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Baked Chicken Thighs with Lemons and Olives In Easy Steps

Updated: Feb 25, 2023

Chicken thighs are a popular choice for a sheet pan meal and adapt well to a variety of seasonings. In this recipe, the chicken thighs are seasoned with a rub of smoked paprika and Italian seasoning and cooked with a mixture of red onions, lemon, and Castelvetrano olives.

The recipe is simple enough and the results are delicious, but it’s a good opportunity to talk about the benefits of cooking chicken in Convection.

The Benefits of Cooking Chicken in Convection

There are several advantages to cooking a sheet pan chicken recipe in Convection. Because food cooked in Convection has better moisture retention if you prefer to use chicken breasts instead of thighs for your recipe you will not risk drying the meat out. In fact, I have had clients tell me they gave up on eating chicken breasts until they experienced cooking them in Convection.

Then there is the convenience factor of being able to cook multiple dishes at one time. A medley of seasonal vegetables can be roasted in the oven at the same time or you could also cook a rice pilaf or bake a pasta casserole to serve with the chicken.

How to Crisp Chicken Skin in Convection

If there is a sacrifice when cooking chicken in Convection it’s not being able to achieve super crispy skin. On the other hand, the moisture retention of chicken cooked in Convection ensures amazing flavor and texture which is preferable to eating dried-out chicken with crisp skin.

Here are some tips to help you strike a good balance between crisp skin and juicy chicken when cooking in Convection.

  • Pat the chicken dry with paper towels to absorb as much moisture as possible.

  • Give the chicken a dry rub including kosher salt a few hours before cooking.

  • Give the chicken a light drizzle of a heat-tolerant oil such as avocado oil and place the tray high up in the oven close to the top heating element, taking care that the chicken doesn’t come into contact with the heating element.

  • Begin the cooking in the Bake or Roast mode and set the oven temperature to 425°F.

and set the timer for 15 minutes

  • Move the tray to the lower part of the oven and change the oven mode to Convection Roast or Convection Bake 375°F and continue cooking the chicken for another 20 - 25 minutes depending on the size of the pieces being cooked.

This way you are making good use of the oven-heating elements and cooking modes to help you achieve the results you want. The first phase of cooking with a drier heat helps render the fat and crisp the skin. In the second phase, the tray with the chicken is moved away from the direct heat, the temperature is lowered, and the circulating heat will cook the chicken evenly.

If you leave the temperature too high for the entire cooking time the cooking may be uneven and the edges of the chicken dried out.

This recipe works well with the cooking method outlined above, or you can do as I did in the video and cook the chicken on the middle rack and use 400°F for the entire cooking time.

When you roast a whole chicken or chicken pieces in Convection be sure to carve the chicken on a rimmed cutting board to avoid all those wonderful cooking juices from escaping all over your countertops.

If you have a Convection Microwave oven, also known as a Speed oven, be sure to check out my next post because I have been busy testing some recipes to share with you.

Larissa, Your Convection Enthusiast

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