Chicken fra Diavolo is a one-pan spicy and flavorful dish that’s made with chicken thighs that are seared until crispy and finished in a garlicky tomato sauce that gets its heat from Italian long hot peppers and crushed red pepper flakes. This dish is perfect with some crusty bread or a side of pasta with the same sauce.
If you’ve visited our site before, you know we have an affinity for spicy food.
Chicken fra diavolo was inspired by our love of heat and the more well-known dish, shrimp fra diavolo.
For our chicken fra diavolo recipe we are using “long hot” peppers for spice, plus crushed red pepper flakes if needed.
It’s simple to make, is essentially a one-pan dish, and can be done in about an hour or so which makes this great for weeknights.
Serve with some crusty bread, sauteed garlic spinach, or you can toss some pasta with the remaining sauce for an additional side.
How to make it
Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.
- Slice 3 long hot peppers in half, remove the seeds, and give them a rough chop. Roughly chop 12 cloves of garlic and mince 3 tablespoons worth of fresh Italian parsley.
- Preheat the oven to 375f and set the rack to the middle level. Heat a large oven-safe pan to medium heat. While you’re waiting for the pan to warm up, pat dry 3 to 3.5 pounds of chicken thighs with a paper towel and season with 2-3 teaspoons of dried oregano, and a good amount of salt and pepper.
- Right before you’re about to sear the chicken, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and sear the chicken skin side down for 6 minutes.
- After 6 minutes, flip the chicken and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Place the cooked chicken on a plate and set it aside. Repeat for any remaining chicken, working in batches to not overcrowd the pan.
- Once all the chicken is cooked, add the remaining olive oil and the chopped peppers and cook for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, or once the peppers are soft, add the garlic and cook for a few more minutes until golden. At this point, taste the peppers to determine their heat level. If they aren’t spicy enough for you, add 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes. Note: This should be a spicy dish but definitely increase or decrease the spice levels to your liking.
- Add 3 ounces of tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. If needed, turn down the heat a bit to avoid burning.
- Add a 1/2 cup of dry white wine and turn the heat up to medium-high. Use a wooden spoon to dislodge the brown bits from the bottom of the pan and allow to cook for 1-2 minutes longer or until most of the wine evaporates.
- Add 1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes (either hand crushed, blender pulsed, or canned crushed) and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and stir together. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes to reduce some of the liquid from the tomatoes.
- Place the chicken thighs into the pan, skin side up, and bake in the oven until cooked through (about 30-35 minutes). After 30 minutes use a meat thermometer to ensure the thighs have reached an internal temperature of at least 175f. Remove the chicken once fully cooked and taste-test the sauce. Make any adjustments to salt and pepper and add the parsley. Serve with lots of grated Pecorino or parmesan cheese and crusty bread to mop up the sauce. Enjoy!
Top tips for chicken fra diavolo
- The chicken. We used skin-on, bone-in thighs for this recipe because they are so flavorful and the skin gets so crispy and golden during the searing process. The trick to getting the great sear is to make sure your chicken is very dry. We recommend patting it dry and seasoning it immediately prior to cooking. The other trick is getting the pan hot (medium heat on a stainless steel pan) and then adding the oil right before the chicken as this will prevent the chicken from sticking to the pan. Also, be sure to work in batches and not overcrowd the chicken.
- Spicy peppers. If you can find long hot peppers, we recommend using them for this recipe. They do tend to add a good amount of heat (normally spicier than a jalapeno) but every pepper is different which is why we recommend giving them a taste test in step 6 (above) and if they’re not spicy enough, adding the crushed red pepper flakes.
- Serve with cheese. A hefty amount of grated cheese makes this dish so much better. Our vote is almost always for Pecorino over Parmigiano, but use what you like.
- Easier clean-up. If at all possible, use an oven-safe fry pan to sear the chicken, cook the peppers, and braise the chicken in the oven. Using one pan for this entire meal will make it easier! A large 14-inch pan should be enough to accommodate all of the chicken.
More of our favorite chicken thigh recipes
We have no shortage of chicken recipes here at Sip and Feast. Here are a few of our favorites using chicken thighs specifically.
- Chicken thighs with fennel and cherry tomatoes – another simple dish of chicken thighs with fennel and loads of cherry tomatoes.
- Chicken Cacciatore – chicken stewed with tomatoes and olives.
- Chicken Fricassee – chicken braised in a white wine cream sauce with carrots, celery, onion, and mushrooms.
- Chicken Scarpariello – chicken with potatoes, peppers, and sausage in a vinegar sauce.
If you’ve enjoyed this Chicken Fra Diavolo recipe or any recipe on this site, give it a 5-star rating and leave a review.
Chicken Fra Diavolo
- 3 pounds chicken thighs trimmed of excess fat
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup olive oil divided
- 1 28 ounce can plum tomatoes hand crushed or blender pulsed
- 3 ounces tomato paste
- 3 large long hot peppers seeded and chopped
- 12 cloves garlic chopped
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes see notes below
- 3 tablespoons parsley minced
- Preheat oven to 375f and set the rack to the middle level.
- Heat a large oven-safe pan to medium heat. Pat the chicken very dry with paper towels and season with oregano, salt, and pepper on all sides. Place 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the pan and sear the chicken skin side down for 6 minutes, then flip and cook for 3 more minutes. Place cooked chicken on a plate and set aside. Work in batches and do not crowd the pan while searing.
- When finished cooking the chicken, turn the heat to medium-low and add the remaining olive oil and peppers. Cook for 5 minutes or until soft, then add in the garlic and cook for a few more minutes or until golden.
- Taste test the peppers. If they aren't too spicy add red pepper flakes to taste. Otherwise, omit the red pepper flakes and move on to the next step.
- Next, add the tomato paste and cook for about 5 more minutes stirring frequently. Then, add the wine and turn the heat to medium-high. Using a wooden spoon scrape the bottom to dislodge all of the brown bits. After 2 minutes add the plum tomatoes and the lemon juice and stir together. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes to reduce some of the liquid from the tomatoes.
- Place the chicken thighs into the pan skin side up and bake in the oven until cooked through. It should take about 30 minutes for the chicken thighs to reach 175f. Use a meat thermometer to make sure they are at least 175f.
- Remove the chicken once fully cooked and taste the sauce. Adjust salt and pepper to taste and mix in the parsley. Serve with grated cheese and crusty bread to mop up all of the sauce. Enjoy!
- Chicken thighs should be cooked to at least 175f due to dark meat having more connective tissue that needs to break down. The exact cooking time will vary, so use an instant-read thermometer for precision.
- Long hots are sometimes very spicy but occasionally have almost zero heat. For this reason, adjust hot red pepper flakes to taste.
- Leftovers can be saved for up to 3 days in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer. Reheat in the oven at 350f until warmed through.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.