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This recipe for Baked Chicken Legs is the simplest dinner to make any weeknight. Rub with a little olive oil, homemade spice mix and bake. This little gem of a recipe is one of our family’s favorite dinners and it only takes 10 minutes of prep. Make a Greek Salad, Mashed Potatoes or some Drop Biscuits to go along with for an easy weeknight meal.
Seriously the Best Baked Chicken Legs
I’m not one to buy chicken legs very frequently because its habit for me to reach for the boneless skinless chicken breasts. But man oh man I forget how inexpensive chicken legs are, how easy they are to throw together on a busy weeknight and that all my kids eat them no problem. I think a lot of times, people see the drumsticks at the grocery store and just don’t know what to do with them so they pass them by completely. But I’m here to tell you that the simple approach is best and making a really basic spice rub to sprinkle over top is where the magic happens.
A hot oven and homemade spice mix will give you chicken legs with:
- crispy skin
- that are juicy and flavorful
Even though this recipe is pretty basic, it is delicious and is one I keep coming back to time and time again.
I’ve got some step by step photos below to walk you through the process, but I promise it’s super simple!
A Note About the Homemade Spice Mix
Chicken in general, including these baked chicken legs, need a lot of seasoning because on their own don’t have a lot of flavor.
I don’t necessarily like adding a lot of huge and big flavors to meat, especially if I’m feeding kids (which I always am). But, that doesn’t mean this is an out for making gross chicken. I want this seasoning blend to come across as “yum that’s good and I don’t know why” instead of some random kid yelling “why did you put garlic in this?” and then storming off to their room…not that this has ever happened at my house. Ha!
I purposely kept things neutral with my flavor profiles and I’m not just talking about salt and pepper, though they definitely help. With enough of a hit of poultry seasoning, onion powder and paprika, the mixture works magically to produce really REALLY good chicken without anyone really knowing why. The cherry on top is the crispy skin you get from that rub down with olive oil. It’s really so good.
How to Make Baked Chicken Legs
I purposely made this recipe as easy as possible with the simplest of ingredients. After the 10 minutes of prep work, this turns into the easiest recipe ever. Just let the oven do the work! While the chicken legs bake, you can make whatever sides you like so by the time you pull them out, dinner can be served right away.
Prep Your Chicken Drumsticks
Start by opening up your package of chicken legs and drying them off with a paper towel. I used two pounds of chicken drumsticks which ended up being about 8. Every package will be different based on weight, but 8 should be about average. Lay the dried drumsticks onto a baking sheet that has been lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray. Set aside.
Make the Spice Rub
In a small bowl, stir together salt, pepper, onion powder, poultry seasoning, and paprika. This spice mix doesn’t have any pronounced or obvious flavors so when it is rubbed and baked onto this chicken, you will notice yourself saying “wow, this is good chicken” without realizing what is making it so good. Spoiler alert: its this spice rub!
Season the Chicken Legs + Bake
Rub each chicken leg with olive oil and sprinkle with the homemade spice mix. I did end up lining my baking sheet with foil because I like the easy cleanup but you don’t have to do this if that is preferred.
Bake, uncovered in a hot oven (about 40-45 mins) and you will have crispy, flavorful, golden brown chicken legs.
If you notice your oven runs hot or if you have the chicken on a lower rack in your oven, you may notice the chicken skin roasting too quickly, thus making it darker on the outside quicker than you may like. In this case I would cover it with foil for the duration of the bake time until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. You can also cover it and move it to a higher rack in the oven.
Side Dishes to Serve with Baked Chicken Legs:
- Butter Rice (my favorite way to make rice!)
- Classic Coleslaw Recipe
- Funeral Potatoes
- Iceberg Wedge Salad Recipe
- Best Pan Fried Potatoes
- Caprese Salad with Garlic Balsamic Dressing
Store leftover chicken legs in an airtight container or tightly wrap in aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Storing this way will keep them fresh in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
To Reheat: Skip the microwave, and throw them on a baking sheet in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes or until hot.
More *Amazing* Chicken Recipes to Try:
- Roast Chicken,
- Chicken Piccata Recipe,
- Oven Fried Chicken,
- Sticky Chicken Drumsticks
- Lauren’s Roasted Chicken Thighs.
So there you have it, friends! A delicious, simple dinner that everyone loves! Be sure to print/save/pin/bookmark this recipe because it’s one of those basic recipes that you’ll keep coming back to. Have a great day, friends!
Baked Chicken Legs
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- In a small bowl, stir together all seasonings and spices.
- Open package of chicken legs and pat dry with paper towels. Place onto prepared baking sheet and rub with olive oil. Sprinkle with seasonings on all sides.
- Bake, uncovered for 40-45 minutes or until browned and meat thermometer registers 165 degrees or higher. Serve warm.