Chicken Thighs with Tomato-Caper Sauce


This savory tomato sauce works perfectly with grits and chicken thighs.

Chicken Thighs with Tomato-Caper Sauce
Photo: Greg DuPree; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Christina Daley
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
45 mins

For this simple weeknight dinner, the secret is in the sauce. We're jazzing up a tried-and-true protein—chicken thighs—with a uniquely flavorful sauce that practically makes itself. Our recipe for Chicken Thighs with Tomato-Caper Sauce is sure to be a weeknight supper winner.

This recipe is proof that you don't need tons of fancy ingredients to make a great sauce. In this simple chicken dish, we reimagine the classic tomato sauce, adding one secret ingredient—capers—to revolutionize the flavor. Capers bring a briny, tangy factor to this tomato sauce, complementing the sauce's simple seasoning. Instead of using this sauce to blanket penne pasta or a panko-crusted chicken breast, we've paired it with roasted chicken thighs, adding serious flavor that carries the dish. We change things up even more with the starch selection—instead of pasta or rice, this chicken rests on a bed of hot grits. All three elements of this dish—the grits, tomato sauce, and crispy-skinned chicken thighs—are prepared separately, but once combined, they work in perfect harmony.


  • 1 ½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 

  • 4 (6-oz.) bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs 

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • ½ cup thinly sliced yellow onion (from 1 small onion)

  • 2 tablespoons drained capers 

  • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped (1½ Tbsp.)

  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning 

  • 1 (28-oz.) can whole peeled plum tomatoes

  • Hot cooked grits, for serving

  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat bottom of a large cast-iron skillet with oil. Pat chicken dry, and sprinkle all over with pepper and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Arrange chicken, skin side down, in prepared skillet. Cook over medium, undisturbed, until chicken skin is crisp and golden, about 12 minutes (chicken will not be cooked through). Transfer chicken, skin side up, to a plate; do not wipe skillet clean.

  2. Add onion to skillet. Cook over medium, stirring and scraping bottom of skillet using a wooden spoon to loosen browned bits, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add capers, garlic, Italian seasoning, and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until very fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes; bring to a simmer over medium, breaking tomatoes apart using a wooden spoon.

  3. Return chicken, skin side up, and any juices to mixture in skillet. Transfer skillet to preheated oven. Roast until sauce reduces slightly and a thermometer inserted in thickest portion of chicken registers 165˚F, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Serve over hot cooked grits; sprinkle with parsley.

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