re a new cook, chicken thighs are perfect because they’re really hard to mess up! So today we’ve rounded up some of our favorite cheap and easy chicken thigh recipes for you to dive into. Bookmark this list so the next time someone asks, “What’s for dinner?” you’ve got a lot of great ideas in one place. :)

Collage of chicken thigh recipe photos with title text in the center.

Like chicken breasts better? Check out our Quick and Easy Chicken Breast Recipes round-up.

Easy Chicken Thigh Recipes

I’ll start with the easiest recipes, and some of the most loved by our readers. These easy chicken thigh recipes will help you have dinner on the table in no time!

1. Easy Sesame Chicken

Easy Sesame Chicken

Overhead view of a frying pan full of sesame chicken with a wooden spatula.
This Easy Sesame Chicken recipe is faster and tastier than takeout. Tender chicken coated in a homemade sweet, savory, and tangy sauce.
4.57 from 442 votes
$5.74 recipe / $1.44 serving Get the Recipe

This takeout-fake-out Sesame Chicken has been a reader favorite for almost a decade! It’s faster than ordering takeout and is lip-lickin’ good.

2. Easy BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

Easy BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

Front view of a single Easy BBQ Chicken Sandwich on a wooden cutting board
These Easy BBQ Chicken Sandwiches are a fast, easy, and delicious way to satisfy your BBQ craving. No grill needed! Perfect for busy weeknights.
5 from 8 votes
$7.04 recipe / $1.76 serving Get the Recipe

When you don’t have time to fire up the grill, these easy BBQ chicken sandwiches can be made in a skillet in no time. Perfect for quick weeknight dinners!

3. 20-Minute Honey Mustard Chicken

20 Minute Honey Mustard Chicken

This sweet and tangy 20 Minute Honey Mustard Chicken will be your new family favorite weeknight dinner. Only a few pantry staples needed! Budgetbytes.com
This sweet and tangy 20 Minute Honey Mustard Chicken will be your new family favorite weeknight dinner. Only a few pantry staples needed! 
4.88 from 39 votes
$5.28 recipe / $1.32 serving Get the Recipe

Pan sauces can transform any boring piece of meat into a masterpiece and this quick honey mustard chicken is the perfect example! Just a few simple ingredients combined with the browned bits leftover after searing the chicken makes the most drool-worthy sauce. You’ve got to try it!

4. Teriyaki Chicken

Easy Teriyaki Chicken

Sliced teriyaki chicken on a bed of rice next to steamed broccoli.
This Easy Teriyaki Chicken is perfect for quick weeknight dinners, and has the most delicious salty, sweet, and savory flavor!
4.67 from 27 votes
$6.34 recipe / $1.27 serving Get the Recipe

Tender, juicy, full of flavor and EASY, this Teriyaki Chicken has earned a permanent place in my meal prep rotation!

5. Balsamic Chicken and Mushrooms

Balsamic Chicken and Mushrooms

Close overhead view of Balsamic Chicken and Vegetables on a plate with mashed potatoes and green beans
A quick buttery balsamic pan sauce brings a ton of flavor to these Balsamic Chicken and Mushrooms without a lot of work. Perfect for weeknight dinners!
4.72 from 70 votes
$6.13 recipe / $1.53 serving Get the Recipe

This deceptively easy Balsamic Chicken and Mushrooms comes together quickly in a skillet and will impress any guest!

6. Easy Cilantro Lime Chicken

Easy Cilantro Lime Chicken

Close up of Easy Cilantro Lime Chicken in the skillet, garnished with cilantro and lime wedges.
Easy Cilantro Lime Chicken is full of the bright fresh flavors of summer. Cook it quickly in a skillet or throw it on the grill for a fast dinner! 
4.91 from 42 votes
$6.67 recipe / $1.11 serving Get the Recipe

One of my favorite summertime dinners is this bright and refreshing Cilantro Lime Chicken. It’s so easy and can be eaten as a main dish or chopped up and used in tacos!

7. Sweet and Spicy Glazed Chicken Thighs

Sweet and Spicy Glazed Chicken Thighs

close up of glazed chicken in a skillet with tongs
These Sweet and Spicy Glazed Chicken Thighs are moist, tender, and have huge flavor with very little effort. Perfect for fast weeknight dinners! 
4.92 from 72 votes
$4.83 recipe / $1.21 serving Get the Recipe

Another viral reader favorite, these Sweet and Spicy Glazed Chicken Thighs never disappoint! The sticky sweet and spicy glaze is nothing short of addictive.

One Pot Chicken Thigh Recipes

We love one pot recipes around here and chicken thighs are the perfect protein to add to a one pot recipe. They always stay juicy and tender when simmered in the pot, so your dinner will turn out perfect every time! Here are some of our favorite one pot chicken thigh recipes:

8. One Pot Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo

One Pot Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo

Overhead view of a pot full of lemon pepper chicken and orzo.
Lemon Pepper Chicken with Orzo is a zesty one-pot meal featuring juicy chicken thighs, orzo, feta, and lemon pepper for tons of flavor!
4.82 from 120 votes
$7.54 recipe / $1.89 serving Get the Recipe

Bright and lemony with rich chicken thighs and salty punches of feta cheese, this one pot lemon pepper chicken with orzo is a show stopper!

9. Arroz Con Pollo

Arroz Con Pollo (Puerto Rican Chicken and Rice)

Over head view of arroz con pollo in a red Dutch oven.
This scrumptious Puerto Rican chicken and rice dish is a weekly staple at my house. Arroz con Pollo is an easy one-pot meal, that's ready in no time and is perfect for meal prep and freezer meals.
4.81 from 21 votes
$12.30 recipe / $2.46 serving Get the Recipe

The flavors in this Arroz con Pollo just don’t quit! It’s hearty and flavorful, and makes the best leftovers, so tomorrow’s lunch will be covered, too. ;)

10. One Pot Chicken and Rice

One Pot Chicken and Rice

Close up of chicken being scooped out of the skillet.
This hearty and delicious chicken and rice combines rich and flavorful rice with well seasoned chicken or an easy one pot meal.
4.66 from 87 votes
$5.82 recipe / $1.46 serving Get the Recipe

Cozy comfort food that comes together in under an hour with only one pot to clean? Count me in! This classic one pot chicken and rice is sure to become a dinnertime staple.

11. Creamy Chicken and Orzo Skillet

Creamy Chicken And Orzo Skillet

Close up shot of Creamy Chicken And Orzo.
When you think you don't have time to cook, try this easy, buttery, and super tasty Creamy Chicken and Orzo Skillet! Bonus: It cooks in onepan!
4.80 from 45 votes
$7.99 recipe / $2.00 serving Get the Recipe

If you love cozy, creamy pasta dishes, you’re going to love this one pot creamy chicken and orzo skillet. It’s ultra-rich and creamy and restaurant quality, except you can make it at home for a fraction of the price AND using only one pot. WIN!

12. Pollo Guisado (Puerto Rican Chicken Stew)

Pollo Guisado (Puerto Rican Chicken Stew)

Side shot of Guisado de Pollo in a yellow bowl with a spoon in it.
Warm your bones and fill your belly with Pollo Guisado, a hearty Puerto Rican chicken stew packed with flavor that's easy to make and ready to devour in under an hour.
4.86 from 21 votes
$9.37 recipe / $2.34 serving Get the Recipe

When we made this Pollo Guisado (Puerto Rican Chicken Stew) in the studio, I took home the leftovers and at them ALL, by myself, within two days. I’m talking, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That’s how good this stuff is!

Air Fryer & Slow Cooker Chicken Thigh Recipes

If you love your specialty kitchen appliances, like air fryers and slow cookers, chicken thighs are great for those cooking methods, too! Not only are they small and cook quickly, but they don’t dry out as quickly as breast meat, making them perfect for just about any appliance you’ve got. Here are some of our favorite chicken thigh recipes for air fryers and slow cookers:

13. Air Fryer Chicken Thighs

Air Fryer Chicken Thighs

close up side view of air fryer chicken thighs on the plate.
Air fryer chicken thighs are super juicy with extra crispy skin, and they only take about 20 minutes to cook to perfection!
4.92 from 12 votes
$6.86 recipe / $1.72 serving Get the Recipe

If you want superbly juicy bone-in chicken thighs with perfectly crispy skin, you’ve GOT to try air fryer chicken thighs. I’ve never had thighs this juicy. …And in only 20 minutes?! Incredible.

14. Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili

Easy Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili

Close up overhead view of a bowl full of slow cooker white chicken chili
The slow cooker does all the work with this easy, flavorful, and healthy white chicken chili. This "dump and go" dinner will become a family favorite!
4.78 from 141 votes
$10.23 recipe / $1.71 serving Get the Recipe

When the weather gets cooler or you just need something extra warm and comforting, this Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili fits the bill. And because it’s an easy “dump and go” recipe, it’s perfect for those days when you’re too busy to cook.

15. Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

This Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala boasts a rich and aromatic sauce, and tender juicy chicken. Make four servings for the price of one take out! Budgetbytes.com
This Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala boasts a rich and aromatic sauce, and tender juicy chicken. Make four servings for the price of one take out!
4.47 from 140 votes
$8.82 recipe / $2.21 serving Get the Recipe

This Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala starts out in a skillet to get some extra browning and flavor, but finishes in the slow cooker so all of the spices have time to penetrate every last bite. The chicken is tender and oh so delicious.

16. Instant Pot Congee

Instant Pot Congee (Rice Porridge)

Instant Pot Congee is a warm and comforting porridge with endless possibilities for fun toppings. This classic dish is made easy with modern equipment.
4.78 from 49 votes
$7.05 recipe / $1.18 serving Get the Recipe

This hearty rice porridge with tender chicken thighs is the mother of all comfort food. It’s the perfect savory warm dish for a cold winter morning, but it’s great any time of day!

What’s your favorite way to eat chicken thighs? Let us know in the comments below!

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