These juicy baked chicken legs are an easy-to-prepare dinner! Just season with flavorful spices, then bake until golden brown. Now serve with your favorite side dishes for a hearty meal.
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Making a tray of baked chicken legs is one of the most leisurely meals to prepare for dinner. To make the pieces of dark meat even tastier, I coat them with a flavorful seasoning paste. All you’ll need is a handful of common dried spices and herbs.
Baking the drumsticks at a high temperature in the oven ensures juicy pieces. As the fat from the skin renders, the skin becomes golden brown and lightly crisp. The process only takes about 35 minutes for quick preparation. Serve with mashed potatoes, steamed rice, vegetables, and your favorite dipping sauce for a complete meal.
Chicken drumsticks are a very affordable protein option. They are flavorful due to the extra fat surrounding the meat, which yields juicy, tasty bites. You’ll need eight pieces for the recipe, about 2 pounds.
Bone in chicken thighs can also be used. You may need a few extra minutes of cooking time since it’s thicker and does not need to flip over. Make sure to cook the thigh piece’s skin side up.
Season the meat
It’s easy to enhance the savory taste of chicken drumsticks with a spice mix. I use olive oil, smoked paprika, dried Italian seasonings, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and coarsely ground black pepper. This mixture creates a paste that nicely coats the chicken. You can switch up the herbs for dried basil, oregano, parsley, or herbs de Provence.
Freshly chopped herbs work well too. Mix ¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, chili powder, or chipotle powder for a spicy kick. You can bake them immediately or store them in the refrigerator for the next day. This baked chicken legs recipe is excellent for meal prep!
Bake the drumsticks
Place the seasoned drumsticks on a greased, foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 425ºF (218ºC) for about 35 minutes. Cook for 25 minutes until the surface is golden brown, then flip and brown the other side for about 10 minutes.
The chicken is ready when the thickest part of the meat reaches around 170 to 175ºF (77 to 79ºC) on a meat thermometer. If you like more crispy skin, you can broil both sides for a few extra minutes.
Serve this with
Frequently asked questions
The chicken does not need to be washed. Doing so can contaminate your sink if not adequately cleaned and disinfected afterward. Dry with a paper towel to remove excess moisture.
No, the drumsticks do not need to be covered with foil. Exposing the skin to the oven’s heat will help the skin render the fat and become lightly crisp instead of steam.
Don’t overcook them! Target 170 to 175ºF (77 to 79ºC) after resting. Dark meat contains more connective tissue and fat and needs an elevated internal temperature to dissolve fully. The chicken can also be brined or marinated to help retain more moisture.
Cook drumsticks in an air fryer at 380ºF (193ºC) for 10 minutes. Flip and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, or until the thickest part reaches 170 to 175ºF (77 to 79ºC) on an instant-read thermometer.
Temperature for crispier skin
Bake the chicken drumsticks at 425ºF (218ºC). The elevated temperature quickly dries the skin’s surface so that it can brown and crisp. The oven needs to be heated above 350ºF (177ºC) to kickstart Maillard browning for more flavor and a golden hue. Lower temperatures make for tender drumsticks but with less texture contrast.
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Baked Chicken Legs
- Preheat the Oven – Adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Heat to 425ºF (218ºC). Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Grease with olive oil or cooking spray to help prevent sticking.
- Dry the Pieces – Thoroughly dry each piece with a paper towel to remove excess moisture from the surface.
- Season the Pieces – In a large bowl, combine olive oil, salt, Italian seasoning, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper. Add the chicken to the seasoning mix. Turn to coat evenly.
- Bake the Chicken – Evenly space the pieces on the baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. Flip and continue baking until the skin is golden brown, about 7 to 10 minutes. The internal temperature should reach about 170 to 175ºF (77 to 79ºC). Rest for 5 minutes before serving.
- Serve – Garnish with parsley and transfer to a serving platter.
- Serving Size: 2 drumsticks
- Storing: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Reheating: Cover and reheat in the microwave on high setting in 15 to 30-second increments until hot.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.
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