How to Make Oven Baked Chicken Legs Like A Pro

 Man seasoning baked chicken with pepper

Dalstrong Kitchen Apron | The Gandalf

Cooking oven-baked chicken is not the most difficult dish to put together but you need to be mindful of certain things to make sure that it comes out of the oven with a crispy, golden coat on the outside and tender, juicy meat on the inside.  Whether you prefer baked chicken drumsticks or chicken wings, this step-by-step guide will show you how to make the most delicious chicken legs and wings baked from your oven.

Quick Steps Overview

  1. Set up the cooking station
  2. Roughly chop the ingredients in a food processor
  3. Add the olive oil, red wine vinegar, and lemon juice to the processor
  4. Scoop out ¼ cup of the herb mixture
  5. Season the remaining mixture
  6. Place chicken legs in a resealable bag and marinade
  7. Transfer to fridge and let it marinate
  8. Preheat the oven
  9. Roast legs for 25 minutes
  10. Brush the herb mixture and cook 
  11. Serve with your favorite side

Man carving a chicken with a butcher knife

8'' Butcher & Breaking Knife | Gladiator Series | Dalstrong ©

I have been making baked chicken legs for my friends and family for years. Over the years, I experimented with a bunch of different seasoning options and sauces to pair the chicken legs with. However, no matter how delicious those variations turned out to be, the seasoning that stole my heart was one with lemon, garlic, and fresh herbs. 

A simple combination like this left me craving for some more of that flavor and also made for great leftovers. It is also important to note that simple, fresh flavors are usually the best flavor enhancers.

With this recipe, you have the option to serve the legs right from the oven or even an air fryer with crispy, golden skin or baste at the end with some additional sauce, bake again and then serve. For me, I prefer basting it at the end again because it ties all the flavors beautifully, but if you’re running out of time, you can also choose to skip this step. It is entirely up to you, to be honest.

Now, without wasting any more time, let’s dive into the process of cooking oven-baked chicken wings and see how you can amp up something as basic as chicken and convert it into a easy dinner and a scrumptious meal

1. Tips to Cook Oven-Baked Chicken Legs Like a Pro

Cooking oven-baked chicken wings is not the most difficult dish to put together but you need to be mindful of certain things to make sure that the baked chicken drumsticks you pull out of the oven have crispy, golden coat on the outside and tender, juicy meat on the inside.

Here are some key things to remember when you cook up some oven-baked chicken legs: 

  • Make sure you season the chicken legs adequately with salt and pepper in the marinade. Remember, you will cook several pounds of chicken, so you will need a fair amount of salt and pepper flakes
  • If possible, use a dark baking sheet to encourage browning of the legs. Also, remember to roast one level up from the center. 
  • Every oven is a little different. If you are having a hard time getting the chicken legs to brown in the oven, in the end, simply broil the legs for a few minutes. But keep a close eye as you might run the risk of overcooking or burning the meat. 
  • I suggest you use large chicken drumsticks for this, but you may use chicken thigh as you will get more meat. It will also allow more baking and browning time, cooking the meat evenly. 
  • Reserve a little marinade before you dunk it to the chicken. If you want extra crispiness and flavor, you can use this reserve marinade to baste the chicken and achieve the perfect taste.
  • To check whether the chicken is done, test the center of the legs with the help of an instant-read thermometer. It should have an internal temperature of 165 degrees near the bone of the thickest portion. This will help ensure that the chicken is cooked through. 
  • For easy chicken clean-up, soak the pan in water. 
  • The chicken should be baked at a temperature of 400 degrees F for 35-40 minutes. 
  • Remember, your prep for oven-baked chicken legs is centered around encouraging air circulation to get them crispy. This is why it is very important to prepare chicken legs for baking.
  • You must prep the oven and pan. To do so, preheat the oven and line a baking tray with foil. Place an oven-safe rack over the sheet pan. The oven rack will help circulate hot air around the chicken.
  • You must also pat dry the drumsticks with a paper towel before cooking. This will help get rid of any extra moisture and will help make the legs brown and crispy. 

                      2. Recipe: Oven-Baked Chicken Wings 

                      Oven-Baked Chicken Legs

                      Prep Time

                      15 mins

                      Cook Time

                      45 mins 

                      Total Time

                      1 hour

                      Servings

                      10


                      Ingredients

                      Chicken Drumstick

                      • 10 large Chicken Drumsticks (3.5-4LB, bone-in, skin-on)

                      Ingredients

                      • 1 cup fresh Parsley (1 large bunch)
                      • 4 Green Onions (root ends trimmed, cut into thirds)
                      • 2 teaspoons Dried Oregano
                      • 3 cloves Garlic (peeled and smashed)
                      • ½ cup Olive Oil
                      • 2 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
                      • 2 tablespoons fresh Lemon Juice
                      • ½ teaspoon Salt 
                      • ½ teaspoon Black Pepper (freshly ground)

                        Cooking Instructions

                        Step 1: Set up the cooking station

                        • Gather all the ingredients you will need and set up the cooking station before you get started. 

                        Step 2: Roughly chop the ingredients in a food processor

                        • Add parsley, green onions, oregano, garlic, and red pepper flakes to a food processor.
                        • Pulse in short bursts about 10 times or so until roughly chopped. 

                          Step 3: Add the olive oil, red wine vinegar, and lemon juice to the processor

                          • Pour in olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, and process until herbs are somewhat finely minced and liquids come together (about 5-10 seconds). 

                          Step 4: Scoop out ¼ cup of the herb mixture

                          • Scoop out ¼ cup of the herb mixture into a bowl and season that with a few pinches of salt.
                          • Cover and refrigerate.

                          Step 5: Season the remaining mixture

                          • Season the remaining mixture with 1½ teaspoon salt and pepper (½ teaspoon) 

                            Step 6: Place chicken legs in a resealable bag and marinade

                            • Place chicken legs in a gallon-size resealable bag. 
                            • Pour herb mixture over chicken legs. 
                            • Seal bag while pressing out excess air. 
                            • Then, rub marinade over chicken legs to evenly cover. 

                              Step 7: Transfer to fridge and let it marinate

                              • Transfer to the fridge and let it marinate for 1 to 24 hours. 

                              Step 8: Preheat the oven

                              • Move the oven rack up one level from the center. 
                              • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 
                              • Spray a baking sheet pan with non-stick cooking spray. 

                                Step 9: Roast legs for 25 minutes

                                • Roast the legs in a preheated oven or air fryer for 25 minutes. 
                                • Remove from oven or air fryer and turn legs to the opposite side. 
                                • Return to the oven and continue to roast until cooked through. This should take 20-25 minutes. 

                                  Step 10: Brush the herb mixture and cook 

                                  • For crispy skin or more flavor, brush the remaining unused ¼ cup herb mixture. 


                                  Note: If you don’t end up using the herbs for the chicken, you can also toss it in some roasted veggies and serve as an aside. 

                                  Step 11: Serve with your favorite side! 

                                  • Once the legs have a beautiful gold, brown sear, remove it from the oven and serve with your favorite sides. 

                                  3. Alternate Recipe: Easy Oven-Baked Chicken Wings

                                  Here is an alternate recipe for Oven-Baked Chicken Legs that you will fall in love with. Follow these easy steps and cook some delicious legs in less than 40 minutes!

                                  Easy Oven-Baked Chicken Legs

                                  Prep Time

                                  5 mins

                                  Cook Time

                                  35 mins

                                  Total Time

                                  40 mins

                                  Servings

                                  6


                                  Ingredients

                                  Chicken Drumstick

                                  • 6 large Chicken Drumsticks (bone-in, skin-on)

                                  Ingredients

                                  • 2-3 tablespoons Olive Oil
                                  • ½ teaspoon Smoked Paprika (or add per taste)
                                  • Salt (add to taste)
                                  • Black Pepper (add to taste)

                                  Cooking Instructions

                                  Step 1:

                                  • Make sure you have everything you need during the cooking process before you get started. 

                                  Step 2: 

                                  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and move the rack to the middle position. 
                                  • Line a baking sheet pan with foil for easy chicken clean-up. 

                                  Step 3: 

                                  • Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. 

                                  Step 4: 

                                  • Place the chicken pieces on the baking sheet pan and coat them all over with olive oil. 
                                  • Season them generously with salt and pepper. 
                                  • Sprinkle the smoked paprika on the skin and then rub it on. 

                                  Step 5: 

                                  • Bake, uncovered, for 30-40 minutes. 
                                  • If you think the legs are not browning enough, you can also broil them for a few minutes until they are crispy. 

                                  Step 6: 

                                  • Let the chicken rest for about 5 minutes before serving them.

                                  This will allow the chicken to absorb the juices it released in the cooking process, ensuring juicy, tender legs with crispy skin. 

                                  4. Nutrition Value

                                  Oven-Baked Chicken Legs

                                  Calories

                                  311kcal

                                  Total Fat

                                  21g

                                  Saturated Fat

                                  4g

                                  Carbohydrates

                                  2g

                                  Protein

                                  29g

                                  Cholesterol

                                  105mg

                                  Sodium

                                  300mg

                                  Potassium

                                  325mg

                                  Vitamin A

                                  769IU

                                  Vitamin C

                                  12mg

                                  Calcium

                                  35mg

                                  Iron

                                  1mg

                                  5. Storing and Reheating Oven-Baked Chicken Legs

                                  • To store chicken wings, make sure that they have cooled down completely. You can store the baked drumsticks in an airtight container and keep them in the fridge for up to 5 days. 
                                  • You can also freeze raw chicken drumsticks for 9-12 months. Simply lay the drumsticks on a parchment-lined sheet in a single layer and place them in the freezer. Once solid, you can remove them to a freezer bag for more compact storage. 
                                  • If you like, you can also brush the butter and season the chicken legs before freezing. That way there is typically no prep before you get to baking. 
                                  • Oven-baked chicken legs make for amazing leftovers! Reheat leftover chicken in a 350 degree F oven for best results. The oven-baked chicken legs will be crispier and better if you bake them to reheat, however they can also be microwaved. 
                                  • To reheat frozen baked drumsticks, let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight or for a few hours. Then reheat it in an oven at 350 degrees F for best results. 

                                          6. Top Tool Recommendations For You

                                          While this dish is super simple to make and is not very demanding in terms of effort, there are some tools you must keep around when you get started with this dish. These tools will not only come in handy while you cook the legs in the oven but also after they are all cooked and ready to serve. 

                                          Here is a list of some of my most trusted companions that will work effortlessly to help you cook up the perfect oven-baked chicken legs: 

                                          1. Chef’s Knife 6”- Gladiator Series | Dalstrong

                                          Chef's Knife 6" Gladiator Series | NSF Certified | Dalstrong ©

                                          This compact, yet deadly knife is a great companion in the kitchen. Its small and razor-sharp edge is brutally effective in performing kitchen tasks like mincing, slicing, chopping, and even breakdown small chicken piece. 

                                          Pros:

                                          • The short blade makes this knife more maneuverable and can handle everything from heavy-duty cuts to more delicate, detailed work. 
                                          • This knife is the perfect tool to slice in-bone chicken like drumsticks as it can also get to difficult-to-reach spots.
                                          • This knife is also very easy to clean which makes it a low-maintenance blade. 

                                              Cons:

                                              • The 6-inch blade might seem too small for come chefs and cooks, especially if you have to tackle large chunks of meat, vegetable, or fruits. 
                                              • The blade is too narrow. This is why if you are looking for a blade that will also assist you in transferring the food, then you would want to go for a slightly wider and longer blade. 

                                                2. Chef’s Knife 7”- Shogun Series | Dalstrong

                                                 

                                                Chef's Knife 7" Shogun Series | Dalstrong ©

                                                This menacing yet effective blade is the perfect kitchen equipment that will match all your requirements and stand by you no matter what the kitchen task is. A slicing, dicing, mincing, and chopping master, this knife allows you to work longer, without causing too much fatigue.

                                                Pros:
                                                • The razor-sharp blade of this knife will cut through any meat with minimum effort and maximum precision. 
                                                • The precise tempering of the blade ensures increased strength, flexibility, and blade hardness, making this knife last a lifetime. 
                                                • Not only does this knife perform like a pro but also looks stunning and will become the star of your kitchen as soon as it is placed there. 
                                                      Cons:
                                                      • The price of this knife might not sit well with everyone. In that case, you can go for a more pocket-friendly 7” blade
                                                      • If you are a seasoned chef, you would want to use a bigger blade as it would help you work better and faster than a smaller one. 
                                                      3. 4-Piece Steak Knife Set- Crusader Series | Dalstrong

                                                      4-Piece Steak Knife Set Frost Fire Series | NSF Certified | Dalstrong ©

                                                      Looking to make a solid impression on your guests? This set of steak knives is exactly what you need. This collection of light-weight, razor-sharp knives with an icy cold look is meticulously crafted for outstanding performance. This eye-catching knife set is elegant, powerful, and will cut through any type of meat with ease and minimal effort. 

                                                      Pros: 

                                                      • When serving something like oven-baked chicken legs, these knives come in handy as they allow users to slice the meat off the bone with ease and precision. 
                                                      • The blades are highly impervious to heat and moisture, making sure this set lasts you a lifetime. 
                                                      • Not only does this set ensure maximum performance, but is also stunning to look at and will prove to the head-turner at your dinner table. 
                                                          Cons: 
                                                          • The all-steel handle of this knife can be uncomfortable for some as the knife might get slippery on being used. 
                                                          • If you don’t cook meat that often, you can invest in a set of sharp butter knives as they will be a more practical choice than steak knives.
                                                              4. Food Tongs 9” | Dalstrong

                                                              Dalstrong | Food Tongs 9" Scalloped Silicone Tips

                                                              When it comes to working in the kitchen, we could all use an extra hand. That is where the tongs come in. You can count on these tongs to work as an extension of your hands, enabling you to reach into flaming-hot environments fearlessly. From heavy cuts of meat to fruits and veggies, handle anything with each and accuracy. 

                                                              Pros: 

                                                              • Once-baked chicken legs need to be flipped to ensure it is cooked from all sides. A pair of tongs makes this task super easy, making sure you don’t burn your hand or fingers in the process. 
                                                              • The quick-lock mechanism makes closing and reopening the tongs very simple, making it a very convenient tool to store. 
                                                              • The silicon tip of the tong enables better grabbing of food items without leaving scratches or melting in extreme heat. 

                                                                  Cons: 

                                                                  • If you have a big oven, you might need a longer tong to facilitate you in the cooking process. In that case, you can also check out our 12” tong
                                                                  • If you BBQ very often, I would recommend you to invest in a complete grill set instead of picking individual items as that would be more pocket-friendly. 
                                                                    5. Lionswood- Teak Cutting Board | Dalstrong 

                                                                    Lionswood Teak Cutting Board | Dalstrong ©

                                                                    A sturdy cutting board is key in any kitchen and this one is the perfect pick. This meticulously handcrafted cutting board functions as your all-purpose chopping, slicing, and serving board. The teak used to make this board is also resistant to water, bacteria, and staining.

                                                                    Pros: 

                                                                    • When serving legs, this board doubles up as a serving platter and is a great platform to slice the meat and detach it from its bone. Because of its sturdy nature, it won’t move around, ensuring the meat also stays in one place. 
                                                                    • The long-lasting hygienic cutting surface makes this board ideal to work in wet environments like busy kitchens. 
                                                                    • The knife is very easy to clean and maintain which makes this a worthwhile investment.  

                                                                          Cons: 

                                                                          • For some, the price of this cutting board might be too steep.In that case, you can take a look at some of the other cutting boards available. 
                                                                          • If you have a small kitchen, this cutting might be slightly bulky and difficult to store. In that case, you would want to opt for a more compact cutting board. 

                                                                            7. Frequently Asked Questions

                                                                            How long does it take to bake chicken legs at 400?
                                                                            In a 400-degree oven-baked chicken legs take about 35-45 minutes to cook.

                                                                            How long does it take for drumsticks to cook in the oven?
                                                                            It takes about 40 minutes to cook drumsticks in the oven.

                                                                            How long do drumsticks take to cook at 350?
                                                                            It takes about 35-40 minutes for drumsticks to cook at 350 degrees F. 

                                                                            Should I cover my chicken legs when baking?
                                                                            No, you should not cover them. You want the skin to brown and you want the chicken roasted, not steamed. 

                                                                            What temperature should chicken legs be cooked at?
                                                                            Roast bone-in chicken legs at an oven temperature of 350 degrees F for 40-50 minutes. 

                                                                            Is it better to bake chicken thighs at 350 or 400?
                                                                            I prefer baking my chicken legs in an oven at 400 degrees F for 35 to 40 minutes.


                                                                            Written by Himani Vaid
                                                                            Toronto-based food nerd turned food storyteller, Himani is a connoisseur of all things delish. Currently, busy thinking about what to eat next.

                                                                            How to Make Oven Baked Chicken Legs Like A Pro

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