Flavorful Baked Chicken Drumsticks are delicious and tender. These baked chicken legs are easy to make, and are super tasty from a simple, flavorful marinade. An easy dinner recipe that the whole family will love!
Baked Chicken Drumsticks
Chicken is one of the most versatile meats. Having the choice between dark meat and white meat makes them even more so. Combined with a marinade, you have a winning recipe for the best baked chicken legs!
Baking chicken is a great way to cook it as this allows for sauces and marinades to flavor and moisten the chicken.
The Key to Flavorful, Moist Chicken
My number one tip for getting moist, tender, delicious chicken is to marinate it!
Marinades can be made from many different ingredients, but need three main components to get the best results:
• Acid to soften the meat – citrus juice, vinegar, wine, buttermilk/yogurt.
• Oil to add moisture – olive, canola, peanut, avocado, etc.
• Aromatics to flavor the meat – herbs, spices, onion, shallot, citrus zests, soy sauce, Worcestershire, etc.
With these three components of a marinade, you can make endless combinations of delicious marinades!
How Long to Marinate Chicken Legs?
- When you marinate your chicken, you should refrigerate it so bacteria doesn’t have a chance to grow. But being in a cold environment will cause the meat to seize up, and will therefore take the marinade longer to penetrate the chicken.
- For this reason, I suggest marinating as long as possible, up to about 12 hours. Realistically though, you are probably not going to plan that far ahead, so even 30 minutes will give some good flavor to the chicken.
- Use the leftover marinade to pour a little over the chicken legs after placing them on the baking sheet. Discard the rest.
Simple Steps for Baked Chicken Legs
Here’s how to prepare this Flavorful Baked Chicken Drumsticks recipe:
Chicken Drumsticks Baking Temperature
- The simple tip I like to give for moist chicken is to bake it at a high temperature.
- I like 425°- 450° F for baking chicken. Baking at a higher temp for a shorter time will yield juicer chicken than cooking it low and slow.
- Why is that? Chicken doesn’t have the tough connective tissue to break down that a pot roast has, for instance. Cooking a roast low and slow will break that down and make it tender.
- When you cook chicken high and fast, as I like to say, the high heat traps in some of the moisture by searing, and the faster time keeps it from drying out.
- The dark meat chicken is done when the internal temperature reaches 165° F (A meat thermometer is an essential kitchen tool).
- How Long to Bake Chicken Drumsticks at 400 degrees F? If you don’t want to use a higher heat, 400° F will give you good results. Bake the chicken drumsticks at 400° F for 35-40 minutes. Again, use a meat thermometer to check doneness.
After removing chicken drumsticks from the oven, let them rest 5-10 minutes before serving so the juices can redistribute into the meat.
You can also make baked chicken thighs with this recipe. The cook time will be similar, but using a meat thermometer is the best way to tell when they are done.
I hope you enjoy this Flavorful Baked Chicken Drumsticks recipe!
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If you make this delicious baked chicken legs recipe, please let me know. Just leave a comment with a star rating below. I’d love to know how you liked them!
Flavorful Baked Chicken Drumsticks
- Baking Sheet Pan
- Gallon Size Zip-Closure Baggie (or Large Bowl with Plastic Wrap)
- 10 Chicken Drumsticks (legs)
- ⅓ cup Olive Oil
- Juice of 1 Lemon
- 2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
- 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 ¾ teaspoons Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
- 2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
- 2 teaspoons Onion Powder
- 1 teaspoon Paprika
- ⅓ cup Brown Sugar
- ¼ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (optional)
Prepare the Chicken
- Add the drumsticks to a gallon sized zip closure baggie or large bowl. Set aside.
Make the Marinade
- In a bowl, mix together the oil, lemon juice, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, brown sugar, and cayenne pepper, if using. Whisk until well combined.
- Pour the marinade over the drumsticks in the baggie or bowl. Close the baggie and gently massage the drumsticks around to coat them (or cover bowl with plastic wrap, if using).
- Place in the fridge (Lay the baggie on its side. Be sure it is sealed!). Marinate for 30 minutes to 12 hours* (see note).
Cook the Chicken
- Heat oven to 425° F.
- Line a baking sheet with foil. Spray the foil generously with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange the drumsticks evenly spaced on the pan (save the leftover marinade).
- Bake for 20 minutes. Then flip the drumsticks over and pour a little of the leftover marinade over each drumstick. Discard the remaining marinade. Bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 160-165° F (165° is proper temp, 160° if you are letting them rest before serving. They will keep cooking for several minutes.)
- Remove from oven and let rest 5-10 minutes before serving.