This post may contain affiliate links which won’t change your price but will share some commission.
Oven Roasted Chicken Legs – either thighs, drumsticks, or even whole; can be the easiest dinner when you are short of time. Five minutes of prep time is all you’ll need; the oven does the rest.
Bringing this recipe back up by popular demand. It’s so easy to make with the perfect amount of spice and crispy skin.
After you’re done with this recipe, you may want to check my Slow Roasted Whole Chicken Legs, which is also super delicious but requires more baking time. Another popular chicken recipe is this Olive Oil Chicken Tights Mediterranean style.
This post may contain affiliate links. You can read my disclosure policy HERE.
Author’s Notes on the Oven Roasted Chicken Legs Recipes
I decided to make this easy Oven Roasted Chicken Legs recipe for the blog because several people have asked me how to cook a simple chicken in the oven. This may seem fairly basic for some of you, but I know of more than a few vegetarians out there struggling to cook meat for their families. And if you’ve ever undercooked or overcooked a chicken, you may find this recipe helpful.
Frequently Asked Questions about Roasting Chicken Legs:
- Which parts of the chicken should I use to roast it in the oven?
- When it comes to legs, should I use thighs, drumsticks, or whole legs?
- How long does it take to prep the chicken ready for the oven?
- Do I need to marinate the chicken before I put it in the oven?
- Does the chicken need to be brined before seasoning?
- What seasoning should I use to make a tasty chicken?
- Do I need to pan-fry the chicken before I put it in the oven?
- Does the chicken need to be placed on a rack or in the ovenproof dish?
- At what temperature should I roast the chicken?
- How long should the chicken stay in the oven?
- How do I know that the chicken is cooked through?
Let’s try to answer some of the above questions/concerns.
Which parts of the chicken should I use to roast in the oven?
If I have a choice, I will always go for the dark meat (i.e., the legs) as it is tastier and not dry. You may roast the chicken breast, but it can be tricky as it can become dry. For me, chicken legs, either whole legs, thighs, or drumsticks, is the way to go. One of these always finds its way onto our dinner table at least once a week.
When it comes to legs, should I use thighs, drumsticks, or whole legs?
I love thighs and drumsticks, but whole legs are delicious, too. However, if you roast whole chicken legs, you’ll need more time in the oven. I used chicken thighs and chicken drumsticks for this baked chicken recipe because that was all I had at home, but you could go either way.
How long does it take to prep the chicken for the oven?
It takes 5 minutes to prepare these chicken legs. I’m not joking. This recipe is very simple. The most difficult and time-consuming part will be peeling two cloves of garlic and chopping or pressing them through the garlic press. Then add very simple ingredients: olive oil, lemon juice, and spices (salt, pepper, sweet paprika, turmeric, cayenne pepper, oregano, and thyme). Mix & drizzle over the chicken. DONE.
Do I need to marinate the chicken before I put it in the oven?
You don’t have to, but you can. It will add flavor to your chicken. You can prepare the marinade with spices the night before, smother it all over your chicken, and put it into your oven the next day.
Does the chicken need to be brined before seasoning?
I love brining the meat. It makes it so tender. You can read about brining the meat in this super popular post for Brown Sugar Pork Chops with Garlic & Herbs. However, it isn’t necessary to brine these chicken legs to make them super delicious. If you don’t have time, or you forgot to put it in a brine or marinade the night before – no big deal. Just smother the chicken with the spices, place them into your oven, and enjoy this super simple, delicious dinner.
What seasoning should I use to make tasty oven-roasted chicken legs?
You can use any spices you’d like. For this recipe, I choose to use the following:
- sweet paprika,
- cayenne pepper,
- dried oregano,
- dried thyme and
- salt & pepper.
Do I need to pan-fry the chicken before I put it in the oven?
Nope. You don’t have to. The oven can do the whole job for you. However, you can always do this if you want to achieve a super crispy skin. I wanted to present a simple recipe that doesn’t require “hand-holding.” Season the chicken and place in the oven. Easy peasy.
Does the chicken need to be placed on a rack or in the ovenproof dish?
This recipe for Oven Roasted Chicken Legs is to be cooked in an ovenproof dish like a casserole or cast iron pan.
At what temperature should I roast the chicken?
I recommend roasting the chicken at 425 F.
How long should the chicken stay in the oven?
Chicken thighs and drumsticks should be cooked for about 40-45 minutes. The whole legs will take approximately an hour.
How do I know that the chicken is cooked through?
The internal temperature should read 165F. Make sure to measure the temperature in the middle of the meat part of the leg and not close to the bone.
I hope this little guide will help anyone struggling with roasting chicken legs. I love this simple and super quick chicken recipe. It can make any weeknight dinner a breeze.
What to Serve this Oven Roasted Chicken Legs with:
- Greek Spinach Rice and Feta
- Greek Lemon Potatoes
- Boulangere Potatoes
- Potato Cutlets with Asparagus
- Parmesan Spinach Orzo
- Dill Mashed Potatoes with Brown Butter
- Potato Leek Casserole
If you are looking for more chicken recipes, try these:
- Chicken Provencal with Shallots and Garlic
- Chicken Chasseur (French Hunter’s Chicken)
- Baked Mustard Chicken with Clementine
- Dijon Chicken with Mayer Lemons
- Grilled Chicken Shawarma
Here is a Printable Recipe Card
Oven Roasted Chicken Legs
- 2 Chicken Thighs
- 4 Chicken Drumsticks
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil Extra Virgin
- 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
- 1 teaspoon Salt Himalayan or Kosher
- 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper Freshly grounded
- 2 cloves Garlic Minced
- 1 teaspoon Sweet Paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon Oregano Dried
- 1/2 teaspoon Thyme Dried
- Pinch Cayenne Pepper
- 2 tbsp Butter optional for a crispy skin
- Preheat the oven to 425F.
- In a bowl combine: olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, 1/2 teaspoon of sweet paprika, turmeric, oregano, thyme and cayenne;
- Place the chicken in the oven-safe dish like casserole or cast-iron skillet;
- Pour the mixture over the chicken and rub it on both sides; (This can be done a night before and kept refrigerated before cooking);
- Place the chicken skin side up and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of sweet paprika (for more intense color); Transfer the casserole to the hot oven.
- Roast the chicken for 40-45 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165F;
- After about 20 minutes of roasting, you can add a little pat of butter on each piece of chicken for crispier skin. It is an optional step and can be omitted;
- Once the chicken reaches 165 ℉ remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
This recipe was originally published on January 18, 2018.