Make-Ahead Recipes for Chicken Thighs

Food is very expensive these days, so when something goes on sale, I like to take advantage. One item I find particularly pricey is boneless, skinless chicken thighs. I get why the price is high, given the amount of processing involved to remove everything that I’d rather not deal with myself, but if I can pay less, I will.

We go through a lot of chicken thighs in our house because they feature in a number of recipes that we make for batch cooking and freezing. My husband also smokes them on his pellet grill and freezes them for use in things like stir-fries or sandwiches. So, for those times when you catch chicken thighs on sale or you just want some items to batch cook and freeze on a weekend, here are a few of my favourite recipes. And here’s a tip: in general, the more time you can marinate the meat, the better.

I rate all of these at two spoons, not because they are difficult, but because there is some degree of planning and preparation, involving marinating and chopping. 

Chicken Roti

This is our go-to recipe for chicken roti. It has a lot of spice and deep flavour, and it freezes really well. 

Notes & Tweaks

  • We skip the cayenne because we find this dish spicy enough without it. I’m also fairly sensitive to pepper, so I dial back on the white pepper, adding only half the amount in the roti portion of the recipe. (I use the full amount in the marinade.)
  • The key to this recipe is to let the broth boil down so you are left with a thick sauce. It can be tricky to get the broth ratio and heat right and still be done within the specified cooking time. Start with about 3 cups of broth–you can always add more later, as needed–and don’t turn the heat too low. I have added the full amount of broth and let it simmer very gently; in those circumstances, it has taken over an hour to fully reduce. That’s not a big deal if you have time, but if you want this dish done in the 20-30 minutes indicated in the recipe, you need to start with less liquid and raise the heat a little. For your first time making it, keep an eye on the heat to ensure you are boiling away the liquid at the pace you want and don’t have the heat so high that the roti sticks to the pan. 

Ready to try it? Visit Trinidad Chicken Roti at Immaculate Bites.

Chicken Shawarma

I have found so many good chicken recipes at Carlsbad Cravings, and this is yet another. I highly recommend the cilantro yogurt sauce too. (Maybe plan this for a week you have another dish that uses cilantro so you can use the whole bunch. And if you have leftover plain yogurt, use it in a smoothie or bake some scones.) 

Notes & Tweaks

  • Honestly, I have none. This cooks up beautifully as is. I love the variety of cooking options–stove, grill, or oven–and the many ways to serve it–wraps, grain bowls, and suggestions for using it in pasta salads, sandwiches, or on pizza. Make sure to read the author’s tips at the end, especially regarding resting the chicken. 

Ready to try it? Visit Chicken Shawarma at Carlsbad Cravings.

Chili Chicken with Mango Slaw

I clipped this recipe from Canadian Living in 2017 and have used it regularly since. I’m fortunate to have a fabulous Latin grocer nearby for sourcing the chilies needed here. You will need a blender or food processor, and be sure to allow 20 minutes to soak the chilies. The slaw is delicious, but you can go without if you don’t have the time or energy to make it. And I would definitely recommend feta or Cotija over any other cheese; its tangy, salty flavour contrasts nicely with the rich sauce. 

Notes & Tweaks

  • I find the spice a little intense, so I cut the chilies back to two each of the pasilla and guajillo, and one morita. 
  • For some reason, I always forget to toast the chilies before soaking, so I wanted to point out that step here. It makes a difference, so don’t skip it. 
  • We have made the slaw but also enjoy this without. We serve the chicken over rice, with tortilla chips, on tostadas, or in tacos. If you don’t make the slaw, you can top the chicken with any toppings you would use with tacos or fajitas. 

Ready to try it? Visit Chili Chicken Tacos with Mango Slaw at Canadian Living. 

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

We love this recipe in the summer, when we can grill it. I have cooked the chicken in the oven–at 425F for about 20-25 minutes–but it’s best on the grill. 

Notes & Tweaks

  • The peanut sauce here is very good, but sometimes I’m in a hurry so I just use a bottled sauce. Our current favourite is President’s Choice peanut lime vinaigrette.  
  • We freeze this chicken on skewers, uncooked. We pull out a package the night before so it is ready for the BBQ the next day.

Ready to try it? Visit Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce at Damn Delicious.

Image of Dutch oven: 235784070 © Sabelskaya |

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