Perfectly juicy baked chicken legs is an easy and delicious recipe. Perfect as a quick lunch or dinner served with sides of your choice.
Table of Contents
- Chicken legs/chicken drumsticks. Any cut of chicken (chicken breast, chicken wings, whole chicken legs) will work but drumsticks are great since they are so juicy and tender and cook faster than bone-in chicken thighs.
- Extra-virgin olive oil.
- Fresh emon juice.
- Chilli flakes.
- Smoked paprika. Other seasoning like onion powder, lemon pepper etc. can all be substituted or added for extra flavor.
- Fresh garlic cloves. Garlic powder can also be used.
- Herbs: I used dried oregano and thyme but any fresh herbs/dried herbs of your choice can be used. Parsley, rosemary, marjoram and basil can all be used.
- Salt and black pepper.
How to bake chicken legs
- Make the marinade: Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, herbs and spices in a measuring jug.
- Marinade the chicken legs: Pour over the chicken and allow to marinade for at least 20 minutes but ideally overnight in the fridge.
- Bake the chicken: Transfer the chicken to a baking dish that is big enough to hold the chicken in a single layer. I prefer a dish with a higher sides. As the chicken drumsticks bake, the marinade and chicken juices create a delicious (and I mean DELICIOUS!) sauce that is perfect spooned over rice or mashed potatoes. However, if you want crispy skin, place the chicken on a baking sheet and allow to cook until chicken chicken is crisp and golden brown. Allow the chicken to bake for 20-30 minutes, turning halfway, until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through. Remove from the oven, allow to rest for 5 minutes then serve.
How long to bake chicken legs
Chicken drumsticks or legs take approximately 20-30 minutes to bake at 200ºC/390ºF. The internal temperature of the chicken should be 73ºC/165ºF when measured with a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the leg. It’s fine to pull the chicken out of the oven when it’s a few degrees less than that though as it will continue cooking as it rests.
Can I cook chicken legs in the Air fryer
Yes, absolutely. Cook the chicken at 180-190ºC (350ºF) for 10 minutes then turn over and continue cooking for another 10-15 minutes until golden and cooked through. It’s also a good idea to microwave the marinade for a few minutes then brush over the chicken halfway to make sure it stays nice and juicy.
Can I make this ahead?
The chicken can be marinated and kept in an airtight container in the the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before cooking. Leftovers can also be kept in the fridge for up to 2 days and reheated in the microwave or a hot oven until warmed through.
What to serve with baked chicken legs
This chicken leg recipe is great served with almost any side dishes but I love serving it with rice, mashed potatoes and simple vegetable sides.
- Cacio e pepe mashed potatoes
- 10-minute lemon garlic sautéed broccolini
- Orange brown sugar glazed carrots
At 350°F/180°C drumsticks should take approximately 30-45 minutes to cook. Chicken is cooked when it reaches 165°F/75°C on a meat thermometer.
I prefer baking chicken at 350°F/180°C to ensure the chicken is fully cooked to the bone without drying out.
You can cover drumsticks with foil for the first 30 minute of cooking to prevent them from drying out and remove the foil for the last 15-30 mins of cooking to allow the skin to brown and crisp up.
It’s always better to thaw chicken before cooking to prevent undercooking the chicken. Allow the chicken to thaw overnight in the fridge before cooking to your preference.
Baked chicken recipes
- Sticky soy honey baked chicken drumsticks
- Easy baked lemon chicken
- Baked chicken with white wine, garlic and herbs
Easy Baked Chicken Legs
- 1 kg (2lb) chicken legs / chicken drumsticks
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 4 tbsp lemon juice
- 4 garlic cloves crushed/minced
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp chilli flakes
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, herbs and spices in a measuring jug.
- Pour the marinade over the chicken and allow to marinade for at least 20 minutes but ideally overnight in the fridge.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/390°F.
- Transfer the chicken to a baking dish that is big enough to hold the chicken in a single layer.
- Allow the chicken to bake for 20-30 minutes, turning halfway, until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through.
- Remove from the oven, allow to rest for 5 minutes then serve.
- This recipe can easily be halved. I like making this quantity as leftovers keep very well for a few days and make a great, easy lunch.