This post may contain affiliate links, which help keep this content free. (Full disclosure)
This roasted chicken drumsticks recipe couldn’t be easier! Sometimes simple is best, and when it comes to oven baked chicken legs, that couldn’t be more true. They are incredibly crispy, flavorful, and delicious, but they also only take 10 minutes to prep. I’m excited to show you how to cook chicken drumsticks using my favorite method, all my tips and tricks for cooking chicken legs in the oven, what to serve with them, and more. This post has everything you need to know!
This is one of my favorite chicken leg recipes, but if you want to cook other cuts of chicken, try baked chicken breast, air fryer chicken wings, roasted chicken thighs, baked chicken leg quarters, or browse more chicken recipes here.
Ingredients You’ll Need
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for baked chicken drumsticks, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
This crispy oven baked chicken legs recipe is simply seasoned. You’ll need…
- Chicken Drumsticks – Bone-in and skin-on, of course. Try to choose ones that are uniform in size, so that they cook at the same rate.
- Butter – Not only does this help make them more crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, but it also helps the seasonings stick. Butter has a lower smoke point so I don’t usually use it for roasting, but I love the flavor that it gives this recipe and haven’t found any issues with it. If you’re concerned about it, feel free to use ghee, olive oil, or avocado oil instead. Spraying with cooking spray would also work, but I prefer to avoid the chemicals.
- Smoked Paprika – Adds a delicious smoky flavor, as well as color. Feel free to swap in regular paprika if that’s what you have on hand.
- Garlic Powder – We’re using garlic powder instead of fresh garlic, as the latter would burn. If you wan tto use fresh garlic, it’s best to put it in a compound butter underneath the skin instead, like I do with air fryer chicken drumsticks.
- Sea Salt & Black Pepper
SEASONING VARIATIONS: Want to change up the basic chicken drumsticks recipe? Try replacing the seasonings with Italian seasoning or lemon pepper seasoning, or add them in addition to the above. If your seasonings contain salt, reduce or omit the salt added separately. You can also make complimentary additions to the above seasonings, such as oregano, onion powder, cayenne pepper, or even chopped fresh herbs.
How To Make Baked Chicken Legs In The Oven
This section shows how to cook chicken legs in the oven, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique. For full instructions, see the recipe card below.
I have 3 simple, but important, tips to ensure your crispy baked chicken legs turn out perfectly each and every time:
- Dry the drumsticks. This helps get the skin crispy.
- Use a baking rack. This allows the hot air to circulate around the chicken.
- Roast at high heat. The best baked chicken legs oven temp is fairly high (425 degrees F), which helps crisp up the skin. Plus, I find that higher temperatures are less prone to drying out the meat.
How To Prepare Chicken Legs For Baking
Your prep for oven roasted chicken legs is centered around encouraging air circulation to get them crispy.
- Prep the oven and pan. Preheat the oven. Line a baking sheet with foil (for easy clean up!) and place an oven safe rack over the sheet pan. (I like this set – it’s non-stick, so easy to clean.) I prefer foil rather than parchment paper for lining underneath the rack, because it catches the juices more easily.
TIP: The oven rack helps circulate the hot air around chicken, for the best baked chicken drumsticks that are nice and crispy!
- Dry the chicken. Pat the drumsticks with a paper towel, which will help get rid of any extra moisture and get them nice and crispy.
How To Season Chicken Legs
- Brush with butter. Brush the chicken legs on all sides with melted butter, or drizzle with olive oil or avocado oil if you prefer.
- Season the drumsticks. Sprinkle on the smoked paprika, garlic powder, sea salt, and black pepper.
TIP: You can season in the chicken in a large bowl if you prefer. Simply pour the melted butter over the chicken in the bowl, add the seasonings, and toss to coat.
How To Bake Chicken Legs
- Bake. Cooking chicken legs at high heat will get them crispy, just how we want them.
TIP: For best results, flip the chicken legs halfway through baking, which will help them crisp up more and cook more evenly.
- Rest. Let the baked chicken drumsticks rest for 5 minutes before serving, which helps seal in the juices and ensure that they stay moist on the inside.
How Long Do You Bake Chicken Legs In The Oven?
For average sized drumsticks, I recommend a cook time of 35-45 minutes at 425 degrees, flipping halfway through. The exact time will vary a bit, due to varying oven temperatures as well as drumstick size.
Whether you are cooking chicken legs in the oven or using just about any other method, they should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F; some people prefer 170 degrees F for more tender meat. Either way, here is the meat thermometer I use and recommend.
The full nutrition info is below, but these are the answers to common questions about this recipe…
Are Baked Chicken Drumsticks Healthy?
Yes, easy baked chicken legs in oven is a healthy way to cook drumsticks. They are a great source of essential amino acids, and several vitamins and minerals as well. Being higher in fat, drumsticks are a great choice for a keto lifestyle.
How Many Calories In A Baked Chicken Leg?
A baked chicken leg using this recipe has 236 calories, which includes the butter we brush on top. The calorie count will vary based on size.
How Much Protein In A Chicken Leg?
An average chicken leg has 22 grams of protein, but it will vary a bit depending on their size.
Store this easy chicken drumstick recipe in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Can You Freeze Raw Drumsticks?
Absolutely! You can freeze raw chicken for up to 9-12 months for best results. Simply lay the drumsticks on a parchment lined sheet pan in a single layer and place in the freezer. Once solid, you can move them to a freezer bag for more compact storage.
TIP: If you like, you can brush with butter and season the chicken legs before freezing. That way there is virtually no prep before baking later.
Can You Freeze Baked Chicken Drumsticks?
Yes, you can freeze this oven roasted chicken legs recipe after baking if you like. It will last several months. However, the recipe is so quick and easy that you don’t save a lot of time by freezing. I’d opt for freezing the raw drumsticks instead and making them fresh when needed.
Reheat leftover chicken in a 350 degree F oven for best results. The oven baked chicken legs will be crispier and better if you bake them to reheat them, but can also be microwaved in a pinch.
TIP: If the skin is not crisp after reheating, you can place under the broiler for a minute or two, until crispy. Watch closely so they don’t burn.
To reheat frozen drumsticks, let thaw in the refrigerator overnight (or for a few hours) and reheat in a 350 degree F oven for best results.
What To Serve With Chicken Legs
There isn’t much that doesn’t go with baked chicken drumsticks. If you want to turn it into a full meal, I recommend serving it with a vegetable side dish. Here are a few recipes to get you started:
- Southern Fried Cabbage – Serve up your oven roasted chicken legs with this cabbage recipe as a nod to a classic Southern combo!
- Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad – This salad has everything you want: crunch, sweet, salty, creamy! And everyone’s favorite ingredient. 😉
- Mushroom Cauliflower Risotto – This risotto can certainly stand alone as a meal, but pair it with baked chicken drumsticks for a balanced and well-rounded meal.
- Cheesy Cauliflower Tots – Making this baked chicken drumsticks recipe for the family? Everyone will be happy about this side dish.
- Almond Flour Biscuits – Remember that Southern cabbage side above? Add these for a REAL Southern meal. Just 4 ingredients!
- Oven Roasted Garlic Green Beans – Even my kids couldn’t stop eating these with their chicken.
- Easy Sauteed Broccoli – A great option if you want to make your side dish while you have your chicken legs roasting in the oven.
This chicken drumstick recipe is flavorful enough on its own, but feel free to serve it with BBQ sauce or other sauces you like with chicken.
More Easy Chicken Recipes Readers Love
- Juicy Chicken Breast – The best way to make chicken breast that’s juicy, not dry!
- Crispy Chicken Thighs – Just as easy as these chicken drumsticks.
- Crock Pot Whole Chicken – The slow cooker makes tender, fall-apart chicken with virtually no work. So good!
- Air Fryer Chicken Wings – People rave about this one. They’ll be crispiest wings you’ve ever had.
Please see more list about How to roast chicken legs