These baked chicken legs are quick to prep and also work with chicken drumsticks too! Ready in minutes, a secret trick yields juicy chicken every single time.
If you are a fan of baking chicken (like tandoori chicken or Peruvian chicken), you’ll love these oven-baked chicken legs. They are juicy, affordable, and so easy to make.
Why this recipe works
- Crispy outside and juicy inside. For a chicken that is notorious for sometimes being dry and chewy, this recipe is always perfectly juicy.
- No marinating time is required. You can prepare these chicken legs for baking in just a few minutes. You don’t need to marinate them in advance.
- Versatile. Chicken pairs well with almost anything, including veggies, grains, and even sandwiches.
- Chicken legs or drumsticks. You can use chicken legs or drumsticks interchangeably.
What I love about this recipe is just how hands-off it is to make. Besides a quick seasoning, the oven takes care of all the hard work!
This recipe is very simple and besides the actual chicken legs and seasonings, there isn’t much else that goes into it. Here is what you’ll need:
- Chicken legs. Use skin-on chicken legs or drumsticks for the crispiest baked chicken.
- Oyster sauce. Gives the chicken a rich umami flavor along with sweet and salty notes.
- Soy sauce. Balances out the richness of the oyster sauce.
- Honey or maple syrup. To add sweetness to the chicken legs marinade.
- Garlic. No chicken marinade is ever complete without some fresh minced garlic.
- Olive oil. To help impart the marinade flavors into the chicken.
- Spices. I use red pepper flakes and freshly ground black pepper for this recipe.
- Salt. To taste.
How to make baked chicken legs
Making this recipe follows a simple 2-step process. Ready to bake up some chicken?
Step 1- Marinade the chicken legs
Whisk together the olive oil, soy sauce, oyster sauce, maple syrup or honey, minced garlic, salt, and spices.
Put the chicken legs into a small bowl and pour the marinade into the bag. Massage the chicken legs to infuse them with the flavors of the marinade.
Step 2- Bake the chicken
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the chicken legs from the bag and arrange them on the baking sheet.
Put chicken legs into the oven preheated to 200C/400F degrees. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the chicken legs reach an internal temperature of 165F.
How long to bake chicken legs
Chicken legs come in all weights and sizes so adjust the cooking time as needed. Here are the average baking times of chicken legs:
- 4-ounce chicken legs: 20-25 minutes.
- 6-ounce chicken legs: 27-30 minutes.
- 8-ounce chicken legs: 30-32 minutes.
For anything bigger than 8 ounces, bake the chicken for 35 minutes, then continue cooking until it reaches an internal temperature of 165F.
Tips to make the best recipe
- Leave room around each chicken leg when arranging them on the baking tray. The hot air circulating around the chicken legs will cook them evenly and make them crispy on all sides.
- Broil the chicken legs for a couple of minutes to make the skin extra crispy. But be careful not to burn it.
- If you have leftover marinade, brush it over the chicken legs while they bake to infuse them with more flavor and keep them moist.
The beauty of baking chicken legs from scratch is that they are so easy to customize! Here are some ideas:
- Swap olive oil for sesame oil. The mild nutty and earthy flavor of the sesame oil pairs well with chicken and gives it an Asian feel.
- Add a few drops of Sriracha to the marinade. Using Sriracha is the easiest way to control the level of spiciness of the baked chicken legs.
- Use other cuts of chicken. This marinade works perfectly for chicken thighs and wings.
- Add garlic or ginger. Add freshly minced ginger to the marinade to help further tenderize the chicken legs. Ginger also gives the chicken a mild earthy flavor.
- Marinate them in a sauce. Brush some eel sauce, katsu sauce, or even bulgogi sauce before roasting to give them an even more flavorful exterior.
To store: Leftovers can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container. They keep well for at least four days.
To freeze: Place the baked and cooled chicken in a shallow container and store it in the freezer for up to 6 months.
To reheat: Reheat the chicken in the microwave for 20-30 seconds or in a preheated oven.
More chicken recipes to try
Frequently Asked Questions
With marinated chicken, it’s always best to cook at the highest possible heat to create a crispy and tender exterior with a perfectly juicy middle section. Cooking the chicken at 400F guarantees this.
Baking chicken legs at 350F instead of 400F, you’d need to cook the chicken for an extra 10 minutes. To prevent the chicken from drying out, consider covering the baking pan with tin foil.
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Whisk together all the ingredients, except for the chicken.
Place the chicken legs into a large bowl, along with the marinade ingredients, and use your hands to mix into it, until coated.
Transfer the chicken legs onto the lined pan and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until they reach an internal temperature of 165F.
Serving: 1chicken leg | Calories: 129kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 9g | Sodium: 523mg | Potassium: 106mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 40IU | Vitamin C: 0.5mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 0.5mg | NET CARBS: 4g