These crispy, juicy chicken thighs are filled with a sweet and spicy jalapeno orange relish. The syrupy citrus flavor is balanced with some heat from the peppers. The chicken is pan seared in a cast iron skillet and quickly finished in the oven.
Why this recipe is just so good....
- You will love that the jalapeno chicken thighs get quickly pan seared on the stovetop and then finish cooking in the oven. One pan to scrub is always a good idea!
- What starts as plain chicken gets a huge flavor boost from the jalapeno orange relish and transforms into a special meal. The presentation is really enticing enough to serve to company.
- Chicken thighs are low carb and keto protein by themselves. If you want to keep the meal completely low carb, serve with some cauliflower rice, and some delicious side dishes such as Roasted Glazed Carrots, Sweet and Spicy Brussels Sprouts or Marinated Asparagus.
- This recipe uses bone in, skin on chicken thighs. The jalapeno relish is stuffed under the skin, which helps keep the chicken juicy. The dark meat of chicken on the bone is more moist as well.
- I like to use products that have as little sugar as possible so I am using a sugar free marmalade. But you can use regular marmalade as well.
- Jalapeno peppers are pretty spicy so I removed all the seeds for the recipe. If you like things extra spicy, leave a few seeds in the relish.
How to make cast iron chicken thighs:
See the recipe card for full cooking instructions and ingredient amounts.
- Mince the garlic and peppers into a fine dice either with a food processor, chopper or sharp knife.
- Stir in the vinegar, salt and marmalade. Taste for sweetness.
- Gently loosen chicken thigh skin and spread about 1 tablespoon of relish onto the meat. Pull back the skin and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Heat cast iron or oven safe skillet over medium flame. Drizzle 1 tablespoon oil into pan.
- Place chicken thighs skin side down into pan and let them cook without moving for about 5-6 minutes. Flip over and cook the other side for another 6 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Place orange slices around chicken and spread any remaining relish over chicken. Squeeze the juice from the other half of the orange over the chicken.
- Place skillet in oven to finish cooking chicken for about 15-20 minutes. Chicken thighs will be done when a meat thermometer registers 160°F. Remove the pan from the oven, baste with pan juices and let chicken rest for 5 minutes.
According to bon appetit, the cast iron skillet is durable, efficient and endlessly useful. And having owned a few skillets for over 25 years, I can attest to this for sure!
From one pan dinners and cornbread to desserts, the pan is very versatile. But it is best used for foods that need to be browned or seared since the pan gets very hot and hold the heat consistently. It is perfect for stovetop to oven recipes and is a great alternative to a wok for stir fries.
With proper seasoning and care in cleaning, the pan should last you a very long time. The article above gives great suggestions on caring for a cast iron skillet.
That depends on what you are looking for. Chicken breasts are lower in fat and calories than the thighs with about 120 calories and 3 grams of fat per 3 ounce of chicken.
The dark meat of the thighs are fattier with about 200 calories and 10 grams of fat per 3 ounces. However, the additional fat definitely ensures the moist and juicy meat from the thigh.
- For the best sear on the chicken, make sure the skillet is preheated for a few minutes before adding the oil. Don't move the chicken for at least 5 minutes since the skin may stick to the pan. If the oil is smoking too much or the chicken is getting overly browned, you can turn the flame down to medium or low-medium.
- Make sure the skillet is large enough so the chicken isn't crowded. If you are cooking a large amount of thighs, it is better to pan sear them in batches. Then you can transfer chicken to a large baking sheet and continue cooking in the oven.
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More chicken recipes to try:
These crispy, juicy chicken thighs are filled with a sweet and spicy orange jalapeno relish. The sweet, syrupy citrus flavor is balanced with some heat from the peppers. The chicken is pan seared in a cast iron or other oven safe skillet and quickly finished in the oven.
- 2 Jalapeno peppers
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1 small garlic clove, quartered
- 1 tablespoon orange marmalade (regular or sugar free)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 chicken thighs, bone-in, skin on (about 1 ½ - 2 pounds)
- ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium orange, half cut in slices or wedges, half left whole.
- Remove chicken thighs from refrigerator to come to room temperature.
- Make relish: cut tops off peppers, remove the inside membrane and seeds. Place peppers and garlic in a mini food processor or food chopper and pulse for 10 seconds. Check consistency. It should be finely minced but don't over process or the relish will lose texture and be mushy. *
- Stir in salt, vinegar and marmalade. Taste for sweetness and add more marmalade if needed.*
- Gently loosen skin from thighs and spoon about a tablespoon of the relish under skin. Smooth the relish over the thigh meat. Pull skin back over the thigh. Sprinkle salt and pepper over chicken.
- Preheat skillet over medium-high flame. A
- Add oil to pan. Place chicken thighs in pan, skin side down. Pan fry for about 5-6 minutes or until the skin has browned. Carefully turn the thighs over and cook that side for another 5-6 minutes. If the chicken spatters too much, lower flame to medium or low-medium. Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Squeeze the orange half over chicken and lay the orange slices around chicken. Spoon any remaining relish over chicken.
- Place cast iron skillet in oven and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until meat thermometer registers 160°F. Remove from oven, let chicken rest for 5 minutes and baste with pan juices.
*I removed the seeds from the peppers so that the relish was mildly spicy. If you want more heat, leave a few seeds in the relish. If you want more orange or sweetness, add more marmalade.
*If you don't have a food chopper or processor, you can finely mince the peppers with a sharp knife.
*Besides the crispy skin on the thighs, the pan juices are the best part. Baste the chicken while it is resting and spoon over right before serving.
*The nutrition was calculated using 2 tablespoons of orange juice from half the orange. The total carb count would be higher if you ate some of the orange or used more sauce. But it would be minimal.
*The leftover chicken should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a pan or oven to 165°F.
Keywords: pan fried chicken thighs, pan seared chicken thighs, cast iron chicken thighs, stuffed chicken thighs