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Searing Chicken Thigh & Legs Before Baking

author image Natalie Smith, Ph.D.
Natalie Smith is a technical writing professor specializing in medical writing localization and food writing. Her work has been published in technical journals, on several prominent cooking and nutrition websites, as well as books and conference proceedings. Smith has won two international research awards for her scholarship in intercultural medical writing, and holds a PhD in technical communication and rhetoric.
Searing Chicken Thigh & Legs Before Baking
Chicken legs can cook up soggy unless they are seared first.

Baked chicken legs and thighs often come out of the oven pale and with unpleasantly wet skin. One way to alleviate that problem and to ensure that your chicken comes out of the oven crispy and golden-brown is to sear the chicken legs and thighs in a skillet before you bake them. Searing browns the skin of the chicken and crisps it, which helps hold in the moisture in the meat while preventing the skin from becoming soggy.

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Step 1

Trim the excess fat and gristle from the chicken legs and thighs. This will help the chicken brown better and will reduce the amount of fat that coats the chicken as it bakes.

Step 2

Heat 2 tbsp. of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.

Step 3

Place the chicken legs and thighs in the pan. Do not crowd them or they will not brown correctly.

Step 4

Brown the chicken pieces for 15 minutes. When they are finished, the chicken should be browned on all sides.

Step 5

Take the chicken out of the skillet and place it on a wire rack in a roasting pan. The wire rack will allow the dripping fat to drain into the bottom of the pan, where it can't make the chicken skin wet and limp.

Step 6

Season and bake the chicken as your recipe directs.

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