Bourbon jalapeno chicken thighs are an easy weeknight dinner that everyone will love. Like my rosemary lemon chicken thighs, this recipe cooks in just over 30 minutes.
The oven does most of the work here. All we have to do is make a simple marinade and let the chicken soak. The oven turns it into a crispy-skinned dinner that has a ton of flavor.
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Bourbon jalapeno chicken thighs
Chicken thighs have much more flavor than chicken breasts, and they are more forgiving. Dark meat has more fat, which isn’t a bad thing. It can hold up to high heat cooking and still stay juicy.
Normal pantry items make up the bulk of this marinade. If Dijon mustard isn’t something you keep on hand, I encourage you to get some. It is incredibly versatile – from vinaigrettes to Dijon chicken pasta.
- Maple syrup – use the real deal, not pancake syrup.
- Brown sugar – I used light brown, you can use either light or dark.
- Dijon mustard – has a nice bite and tons of flavor, Maille is my favorite brand.
- Jalapeño brine – the liquid from the jar.
- Sliced jalapeños (not pictured)
- Bourbon – no need to use your best stuff here, unless that’s all you have.
- Garlic – I use a mini food processor to chop up a lot of garlic at once.
- Oil – Mixed in with garlic.
- Soy sauce – Adds umami flavor.
Whisk everything together in a medium-sized mixing bowl and add half of the sliced peppers.
I included a photo of the actual ingredients, so you know what to look for at the store. The jalapeños are from Trader Joe’s, but I’m sure other stores have something similar.
If you can’t find similar jarred jalapenos, you can use the small can of diced green chilies or fresh jalapeños. The variable will be the level of heat – use your judgement. You know best how spicy you like your food.
How long to marinate chicken thighs
This marinade is not overly salty or acidic, so you don’t run the risk of your chicken thighs getting mushy if left too long.
Marinades only penetrate just below the surface. Contrary to popular belief, they do not get absorbed all the way through the meat. These chicken thighs will benefit from even a few hours of marinating time, if that’s all you have.
Once you have everything combined in the mixing bowl, add the chicken. Give it a good toss around in the bowl to make sure it is thoroughly coated.
Place the chicken thighs in a zip-top bag, pour the marinate over them and refrigerate for 4 – 24 hours. Do not marinate chicken longer than a day. Remove chicken from marinade and pat skin dry with paper towels.
Preheat oven to 425°F and place chicken, skin side up, on a parchment-lined baking sheet. If your oven has a convection feature, use it. The fan will circulate the air and help the chicken to brown evenly.
Roast the chicken thighs for 35 minutes, or until the skin is crispy and chicken is thoroughly cooked.
Rotate the tray halfway through baking time to ensure even browning.
If skin needs a bit more color, move the tray closer to the heat source for a few minutes, or turn on the broiler. Remember to keep a close eye on it, so it doesn’t burn.
What to serve with chicken
Almost anything goes, when it comes to sides. You could make a simple green salad, a hearty superfood salad with sweet potatoes and pomegranate, or a quinoa salad with black beans.
Keep it super simple with a green vegetable like sautéed broccolini.
I really hope you love this recipe. If you make it, snap a pic and share it with me either in the Fabulous Foodie Friends Facebook group or on Instagram by tagging @pookspantry and using hashtag #pookspantry.
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- 2 tbsp. bourbon
- 2 tbsp. maple syrup
- 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp. jalapeño brine (from jar)
- 1 tbsp. light brown sugar
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp. neutral oil (like canola)
- 1 tbsp. soy sauce
- 3 lbs. bone-in chicken thighs, skin on
- 1/2 cup sliced jalapeños, divided
- fresh herbs for garnish, optional
- In a medium mixing bowl - whisk together bourbon, maple syrup, mustard, jalapeno brine, brown sugar, minced garlic, oil and soy sauce.
- Roughly chop half of the sliced jalapeños and add to the marinade.
- Add chicken and toss to thoroughly coat.
- Place chicken thighs in zip-top bag, pour marinade into the bag and seal. Marinate from 4 - 24 hrs., flipping bag over halfway through marinating time to allow all of the chicken to soak evenly.
- Preheat oven to 425°F / 220°C / Gas Mark 7.
- Remove chicken from marinade and pat dry with paper towels.
- Place skin-side up on parchment-lined sheet pan and bake for 35 minutes, until skin is crispy and chicken reaches 165°F internal temperature.
- Top with remaining jalapeno slices and serve.
Plan on 1 - 2 thighs per person, depending on how big the chicken thighs are and if the person is a big meat-eater or not. Typically, a bone-in chicken thigh will yield about 3 ounces of meat.
Plan to marinate chicken for a minimum of 4 hours for best results, up to 24 hours. I marinated the chicken for the full 24 hours.
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Serving Size:1 - 2 chicken thighs
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 523Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 290mgSodium: 610mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 0gSugar: 6gProtein: 54g
Nutrition information calculated by a third-party company as a courtesy. It is intended as a guideline only.
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