Introduction: Debone a Chicken Thigh

Picture of Debone a Chicken Thigh

Deboning and skinning your own chicken thighs is an essential cooking technique. The approach that I’m demonstrating minimizes the amount of meat wasted. Not only can this save you money, but you can also use the bones to make your own chicken broth.

Technically you should be using a boning knife but realistically you can use any small knife that you are comfortable using as long as it’s sharp.

Time: Approximately 1-2 minutes per chicken thigh.

Note: A dull knife can be dangerous because it’s easier for the knife to slip and you could injure yourself. A sharp knife is easier to work with since you don’t need to apply as much pressure.

Step 1: Gather Materials and Wash Hands

Picture of Gather Materials and Wash Hands


  • Two bowls – one for finished deboned thighs and one for food waste
  • Cutting Board Boning Knife or a sharp knife you are comfortable with
  • Chicken Thighs

For food safety you should always thoroughly wash your hands before handling any raw product.

Step 2: Expose Bone

Picture of Expose Bone

Flip the chicken skin-side down. Make an incision along the entire length of the bone. Use the knife to scrape the meat away from the bone. Always scrape away from yourself to avoid injury. Work both sides of the bone until the entire bone is exposed.

Note: You can use the dull side of your knife if you'd like to preserve its sharpness.

Step 3: Remove Bone

Picture of Remove Bone

At this point you should be able to slice the bone from the thigh. Next you want to check for any cartilage or bone splinters by smoothing down the meat with your fingers. Bone splinters and cartilage will feel sharp or hard in comparison to the thigh. Use your knife to cut those pieces away.

Step 4: Remove Skin and Clean Up Thigh (optional)

Picture of Remove Skin and Clean Up Thigh (optional)

For recipes the call for skinless, you can easily remove it with your fingers. You should be able to insert your fingers between the thigh and skin and pull it off gently. You can then proceed to remove any excess fat with your knife.

Step 5: Summary

Picture of Summary

You can apply this process to most parts of the chicken. When you are cooking your chicken make sure it’s brought up to a safe temperature (160F).

There are a lot of impressive recipes you can try with deboned chicken, like: chicken ballantine, chicken pot pie, curry chicken, stir fry, and more.

Kitchen Knife Tips: Pinch your blade with your index and thumb, holding the handle loosely in you hand. It might feel awkward to hold it this way at first, but you will have more control of the blade. You shouldn't have to exert too much force in your cuts. If you find you do or the cuts are not smooth your knife is most likely dull. In which case, use a whetstone to sharpen and a steel to hone the blade. ParaGunner1324 has a good Instructable on how to sharpen a knife with a whetstone . The key is to do even strokes on both sides at 22.5 degree angle.

This is my first instructable. I’d love to hear your feedback.


suckwad (author)2015-07-24

Easy to understand instructions. Thank you!

canida (author)2015-07-07

Very clear instructions!
Yesterday i found a fantastic recipe that requires boneless skin-on thighs, a combo not usually sold in stores, so this is quite timely.

Princessmarie77 (author)canida2015-07-12

Thanks, I'm glad I could be of some help!

kahunadrummer (author)2015-07-06

Nice job! I really appreciated how well you explained how to complete the deboning, as well as the knife-handling tips.

Thank you!

james14th (author)2015-07-05

great tip..I put the thighs in foil along with; onions, carrots, sliced potatoes, cherry tomatoes, Salt and White pepper.. Fold and crease the foil shut: A hobo stew on the grill.. Delicious !!

That sounds delicious!

jmdushi (author)2015-07-04

great first instructable, I also like the tip which I will surely try.

Princessmarie77 (author)jmdushi2015-07-04

That's great! Let me know how it works out for you :)

esl401k (author)2015-07-03

Really well done - can't wait till the next one!

Princessmarie77 (author)esl401k2015-07-04

Thank you very much!

seamster (author)2015-07-03

Excellent first instructable! Clear photos and detailed written instructions. Very well done!

I hope you'll share more with us :)

Princessmarie77 (author)seamster2015-07-04

Thank you! This was a really enjoyable experience!

About This Instructable




Bio: I studied culinary arts in college and it's an ever growing passion of mine. I hope to one day own my own restaurant.
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