This Baked Chicken Legs recipe makes crispy chicken drumsticks with tender, juicy meat in 30 minutes. 5-minute prep and hands-free baking make it perfect for any cooking skill level, even on busy weeknights. Includes instructions on how long to bake chicken legs at various oven temperatures.
EASY BAKED CHICKEN LEG DRUMSTICKS
My love for chicken drumsticks dates back to my childhood.
They were always my favorite piece of chicken. The only problem was that there were only 2 pieces per chicken. Even if I was the only one eating them, two chicken legs were never enough.
Now that I’m a big kid, I can make a whole sheet pan of them…as many as I want. Guess what? Everyone loves them!
WHY THIS IS THE BEST CHICKEN DRUMSTICK RECIPE?
EASY – It’s crazy simple with only 5-minute prep. You don’t need to work in a restaurant to know how to bake chicken. You just need a few instructions and helpful tips from your friend, The Kitchen Girl. Bonus!
WELL-TESTED & FAMILY-APPROVED – Kids go crazy for this chicken drumstick recipe. I can’t tell you how many people have reached out to me with comments on what a lifesaver this recipe is. Big kids go crazy for chicken legs too! They love it because it’s so easy to make and easier to eat by everyone in the family!
BUDGET-FRIENDLY – Baked chicken legs are ridiculously affordable! Oven-roasted chicken can be such a money saver depending on what ingredients you add to it. But, lightly seasoned, baked drumsticks don’t require any special ingredients, and yet their flavor and texture somehow just satisfy everyone! Your pocketbook wins…again!
PLAN? WHAT PLAN? – You truly need minimal planning, if any, for this baked chicken recipe. Once the chicken legs are seasoned, this baby is hands-free, so you can do ALL the things while dinner is being made. It bakes in under an hour!
DIET-FRIENDLY – Oven baked chicken legs easily accommodate some of the most popular diets: low carb, keto, Whole30, and paleo.
BAKED CHICKEN LEG DRUMSTICK INGREDIENTS
- olive oil
- garlic powder
- kosher salt
- black pepper
- chicken leg drumsticks (patted dry with paper towel)
WHAT IS THE PROPER COOKED CHICKEN TEMPERATURE FOR BAKED CHICKEN LEGS?
All chicken must reach an internal temperature of 165°F to be considered food safe. To do this, insert a meat thermometer into the chicken legs alongside the bone.
Boneless chicken must also register 165°F on the meat thermometer to be considered food-safe.
And don’t just go with your gut, especially with bone-in chicken. Use a meat thermometer to the minimum internal temperature of any chicken.
HOW LONG TO BAKE CHICKEN LEGS AT DIFFERENT TEMPERATURES
In order to reach our #1 goal of 165° minimum internal temperature (for ALL poultry), here’s a basic guideline of how long to bake chicken legs at different temperatures.
- Bake chicken legs at 425° or 400° for 20-25 minutes
- Bake chicken legs at 350° or 375° for 25-30 minutes
- Bake chicken legs at 300° or 325° for 30-40 minutes
BAKED CHICKEN LEGS RECIPE VIDEO
WHY BAKE CHICKEN LEGS AT DIFFERENT OVEN TEMPERATURES?
There are 3 reasons I would use different temperatures to bake chicken drumsticks (or any chicken).
#1 – TIMING – Quite simply, there are times you might want the longer baking time associated with the lower oven temperature. It’s kinda like having your food babysat while you do a million other things. Alternatively, you may want to get those chicken legs on the dinner table in 25 minutes…totally doable!
#2 – OVEN SPACE – If you need to bake a side dish while the chicken legs are baking, this can be really handy. For instance, I always double down and make roasted mixed veggies, Smashed Potatoes, or Roasted Mushrooms as a chicken leg side dish. Each side dish requires a 400° oven temperature and can be baked at the same time as the chicken legs.
#3 – CRISPY SKIN – Here’s the deal…the higher the oven temperature and faster the chicken legs cook, the crispier the skin.
Keep in mind that roasted vegetables take only 15 minutes at 400° while the chicken legs take 20-25 minutes. Because of this, you may need to bake the legs a few minutes longer to accommodate any loss of heat from opening and closing the oven door.
NOTE: 3 Factors affecting oven times include:
- #1 – The size of the chicken legs will affect the cooking time.
- #2 – The accuracy of your oven – I recommend to always keep an oven thermometer in your oven…and don’t forget to look at it. You may need to adjust your oven temperature up, or down, depending on its inaccuracy.
- #3 – The temperature of the chicken legs when they go into the oven (i.e., Have they been sitting at room temp…or are they just out of the fridge and really cold?)
HOW TO BAKE CHICKEN LEG DRUMSTICKS
STEP 1: 5-MINUTE PREP
Preheat oven to 400°; add seasonings to a bowl.
Whisk until well-combined.
Pour over chicken drumsticks and toss to coat the chicken legs.
STEP 2: YOU’RE READY TO BAKE
Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place seasoned chicken legs on the baking sheet a few inches apart from each other.
Make-ahead tip: At this point, you can either bake the chicken legs or let them sit overnight and bake when you’re ready. If you’re baking them later, simply refrigerate the seasoned chicken in an airtight container until ready to bake.
STEP 3: BAKE THE CHICKEN LEGS
Place chicken legs on the center rack in the 400°F oven and bake 20-25 minutes. Chicken legs will be golden and internal temperature (next to the bone) should register 165° with a meat thermometer.
* See full recipe below for other baking temperatures and times
HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN LEGS CRISPY IN THE OVEN
If you like crispy chicken legs, you can bake them at a higher temperature like 425°F. A lower temp like 350°F won’t result in crispy skin.
No matter what temperature you use to bake chicken legs, you can always make them crispier by finishing them in the broiler. At the end of the baking cycle, switch your oven from BAKE to BROIL.
To broil on HIGH, place the oven rack in the oven center, about 8″ away from the flame. To broil on LOW, adjust the oven rack closer to the flame. Broil from 2-5 minutes until chicken leg skin is crisped to your liking. Be careful to prevent chicken from burning. I’ve done it 🙁
- paper towels (to pat chicken dry)
- large mixing bowl
- baking sheet
- cooking spray
- meat thermometer
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1/2 tsp Paprika
- 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/4 tsp Kosher Salt
- 1/8 tsp Black Pepper
- 6 Chicken Leg Drumsticks patted dry with a paper towel
- 4 Lemon Wedges for garnish
Preheat oven to 400°F.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together OLIVE OIL, PAPRIKA, GARLIC POWDER, SALT, and PEPPER. Pour over CHICKEN LEGS and toss until they are well-coated.
Place chicken legs on a coated baking sheet with space between each.
Bake 20-25 minutes. Insert an instant-read thermometer next to the bone to confirm a 165° F minimum internal temperature. Transfer chicken legs to a serving platter and allow a 5-minute rest before serving.
Serve warm, garnished with LEMON WEDGES.
Allow chicken drumsticks to cool and store in an airtight container up to 5 days.
Chicken Drumstick Recipe FAQ
Can I use frozen chicken legs for this chicken drumstick recipe?
Baking frozen chicken legs are not recommended for this recipe unless they are completely thawed before baking.
Should I rinse chicken legs before baking?
I do not recommend rinsing uncooked chicken. They reason for this is that it actually creates more work. Raw chicken contaminates kitchen surfaces and your hands, which must be disinfected to avoid risk of food born illness from. So, skip the extra chores and just get that chicken seasoned and into the oven.
Do I need to cover my chicken legs when baking?
No. It’s not necessary to cover the pan for this chicken leg recipe. In fact, leaving the legs uncovered results in crispier skin.
How long to bake chicken legs
The golden rule is … 165°F minimum internal temp of chicken drumsticks will be your ultimate guide, but you can use these times/temps as a starting point:
- 425°F or 400°F for 20-25 minutes
- 350°F or 375°F for 25-30 minutes
- 300°F or 325°F for 30-40 minutes
What if my chicken drumsticks didn’t reach 165°F on the meat thermometer after following the suggested time?
Sometimes, this happens and it’s easy to remedy by simply baking the chicken drumsticks in (additional) 5 minutes intervals to reach the 165°F minimum temperature.
Nutrition data provided as courtesy estimates using unbranded ingredients from a nutrition database. Please consult preferred resource for precise data.