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18 Spices for Chicken Thighs That Will Transform Your Meal

Are you not satisfied with your everyday chicken thigh dinner?

Do you find them to be bland and lackluster?

There’s an easy solution: SPICES!

Spices can turn an otherwise dull dish into a flavorful feast.

Better yet, they are usually packed with health benefits too!

Chicken thighs are great for a quick meal any day of the week.

The meat holds moisture well, so it is less likely to dry out or become tough.

Plus, adding additional spices will take chicken dishes from average to unforgettable!

If you’re looking for some flavor inspiration for your next roast or fry-up, this list will tell you all about the best spices for chicken thighs that can give maximum flavor with minimal effort.

Paprika Baked Chicken Thighs

Whether it’s fragrant rosemary, tangy chili powder, or sweet smoked paprika – there is something here to suit every taste and time limit!

From rubs and marinades to classic herb mixes and seasoning blends – let’s explore 18 essential spices for chicken thighs that will help bring delicious meals directly to your table!

1. Paprika

Paprika

Whenever I’m making chicken thighs with paprika, I usually aim for about 1 teaspoon per four or five chicken thighs.

Depending on the type of paprika you are using, the taste may range from mild and sweet to hot and spicy.

When it comes to using this seasoning, there are endless possibilities!

My favorite way is to create a rub by mixing two tablespoons of olive oil and one tablespoon of bell pepper flakes.

Sprinkle this mixture over top your raw chicken thighs along with some salt & pepper – then add your desired amount of paprika.

Once everything has a nice coating, they’re ready for baking in the oven at 375F until fully cooked – typically around 30 minutes!

You can also marinate overnight if you want to really get the flavors locked in; simply mix together half cup each of white wine vinegar and olive oil along with some freshly chopped garlic cloves thyme leaves, oregano, paprika, and lemon juice.

Let the chicken thighs marinate in the mixture for at least 4 hours, then bake as usual.

2. Smoked Paprika

Smoked paprika

When using smoked paprika for chicken thighs all it takes is a teaspoon to give your dish flavor.

I would recommend using mildly hot smoked paprika and not regular as you want the smoky flavor without too much heat.

The subtle sweetness of this type of smoked paprika can bring out the flavors in any kind of chicken thigh recipe.

I highly recommend serving some roasted or grilled chicken thighs that are marinated with a mixture of vinegar, olive oil, garlic, and salt – plus adding a teaspoon of Mildly Hot Smoked Paprika inside.

This yields very flavorful and juicy chicken!

3. Italian Seasoning

Italian Seasoning

Adding just the right amount of Italian seasoning can really elevate the flavors and turn a good dish into an amazing one.

Basically, Italian seasoning tastes like a blend of basil, oregano, marjoram, thyme rosemary, garlic, and onion – so basically all the herby deliciousness that you could want!

It’s savory but still has some sweetness as well.

I’d recommend starting off by using about 1 teaspoon per thigh or 2 teaspoons if you’re making four or more chicken thighs in total.

If after tasting it really feels lacking in flavor then try adding up to another teaspoon (if your recipe includes 4 chicken thighs for example then try adding another tablespoon).

But don’t go overboard – too much spice can detract from the overall taste!

4. Curry Powder

Curry powder

When it comes to using curry powder for your chicken thighs, it all depends on how strong you want the flavor to be.

Generally, I recommend about a teaspoon of curry powder per 4 chicken thighs – but if you like a bolder flavor, add one more!

Curry is such a versatile spice and goes perfectly with so many different dishes.

For my own recipe for chicken thigh dinner, I love marinating them in some Greek yogurt mixed with grated ginger, garlic, and some lemon juice before cooking; then top them off with a sprinkle of curry powder when they’re finished.

The result is an unbelievably comforting yet flavorful meal that everyone can enjoy!

Alternatively, instead of adding right at the end, you could incorporate the flavor by making an aromatic stew by adding vegetables like onion or carrots along with your favorite spices such as cardamom or black pepper when frying up your chicken thighs in oil.

Curry powder is perfect for bringing out the flavors of all the ingredients.

5. Cinnamon

cinnamon

When cooking chicken thighs, I recommend using a pinch of ground cinnamon to get just the right amount of sweet and woody flavor.

Cinnamon has a slight citrusy note that pairs especially well with poultry.

Plus, its spicy taste is powerful and reminiscent of cloves; it’s the perfect way to add warmth and richness to your dish!

To use ground cinnamon for my dinner, I like to mix it into marinades or rubs as part of the seasoning. You could also sprinkle some over your cooked chicken for a delicious finish.

An easy 4-ingredient dry rub would be equal parts garlic powder, oregano, paprika—and don’t forget the cinnamon!

Mix those together in a bowl and apply liberally when you season your poultry before tossing them into the oven.

If you prefer larger pieces of cinnamon flavor then you can use whole cinnamon sticks; either cook them along with your chicken or use them as a garnish.

6. Bouillon Powder

Bouillon Powder
Credit: mapleandmango.com

When it comes to the amount of bouillon powder you should use, it ultimately depends on what kind of bouillon powder you’re using.

Generally speaking, I recommend starting with 1 teaspoon per one cup of water and adjusting as needed.

Not only can bouillon powder add flavor to your chicken dish but there are several different applications that you may want to explore in addition.

For example, you could use it as an all-in-one rub by combining it with various herbs and spices; just rub some over your chicken before cooking!

Another great way to utilize this ingredient is by making a flavorful soup or casserole base – just whisk together some vegetables, broth, and powdered bouillon – how easy!

7. Coriander

Coriander

If you’ve ever cooked with coriander before, then you know how it can enhance the flavor of a dish.

When used together with chicken thighs, the leaves from this plant should taste refreshing, tart, and citrusy.

The seeds of the plant (or its dried fruit) too can be used whole or ground in dishes – they have an earthy yet sweet flavor with a floral aroma that is released when lightly toasted.

So how do we use coriander with chicken?

A few ideas that come to my mind offhand would include adding the leaves to fried chicken, for example, serving honey-glazed drumsticks with finely chopped leaves on top, making a marinade using both coriander and cumin powdered spice mix – something like an exotic version of tandoori – or simply season each thigh piece as desired and sprinkle over some freshly chopped/minced coriander on top.

8. Cumin

Cumin

Cumin adds earthy notes to the mix, with a warm finish.

The citrusy undertones provide an exciting edge that really pops out when mixed with chicken.

I always use ground cumin rather than whole cumin seed.

This ensures the flavor will disperse evenly throughout your dish.

But if you’re feeling creative, try mixing in some other spices like turmeric or coriander to give your dish more oomph!

You can also add some spice to your cooking by roasting cumin-seasoned chicken thighs on top of sweet potato slices in the oven for a great family meal.

Or why not make some tasty kebabs, marinated with lemon juice and braised garlic before simmering them in a sauce made from tomato puree, olive oil, and cumin?

9. Ginger

Ground Ginger

To me, ginger has a spicy taste that is peppery and often warm or hot.

I find it also has a unique sweet element as well – especially when young ginger is used!

When using ginger with chicken thighs, it adds the perfect balance of savor and spiciness.

Simply mince the fresh ginger and combine it with teriyaki sauce to brush over your chicken thighs before grilling them.

The sweetness of the teriyaki really brings out the spices and flavors of both the sauce and the ginger, resulting in mouth-watering results every time!

10. Garlic Powder

Garlic Powder

If you’re a fan of garlic, you definitely need to try garlic powder.

Garlic powder is made from dried and ground-up garlic cloves, giving it a more mellow garlicky flavor that’s sweet instead of spicy.

It doesn’t have the caramelly undertones present in roasted or sautéed garlic either.

Garlic powder can be used in various ways for many different dishes.

I like to use them when preparing chicken thighs – simply coat the chicken with olive oil, season generously with salt and pepper then sprinkle some garlic powder over it before cooking.

The combination creates an incredibly flavorful meal!

11. Onion Powder

Onion powder

Onion powder offers a strong, distinct onion flavor with a bit of sweetness to it.

Unlike fresh onions where you get the pungent smell and slight heat in your mouth, the concentrated flavor profile found in onion powder is more subtle when it comes to spiciness.

It still has that same familiar sweet and mild umami taste like regular caramelized onions, but without all the fuss!

When cooking chicken thighs, adding a teaspoon or two of onion powder can provide an additional layer of depth in flavor.

Whether stirred into marinades or rubs for roasted chicken, sprinkling some over before baking helps season the meat along with other herbs and spices.

Onion powder pairs especially well with garlic power when roasting vegetables too – who doesn’t love a garlic-onion combination?

12. Chili Powder

Chili Powder

If you want to use chili powder for your chicken thighs, I recommend seasoning them with some other ingredients before keeping them generously coated with the chili powder.

Some common ingredients I love are salt, black pepper, garlic powder or granules – this will give the chicken thighs that perfect kick of spiciness!

If you prefer even more spice feel free to sprinkle some cayenne pepper as well.

Once your ingredients are combined thoroughly onto the chicken parts – just bake away and let the flavors combine beautifully into something delicious!

13. Salt and Pepper

Salt and Pepper

When it comes to salt and pepper, they both bring something unique to the table.

Salt enhances flavor while pepper adds flavor.

In terms of types, salts generally come in two basic categories: sea salt or mined salt; all salt originates from seawater regardless if it’s natural or processed.

With peppercorns, you can find several varieties with black, white, and green being the most common.

When cooking chicken thighs specifically (or any food for that matter) I always recommend adding a generous amount of both salt and pepper as this combination will give your dish a nice kick of flavor but still not overpower whatever else you have used or added in there.

It’s often used just at the end before serving too – so don’t forget about its power!

14. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper

If you’ve never tried cayenne pepper, I’ll tell you that its primary flavor is defined by a hot and fiery effect on the taste buds.

Despite containing the heat that gets your mouth watering, it surprisingly has a mild aroma.

That’s why many people like to use it with chicken thighs!

Adding just a pinch of some cayenne pepper powder or flakes gives them an extra kick of flavor while still allowing all the other seasons to shine through.

You could also add some minced garlic or thyme for even more complexity.

So delicious!

15. Turmeric

Turmeric

If you ever try turmeric, you’ll quickly notice it has a bold, earthy flavor with some notes of bitterness mixed in.

It’s almost musky and spicy at the same time – kind of like a pepper! If food is your thing, then you’ve definitely seen this amazing yellow-orange spice in many curry dishes; that deep, implacable flavor in those?

Yup – that’s turmeric!

But even more remarkable than its flavor is its color: Turmeric will give your foods a beautiful golden hue as well!

So if we’re cooking chicken thighs, one great way to use turmeric would be to mix it together with some olive oil and spices such as garlic powder or onion powder. (Make sure to use freshly cracked black pepper for extra zip!)

Rub this mixture onto both sides of the chicken and let marinate for at least an hour before cooking.

You’ll be rewarded with a delicious, flavorful dish that’s also a beautiful golden color!

16. Dried Oregano

Oregano

If you’ve never tried oregano before, it’s generally described as possessing a strongly aromatic, camphoraceous aroma and a slightly bitter, pungent flavor.

You’ll notice earthy/musty notes along with green, hay, and minty notes to the spice that creates an astringent mouthfeel.

It’s certainly unique!

Using dried oregano with chicken is especially delicious because of its warm flavor profile works so well with poultry.

I’d make sure to lightly season each thigh first before cooking – apply freshly-ground salt or add fresh herbs like rosemary to your liking.

Then sprinkle some dried oregano over your chicken thighs once they’re in the pan and let them cook!

As they get closer to being ready you can taste test how much more oregano you may want on them for the right amount of zesty flavor profile that pairs perfectly with the juicy meat of chicken thighs.

17. Thyme

Thyme

Thyme has a pleasant, woodsy flavor with a sharpness to it.

It’s generally fragrant and earthy, with just a hint of floral sweetness.

It also has some peppery notes that come through in certain recipes.

Chicken thighs make for the perfect canvas to show off this herb’s flavors – it’s both savory and sweet at the same time.

Here’s how I use thyme when cooking my chicken thighs:

  1. I start by seasoning the skin side of my chicken thigh pieces generously with salt, pepper, and finely chopped thyme leaves (a small spoonful should do).
  2. Then I heat up some butter or oil in a skillet over medium-high heat before adding my seasoned chicken pieces into it—skin side down first so that all those seasonings get properly caramelized.
  3. Once the skin side is nicely golden, I flip the chicken over and add a few more thyme leaves to the pan before cooking the other side.

The resulting chicken thighs are golden and juicy, with a subtle thyme flavor that complements the savory chicken perfectly.

It’s a great way to add a hint of herbal flavor to your dish without overpowering it.

18. Brown Sugar

Brown Sugar

If you’ve never tried brown sugar before, it has quite a deep flavor. It takes on caramel or even toffee-like notes from the molasses that are added during processing—a real treat for your taste buds!

Using brown sugar with chicken thighs is an excellent way to add some sweetness and smokiness as well.

Simply coat your chicken thighs in olive oil and spread an even layer of brown sugar over them.

Then bake until they’re golden and juicy.

Alternatively, you could also use other seasonings such as chili powder or paprika alongside the brown sugar for a bit of heat too!

You can also get creative in the kitchen by using brown sugar in honey glaze sauces, sweet barbeque marinades, or simply sprinkled over roasted vegetables like squash and carrots.

What are the best spices for grilled chicken thighs?

Grilling is a great way to prepare chicken thighs! Whether you use charcoal or gas, there are several spices that will enhance the flavor of your chicken and bring out its natural sweetness.

One of my favorite spices for grilled chicken is tarragon.

This herb adds a hint of licorice-like tang, which makes it perfect for pairing with roasted vegetables on top of the finished dish.

Thyme is another excellent choice. The earthy flavor pairs perfectly with smoky charcoaled flavors and help accentuate the taste of seared meats like chicken.

Coriander has an aromatic quality that helps to brighten up any savory dish while adding a warm layer to it as well.

Plus, combining it with salt brings out even more intense flavorful notes in your grilled food.

A good way to finish off the grilled experience is using smoked paprika sprinkled over the finished chicken. This adds a slightly smoky-sweet flavor and a hint of color to the dish.

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Paprika Baked Chicken Thighs

18 Spices for Chicken Thighs You Must Try

As a passionate home cook, I'm always looking for new ways to make my meals more flavorful and exciting. In this article, I'm excited to share my top 15 spices for chicken thighs that will totally transform your meal. I'll provide a description of each spice, as well as tips on how to combine them to create a delicious and satisfying dish.
Prep Time 2 mins
Cook Time 2 mins
Total Time 4 mins
Course Spices
Cuisine American
Servings 4 people
Calories 15 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • Paprika
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Curry Powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Bouillon Powder
  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Ginger
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Chili Powder
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Turmeric
  • Dried Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Brown Sugar

Instructions
 

  • Pick your favorite spices from this collection to pair with your chicken thighs.
  • Prepare the rest of your delicious meal.
  • Serve in no time!
CEO at Happy Muncher | benjamin@happymuncher.com | Website | + posts

Hi, I'm Benjamin. I love cooking, long walks, and my girlfriend! Here you’ll find simple and delicious recipes that you can make in 30 minutes or less.