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Food

How to Roast Chicken Legs: Simple Baked Chicken Legs Recipe

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Jul 16, 2020 • 2 min read

Oven-baked chicken legs are almost impossible to mess up. The dark meat of chicken thighs and drumsticks will stay tender and juicy even if you accidentally overcook them, and the legs are arguably the most flavorful part of the whole chicken.

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What Are Chicken Legs?

Chicken legs (aka leg quarters) are an entirely dark-meat portion of the chicken that includes the chicken thigh and the chicken drumstick. Chicken thighs and chicken drumsticks sold together as chicken legs are almost always sold skin-on, bone-in.

How to Bake Chicken Legs

Bone-in chicken legs retain moisture, making them flavorful and succulent, but they require a longer cooking time than boneless, skinless thighs or chicken breast. Roast bone-in chicken legs at an oven temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 to 50 minutes. You'll know the chicken is ready when its internal temperature is 165 degrees Fahrenheit. There are also a couple cues that the chicken is done: If you insert a knife between the thigh and the drumstick, the juices should run clear; if you wiggle the drumstick, it should feel loose, like it will come away from the thigh easily.

What to Serve With Baked Chicken Legs

Oven-baked chicken legs work well with most side dishes, from salads to grains to roasted veggies. To complete your chicken dinner, add cauliflower salad, potato salad, braised greens, or frijoles refritos and salsa brava.

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Simple Baked Chicken Legs Recipe

Serves
4-6
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
1 hr 20 min
Cook Time
50 min

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2–4 pounds chicken quarters (or separate chicken thighs and drumsticks)
  1. Make the marinade. In a large bowl, combine olive oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Add the chicken legs to the marinade and toss to coat. Marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes, or refrigerate up to overnight.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. For easy cleanup, line a baking sheet or shallow baking dish with aluminum foil. Place chicken legs skin side up on the foil-lined baking sheet.
  3. Bake chicken legs for 40 to 50 minutes until the juices run clear and a meat thermometer or instant read thermometer registers an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. For crispy skin, place the chicken under the broiler until the skin is dark brown, about 5 more minutes. Remove from the oven, tent with foil, and rest for 10 minutes before serving.

When you've finished your chicken dinner, save the bones—they make a wonderful chicken stock.

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