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- Why You’ll Love This Crispy Baked Chicken Legs Recipe
- Ingredients & Substitutions
- How To Bake Chicken Legs
- How Long To Bake Chicken Legs In The Oven?
- Tips For The Best Baked Chicken Legs
- Storage Instructions
- What To Serve With Baked Chicken Legs
- More Easy Chicken Drumstick Recipes
- Recommended Tools
- Baked Chicken Legs (Crispy & Easy!)
This baked chicken legs recipe couldn’t be easier! Sometimes simple is best, and when it comes to oven baked chicken drumsticks, that couldn’t be more true. They are incredibly crispy, flavorful, and delicious, but they also only take 10 minutes to prep. I’m excited to show you how to cook chicken legs in the oven using my favorite method, all my tips and tricks, what to serve with them, and more. This post has everything you need to know!
This is one of my favorite chicken leg recipes, but if you want to cook other cuts of chicken, try baked chicken breast, crispy oven baked chicken wings, simple roasted chicken thighs, larger baked chicken leg quarters (thighs and legs together), or browse more chicken recipes here.
Why You’ll Love This Crispy Baked Chicken Legs Recipe
- Super crispy skin on the outside, juicy on the inside
- Flavorful and simple spices for seasoning
- Just a few minutes active prep time
- No need to wait for a marinade (there isn’t one!)
- Healthy protein-packed chicken dinner
- Crowd pleaser for kids and adults alike
Ingredients & Substitutions
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for baked chicken drumsticks, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
This crispy oven baked chicken legs recipe is simply seasoned. You’ll need…
- Chicken Drumsticks – Bone-in and skin-on chicken, of course. Try to choose ones that are uniform in size, so that they cook at the same rate.
- Butter Or Oil – Not only does this help make them more crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, but it also helps the seasonings stick. Butter has a lower smoke point so I don’t usually use it for roasting, but I love the flavor that it gives this recipe and haven’t found any issues with it. If you’re concerned about it, feel free to use ghee, olive oil, or avocado oil instead. Spraying with cooking spray would also work, but I prefer to avoid the chemicals.
- Smoked Paprika – Adds a delicious smoky flavor, as well as color. Feel free to swap in regular paprika if that’s what you have on hand.
- Garlic Powder – We’re using garlic powder instead of fresh garlic, as the latter would burn. If you want to use fresh garlic, it’s best to put it in a compound butter underneath the skin instead, like I do with air fryer chicken drumsticks.
- Sea Salt & Black Pepper
SEASONING VARIATIONS: Change up the basic chicken drumsticks recipe with other seasoning blends!
Try replacing the seasonings with Italian seasoning, lemon pepper seasoning, or Cajun seasoning, or add them in addition to the above. If your seasonings contain salt, reduce or omit the salt added separately. You can also make complimentary additions to the above seasonings, such as oregano, onion powder, cayenne pepper, or even chopped fresh herbs.
How To Bake Chicken Legs
This section shows how to make baked chicken legs in the oven, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Prep the oven and pan. Preheat the oven. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (for easy clean up!) and place an oven safe rack over the sheet pan. (I like this set – it’s non-stick, so easy to clean.) I prefer foil rather than parchment paper for lining underneath the rack, because it catches the juices more easily.
- Dry the chicken. Pat the drumsticks with a paper towel to remove excess moisture.
- Brush with butter. Brush the chicken legs on all sides with melted butter, or drizzle with olive oil or avocado oil if you prefer.
- Season the drumsticks. Sprinkle smoked paprika, garlic powder, sea salt, and black pepper on all sides.
- Bake. Cooking chicken legs at high heat will get them crispy, just how we want them.
- Rest. Let the baked chicken drumsticks rest for 5 minutes before serving.
How Long To Bake Chicken Legs In The Oven?
For average sized drumsticks, chicken leg bake time is 35-45 minutes at 425 degrees, flipping halfway through. The exact time will vary a bit, due to varying oven temperatures as well as drumstick size.
Tips For The Best Baked Chicken Legs
I have several simple, but important, tips to ensure your crispy baked chicken legs turn out perfectly each and every time:
- Dry the drumsticks. Patting dry with paper towels before seasoning helps get the skin crispy later.
- Use a baking rack like this one. This allows the hot air to circulate around the chicken, for the best baked chicken drumsticks that are nice and crispy!
- Season on the rack to save on dishes. I add the butter and seasonings right on the rack for a time-saving shortcut, but you can season in the chicken in a large bowl if you prefer. Simply pour the melted butter over the chicken in the bowl, add the seasonings, and toss to coat.
- Roast at high heat. The best baked chicken legs oven temp is fairly high (425 degrees F), which helps crisp up the skin. Plus, I find that higher temperatures are less prone to drying out the meat.
- Flip halfway through. For best results, flip the chicken legs halfway through baking, which will help them crisp up more and cook more evenly.
- Cook to 170 degrees F. Whether you are cooking chicken legs in the oven or using just about any other method, they should reach an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees F to be safe. However, I recommend 170 degrees F for dark meat recipes like chicken drumsticks, because this breaks down the collagen and makes them more juicy and tender. Here is the meat thermometer I use and recommend.
- Broil if needed. If the baked chicken legs are not as crispy as you like by the time they reach the right internal temperature, place them under the broiler for a couple of minutes to crisp up the skin more. (Watch closely so that they don’t burn!)
- Don’t forget to rest. Letting the chicken rest for 5 minutes after baking helps seal in the juices and ensure that they stay moist on the inside.
- Store: Keep leftovers of this easy chicken drumstick recipe in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Freeze: You can freeze raw chicken drumsticks for up to 9-12 months, or baked chicken legs for up to 3-4 months. Lay them on a parchment lined sheet pan in a single layer and place in the freezer. Once solid, you can move them to a freezer bag for more compact storage.
TIP: If you like, you can brush with butter and season the chicken legs before freezing.
That way there is virtually no prep before baking later.
- Reheat: Warm up leftover chicken legs in the oven or an air fryer at 350 degree F oven for best results. The microwave works in a pinch, but the skin won’t be crispy. To reheat frozen drumsticks, let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight (or for a few hours) and reheat in a 350 degree F oven for best results. If the skin is not crisp after reheating, you can place under the broiler for a minute or two, until crispy.
What To Serve With Baked Chicken Legs
There isn’t much that doesn’t go with baked chicken drumsticks. If you want to turn it into a full meal, try these:
- Vegetables – Try a healthy side dish or low carb side dish… there are so many to choose from! Fried cabbage, creamed spinach, sauteed broccoli with garlic, or sauteed zucchini are great stovetop options if you want to make your veggies while you have your chicken legs roasting in the oven. If you have double ovens, make roasted green beans with garlic, a cauliflower casserole recipe, or a roasted eggplant recipe at the same time as the chicken.
- Potatoes – Oven roasted chicken legs with potatoes make the ultimate comfort food meal! Pair them with classic roasted potatoes or mashed potatoes. For a bit more nutrition, bake sweet potatoes or air fry sweet potatoes.
- Pasta – Because I’m gluten-free, I usually make baked spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles, but regular pasta works great as well if it fits your lifestyle.
- Salads – Make it a light meal by serving your baked chicken drumstick recipes with Caprese salad or cucumber tomato avocado salad in the warm months, and kale salad or winter salad in the cool months.
- Sauces – This chicken drumstick recipe is flavorful enough on its own, but feel free to serve it with BBQ sauce, ranch dressing, or other sauces you like with chicken.
More Easy Chicken Drumstick Recipes
Looking for more chicken leg recipes? Here are some popular reader favorites:
- Instant Read Thermometer – The best way to tell when the baked chicken legs are done is to use an instant-read thermometer. Cook them to an internal temperature of 170 degrees F.
- Baking Sheet with Cooling Rack – I love this baking sheet + cooling rack combo. The cooling rack elevates the chicken, for nice and crisky skin. (It’s also fantastic for other foods you want crispy, like bacon in the oven, lemon pepper wings, coconut shrimp, and asparagus wrapped in bacon.)
- Basting and Pastry Brush – One trick to the best chicken drumstick recipe? A brush of butter to coat the chicken.
Baked Chicken Legs (Crispy & Easy!)
This baked chicken legs recipe makes chicken drumsticks super crispy and juicy, with just a few simple ingredients and easy 10-minute prep.
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Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (218 degrees C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place an oven safe rack on top. (I use this set, which includes the baking sheet and rack that fits perfectly.)
Pat the chicken legs dry with paper towels, which will help them get crispy. Arrange the chicken legs on the rack.
Brush the chicken drumsticks with melted butter. Season with smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Bake the chicken legs in the oven for 25 minutes. Flip and bake for another 10-20 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees F (77 degrees C).
Optional step: If the chicken drumsticks are not as crispy as you like, place under the broiler for a couple of minutes to crisp up the skin more.
Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving.
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Serving size: 1 drumstick
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