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How to Debone a Chicken Thigh

In this easy guide, we’ll show you how to take the bone out of a chicken thigh. It’s simpler than you think and makes your food taste even better.

Chicken thigh bone fully removed on cutting board

Watch how to debone a chicken thigh

Instructions For How To Debone a Chicken Thigh

removing the bone from the chicken thigh

Prepare the ThighTrim any excess skin but leave enough for flavor.
Initial CutMake a shallow cut along the side of the bone to expose it.
Cut Around the BoneMake light cuts close to the bone, almost scraping it, to remove as much meat as possible.
Pull Meat AwayUse your non-knife hand to gently pull the meat away as you cut.
Complete the CutContinue cutting around the bone until about half is free.
Remove the BoneCarefully lift and remove the exposed bone from the thigh.

All your really going to need is a sharp knife and a cutting board. If you get a knife that is a little bit flexible, this could really help with cutting the bone out.

Step 1: Trim excess skin

trimming excess skin off

Chicken thighs often have extra skin left on them from when they were cut off of a whole chicken.

At this stage, while the thigh still has its shape, I like to trim off that extra skin. Don’t worry, we’re not taking off all the skin—keeping some on adds lots of flavor to the chicken.

Step 2: Flip to skin side down

flipping so the skin side is down

Flip the chicken thigh so that the skin is down on a cutting board.

I like to place the chicken thigh so that the bigger end of the bone is furthest away from me and is at the top of the chicken thigh.

The reason I do this is that it’s easier to cut towards the bone and not have to get around the large part of the bone.

Step 3: Cut to the bone

cutting into the bone to start

Now we make our first cut. This cut is on top of the bone and follows along the entire bone.

This should expose the chicken bone and give us access to get as close as possible to the bone so that we are able to save as much chicken as possible.

Cut Towards The Bone

cutting towards the bone

Now that we can get to the bone, let’s carefully cut around it. Make gentle cuts close to the bone, almost like you’re scraping it, so you get as much meat as possible.

Use your non-knife hand to pull the meat away while you’re cutting near the bone. And by “near,” I mean really close—but don’t actually cut the bone itself.

Keep going around the bone until you’ve removed about half of it.

If you’re ok with cutting up a chicken thigh, I have an entire post to show you how to cut up a chicken breast as well that you would enjoy.

Step 4: Remove the chicken thigh bone

removing the bone

Now you can pretty much fold the chicken under under itself and have direct access to the chicken bone.

Now make a few last cuts and remove the bone completely from the chicken thigh.

I like to feel for any leftover bone or hard cartilage that I might have missed as I was cutting.

That’s it, you have now deboned a chicken thigh in just a few minutes.

If you are learning to cook and you are starting to process your own chicken, I would also check out my post on how to cut up chicken wings.

What You’ll Need To Debone A Chicken Thigh

  1. Chicken Thighs: Preferably fresh and skin-on for maximum flavor.
  2. Sharp Chef’s Knife: Essential for precise and effortless cutting.
  3. Cutting Board: Choose one that is easy to clean and preferably non-porous to minimize bacterial contamination.
  4. Kitchen Shears: Optional, but helpful for trimming excess skin or fat.

Benefits of deboning a chicken thigh

getting under the bone removing it
  • When you remove a bone from a chicken the meat can cook quicker. The bone will hold the cold from the refrigerator and not allow the meat along the bone to cook as fast.
  • If you are feeding some kids you don’t need to worry if there is some leftover bone that they could eat by accident.
  • If you’re preparing a dish where the chicken thighs just get cut up like my grilled chicken tacos then you won’t have to worry about removing the bone when the meat is hot and you’re trying to chop it up.


This is totally a personal decision and you also want to consider the recipe. A lot of great dishes are made with the bone like braised chicken thighs. If your making a stir fry or a soup then it most likely is a good idea to go ahead and remove the bones before cooking.

It is easier to debone chicken raw except if that chicken has been braised. Braised chicken is really easy to remove the bones and the meat typically just ” falls off the bone”

This depends on the recipe. I like to leave the skin on 90% of the time, it has a great crunch to almost all recipes and it also adds some great fat to your diet. I think fat is a good thing in a diet and it needed!

Just the chicken thigh without the drum has one big bone in it. This is why it is typically pretty easy to debone the chicken thigh.

chicken thigh bone completely removed

How To Debone a Chicken Thigh

Here is a quick way to debone a chicken thigh
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 1
Calories 497 kcal


  • 2 chicken thighs


  • Trim any excess fat off of the chicken thigh
  • Put the chicken thigh skin side down with the bigger end of the bone facing up and further away from you.
  • Take your first cut into the bone, in the center of the bone along it entirely. This steo is to get through the initial meat and get us to the bone.
  • Cut along the bone and into the bone. Your looking to creat a peeling away for the meat. You want to make very light percise.
  • Remove the final chicken from the bone and cut the underside. The chicken bone should pretty much be detachec from the rest of the chicken.


Serving: 2gCalories: 497kcalProtein: 43gFat: 35gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gMonounsaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 173mgSodium: 162mgPotassium: 437mgVitamin A: 324IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 25mgIron: 2mg
Keyword how to debone a chicken thigh
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