When it comes to preparing affordable meals without sacrificing pure deliciousness, baked chicken legs are among the top on the list. They’re incredibly flavorful, delightful, and crispy and can be prepared fast when time is of the essence. Besides, baking helps retain more of chicken health benefits and lowers the amount of fat contained compared to frying.
Read on and learn everything you need to know about baking chicken legs.
What you’ll need:
- Chicken legs
- Olive oil
- Additional seasonings (optional)
How To Bake Chicken Legs
If you’re using frozen chicken legs, you should thaw them before baking, preferably for 30 minutes. That’s because baking a frozen chicken can lower the temperature of the baking pan, and that can reduce the chances of achieving that delectable crisp crust.
You should also wash the chicken carefully with running tap water to remove any surface dirt or bacteria. Then, place the chicken legs on a baking sheet pan in a single layer and allow them to dry, uncovered for some time.
Make The Seasoning
In a bowl, combine and stir together the olive oil, pepper, salt, and seasonings. You can add different ingredients. For instance, you can add coriander, oregano, paprika, garlic powder, dried thyme, onion powder, parsley, Italian seasoning, Cajun seasoning, or soy sauce. You can also use smoked paprika to give the chicken skin a lovely color and slightly smoky flavors.
Marinate The Chicken
Add the chicken legs to the seasoning blend and toss them until they’re fully coated with the seasoning. It would be best if you let it sit for 20 minutes at room temperature or refrigerate overnight.
Bake The Chicken Legs
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Then, arrange your chicken legs on the baking sheet (don’t overcrowd them) and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. You can consider flipping the legs during baking to help them cook more evenly and crisp up. For easy cleanup, you should line up the baking sheet with aluminum foil.
How Long Do You Bake Chicken Legs?
The time it takes to bake chicken legs depends on your chicken size, the baking capacity of the oven used, and the temperature you use when baking. Usually, it’s recommended to bake for about 40-45 minutes at a temperature of 425°F. But, if you’re baking at 375°F, keep the chicken in the oven for 45-55 minutes. For a temperature of 350°F, bake for approximately 50-60 minutes.
How Do I Know The Chicken Legs Are Fully Baked?
Ideally, you should bake chicken to an internal temperature of at least 165°F. You can check that temperature using a meat instant-read thermometer. Just ensure you insert the thermometer in the chicken so that it sits near (not on) the bone for the most accurate readings.
You can also cut one piece and check if it’s baked all the way through. Typically, the meat should be cooked thoroughly to the bone with the juices running clear (pinkness means the meat isn’t baked fully yet).
Should You Bake Chicken Legs With The Skin On Or Off?
Leaving the skin on the chicken legs can insulate the chicken as it bakes. That will help prevent the chicken from drying out. The skin also keeps the chicken juicy, and it offers some leeway if you overbake the chicken legs slightly.
However, you can use skinless drumsticks or remove the skin once they have finished baking. But, if you plan to remove the skin, you should rub the spices underneath the skin before you bake.
How Do You Make Baked Chicken Legs Crispier?
You should ensure that you pat the chicken dry before you add your spices. The extra moisture usually prevents the chicken from getting crispy. Besides, you can bake on a cooling rack. The rack allows excess grease to drip away from the meat while it cooks. Hence, your chicken legs won’t be sitting in the extra oil that could make it soggy.
Moreover, you can brush the chicken with butter before marinating. Butter makes the chicken crispier and will also help the seasoning stick. Remember to change the oven from bake to broiler status for about 5 minutes after the chicken is baked for that dark brown skin.
What Can You Serve With Baked Chicken Legs?
Chicken legs are versatile and can be served with any of your favorite side dishes, including veggies, potatoes, gravy, or rice. You can also serve them with Broccoli casserole, baked macaroni and cheese, or cheesy garlic bread. Keep in mind that you should leave the chicken to rest for about ten minutes after bringing out the baking tray.
How Long Does Baked Chicken Last?
Baked chicken legs can last for up to five days in the refrigerator. You can also freeze them for four months. You should keep the chicken legs in an airtight container to retain their freshness and flavor.