These baked chicken legs are quick to prep and work with chicken drumsticks! Ready in minutes, a secret trick yields juicy chicken with a crispy skin every single time.
We have a fair few chicken leg recipes around here, but keeping things simple really allows this cut of chicken to shine.
If you’ve tried our air fryer chicken drumsticks or grilled version, you will no doubt love them baked!
Table of Contents
- Why this recipe works
- Ingredients needed
- How to bake chicken legs
- Oven baked chicken legs cooking time
- What to serve with baked chicken legs recipes
- Tips to make the best recipe
- Flavor variations
- Storage instructions
- Recommended tools to make this recipe
- Frequently Asked Questions
- More chicken recipes to try
- Baked Chicken Legs (Chicken Drumsticks)
Why this recipe works
Discover the secret to making delicious and decadent chicken drumsticks with our easy baked chicken legs recipe. Despite being an affordable cut, baking them correctly elevates their flavor and transforms dinnertime.
Here are some reasons why you’ll love this recipe:
- Crispy outside and juicy inside. Like chicken breast or thighs, this recipe is always perfectly juicy for a chicken that is notorious for sometimes being dry and chewy.
- No marinating time is required. You can prepare these chicken legs for baking in just a few minutes. Like chicken wings, you don’t need to marinate them in advance.
- Versatile. Chicken pairs well with almost anything, including veggies, grains, and sandwiches.
- Chicken legs or drumsticks. You can use chicken legs or drumsticks interchangeably.
This recipe is very simple; besides the chicken legs and seasonings, there isn’t much else that goes into it. Here is what you’ll need:
- Chicken legs. Use skin-on chicken legs or bone-in drumsticks for the crispiest baked chicken.
- Oyster sauce. Gives the chicken a rich umami flavor along with sweet and salty notes.
- Soy sauce. Balances out the richness of the oyster sauce.
- Honey or maple syrup. To add sweetness to the marinade.
- Garlic. No chicken marinade is ever complete without some fresh minced garlic.
- Olive oil. To help impart the marinade flavors into the chicken.
- Spices. I use red pepper flakes and freshly ground black pepper for this recipe.
- Salt. To taste.
Instead of using the suggested ingredients here, you can skip all that and use a chicken drumstick marinade.
How to bake chicken legs
Step 1- Marinade the chicken legs
Whisk together the olive oil, soy sauce, oyster sauce, maple syrup or honey, minced garlic, salt, and spices.
Put the chicken legs into a small bowl and pour the marinade into the bag. Massage the chicken legs to infuse them with the flavors of the marinade.
Step 2- Bake the chicken
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the chicken legs from the bag and arrange them on the sheet pan.
Put chicken legs into the oven preheated to 200C/400F degrees. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the chicken legs reach an internal temperature of 165F (check using a meat or instant-read thermometer).
Oven baked chicken legs cooking time
Chicken legs come in all weights and sizes, so adjust the cooking time as needed. Here are the average baking times:
- 4-ounce chicken legs: 20-25 minutes.
- 6-ounce chicken legs: 27-30 minutes.
- 8-ounce chicken legs: 30-32 minutes.
For anything bigger than 8 ounces, bake the chicken for 35 minutes, then continue cooking until it reaches an internal temperature of 165F.
What to serve with baked chicken legs recipes
This chicken dish is so versatile that it pairs well with many side dishes. Vegetables, salads, and grains all work well. I love roasted potatoes, smoked macaroni and cheese, and a green goddess salad.
To really amp up the chicken factor, we love to pair this with a Caesar salad.
- Broil for several minutes. For extra crispy skin, broil the chicken for 2-3 minutes at the end.
- Use skin-on chicken legs. This will help keep the meat moist and add flavor.
- Don’t overcrowd the baking tray. Leave room around each chicken leg when arranging them on the baking tray. The hot air circulating around the chicken legs will cook them evenly and make them crispy on all sides.
- Let then chicken rest. Allowing the chicken to rest for five minutes before serving allows the juices to distribute throughout the meat and keeps it tender.
- Bast with more marinade. If you have leftover marinade, brush it over the chicken legs while they bake to infuse them with more flavor and keep them moist.
The beauty of baking chicken legs from scratch is that they are so easy to customize! Here are some ideas:
- Swap olive oil for sesame oil. The mild nutty and earthy flavor of the sesame oil pairs well with chicken and gives it an Asian feel.
- Add a few drops of Sriracha to the marinade. Using Sriracha is the easiest way to control the level of spiciness of the chicken (have you tried our peri peri chicken yet?).
- Coat them in lemon pepper seasoning. If you love our lemon pepper chicken wings or chicken breast, then you know how delicious this flavor is with chicken.
- Marinate them in a sauce. Brush some eel, katsu, or bulgogi sauce before roasting to give them an even more flavorful exterior.
To store: Leftovers can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container. They keep well for at least four days.
To freeze: Place the baked and cooled chicken in a shallow container and store it in the freezer for up to 6 months.
To reheat: Warm the chicken in the microwave for 20-30 seconds or in a preheated oven.
Recommended tools to make this recipe
- Meat thermometer. To check the chicken is cooked to the right temperature.
- Baking tray. Always use a larger-than-needed tray so there is enough space for the chicken to sit comfortably.
- Mixing bowls. For the marinade and to marinade the chicken in.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, most recipes can use boneless chicken thighs instead of chicken legs. Adjust the cooking time as needed since they may cook faster than chicken legs.
Yes! Frozen chicken legs will work, but it is best to thaw them to room temperature before baking.
Skinless chicken legs will work, but for the juiciest and most moist meat, bake them with the skins intact. You can always remove them once they are cooked.
To achieve truly crispy skin every time, there are a couple of things to do. Pat dry the chicken completely before adding the marinade, ensure there is enough room around each chicken leg to cook evenly, and broil it for 2-3 minutes at the end.
Marinating chicken for too long can result in mushy and soft meat. 10 minutes is ideal or up to two hours.
More chicken recipes to try
Baked Chicken Legs (Chicken Drumsticks)
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Whisk together all the ingredients, except for the chicken.
- Place the chicken legs into a large bowl, along with the marinade ingredients, and use your hands to mix into it, until coated.
- Transfer the chicken legs onto the lined pan and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until they reach an internal temperature of 165F.
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Can this be done in a slow-cooker as well? It looks good.
We will post a slow cooker recipe with chicken soon.
I always look forward to your emails. I’m making this tonight. I used chicken legs, and cut up chicken breast for the picky eaters. This was so easy. I can’t wait to try it!