Easy Baked Chicken Legs Recipe | The Best Way to Bake Chicken Legs (2024)

Bless This Mess Recipes Easy Dinners Chicken

By Melissa

4.99 from 153 votes

on Oct 03, 2022, Updated May 24, 2023

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This simple 5 ingredient recipe makes The Best Baked Chicken Legs I have ever had in my whole life! (And the masses agree – this recipe has been shared more than 250,000 times!) Just pop these legs in the oven, and you’ll have a crispy chicken dinner!

I’m no stranger to excellent baked chicken legs. Try these:Sweet and Spicy Baked Chicken Legs, Lemon Garlic Baked Chicken Legs and 4-Ingredient Honey Mustard Baked Chicken Legs.

Easy Baked Chicken Legs Recipe | The Best Way to Bake Chicken Legs (2)

Not only is this one of my kids’ favorite ways to enjoy chicken, but this recipe is also on its way to breaking the internet! For real. I knew it was delicious and easy, but after being shared more than 250,000 times with oodles of reviews from people who’ve made them (check ‘em out in the comments section), I almost can’t believe how much you guys are in love with this recipe!

The sauce is truly addicting. You’ll want it on fried rice, steamed veggies, and maybe even in a cup with a straw to drink it — it’s THAT good. I’d love to know if you give this recipe a try and love feedback, so leave a comment if you give these a go!

Table of Contents

  • Ingredients:
  • How to Make Baked Chicken Legs:
  • Tips and Tricks for Making the BEST Baked Chicken Legs
  • How Long Does It Take for Drumsticks to Cook in the Oven?
  • Is Chicken Drumstick Dark Meat?
  • Baked Chicken Legs Recipe Recipe

Ingredients:

  • Chicken legs (chicken drumsticks): I love this simple and inexpensive cut of meat and this recipe really makes it shine! Look for chicken legs with the skin on for this recipe.
  • Honey: this helps the sauce to thicken and be a little sticky, if you don’t have honey on hand you can sub it for your favorite jam that doesn’t have seeds. My favorites are peach and apricot jam for this recipe
  • Soy sauce: this adds tons of flavor and color to the sauce and is the salt in the dish
  • Ketchup: this is the base of the sauce and also thickens while cooking, you could sub this for a favorite barbeque sauce
  • Garlic: this adds so much flavor with just one ingredient!

How to Make Baked Chicken Legs:

  1. Prep a baking dish by lining it with foil (you don’t have to but it makes clean up easier).
  2. Mix up your sauce.
  3. Place all the chicken legs in the dish and pour the sauce over the top.
  4. Bake, turn up the heat at the end, and enjoy this tender juicy chicken hot with your favorite side dishes (we love this with mashed potatoes and green beans).
  5. Get the FULL RECIPE below!
Easy Baked Chicken Legs Recipe | The Best Way to Bake Chicken Legs (3)

Tips and Tricks for Making the BEST Baked Chicken Legs

Here for the right pan: Because these guys are thick and saucy, you’ll want a sheet pan with high sides to keep all the juices in and large enough so the chicken isn’t drowning in the sauce. To get the best caramelized texture, the chicken should stick out of the sauce a bit while cooking.
Foil it up: Make sure you carefully line the pan with foil so you avoid a sticky mess during cleanup.
Sauce, sauce everywhere: This sauce is so good you may be tempted to bathe in it. Fair warning. I recommend serving the chicken legs with rice and steamed vegetables, and douse those well in the sauce, too. (Although I doubt it’ll take much convincing.)
Check the temperature: To make sure the chicken is actually done, use this affordable instant read thermometer. Better safe than sorry!
Slow cooker friendly: Hallelujah, this recipe IS slow cooker adaptable. I use a ½ cup of ketchup, honey, and soy sauce instead of the portions in the instructions, and it turns out a little less sticky, but just as flavorful and heavenly.
Slow cooker friendly: Hallelujah, this recipe IS slow cooker adaptable. I use a ½ cup of ketchup, honey, and soy sauce instead of the portions in the instructions, and it turns out a little less sticky, but just as flavorful and heavenly.

How Long Does It Take for Drumsticks to Cook in the Oven?

This really just depends on how you’re cooking it. I like to start with a preheated 350 degree F. oven and bake them for 45 minutes, rotate the legs, raise the heat to 425 degrees F., and put them back for about another 15 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and everything looks caramelized. Turning the legs is key to getting the sauce on “top” of the chicken legs!

Easy Baked Chicken Legs Recipe | The Best Way to Bake Chicken Legs (4)

Is Chicken Drumstick Dark Meat?

Yep! The thighs and drumsticks are dark meat in chicken, and usually they have a much heartier, juicier flavor and more tender texture than white meat.

Easy Baked Chicken Legs Recipe | The Best Way to Bake Chicken Legs (5)

Here’s a video on how to make the best baked chicken legs at home for all you visual learners:

Easy Baked Chicken Legs Recipe | The Best Way to Bake Chicken Legs (6)

4.99 from 153 votes

Baked Chicken Legs Recipe

By: Melissa Griffiths

This simple 5 ingredient recipe makes The Best Baked Chicken Legs I have ever had in my whole life! (And the masses agree – this recipe has been shared more than 250,000 times!) Just pop these legs in the oven, and you’ll have a crispy chicken dinner!

Prep: 5 minutes mins

Cook: 1 hour hr

Total: 1 hour hr 5 minutes mins

Servings: 10 chicken legs

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Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pounds chicken legs, (about 10 legs)
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2-3 cloves garlic,, minced (or 1 heaping teaspoon of preminced garlic)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lay the chicken legs out in a foil-lined baking dish with high sides (the foil is to make clean up easier — it’s not essential but helps a whole lot). A high-sided sheet pan is the best option because it has sides to keep everything in, but it is big enough that the chicken isn’t drowning in the sauce. It will caramelize best if half of the chicken is poking out of the sauce while cooking.

  • In a glass measuring cup, measure out the honey, soy sauce, and ketchup. Add the minced garlic, and stir. If the mixture doesn’t combine well, microwave it on high for 30 seconds and stir again. Pour the honey mixture over the chicken legs.

  • Put the chicken legs in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Take the chicken out of the oven, and rotate it so that the bottom that was in the sauce is now on top, out of the sauce.

  • Put the legs back in the oven. Raise the heat to 425 degrees F., and bake until the sauce is bubbly and starts to caramelize on the chicken legs. This should take about 15 minutes.

  • Remove the chicken from the oven, and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Serve the sauce the the chicken cooked in with the meal or over rice if you’d like.

Video

Notes

  • A pan slightly larger than 9×13 inch with sides is the best option because it has sides to keep all the juice in but is big enough that the chicken isn’t drowning in the sauce. It will caramelize best if half of the chicken is poking out of the sauce while cooking. My pan is 11×15 inches and it works best. If your pan is too large though your sauce will be too shallow, evaporate and burn.
  • Lining your pan with foil makes clean-up much easier. I recommend it.
  • The sauce that the chicken cooks in is delicious over cooked rice and steamed or roasted vegetables (like broccoli and cauliflower) to round out the meal.
  • I like to use a little meat thermometer to make sure the chicken is done – better safe than sorry!
  • This recipe is a LONG time favorite in our house and it is highly adaptable to the slow cooker (hooray!!!). I change the portions a bit (use a 1/2 cup of ketchup, honey, and soy sauce), but it still tastes great. It’s a little less sticky, but it’s simple and flavorful.
  • How to cook chicken legs in a slow cooker: Place all of the chicken legs in the bottom of a slow cooker (I have thisslow cooker). Pour the sauce over the chicken legs. Slow cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 4 hours, until the largest piece of chicken registers 165 degrees F. on an instant read thermometer.
  • This option is great for all the reasons the slow cooker is great. You can start it in the middle of the day and have dinner on the table without much hands-on work during the busy evening. Or you can get the slow cooker going, leave the house, and come home to dinner. This is great for working parents, for Sunday dinner (it can cook while you are at church), or if you are running kids to practices or lessons in the evening. This option leads to flavorful moist chicken, but the outside and skin don’t crisp at all.

Nutrition

Serving: 1leg +1/3 cup sauce, Calories: 230kcal, Carbohydrates: 24g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.04g, Cholesterol: 60mg, Sodium: 758mg, Potassium: 188mg, Fiber: 0.2g, Sugar: 22g, Vitamin A: 90IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 12mg, Iron: 1mg

Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

Round Out this Meal with:

  • The Best Cornbread Recipe
  • Crispy Homemade Sweet Potato Fries
  • Deli-Style Broccoli Salad
  • Easy Baked Butternut Squash Recipe
  • How to Bake a Potato (these can cook right in the oven with the chicken!)

Other Chicken Leg Recipes You’ll Love:

  • Chicken Street Tacos
  • Lemon Garlic Baked Chicken Legs
  • 4-Ingredient Honey Mustard Baked Chicken Legs
  • Crispy Panko-Crusted Baked Chicken Legs
  • 5 Ingredient Slow Cooker Chicken Legs
  • 8 Must-Make Recipes for Chicken Legs
  • Crispy Baked Chicken Drumsticks with a Pretzel Coating
  • Simple Oven Roasted Chicken Drumsticks
  • Baked Chicken Leg Quarters
  • Crispy Oven Baked Chicken Wings
  • Oven Baked Chicken Thighs

This post was originally published in 2012 and has been updated and rephotographed in June 2019.

You are going to love this easy chicken leg recipe and make it over and over again! This is the post that gets so many comments, pins, and people send me emails and texts about how much they loved them when they are easy. PLUS with only 5 ingredients, you are going to make these again and again! ENJOY!

About Melissa

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Easy Baked Chicken Legs Recipe | The Best Way to Bake Chicken Legs (2024)

FAQs

How long does it take for drumsticks to cook in the oven? ›

How long to bake Chicken Drumsticks in Oven. Typically it takes around 40-45 minutes to bake medium drumsticks at 425°F, although if your oven cooks hot or the drumsticks are on the smaller side they might be done sooner than that.

Do you bake drumsticks covered or uncovered? ›

Do you cover drumsticks in the oven? No, you should not cover them. You want the skin to brown and the chicken roasted, not steamed, so you should leave the drumsticks uncovered.

Is it better to bake chicken legs at 350 or 400? ›

Option #1: Bake chicken legs at a higher temperature, around 400 to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. A lower temp like 350 degrees Fahrenheit won't result in crispy skin, but it will still be juicy and delicious.

How do you keep chicken drumsticks from drying out in the oven? ›

I always cook at a little lower temperature than most recipes call for, and find I have more moist meat of any kind. Go with 375*. Rub drumsticks with oil, and a little lemon juice before baking. Keep them in a covered baking dish/pan or wrapped loosely in foil until the last few minutes.

Do you need to flip drumsticks in the oven? ›

I definitely recommend turning the chicken over halfway through baking, so the skin gets cooked on all sides. By the end the skin on top should be nice and crispy, but if you prefer it even crispier, set your oven to broil and place the chicken under the broiler for a minute or 2 on each side!

How do you make sure drumsticks are fully cooked? ›

For properly cooked chicken, if you cut into it and the juices run clear, then the chicken is fully cooked. If the juices are red or have a pinkish color, your chicken may need to be cooked a bit longer.

Should you bake chicken covered or uncovered at 400? ›

If you're in a hurry, you'll want to know how long you bake chicken at 400°F: Follow step 1 above, then bake the chicken pieces, uncovered, in the 400°F oven 25 to 30 minutes, until no longer pink or until chicken is done (using baked chicken temperatures above).

Should I bake chicken on top or bottom rack? ›

Chicken is best cooked on the middle rack. The bottom or lowest oven rack is best for roasting larger cuts of meat or whole turkeys. These thick cuts of meat can be cooked at higher temperatures at the bottom of the oven.

Do you need baking sheet for chicken? ›

Baked Chicken Breast Tips for Success

Use a rimmed baking sheet or baking pan. The chicken will release some of it's natural juices. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels before adding the oil or seasonings. Don't skip the oil!

Why are my baked chicken legs tough? ›

If the chicken is tough it could be one of three things. The oven temperature was too low, the chicken wasn't cooked for long enough or perhaps it has steamed if you cover it when cooking.

Can you overcook chicken legs? ›

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.

What is the best temperature for chicken legs? ›

Tips for the Best Oven-Baked Chicken Drumsticks

High temperature: Baking at 425°F means a deep, golden brown exterior, with a juicy, tender interior. Use a rack: Allows for hot air to circulate around the drumsticks, leaving no spot soggy or underdone.

What keeps chicken moist when baking? ›

Because chicken isn't a very fatty cut of meat, you'll want to add some fat to keep the meat hydrated. Most recipes use butter or oil for cooking chicken, but mayo is the better fat option when it comes to producing juicy chicken.

Why are my chicken drumsticks bleeding in the oven? ›

Those that are processed for meat are often just 6 to 8 weeks old. At that age, according to the USDA, the bones have not completely hardened, so “pigment from the bone marrow seeps through the bones and into the surrounding area.” This can lead to a dark or bloody-looking appearance.

Why are my drumsticks not crispy? ›

For your chicken to evenly cook, giving you that nice, crisp skin all around, it's imperative that they don't touch. Overlapping chicken drumsticks can prevent certain areas from receiving the full heat from the oven, resulting in an outer layer that's just as tender as the inside.

How long to bake drumsticks in the oven at 400 degrees? ›

What Is the Best Temperature to Bake Chicken Drumsticks? For juicy, flavorful chicken with golden skin, it is best to bake chicken drumsticks at 400°F. At this high temperature, the chicken will be done in about 30 minutes.

How long to cook drumsticks at 400? ›

This temperature allows for the perfect balance between a well-cooked interior and an appealingly crunchy exterior. Generally, chicken drumsticks will need about 35-45 minutes in the oven when baked at 400 degrees.

Should you bake drumsticks at 400 or 425? ›

Tips for the Best Oven-Baked Chicken Drumsticks

High temperature: Baking at 425°F means a deep, golden brown exterior, with a juicy, tender interior. Use a rack: Allows for hot air to circulate around the drumsticks, leaving no spot soggy or underdone.

How long does it take to bake drumsticks at 350? ›

I like to start with a preheated 350 degree F. oven and bake them for 45 minutes, rotate the legs, raise the heat to 425 degrees F., and put them back for about another 15 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and everything looks caramelized. Turning the legs is key to getting the sauce on “top” of the chicken legs!

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