Oven–baked chicken drumsticks (or as my kids said when they were young, chicken legs :)) are a simple, easy, and delicious weekday dinner! These drumsticks are baked then broiled in the oven on a baking sheet to achieve that crispy skin. Flavorful, juicy, and oh-so-tender drummies are a family favorite! When I serve these baked chicken legs alongside my brown sugar-glazed carrots, my family loves it!
School is in full swing in our home, fall is in the air, and schedules have turned from the lazy days of summer to the busy days of another school year. Truthfully, I like schedules and knowing what is happening from day to day. But I don’t like how busy it can be and how difficult it can be to get a decent meal on the table in the evening.
Eating a decent meal together as a family at least a couple of times a week is important to me, but gosh darn…it can be hard! Everyone seems to be off in their own direction these days. These oven–baked chicken drumsticks make for an easy meal idea that is perfect for those busy weeknights. Serve it with mashed cauliflower and a quick salad and you have a delicious, quick, and healthy meal. Score! High-five. Go you!
- Chicken drumsticks, legs, or thighs (Be mindful that you need to adjust your cooking time). Although I prefer organic, clean chicken because I believe the flavor is better, use your favorite brand of chicken.
- Olive oil. This is essential for getting the desired crispy skin and helping the spices stick to the chicken. Some people really prefer the taste of butter. You can try using melted butter if you prefer.
- Spices. If you love spice, double the seasoning blend to get even more yummy flavor. Or sub in some of your own favorite spices. Try sage instead of rosemary or chili powder instead of paprika. (Pssst…smoked paprika will almost always give you a better, deeper flavor than regular paprika.)
- Salt. Truly, you can’t make a good chicken without salt. Use it liberally!
What kind of chicken should you use?
I am totally on board with organic, locally sourced, antibiotic-free chicken. That will always be my personal preference. But frankly, whatever kind of chicken you need to use to get something other than take-out or pizza on your family’s table is okay in my book. That alone is a win for many busy (or budget-conscious) families.
Sidenote…even though this is technically a chicken drumsticks recipe, don’t let that stop you if all you’ve got in the freezer are some chicken wings, thighs, or even chicken breast. As long as it’s bone-in, skin-on chicken, you can use this chicken leg recipe as a guide. Just keep in mind that you’ll want to adjust your cook time up for breasts and thighs and down for wings.
Make it spicy:
It seems like everyone is all about spicy these days. If you want to ramp up the spice on your oven-baked crispy chicken, you’ve got a few options. For just a little bit of spice, try adding a little black pepper to your rub mixture. You can take it up a notch by adding chili powder or cayenne pepper. If you like a little sweetness with your spice, drizzle a little hot honey over your chicken when it comes out of the oven. Yum!
Step By Step Instructions:
- Rub the spice mixture on the clean, dried chicken.
- Place the bone-in chicken legs (or chicken thighs) on a sheet pan.
- Drizzle the oil mixture to coat the chicken legs.
- Cook the chicken by baking it in the oven.
- When fully cooked, broil the chicken to create the desired crispy skin. <— Don’t skip this step!
I know! There is nothing like a good rub on meat, is there? It’s so dang pretty. This one is simple, easy, and fast. Many of us are not meat “rubbers.” We feel like simply cooking the meat properly is a win, never mind the business of getting down and dirty with the meat. But trust me on this, once you rub you will never stop. It’s like therapy :). Okay, I’m being ridiculous. But trust me… you feel a little like a Master Chef when you rub herbs and spices all over that chicken. (And if you’re like some of my friends who hate touching raw chicken, try tossing your chicken in a large bowl with the oil and spice mixtures and stirring it around. It’s not quite as good as rubbing it in, but it will do.)
The secret for crispy oven–baked chicken drumsticks:
Let me tell you a little secret for creating the best drumsticks…use the broiler! It’s true! After you bake them for the desired time, stick them under the broiler for a few minutes to get that skin all crispy and browned. It’s so genius!
How long to bake chicken drumsticks in the oven?
You want them to hit an internal temperature of 180 degrees. About 30 minutes at 400 degrees. And then hit it with that little bit in the broiler. That is usually about perfect.
Storage Instructions for Baked Drumsticks:
Store your leftover chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.
Our Favorite Side Dishes for Baked Chicken:
Personally, you can’t go wrong serving this with any kind of potato dish–baked, roasted, mashed, or any other way you can cook them. If you’re not a potato person, they’re also great with a side of mac and cheese. The coloring on these rubbed and baked drumsticks looks beautiful when paired with a green veggie like broccoli, asparagus, or green beans. You can steam them or, even easier, just roast them in your oven right alongside the chicken.
- Aluminum foil. If you don’t have a pan dedicated to roasting try using a baking sheet with foil to enhance the browning from the oven.
- Cover your drumsticks with foil if you find that your chicken tends to be more dry than you would like. Just be sure to uncover them when you broil!
- Brush your drumsticks with additional oil or drippings right before you broil them for extra crispiness.
- Your chicken is cooked through if the juices run clear and it isn’t at all pink in the center. If you use a meat thermometer you need it at 165 degrees.
Soooo pretty! And don’t you DARE tell anyone they need to use a fork and knife and eat it properly. My kids used to call these the “handle” parts because they grabbed the meat by the handle and went to town on that drummie. That, my friends, is how to properly eat a chicken drumstick. And probably why kids love them. They taste delicious and are fun to eat!
Oven Baked Chicken drumsticks
- 6 chicken drumsticks with skin on
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
- 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- pinch turmeric optional
- 1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil extra virgin
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
- 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
- Preheat oven to 400F. Grease a cookie sheet or baking tray with oil and set aside.
- Pat dry the chicken pieces with a paper towel and rub the spice mix onto the chicken pieces. Arrange the chicken on the prepped tray.
- Drizzle the oil mix on the spice coated chicken (on both the sides).
- Bake at 400F for 30-35 minutes or until cooked through and there is no pink inside (180 degrees). Turn once halfway (after about 15 minutes).
- Broil for couple of minutes on each side until the skin browns and crisps up.
- Serve. Refrigerate leftovers.