This is more technique than recipe and is a great one to have in your back pocket, because it works as both a make-ahead recipe (the chicken reheats well and can be sliced and added to salads) and a last-minute save. Pan-roasting chicken produces brown, crisp skin and juicy insides in a single pot in very little time.

It’s easiest if you use all chicken thighs, as they’ll cook at the same pace, but if you believe it’s better to buy all the parts of a bird, then just plan to remove the pieces from the pan as they finish cooking.

You can make this Brussels Sprouts Salad with Anchovy Dressing recipe ahead of time if you want an easy side, and the leftovers (even dressed!) will also keep for a couple days — ideal for a next-day work lunch of shredded chicken over salad. Get more helpful hints for everyday cooking and for the coming holidays in our Storing and Re-Heating Tricks and Tips to Survive the Holidays article.

  • Yield: Serves 4, plus leftovers
  • Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients (5)

  • 12 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for cooking
  • 4 cloves garlic, skins left on and smashed
  • Handful of sage, rosemary, and/or thyme sprigs


  1. In the morning, place the chicken thighs on a plate or small baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Place, uncovered, in the fridge.
  2. When you’re ready to cook, heat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and set out the chicken. Place two large cast-iron pans (you can do this in batches in one pan but two makes it faster) over high heat. When the pans are hot, add enough oil to thickly coat the base of the pan. Add the chicken thighs, skin side down, in the pan. Let them cook, undisturbed, until the skin is well-browned, about 5 minutes longer. Adjust the heat so the chicken doesn’t burn.
  3. Tuck the garlic and herbs around and under the chicken pieces, and transfer the pans to the oven to finish cooking, 10 to 15 minutes—the chicken is done when the internal temperature is 160°F (71°C). Let cool and store in containers in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  4. The day of: Place 8 of the chicken thighs in a skillet and loosely tent with a piece of aluminum foil. Reheat in a 300°F (150°C) oven for 15 to 20 minutes.