Recipe: Cracklin’ Chicken

by Cate on July 6, 2015

A healthy, super delicious two ingredient dinner that you can get on the table in fifteen minutes? YES, a thousand times yes.


When you find yourself making the same recipe twice in less than seven days, you know it’s a winner.

This is that.

I originally discovered it in the Nom Nom Paleo cookbook some months back, and finally got around to making it. I’m not even sure why it took me so long … oh, right. Too many recipes, not enough time. But now that I have, and again a second time, it is guaranteed to be in heavy rotation.

Because two ingredients (I’m not counting spices from your cabinet) and it’s both healthy AND delicious?

Yes, please.

Bonus points for being kid-approved.

And it fits so many eating plans … Whole30, Paleo, Primal, clean eating… everything except vegetarian. Natch.

It calls for cooking the chicken thighs in ghee. Ghee is something I’ve been cooking with since I did my first round of Whole30 some months back. It’s clarified butter, which means it is butter without the dairy. You can definitely make it on your own, but, for now, I’ve just been buying it at the Indian grocery store. It’s super cheap there.

The recipe suggests buying a splatter guard, and although I hate have extra items in my kitchen, after making it twice already, I think I’m going to add one to my wish list. It’s not terrible without it, it would just save a few minutes of extra clean-up from the splatter.

Because you’re pounding the chicken so it’s very flat, which allows for even cooking, this cooks up in nothing flat. The ghee gives the skin a nice extra crispy coating. Almost like fried chicken, but not.

I cut the skin off Nick’s pieces, because he’s in a I-don’t-like-chicken-skin-phase, which was fine because it made the dogs happy.

Skin weirdness notwithstanding, it’s a meal that we all can agree on and love.

Make it; you won’t be disappointed.

*last night, I served it with Baked Cheesy Cauliflower Tots and homemade mayo. Last week, as shown in the first photo, it was a side of zucchini noodles with Parmesan

Cracklin’ Chicken
Recipe courtesy of Nom Nom Paleo

Serves 4


  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (approximately 4 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ghee
  • 2 teaspoons seasoning blend of choice (I used Flavor God lemon pepper seasoning)


  1. Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel.
  2. Grab some chicken thighs and a sharp pair of kitchen scissors.  Starting at one end, carefully cut out the bone, making sure you don’t cut through the meat. Stay as close to the bone as possible.
  3. If extra skin or fat is flapping around and hanging off the thighs, you can trim it off as well. But don’t cut too much away, because the skin will shrink when you fry it.
  4. Flatten the chicken with a meat pounder (or cut a gash in the thickest part of each thigh piece with your scissors) to ensure uniform cooking.
  5. Turn the chicken skin-side-up, and sprinkle salt on the skin from way up high, like it’s snowing. That way, the skin will be seasoned evenly.
  6. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat.
  7. Melt the ghee or heat oil in the pan and place four chicken thighs skin-side down in the hot pan.
  8. Season the meat side with your favorite seasoning blend.  If your seasoning blend of choice doesn’t include salt, you may want to add a bit more kosher salt to the chicken.
  9. Let the skin fry undisturbed until crispy and golden brown (around 7-10 minutes), rotating the pan 90 degrees at the halfway point to make sure the heat from the burner is uniformly distributed.
  10. Flip the chicken and cook for 3 more minutes or until cooked through.
  11. Transfer the chicken to a wire rack or paper towel and let them rest for 5 minutes.
  12. Repeat the steps above with the four remaining thighs.
  13. When you’re ready to eat, slice them up and eat up!


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