This recipe for salt and pepper chicken thighs from the book, How To Eat Your Feelings is ridiculously easy & keto-friendly. A play on salt and pepper chicken wings, this version gives the same flavor and crunchy skin, without all of the oil and deep-frying.

Salt and pepper chicken thighs displayed in cast iron skillet.

Today, March 1st, I am highlighting my last black cookbook author for Black History Month. Yes, I know, yesterday was the last day of Black History Month, but there is a rhyme to my reason. March marks the beginning of Women’s History Month, and it also happens to be the month where I am exclusively showcasing keto-friendly recipes.

This recipe for Salt and Pepper Chicken Thighs out of the cookbook “How To Eat Your Feelings” is the perfect transitional recipe from Black History Month into a KETO abundant Women History Month.

My friend and fellow female foodie Holly wrote the book of the blog From My Impossibly Tiny Kitchen. This book is a whole MOOD, literally. Holly is known for her clever play with words, and this piece of work is no different. In the book, she counsels readers through the best recipes for their every changing disposition – GENIUS. I mean, who doesn’t eat based on their feelings? Her kitchen may be small, but her recipes are overflowing with ingenuity and flavor. And this recipe for Salt and Pepper Chicken Thighs is a prime example.

Close up shot of chicken thighs being friend in cast iron skillet.

First, let me caveat by saying that it is imperative, for those of you unfamiliar with this dish, not to be swayed by the simplicity of the recipe title. This happens to be one of my favorite chicken preparations, and I’ve missed good S&P chicken since I moved away from San Diego. Which reminds me, Holly is from San Diego, which helped me confidently select this particular recipe from her cookbook to showcase on the blog. And she killed it!!!!

I made it, ate it all in one day – no judgment – then had my husband make it again so that I can take it to lunch the next day. It was equally delicious the first and the second time, which is why it’s made its way to the blog. Holly was gracious enough to allow me to share the full recipe, which you can find below. You’ll notice that it is absolutely keto-friendly in the recipe details, which makes my heart happy because it does not skimp on flavor. I will note that I happen to be a big fan of spicy food, so I added one sliced jalapeno to the recipe, but you can obviously omit that step.

How to Eat Your Feelings is the perfect emo cookbook with delectable cross-cultural comfort food recipes. I love Holly’s interpretation of food, and I am confident you will too. So make sure you check out the cookbook and check out this recipe, especially if you are looking for DELICIOUS keto-friendly meal options.

Shot of salt and pepper chicken thighs displayed in cast iron skillet with hand adding topping.

What is Salt and Pepper chicken?

Salt and pepper chicken is a delicious Chinese dish and an aromatic concoction of wok-fried spices and vegetables. The salt and pepper dishes are a signature style to the Cantonese cuisine, also called the Guangdong cuisine eponymous to its birthplace, Guangdong. Throughout China, the cuisine is commonly called Yue.

What are the ingredients in Salt and Pepper Chicken?

To make savory homemade salt and pepper chicken, you’ll need 4-6 boneless chicken thighs for that juicy, succulent texture. Season with white pepper, finely chopped garlic, and chili flakes for that intense flavor that lingers on the tongue long after. Lastly, sprinkle finely chopped green onions for a pop of color. If you like, you can also add more herbs and jalapeno to the dish.

How to prepare Salt and Pepper Chicken?

The salt and pepper chicken recipe uses shallow frying and seasoning to keep the bites bursting with flavors and crunchy. To make the delicious keto-friendly chicken dish, start by drying the bird with a paper towel and salting the skin generously. Then, season the poultry with a teaspoon of salt and white pepper before putting it in the pan (skin-side down). Let the fat render to get that crunchy finish. Flip chicken in 10-12 minutes, once it gets crispy and brown. Cook extra 3-5 minutes, drain on a paper towel or wire rack, and your salt n pepper chicken is ready!

To add the signature flavor to your homemade salt and pepper chicken, sauté 2 tbsp chicken fat with garlic, chili flakes, and green onions. Season the mix with 1 tsp salt and pepper and pour all over the chicken thighs.

Aerial shot of salt and pepper chicken thighs displayed in cast iron skillet.

Why do chicken thighs work?

There are many reasons why chicken thighs work and even make a better replacement for chicken wings. They have more meat, are easier to hold, and juicier to savor. Chicken thighs also take away the labor of deboning.

Other chicken substitutions?

Salt n pepper chicken boasts an array of flavors – from tangy to chili – but is it spicy? Not so much. However, you can get creative and make the dish as spicy or less spicy as you want. There is no rule book for it.

Is Salt and Pepper Chicken spicy?

There are many reasons why chicken thighs work and even make a better replacement for chicken wings. They have more meat, are easier to hold, and juicier to savor. Chicken thighs also take away the labor of deboning.

Close up shot of salt and pepper chicken thighs displayed in cast iron skillet with tong placing one thigh on plate.

Storing & Reheating

Storing salt and pepper chicken is easy.  Allow it cool completely. You can then put it in an airtight container and keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Whenever you are ready to eat, take the chicken out of the fridge 20-30 minutes before reheating. Place your chicken on a wire rack and preheat the oven to 400°F, and heat the chicken  for about 12 to 20 minutes.

More Yummy Chicken Recipes

salt and pepper chicken thighs in a cast iron pan sitting on a wooden cutting board on a table

Salt & Pepper Chicken Thighs

Author: Meiko Temple
A play on salt and pepper chicken wings, this version gives the same flavor and crunchy skin, without all of the oil and deep frying.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
Calories 262 kcal

Equipment

  • Cast Iron Skillet – 10 inch
  • Paper Towel
  • Splatter Guard

Ingredients
 

  • 4-6 chicken thighs, skin on bones removed
  • kosher salt
  • white pepper, major key – don’t substitute this
  • 1 head garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch green onion, finely chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp chili flakes, to taste
  • 1 sliced jalapeno, optional

Instructions
 

  • Dry chicken with paper towel. Remove the bone with kitchen shears and trim any excess fat. Salt skin generously. Season meat side with about 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp white pepper. Heat a large pan over medium-high (cast iron is great for this).
  • Put the chicken in the pan, skin-side down, then leave it alone – the fat needs to render for the skin to crisp up. Let skin side fry until crispy and golden brown, about 10-12 minutes; use a splatter guard to keep the oil from going all over the place. Flip chicken, cook an additional 3-5 minutes or more until cooked through. Let drain on paper towels.
  • While the chicken rests, remove all but about 2 tbsp chicken fat from the pan and add garlic; sauté over medium heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add in the chili flakes and green onions and cook a couple more minutes. Season with 1 tsp white pepper and 1 tsp salt; taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Pour over crispy chicken thighs.

Notes

I adjusted the recipe to include 1 sliced jalapeno which I added in with the garlic.
Per Serving
440 Calories
27.6g Protein
4.8g Net Carbs
27.1g Fat

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 262kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 19gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 111mgSodium: 121mgPotassium: 338mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 954IUVitamin C: 28mgCalcium: 22mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Salt and Pepper Chicken
did you make this recipe???Tell me all about it! And tag @meikoandthedish with hashtag on Instagram – I’d love to see what you make!

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