Cold Searing Is Key For The Crispiest Skin Chicken Thighs

Crispy chicken thighs with capers
Crispy chicken thighs with capers - Olga Mazyarkina/Getty Images

Salty, savory, and crisp, the best bit of a juicy chicken thigh is arguably the crunchy skin on top. If you want to maximize that shatteringly crisp texture, cold searing is the technique you need to master. This super-simple method, where the chicken is placed skin-side down in a cold pan before it's heated until almost cooked through, sounds odd but it works.

While searing protein is traditionally done in a hot skillet with a slick of oil or butter, it doesn't always make for an uber-thin crispy surface that has a crackly crunch and a perfectly cooked middle because both elements cook at different rates. Cold searing works because the fat in the chicken skin is given plenty of time to render out, or melt down, as the meat beneath it cooks all the way through. This results in an extra fine, crispy layer of skin with a succulent center.

The other benefit to searing chicken in this manner is that you won't need to add any extra fat to the pan. The natural fat released by the skin as it renders is sufficient to cook the chicken all the way through when you flip it over for the final few minutes. This chickeny schmaltz is also packed full of flavor and with the addition of some heavy cream, garlic, and herbs it creates a lusciously appetizing sauce.

Read more: 12 Different Ways To Cook Chicken

Three Tips For Better Cold-Seared Chicken Thighs

Crispy chicken thighs
Crispy chicken thighs - Nadezhda Nesterova/Shutterstock

There are three ways to encourage the skin on your chicken thighs to become extra crispy when cold-searing them. The first is to prick the skin with a fork or sharp knife to create a series of small holes where the fat can drain out as it renders. The second is to pat dry your chicken thighs with a sheet of kitchen towel to remove as much moisture as possible from their surface. This will help them to crisp up faster in the pan and prevent them from stewing in steam from the excess moisture instead of hard frying. Finally, chilling your protein with a quick spell in the fridge before cooking will dry the skin out even further by removing the residual moisture that wasn't eliminated with the paper towel.

Once your chicken is beautifully brown and crispy on one side (this could take about 20 minutes over quite a low heat, depending on the thickness of the thighs) take care to swirl the rendered fat around the pan instead of using it to baste the top of the chicken. This will guarantee that the crispy surface remains crunchy.

Pair your succulent pan-fried chicken thighs with creamy mashed potatoes and greens to make a scrumptiously comforting meal or toss some butter into the pan to create garlic butter chicken. And once you've had your fill of crispy-skinned chicken, you can try this similar unconventional technique to sear steak.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.