Deboning chicken thighs is a surprisingly easy step to add to your meal prep routine. With three quick cuts to remove the bone, you’re left with tender pieces of meat ready to use in a number of recipes from chicken casseroles to marinated grilled chicken.
This is also the place to start if you aren’t quite ready to tackle breaking down a whole chicken just yet. Buying bone-in thighs and removing the bone yourself before cooking will give you the confidence to move on to more advanced kitchen tasks in the future.
Why Debone Your Own Chicken Thighs?
Bone-in thighs are less expensive than most boneless thighs. Adding them to your shopping list saves you money and helps you to get an affordable meal on the table for the whole family. Since removing the bone only takes a few extra minutes, it’s a budget-friendly choice that is well worth the effort.
Most boneless thighs are also skinless. Removing the bone from the thighs yourself keeps the skin intact on the chicken meat. If you like a crispy chicken skin or your recipe relies on that skin for extra flavor, the best way to get a thigh with skin, but no bone, is to debone it in your own kitchen. If your recipe calls for thighs without skin, simply pull it away from the meat and discard before cooking or use it for making stock.
Boneless thighs are also quicker to cook, making them a lifesaver on busy weeknights. While a bone-in thigh can take 25 to 30 minutes on the grill, a boneless thigh is usually done in about 15 minutes.
What Can I Make With Deboned Chicken Thighs?
When grilling or baking boneless thighs, you can use a rub or add a barbecue sauce just as you would with a bone-in thigh. Boneless thighs allow for simpler serving and eating when they accompany a rice pilaf or roasted vegetables because the thighs can quickly be cut with a fork and knife without having to work around a bone. You can also chop or shred the meat easily when you plan to use the chicken in soups, stews, and tacos.
How to Debone Chicken Thighs
Place the thigh skin-side down. Place the chicken thigh skin-side down on a cutting board. Unfold the sides if they have been tucked in so that you can see the bone.
Cut along each side of the bone. Use a sharp knife to cut along each side of the bone separating it from the meat.
Separate the bone and thigh meat. Fold back the meat on each side of the bone, then cut along the back side of the bone to completely remove it from the meat.
Trim the thigh. Trim any unwanted pieces of skin or fat from the thigh before cooking. Repeat the steps with any remaining chicken thighs.