My THIS Isn’t Chicken Thighs review

I’m not usually one for buying overly realistic fake meats. I enjoy the occasional vegan bacon sandwich and some vegan sausages in my gnocchi traybake, but my diet mostly consists of beans, tofu, and tempeh.

But I’ve got to admit, I was intrigued by the new ‘chicken’ product by THIS – THIS Isn’t Chicken Thighs. They looked super realistic and their high protein content drew me in.

So, I took myself on down to Tesco to get my hands on a packet of these vegan ‘chicken’ thighs. I cooked them according to packet instructions and tested them out with my sister.

In this THIS Isn’t Chicken Thighs review, I will discuss the ingredients and the ease of cooking these ‘chicken’ thighs, as well as the taste and texture.

Up close with the uncooked vegan chicken thigh by THIS
Uncooked vegan chicken thigh that I coated in herbs

First impressions

Upon opening the vegan chicken thighs, I was struck by their resemblance to actual chicken – minus the ‘raw’ appearance and distinctive smell. They bore a mild scent akin to cooked chicken, which I believe could appeal to meat lovers. As a vegan, I found the realism impressive but not off-putting.

The ingredients

The debate over ingredients in plant-based meats, especially sodium levels, is ongoing. In my view, THIS brand stands out for its straightforward ingredient list:

  • Main components: Water and 22% Soya Protein Concentrate
  • Oils: A blend of Rapeseed, Shea, and Olive
  • Proteins: Fava Protein Isolate, Pea Fibre, and Pea Protein Isolate
  • Binders and thickeners: Potato Starch, Psyllium Fibre, Konjac, Sodium Alginate, and Xanthan Gum
  • Flavour and nutrition: Natural Flavouring, Salt, Dextrin, Calcium Sulphate (Stabiliser), Iron, Vitamin B12
  • Colour: Beetroot Red

One aspect that often goes unnoticed is the presence of antibiotics in animal-based meats. Farmed animals are frequently administered antibiotics, which don’t appear on ingredient lists but can have significant implications for human health and antibiotic resistance. In contrast, plant-based products like these vegan chicken thighs offer transparency and cleanliness in their ingredients, free from such additives.

These vegan chicken thighs are crafted to mirror their animal-based counterparts, offering a comparable protein content alongside an impressive dose of fibre. They also contain a little more salt but considering it as a percentage of your daily recommended intake (15%), it shouldn’t be an issue. Find out more in the comparison table below:

Nutritional info comparison

I have compared the nutrient makeup of THIS Isn’t Chicken Thighs with a popular vegan product, tofu, and its animal-based counterpart – chicken thighs.

Per 100gTHIS Isn’t Chicken ThighsFirm TofuChicken Thighs
Calories 204kcal 145kcal 155kcal
Saturated fat 2.6g 1.2g 2.4g
Carbohydrates 1.9g 1.1g 0.1g
Fibre 6.5g 1.9g <0.5g
Protein 17g 16.5g 18.9g
Salt 0.79g 0.06g 0.18g
Iron 3.0mg 5.4mg 1.1mg
B12 0.4µg 0µg 0.4µg
Interestingly, the fat and protein levels are very similar, but THIS Isn’t Chicken Thighs have the additional benefit of fibre.
Two cooked THIS Isn't Chicken thighs on a white plate
The exterior caramelises nicely in the pan

Ease of cooking

THIS recommends that you either pan fry or oven cook their ‘chicken’ thighs whole. You can chop them into pieces, but you won’t be able to experience the full effect of the outer crispy skin. Pan frying them takes 12-14 minutes and cooking in the oven takes 13-16 minutes. I believe you could also very easily air fry these too.

I chose to cook them in a frying pan with about 1 tsp of oil. I added a few crushed garlic cloves into the pan with the oil and pre-seasoned the ‘chicken’ thighs. With the pan on a medium heat, it took about 12 minutes for the thighs to crisp up on the outside. They also caramelised nicely without burning. This felt very similar to my experience of cooking animal-based chicken.

I have since also cooked them whole inside my favourite vegan paella recipe. They colour nicely when you add them to the pan and they cook through nicely with all the flavourings in the oven.

They are so simple to prep and unlike their animal-based alternative, they don’t require any special handling when in their raw state. Which is a big bonus!

Recipe ideas

There are so many recipes you can create with these vegan chicken thighs. I have so far cooked them as a main component in a dish and served them alongside potato wedges and greens. I have also used them as a chicken alternative for paella. Here are some other recipe ideas I have had:

  • ‘Jerk’ chicken thighs
  • Vegan chicken kiev
  • Vegan chicken curry
  • ‘Chicken’ casserole
  • Peri-peri ‘chicken’

You can go super simple and flavour them in your favourite spice mixes or marinades, or add them to stews, curries and casseroles. But you can also get technical and turn them into kievs, breaded cutlets or battered ‘KFC’. The possibilities with THIS Isn’t Chicken Thighs are endless!

Four THIS Isn't Chicken Thighs inside a bowl with a seasoning rub on
Seasoned and ready for cooking

The taste

I found the taste of the vegan chicken to be quite subtle and neutral but with a good umami flavour. This made them quite tasty to eat on their own, but not necessarily exciting. That being said, I wouldn’t want them to have an intense flavour of their own, because the beauty of these is being able to cook them with your favourite spice rubs or marinades.

The subtle flavour was quite chicken-like and considering that chicken doesn’t have much flavour itself, I’d say these are pretty spot on for being an effective alternative!

Inside one of the cooked THIS Isn't Chicken Thighs, showing the flaky texture
Inside a cooked ‘THIS Isn’t Chicken Thigh

The texture

For me, the texture of these ‘chicken’ thighs is what sets them apart from other vegan chicken alternatives. The outer skin is made using seaweed and I was gobsmacked by how well it crisped up in the pan. It added a crispy chew to the outside that was reminiscent of meat.

The texture inside the thigh is flaky and chewy. It still has that soy meat feel to it, but it is a lot closer to chicken than any other soy-based alternative I’ve tried.

The overall mouthfeel of the vegan chicken is impressive. It had a good chew and held up well when cooked in liquids. Meaning it didn’t just disintegrate in your mouth when eating it.

I believe this is the closest a plant-based alternative has gotten to replicating chicken, without the need for cellular-based technology.

Four THIS Isn't Chicken Thighs in a bowl ready to be cooked into a recipe

My verdict

I have been vegan for 9 years and at some point during this time I went completely off meat. The smell was enough to make me feel unwell. These vegan chicken thighs were teetering on the edge of being too realistic for me, but after cooking them I ended up thoroughly enjoying them.

I was amazed by how meaty they were and the wonderful umami flavours they brought to the dishes I cooked them in. Yet they were clean and obviously contained no gristly bits or bone.

Would I buy these often? Well, probably not. I don’t eat fake meats particularly often. My diet consists mostly of beans and grains. But, I do enjoy the occasional treat meal and I could see myself buying these every couple of weeks to try making my vegan chicken kievs, casseroles, or curries.

I can also see these as being a great alternative for those who still love meat and want to find a cleaner way of eating food they love, whilst also consuming a good dose of protein. When it comes to plant-based alternatives, this is a healthy option with the additional benefit of loads of fibre!

Where to buy

These vegan chicken thighs are a new product from THIS so they aren’t available in most retailers that already stock THIS products. For now, you will find them at Tesco. Hopefully, they’ll expand into other supermarkets soon!

Buy THIS from Tesco

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