This sheet pan crispy chicken with cabbage and apples tastes amazing and is easy to throw together. It’s paleo, dairy free, gluten free, and Whole30-compliant–and all you’ll need to wash is one baking sheet!
Is anyone else holding on to wintry foods for longer than usual this year? Even though it’s almost April and the high will be 85 degrees in Chattanooga today, I’m still craving everything roasted or braised, plus soups, stews, and all other things comfort food.
I know almost everything is a struggle these days, and I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and home as much as possible. Access to food is now spottier than ever and constantly shifting, so I hope you are staying well fed. I photographed this over a month ago when it was still business as usual here, but lately have had to try several times before succeeding in obtaining bone-in chicken.
Why do I love chicken thighs so much? Several reasons: they’re more flavorful and less dry than breasts, they’re harder to overcook, and it’s easier to get their skin nice and crispy. My obsession with crispy chicken thighs started with Nom Nom Paleo’s cracklin’ chicken, which is a classic that tastes amazing, but requires deboning raw chicken thighs and then splattering grease all over your stove and probably your outfit. The obsession continued in a less-fuss, less-mess fashion with crispy chicken with spring vegetables and crispy chicken with fig and shallot compote, which don’t require deboning and are started stovetop and finished in the oven.
Now, I have finally found a way to make crispy chicken thighs all in the oven–no stovetop cooking required! Best of all, this whole meal is made on one sheet pan. Crowding vegetables into a skillet or Dutch oven often means they’ll steam instead of roasting, but using a sheet pan gives them plenty of room to get crunchy around the edges.
Here’s the tip that’s been a game-changer for me in getting crispy chicken in the oven: preheat the sheet pan! I’ve been doing this with roasted potatoes for a long time and it makes them so much crunchier. It works so well for chicken thighs, too! Just put the sheet pan in the oven while it preheats, take it out to add the oil, and stick it back in for a few minutes for the oil to heat up. This makes the chicken skin crispier and also saves some time, because it starts to cook the second it hits the pan.
For this recipe, the chicken thighs are roasted with cabbage, apples, shallot, and a few herbs. The chicken gets a head start, then the veggies and fruit go on when the chicken gets flipped. Cabbage, apples, and shallots all last a long time in the fridge or pantry, so they’re great to have on hand at a time like this.
If you don’t have cabbage, try sliced Brussels sprouts or broccoli. If you don’t have apples, try plums or peaches. If you don’t have shallots, use onions, leeks, or even scallions. You can also leave out one of the three and this will still be good, and you can definitely leave out the herbs and lemon if you don’t have any. I’ve also been playing around with more sheet pan combos that I can’t wait to share soon!
If you’re interested in sheet pan recipes, here are a few more to try:
- Sheet Pan Baked Eggs with Sweet Potatoes, Kale, & Cilantro-Pepita Pesto: this works with any pesto or even without the pesto–I make it both ways all the time!
- Sheet Pan Salmon and Delicata Squash: this one is so simple! You can use your favorite spice blend if you don’t have Creole seasoning.
- Roasted Shrimp & Asparagus with Green Goddess Dressing: shrimp and asparagus both cook quickly, so this recipe is very fast. If you don’t have the ingredients for the green goddess dressing, make a simple pesto aioli by mixing a little pesto into some mayonnaise, or an even simpler garlic aioli by grating a clove of garlic into some mayo.
- Gluten-free Pumpkin Sheet Cake: Obviously it’s not a meal, but this cake is always a hit and is made mostly with pantry staples. Use whatever frosting you like if you don’t have cream to whip!
And if you’re doing a Whole30 and/or eating paleo, here’s a roundup of 16 Whole30 sheet pan recipes.
As always, let me know if you have any questions about this recipe or if there’s anything else I can help you with! You can leave a comment here or send me an email: becky(at)acalculatedwhisk(dot)com.
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 2 lbs)
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 large cabbage (I used purple cabbage), cored and thickly sliced
- 2 medium apples, cored and sliced (I used Gala)
- 2 shallots, sliced
- 1 tsp minced fresh rosemary (optional)
- Lemon slices for serving (optional)
- Place a large sheet pan in the oven and set the oven to 450°F. Once the oven is hot, remove the sheet pan, add one tablespoon of the avocado oil, and swirl to coat the middle of the pan. Return the pan to the oven for the oil to heat up.
- Pat the chicken thighs dry and season with salt and pepper. Carefully remove the sheet pan from the oven and place the chicken thighs skin side down in the hot oil. Reduce the oven temperature to 425°F and roast for 10-15 minutes, or until the skin is golden brown and beginning to crisp up.
- Flip the chicken thighs over and add the cabbage, apples, and shallots to the pan. Sprinkle with the rosemary, if using, and a little salt and pepper.Roast the chicken and vegetables for 10-15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. (Chicken should reach 165°F when a meat thermometer is inserted into the middle of the largest piece. It’s okay to remove the chicken when it’s around 160°F as it will finish cooking as it rests. Do not worry if it measures at a higher temp because chicken thighs are very forgiving and will still be delicious.) Transfer the chicken to a plate to rest.
- Stir the vegetables and roast for 5-10 more minutes, or until browned to your liking. Serve the chicken and vegetables with lemon slices for squeezing on top, if desired.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.