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Crispy Chicken Thighs are a perfect busy weeknight meal! Especially served over tender kale sautéed with bacon and garlic. With this recipe, you’ll have a delicious dinner on the table with just a few minutes of prep!

Crispy-Chicken-Thighs-with-Kale-and-Bacon on white plates

It’s curious that France and Switzerland, two countries with populations known for their high saturated fat consumption, have low rates of heart disease (less than half that of the United States). These countries also have low obesity rates compared to the United States, where 2 out of 3 people are overweight and 1 out of 3 are obese. (source: Adult Obesity, Harvard School of Public Health)

It’s also curious that these countries were left out of the 1950s ‘Seven Countries Study’ that introduced the notion that saturated fat was to blame for heart disease. More than 50 years later, the ‘saturated fat is bad’ mantra lives on. (More about Dr. Ancel Benjamin Keys and the ‘Seven Countries Study in this Wall Street Journal article.)

It was a conversation with a friend about eating chicken skin that got me to thinking about this. I said it was delicious, he said it was ‘deadly.’

I don’t believe it is.

However, I do believe that how animals are raised, i.e., what they eat, directly affects how nutritious their meat is. I also believe that too much of any food can damage your health and increase your waistline. But I’ll choose a crispy skinned chicken thigh as the ‘healthier’ option any time over a food with a title that begins with ‘low’ or ends in ‘free.’ So if I had to choose a mantra, it would be of the Andy Warhol variety:

Progress is very important and exciting in everything but food.

If you hang out in the chicken-skin-eating camp, have I got a recipe for you!  With just a few minutes of prep, you can be eating these Crispy Chicken Thighs with Garlicky Kale in about 45 minutes. The thighs are seasoned simply with salt and pepper then baked until crisp. While they bake, you’ll cook a large bunch of kale with a couple of smoky bacon slices, loads of chopped garlic, a generous pinch of crushed red pepper and, at the very end, a squeeze of fresh lemon. I like to serve the thighs on top of the kale so that any dripping juices bring all of the flavors together.

Serve With

More Great Recipes for Chicken Thighs

Crispy Chicken Thighs with Garlicky Kale

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 50 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Calories: 622
Servings: 4 people
You can have this whole meal on your table in about 45 minutes with just a few minutes of prep. It’s huge on flavor and low on fuss!


  • 8 chicken thighs skin-on, bone-in
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 slices bacon diced small
  • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • large pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 large bunches Italian Kale sliced crosswise into thin ribbons
  • 4 lemon wedges


  • Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Arrange chicken thighs in a single layer on prepared baking sheet and season generously with salt and pepper. Bake 40 minutes or until skin is crispy and meat is tender and cooked through to the bone.
  • Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add bacon; cook and stir until crisp, about 5 minutes. Add garlic; cook and stir just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add kale; cook and stir until kale is mostly tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Divide kale between 4 plates and top each with 2 chicken thighs. Serve with lemon wedges.


Calories: 622kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 46g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 236mg | Sodium: 322mg | Potassium: 667mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 250IU | Vitamin C: 58.7mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 2.3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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  1. nagimaehashi says:

    I’m with Maggie 🙂 PORTION SIZE!! I swear, the size of servings in the US at some restaurants is INSANE!!!!! Bring on the chicken skin, it is totally the best part. I love your photos Marissa, they are beautiful. Sharing! N x

    1. Marissa says:

      Thank you so much, Nagi! And AMEN! It is the best part. 🙂

  2. Maggie | Omnivore's Cookbook says:

    I wondered the same thing about France too. But I realized that when you eat that much fat, you don’t really need a lot of food to be full and feeling satisfied. So I guess their total calories consumption is still on the lower side. Chicken skin is the best part! Love these crispy chicken. So easy to cook and delicious 🙂

    1. Marissa says:

      I think you’re right, Maggie!

  3. Summer Daisy says:

    This must be really delicious! And that photo is so beautiful

    1. Marissa says:

      Thanks so much, Summer.

  4. Mon Petit Four (@byMonPetitFour) says:

    Yayy! Thanks for giving me another dinner idea to make asap!! <3 I am with you in the chicken skin-eating camp! I am also not a fan of the low-fat, fat-free etc. products. They're just replaced with sugar anyways, so whats the point? I think you hit the nail on the head when you said it's more important to know how the meat was obtained (i.e. how the animals were raised, what they ate, etc.). I think that's the big difference between America and many European countries in terms of what we're eating. I find I eat much more when I'm on vacation in France, but I always end up losing weight there. It's amazing.

    This meal looks absolutely scrumptious. I love that it comes together so quick, and garlicky kale? Yes please!!! Fantastic, Marissa! <3

    1. Marissa says:

      I completely agree, Beeta! I always wonder if I lose weight because of the food or because we walk so much when we’re there. Either way, it’s a great perk. 😉

  5. Savory Spicerack says:

    I am definitely part of the Skin eating Club so I’m pinning this one!!

    1. Marissa says:

      It’s a great club! 😉 Thank you…