Chicken Thighs in Yogurt Marinade

4.89 from 27 votes

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This 🍗 Chicken Thighs in Yogurt Marinade recipe is a weeknight wonder! You’ll get the juiciest chicken ever using just 6 simple ingredients! 🇧🇬 Bulgarian cooking is known for using yogurt in both savoury dishes and in baking. Plain yogurt makes for the perfect marinade and also makes so many of our baked goods 🍰 incredibly delicious, fluffy, and moist. Yogurt has a very long history in our country.

Many Bulgarians claim yogurt was accidentally discovered in Bulgaria thousands of years ago when nomadic groups roamed the land. In Bulgaria, yogurt is everywhere. You’ll find it on 🥙 falafel wraps, slathered on moussaka, and lined up in supermarket refrigerators. It is a key ingredient in traditional Bulgarian dishes such as “Tarator,” a cold soup made of yogurt, water, 🥒 cucumber, and dill; and “Snezhanka,” a salad consisting of yogurt, cucumbers, garlic and dill. People sip yogurt drinks in the streets and we dip fried zucchini slices into yogurt dips too. We love yogurt with sweet bread, in soups, 🍲 stews, and so many other recipes as well.

There is a type of bacterium that can only be found in Bulgarian yogurt. Our particular yogurt is a combination of bacteria that characterizes the thickness, acidity, taste and aroma of the yogurt and it’s more tangy. Bulgarian yogurt is prepared using a unique combination of the two strains: Lactobacillus Bulgaricus and Streptococcus Thermophilus. Discovered by a Bulgarian scientist 🔬, this specific bacterium causes milk to naturally turn into yogurt. As you can see, we are very passionate about cooking with it, so I hope you love it too!

Why You’ll Love Chicken Thighs in Yogurt Marinade

This 🍗 Chicken Thighs in Yogurt Marinade recipe will save you during the week. Just 6 simple ingredients to the juiciest chicken ever. The marinade is so simple and totally foolproof thanks to the secret ingredient: tangy plain yogurt! PLUS it’s a great make-ahead, you can mix it all together and marinade overnight. The results are juicy, tender, fall-off-the-bone chicken thighs, with a perfectly crisp skin that everyone will love.

How to Prepare Chicken Thighs in Yogurt Marinade

🍗 First, add the chicken to a mixing bowl with the oil, yogurt, salt, pepper, paprika, and Italian seasoning. Massage well.

❄️ Now, let the chicken sit and marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour or up to overnight. (You can bake it right away but it will be so much more tender if you let it marinate.)

🔥 Next, preheat the oven to 400F (200C) and remove the chicken from the fridge. Then, transfer the chicken and juices to an oven-safe baking dish.

💧 Now, push the chicken to the side with a spoon and add some water or broth. Then, move the chicken around to evenly distribute all the juices.

🌡️Bake uncovered for 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the size of the thighs, or until the juices run clear and a meat thermometer measures at least 165F.

⏲️ To crisp up the skin further you can broil the chicken on top for 1 to 2 minutes but keep a very close eye on it.

🥗 Enjoy on salad, mashed potatoes, in wraps, with rice, or with any side you like.

Nonna’s Tip

A minute or two under the oven’s broiler is all you need to get that golden crispy skin that everyone loves. Broiling means you use the upper heating element of the oven only so that you crisp up the chicken skin.

Chicken Thighs in Yogurt Marinade

Variations and Substitutions for Chicken Thighs in Yogurt Marinade

  1. I love Bulgarian yogurt in this recipe, but you can use plain Balkan-style, or plain Greek yogurt instead. Alternatively, sour cream or mayo will work, too!
  2. If you’re dairy-free, you can certainly make this 🍗 Chicken Thighs in Yogurt Marinade by using your favourite non-dairy yogurt, sour cream or veganaise.
  3. Instead of Italian seasoning, you can use your own favourite blend of 🌿 dried oregano, parsley, rosemary, onion powder and garlic powder.

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Common Questions

Do i have to use chicken thighs in this recipe?

You can absolutely use any cut of chicken here, such as chicken breast, but the cooking time will have to be adjusted. Less time for white meat and more time for dark meat. Breast will take anywhere from 15 to 25 minutes depending on the thickness and cut. I think even a whole chicken would be delicious using this method. To be sure the meat is fully cooked, it’s best to use a meat thermometer (chicken is done when it hits 165F).

What other kinds of yogurt will work?

Any thick, plain yogurt will be wonderful in this Chicken Thighs in Yogurt Marinade recipe. I love Bulgarian, but Balkan-style or Greek will work, too!

Can i make this recipe dairy-free?

Absolutely! You can use your favouite non-dairy yogurt, sour cream or vegannaise here instead of plain yogurt.

can i make this recipe in the air fryer?

Yes, you certainly can make my Chicken Thighs in Yogurt Marinade recipe in the air-fryer. I suggest checking your air-fryer’s manual for the suggested temperature and cook time.

How can i get a crispy skin on the chicken?

A minute or two under the broiler is the best way to get that golden crispy skin that’s so delicious. Broiling means you use the upper heating element of the oven only so that you crisp up the chicken skin. I believe it’s called a top grill or griller in places like England and Australia. 

What seasonings can i use instead of italian seasoning?

If you don’t have an Italian seasoning blend, you can use a mixture of dried oregano, parsley, rosemary, garlic and onion powder.

Chicken Thighs in Yogurt Marinade

Chicken Thighs in Yogurt Marinade

In Bulgaria we are known for cooking and baking with yogurt. Plain yogurt makes for the perfect marinade and delicious tender, juicy chicken thighs every time.
4.89 from 27 votes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Bulgarian
Servings: 8 thighs
Author: The Modern Nonna
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 8 chicken thighs ( I used bone in, skin on) , any cut of chicken works
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • cup plain yogurt , Bulgarian, Balkan-style, or Greek
  • ½ teaspoon salt, to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper , to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, or dry oregano
  • ¼ cup water , or chicken broth

Instructions 

  • Add the chicken to a bowl with the oil, yogurt, salt, pepper, paprika, and Italian seasoning. Massage well. Let the chicken sit and marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour or overnight. You can bake it right away but it will be so much more tender if you let it marinate for at least 1 hour.
  • When the chicken has marinated, preheat the oven to 400F (200C).
  • Remove from the fridge and transfer the chicken and juices to an oven-safe baking dish.
  • Push the chicken to the side with a spoon and add some water or broth and move the chicken around so that the juices are distributed evenly.
  • Bake uncovered for 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the size of the thighs, or until the juices run clear and a meat thermometer measures at least 165F. To crisp up the skin further you can broil the chicken on top for 1 to 2 minutes but keep a very close eye on it. Enjoy on salad, mashed potatoes, on wraps, with rice, or with any side you like.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 384kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 24g, Fat: 31g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g, Monounsaturated Fat: 15g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 143mg, Sodium: 262mg, Potassium: 321mg, Fiber: 0.3g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 134IU, Vitamin C: 0.1mg, Calcium: 35mg, Iron: 1mg

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

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Bulgarian
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Hi! I'm Sneji. Nice to meet you!

I am more commonly known as “The Modern Nonna” on social media where I create easy home cooked meals with a modern twist. I was born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria and learned how to cook at the best culinary school in the world – my grandma’s kitchen. I lived in Greece on the Island of Crete with my parents for a while and then moved to Toronto, Canada when I was in grade 5. I started to really cook and experiment with food 11 years ago when I was 21 years old. Everything I currently know is a reflection of some part of my life…

Keep up to date with me on social media! Follow @themodernnonna

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40 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This recipe is the best! The chicken is juicy and so tasty in this marinade. Easy to follow instructions. My family loved it.