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Spicy Mediterranean Chicken Thighs 

Written By: Byron | September 27, 2023
A tray of oven-baked spicy Mediterranean chicken thighs.

This spicy Mediterranean chicken thighs recipe is the perfect recipe when you are craving some heat and this recipe is sure to satisfy! Juicy chicken thighs baked to perfection and marinated in a blend of Mediterranean spices and your choice of pepper to spice things up. This recipe is very easy to make and can be whipped up in one pan! 

As a healthier option, we opted for skinless chicken thighs with the bone in for this recipe. They are perfect for oven-baking and the juicy dark meat contains a lot of flavor! If you love crispy chicken skin, this recipe can be easily adapted to suit! It will also work with boneless chicken thighs or chicken breast meat (just adjust the cooking time to suit).

Meat & Poultry Recipes | Main Meal Recipe | Authentic Spanish Recipe | Winter Recipe | Spicy Recipe | High in Protein | Chicken |  Mediterranean Recipe

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Serving:

Main for 4

Ready in:

1hr, 42 mins

Skill level:

Easy

Serve with:

Side dish, or bread

Some uncooked chicken thighs sit in a baking tray beside spices, a lemon, and some olive oil.

How to Make Spicy Mediterranean Chicken Thighs

Ingredients 

(serves 4)

  • 1 lb. (500g) skinless chicken thighs (4 pieces)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes (add more for more spicy)
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon zest (around half a lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon worth of loosely chopped dried or fresh whole chili
  • Coarse sea salt (to taste)

Equipment needed

  • 1 oven-safe baking tray
  • Microplane (for zesting the lemon)
  • Kitchen wrap
  • Cutting board and sharp knife

Method

Step 1 – Marinate chicken thighs 

  • Place all the ingredients into an oven-safe baking tray. Mix well so the chicken is evenly coated with spices, and then cover with some kitchen wrap. 
  • Marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Step 2 – Bake chicken thighs

  • Preheat oven to 200°C / 400°F
  • Bake for 40 minutes or until your chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F/74°C (you can use a meat thermometer to check). 

Step 3 – Serve

  • Season to taste with some salt. If you want your chicken spicier, add a light dusting of cayenne pepper.

 Watch step-by-step recipe video

If you’re looking for this recipe’s video and many other great recipe ideas, why not check out our Spanish Radish YouTube Channel? We’ve got everything from quick and easy tapas recipes, delicious main meals, and incredible Spanish dessert options too.

Chicken Thighs, For Those Who Like it Hot!!! 

This is a recipe for people who love spice with their food. It’s a simple but very effective recipe that’s sure to get your brow sweating and your lips burning! This recipe is HOT! Spicy, all of those things! If you don’t enjoy hot food, then this recipe is not for you! 

Of course, how hot and spicy you like your chicken really is a personal choice, and this recipe is made to offer a good amount of layered heat from different spices (Cayenne, chili flakes, and Smoked paprika). This recipe will give a good amount of heat, but won’t be too overwhelming, allowing the juicy flavors of the baked chicken thighs to shine through. 

If you want to make an extra spicy version of this recipe, consider using extra fresh chili — here’s a few suggestions with the associated heat values:

Jalapeño pepper

Typically ranges from 2,500 to 8,000 SHU, considered mild to moderately spicy

Birdseye chili 

They typically have a Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) rating of 50,000 to 100,000. Most will agree they offer a good spicy kick that lingers.

For Those That Like it Really, Really, HOT! 

This next section is really for those who are super committed to hot food, and any of the chili peppers listed below are incredibly hot. Do not attempt to cook with these unless you have prior experience! 

  • Carolina Reaper: The Carolina Reaper currently holds the Guinness World Record for being the world’s hottest chili pepper. It averages around 1,641,183 SHU but can exceed 2,200,000 SHU.
  • Trinidad Moruga Scorpion: This pepper is native to Trinidad and Tobago and can range from 1,200,000 to 2,009,231 SHU.
  • Ghost Pepper (Bhut Jolokia): Native to India, the Ghost Pepper averages around 1,041,427 SHU, but some individual peppers have been tested at over 1,500,000 SHU.
  • 7 Pot Chili Peppers: There are several varieties of 7 Pot peppers, including the 7 Pot Douglah, 7 Pot Primo, and others, which can range from 800,000 to over 1,800,000 SHU.
  • Naga Viper: Another extremely hot chili pepper, the Naga Viper, averages around 1,349,000 SHU.

Best Chicken to Use

We opted for skinless bone-in chicken thighs for this recipe, but any chicken pieces will work just fine. Chicken thighs are amazing when they are baked in the oven, especially when they have been marinated in lots of Mediterranean herbs and spices. 

Chicken thighs are considered brown meat and when oven-baked, release lots of the juices while cooking. They’re also cheap and easy to find in any butcher or supermarket, just be sure to ask for free-range chicken whenever possible. 

Do I Need to Marinate the Chicken First?

We highly recommend marinating the chicken for at least an hour before cooking. Combining spices with the lemon juice allows for the flavor to really soak into the chicken and you’ll get a more flavorful meal. 

Chicken Thigh Nutrition

According to the USDA, a 100g (3.5 oz.) serving of skinless chicken thigh contains the following;

  • 164 calories
  • 9 grams fat 
  • 2.4 g saturated fat
  • 0 g carbohydrates
  • 20 g protein

Meal Pairing Suggestions

Chicken thighs are a great source of protein but should be paired with some leafy greens or vegetables plus some grains for a balanced meal. Consider serving with some steamed or baked rice, couscous, salad, chickpeas, or another grain source. 

Here are a few meal-pairing suggestions:

A tray of oven-baked spicy Mediterranean chicken thighs.

FAQs

How long does this recipe take to make?

  • Prep time: 2 minutes
  • Marinade time: 1 hour (minimum)
  • Cook time: 40 minutes
  • Total time: 1 hour, 42 minutes

Can skin-on chicken thighs be used instead to make this recipe?

Yes, absolutely. We suggest pan-frying them first for 5 minutes. Then oven-bake them for 25 minutes, and for the last few minutes, raise the chicken to the top shelf of the oven to make the skin extra crispy. 

Can chicken breast meat be used?

Yep, follow the steps in this recipe and simply allow a few extra minutes of cooking time if the chicken breasts are oversized. Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature of the chicken has reached 165°F/74°C internally.

Can this recipe be made less spicy?

Yes. Simply reduce or omit the amount of cayenne pepper and chili flakes for a milder version.

Nutrition Facts

Serving size: 150g

Servings: 4

Amount per serving

 

Calories

232

% Daily Value*

Total Fat 12.9g

17%

Saturated Fat 2.3g

12%

Cholesterol 119mg

40%

Sodium 717mg

31%

Total Carbohydrate 1.7g

1%

Dietary Fiber 0.5g

2%

Total Sugars 0.4g

 

Protein 27.9g

 

Vitamin D 0mcg

0%

Calcium 36mg

3%

Iron 2mg

10%

Potassium 47mg

1%

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

A tray of oven-baked spicy Mediterranean chicken thighs.
A tray of oven-baked spicy Mediterranean chicken thighs.

Spicy Mediterranean Chicken Thighs (Easy to Make, One-Pot Recipe)

Byron
Spicy Mediterranean Chicken Thighs is the perfect recipe when you are craving some heat and this recipe is sure to satisfy! Juicy chicken thighs baked to perfection and marinated in a blend of Mediterranean spices and your choice of pepper to spice things up. This recipe is very easy to make and can be whipped up in one pan!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Marinate time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 42 minutes
Course bbq, Main Course, main meal, meat
Cuisine Authentic Spanish recipe, Mediterranean, Spain
Servings 4 Main dish
Calories 232 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 oven-safe baking tray
  • Microplane (for zesting the lemon)
  • Kitchen wrap
  • Cutting board and sharp knife

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. 500g skinless chicken thighs (4 pieces)
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes add more for more spicy
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon zest around half a lemon
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon worth of loosely chopped dried whole chili or fresh for less heat
  • Coarse sea salt to taste

Instructions
 

Step 1 - Marinate chicken thighs

  • Place all the ingredients into an oven-safe baking tray. Mix well so the chicken is evenly coated with spices, and then cover with some kitchen wrap.
    1 lb. 500g skinless chicken thighs (4 pieces), 2 cloves of garlic, ½ teaspoon dried oregano, ½ teaspoon ground cumin, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon of lemon zest, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
    Chicken thighs are turned in a baking tray with some marinade.
  • Marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
    Chicken thighs in a tray are wrapped in plastic kitchen foil.

Step 2 - Bake chicken thighs

  • Preheat oven to 200°C / 400°F
    An oven gauge turned up to 210c
  • Bake for 40 minutes or until your chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F/74°C (you can use a meat thermometer to check).
    A tray of oven-baked spicy Mediterranean chicken thighs.

Step 3 - Serve

  • Season to taste with some salt. If you want your chicken spicier, add a light dusting of cayenne pepper.
    1 tablespoon worth of loosely chopped dried whole chili, Coarse sea salt
    A tray of oven-baked spicy Mediterranean chicken thighs.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 150gCalories: 232kcalCarbohydrates: 1.7gProtein: 27.9gFat: 12.9gSaturated Fat: 2.3gCholesterol: 119mgSodium: 717mgPotassium: 47mgFiber: 0.5gSugar: 0.4gCalcium: 36mgIron: 2mg
Keyword 1 hours recipe, baked Chicken, Bone-in Chicken, cayenne pepper, chicken, Chicken thighs, chili, chilli, cumin, mediterranean cuisine, oven roasted, Roast Chicken, smoked paprika, spicy, spicy sauce

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