Spanish-Style Chicken Thighs

Spanish-style chicken thighs is the recipe you’ve been looking for when you want a filling, nutritious, and quick meal! This chicken recipe is quick and easy to make with just 5 minutes of prep (literally chop an onion, open a tin of tomatoes, and crush some garlic cloves), then it’s a quick mix of the ingredients with a sprinkle of spices, and off it goes into the oven for 20-25 minutes. 

Then, of course, there are the incredible flavors. Succulent chicken thighs cooked to perfection with lots of Spanish flavor from the herbs and spices. The tomatoes and onion create a lovely sauce and color the dish perfectly. Serve this dish alongside some steamed rice or your favorite grain, some steamed greens, and you’ve got a healthy and balanced meal in 30 minutes or less.

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Table of contents:



How to Make One Pan Spanish Chicken Thighs

Ingredients

  • 6 skinless chicken thighs (bone-in – approx. 800g/28oz.)
  • 1 white onion, sliced fine
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed and loosely chopped 
  • 14oz. (400g) Canned Diced Tomatoes (or fresh tomatoes if you prefer)
  • Juice from 1 lemon, freshly squeezed
  • Chopped parsley (for garnish)

Spanish Seasoning


Equipment Needed

chicken thighs sit beside Spanish seasoning mix and onions

Instructions

Step 1 – Build Sauce 

Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F

  • Add all of the Spanish seasoning ingredients to a large oven-safe casserole dish. 
  • Add the tinned tomatoes and season to taste with salt and cracked black pepper (I usually use a leveled teaspoon of salt and around half a teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper).
  • Give everything a good mix with a fork or wooden spoon. 

Step 2 – Prep veggies and add to seasoning

  • Finely slice the onion and add it to the sauce.
  • Loosely chop the garlic and add it to the sauce with the onion.

Step 3 – Add chicken and bake

  • Add the chicken thighs and cover with the sauce. 
  • Season to taste with cracked black pepper and chili flakes (optional). Add a squeeze of lemon.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes. 
  • Garnish with some freshly chopped parsley and serve while hot.

Cooking Notes:

  • If you prefer to use fresh tomatoes instead of tinned, use 3-4 large diced tomatoes (skin on). 
  • Sweet paprika can be substituted for smoked paprika but it won’t have as intense a flavor.
  • I always prefer to use freshly squeezed lemon whenever possible. If using constituted lemon juice, add around 1 tablespoon of juice. 

For best results, baste thechicken with the juices around halfway through.


A large dish of Spanish-style chicken thighs

Ingredients and Substitutions

Chicken thighs:

For this recipe, I always use skinless bone-in thighs as the dark meat is juicy and loaded with flavor. Skinless chicken thighs are a healthier option, but if you prefer, skin-on chicken thighs can be used. If using skin-on thighs, lightly season and braise them on a high heat for 2-3 minutes to get a nice crisp to the skin. 

Boneless chicken thighs or chicken breast meat will also work great. If using large chicken breasts that are thicker than 1 inch/2.5 cm, cut them into smaller pieces so they will cook evenly. 

Simplicity is key with many of the elements in this recipe and this Spanish-style seasoning mix is no exception. Made with just a few very simple ingredients (olive oil, lemon juice, herbs, and spices), the final result is nothing short of spectacular. 

This recipe uses the three-to-one ratio (3:1) with olive oil and acid (lemon juice in this case). Next, you add a few Spanish pantry staples: Smoked paprika, garlic powder, dried oregano, salt and pepper. Finally, season with your favorite chili flakes to give the seasoning a little warmth. 

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Spanish smoked paprika (source La Vera Smoked Paprika if you can)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt (to taste)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano 
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes (optional)

And that’s it. Super simple, but oh so tasty!

Some Spanish paprika, oregano, garlic powder and seasoning sit in a small bowl.

Tomatoes:

I typically use a can of diced tomatoes for this recipe. Canned tomatoes are cheap, save time, and there’s plenty of pulped tomato juice to help with the sauce. If you prefer to use fresh tomatoes, I suggest using ripe Roma tomatoes, they are juicy and loaded with flavor. 

Onion and Garlic:

Two classic ingredients you’ll find in many Spanish recipes are onion and garlic. I use white onion with this dish, but red onion will also add some color if you prefer. 2 loosely chopped cloves of garlic feels good to me so as not to overpower the other herbs and spices, but you can always use more if you like! 

Extra Virgin Olive Oil:

Another Spanish pantry staple is good quality olive oil, and in particular, extra virgin olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is one of the healthiest oils for cooking and we swear by it in our house, not only for the health benefits, but also for the flavor. 

Sure, EVOO is expensive, but well worth the investment if you enjoy cooking with Mediterranean flavors, especially if it’s part of a sauce or in salads.

heirloom tomatoes beside some basil

Why You Should Use Extra Virgin Olive Oil When Cooking

Using extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) in cooking has several benefits, both for health and culinary purposes:

Health Benefits

  1. Rich in Healthy Fats: EVOO is high in monounsaturated fats, particularly oleic acid, which is beneficial for heart health. These fats can help reduce bad cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease.
  2. Antioxidants: EVOO is packed with powerful antioxidants, including polyphenols, which have anti-inflammatory properties. These antioxidants can help combat oxidative stress and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
  3. Anti-Inflammatory Properties: The polyphenols in EVOO have been shown to reduce inflammation, which is linked to various chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and arthritis.
  4. Nutrient Absorption: EVOO can improve the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) and other nutrients from foods, enhancing the overall nutritional quality of your meals.

Culinary Benefits

  1. Flavor: EVOO has a distinctive, rich flavor that can enhance the taste of many dishes. Its fruity, peppery notes can add depth and complexity to both cooked and raw dishes.
  2. Versatility: EVOO is incredibly versatile and can be used for a variety of cooking methods, including sautéing, roasting, grilling, and as a base for dressings and marinades.
  3. Stability at High Temperatures: Contrary to common misconceptions, high-quality EVOO has a reasonably high smoke point (around 375-405°F or 190-207°C) and is stable at high temperatures, making it suitable for most cooking methods.
  4. Preservation of Nutrients: EVOO is less processed than other oils, preserving its natural nutrients and beneficial compounds. This minimal processing also means it retains more of its natural flavor and aroma.

Practical Tips for Cooking with EVOO

  • Use Fresh: EVOO is best when it’s fresh. Over time, it can lose some of its beneficial properties and flavor. Store it in a cool, dark place to maintain its quality. Many experts recommend using olive oil within 9 months of buying it.
  • Pair with the Right Foods: EVOO pairs well with a variety of foods, particularly vegetables, fish, and lean meats. It can also be used to enhance the flavor of pasta, grains, and legumes.

In summary, using extra virgin olive oil in cooking can provide significant health benefits and give that rich Mediterranean flavor. Its combination of healthy fats, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties, along with its versatility and flavor, make it an excellent choice for a wide range of culinary applications. 

A glass of olive oil

Is Spanish-style chicken healthy?

Spanish-style chicken dishes can be quite healthy, depending on the ingredients and cooking methods used. Here are some key aspects that can contribute to the healthiness of Spanish-style chicken:

Ingredient health benefits

  1. Chicken: Chicken is a good source of lean protein, which is essential for muscle growth, repair, and overall health. Using skinless chicken can reduce the amount of saturated fat in the dish.
  2. Olive Oil: Typically, Spanish-style chicken recipes use olive oil, often extra virgin olive oil, which is rich in monounsaturated fats and antioxidants, contributing to heart health and reducing inflammation.
  3. Vegetables: Many Spanish chicken recipes include a variety of vegetables such as tomatoes, onions, garlic, and olives (feel free to add some to his dish for a more savory hit). These vegetables provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
  4. Herbs and Spices: Common seasonings include paprika, saffron, thyme, and oregano, which not only enhance flavor but also offer additional health benefits due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Nutrition Facts

Serving size: 200g
Servings: 4
Amount per serving 
Calories393
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 23.1g30%
Saturated Fat 5.1g26%
Cholesterol 106mg35%
Sodium 910mg40%
Total Carbohydrate 8.1g3%
Dietary Fiber 1.6g6%
Total Sugars 4.5g 
Protein 34.3g 
Vitamin D 0mcg0%
Calcium 49mg4%
Iron 3mg14%
Potassium 586mg12%
*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 large dish of Spanish-style chicken thighs

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A large dish of Spanish-style chicken thighs

Spanish-Style Chicken Thighs – 5 Mins Prep – One Pan Recipe

Byron
Spanish-style chicken thighs is the one-pan recipe you’ve been looking for when you want a filling, nutritious, and quick meal! This chicken recipe is quick and easy to make with just 5 minutes of prep (literally chop an onion, open a tin of tomatoes, and crush some garlic cloves), then it’s a quick mix of the ingredients with a sprinkle of spices, and off it goes into the oven for 20-25 minutes.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course dinner, Lunch, Main Course, meat
Cuisine Mediterranean, Spanish
Servings 4 Main
Calories 393 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Large oven-safe casserole dish
  • Kitchen knife and cutting board
  • Oven
  • Fork

Ingredients
  

  • 6 skinless chicken thighs bone-in- approx. 800g/28oz.
  • 1 white onion sliced fine
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed and loosely chopped
  • 14 oz. 400g can of diced tomatoes (or fresh tomatoes if you prefer)
  • Juice from 1 lemon freshly squeezed
  • Chopped parsley for garnish

Spanish Seasoning

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Spanish smoked paprika I love La Vera Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt to taste
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes optional

Instructions
 

Step 1 – Build Sauce

  • Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F
  • Add all of the Spanish seasoning ingredients to a large oven-safe casserole dish.
    3 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp Spanish smoked paprika, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Add the tinned tomatoes and season to taste with salt and cracked black pepper (I usually use a leveled teaspoon of salt and around half a teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper).
    14 oz. 400g can of diced tomatoes (or fresh tomatoes if you prefer)
  • Give everything a good mix with a fork or wooden spoon.

Step 2 – Prep veggies and add to seasoning

  • Finely slice the onion and add it to the sauce.
    1 white onion
  • Loosely chop the garlic and add it to the sauce with the onion.
    2 cloves garlic

Step 3 – Add chicken and bake

  • Add the chicken thighs and cover with the sauce.
    6 skinless chicken thighs
  • Season to taste with cracked black pepper and chili flakes (optional). Add a squeeze of lemon.
    Juice from 1 lemon, 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  • Garnish with some freshly chopped parsley and serve while hot.
    Chopped parsley

Video

Notes

Cooking Notes

  • If you prefer to use fresh tomatoes instead of tinned, use 3-4 large diced tomatoes (skin on). 
  • Sweet paprika can be substituted for smoked paprika but it won’t have as intense a flavor.
  • I always prefer to use freshly squeezed lemon whenever possible. If using constituted lemon juice, add around 1 tablespoon of juice. 
For best results, baste the chicken with the juices around halfway through.
Keyword 30-minute recipe, baked chicken, Baked chicken thighs, Chicken thighs, easy, extra virgin olive oil, One-pot, smoked paprika, Spanish chicken, Spanish-style, Spanish-style chicken, weeknight dinner

A large dish of Spanish-style chicken thighs
A large dish of Spanish-style chicken thighs

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