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Crackling Chicken — a great Paleo and Whole 30 Friendly Dinner Recipe

November 5, 2016
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Looking for a delicious dinner recipe that’s Paleo and Whole 30 friendly? You’ll absolutely love crackling chicken! Made with skin-on chicken thighs, it’s fried chicken without the breading!

Crackling Chicken - a great Paleo and Whole 30 friendly dinner recipe

This fabulous recipe, which I originally discovered on Nom Nom Paleo, is one of our all-time favorites, even when we’re not avoiding grains or watching our carbs.  The secret is in the skin, which crackles to a beautiful golden brown as it cooks, sealing in all the wonderful juicy flavors of the meat.

I hope you’ll give it a try–I have a feeling it will become one of your favorites, too!

Crackling Chicken Recipe

Serves 4


8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (approximately 4 pounds)
1 tablespoon kosher salt 
2 teaspoons ghee (here’s how to make your own) or grass-fed butter (butter isn’t Whole 30 approved)
2 teaspoons seasoning blend of choice (optional)


  1. If you can find boneless skin-on chicken thighs at the store, you’re golden. In other words, you get to skip this step!  If not, don’t worry–removing the bones isn’t too hard, once you get the hang of it:  With a sharp pair of kitchen shears, beginning at one end of the bone, carefully remove the bone from the meat, making sure you don’t cut through the meat. Start at one end and stay as close to the bone as possible. Make sure to remove the joint and cartilage at the end of the bone.  Leave as much skin on the meat as possible.
  2. Flatten the chicken with the flat side of a meat mallet (or cut a gash in the thickest part of each thigh piece with your scissors) to ensure uniform cooking.
  3. Turn the chicken skin-side-up, and use your fingers to sprinkle the salt on the skin from high up, so it falls like snow.
  4. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat.  Melt ghee or butter in the pan and place four chicken thighs skin-side down in the hot pan.
  5. Season the meat side with your favorite seasoning blend (I just add a bit more kosher salt to the chicken).
  6. Fry on the skin side until the skin is crispy and golden brown (around 7-10 minutes.  (Cover the pan with a splatter screen, if you have one, to avoid making a greasy mess on your stove top.)  Flip the chicken and cook for at least 3 more minutes, or until cooked through.

Crackling Chicken - a great Paleo and Whole 30 friendly dinner recipe

Transfer the chicken to a wire rack and let it rest for 5 minutes.  Repeat the above steps with the remaining thighs. Slice them up, serve and enjoy!

Crackling Chicken - a great Paleo and Whole 30 friendly dinner recipe

xo jane

Recipe via Nom Nom Paleo

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