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This crispy baked chicken legs recipe is simple, inexpensive, and has minimal prep time. It’s great for easy weeknight dinners!

You may also like my Easy Baked Chicken Thighs, this Easy Roast Chicken (Lemon & Herb), or Easy Baked Chicken Breast recipe next.

stacked baked drumsticks in a bowl

Why you’ll love it

It’s fantastic just how good these baked drumsticks taste with a simple seasoning. That’s all you really need! The smoked paprika is rubbed onto the skin and gives it a nicer color and slightly smoky flavor. My favorite part is the flavorful crispy chicken skin you get from baking.

This is one of those recipes that’s family friendly and so easy to get on the table when you just want something completely low effort yet big on taste. There’s 5 minutes of prep, and then you can enjoy hassle-free cleanup too!

What you’ll need

  • Chicken legs – we’re using drumsticks, but you could also use chicken quarters/whole legs. The cooking time will remain the same. Whole chicken legs include the thigh and the drumstick.
  • Olive oil – this is what makes the skin crisp up
  • Salt & pepper – be generous with both
  • Smoked paprika – it’s one of my go-to seasonings to bring a little smoky quality. It’s not spicy.

Helpful tips

  • You can cook as many/few chicken pieces as you want, whatever fits on your baking sheet. The recipe suggests 6, but if your crowd eats more than 1 drumstick each, for example, you may want to double the recipe.
  • You could definitely play with the seasonings. Try garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, lemon pepper, Montreal Chicken Seasoning (McCormick makes it). There are so many possibilities!
chicken legs on a baking sheet ready for the oven

How long to bake chicken legs

  • For this recipe, they’re baked at 400F for 35-40 minutes. If your chicken pieces appear to be particularly small or large, the time may need to be adjusted a bit, but don’t worry! It’s harder to overcook dark meat than chicken breasts, for example.
  • I always recommend using an instant read thermometer to ensure chicken is at least 165F before consuming it. This recipe will cook it beyond 165F. I find chicken legs and thighs are more tender when going beyond the safe minimum temperature, unlike chicken breasts.
baked chicken legs straight out of the oven (on baking sheet)

How to bake chicken legs

This is an overview, and full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.

  • Coat them with olive oil and salt & pepper, and then rub the smoked paprika onto the skin.
  • Bake on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil if desired, and let the chicken rest before serving. Easy!

What to serve with baked chicken legs

Leftovers and storage

  • Leftovers will last in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
  • I’d reheat the drumsticks in the oven so that the skin has a chance to crisp up again.
  • You could try freezing leftovers for up to 3 months in a freezer bag, but the skin might not be as crispy as when you first made them after thawing. Just make sure they’re cooled completely before heading into the freezer, and remove any air in the bag.
close-up of baked chicken legs (drumsticks) stacked in a bowl

Questions about this oven baked drumsticks recipe? Let me know in the comments below! Please leave a star rating and review as well.

close-up of baked chicken legs (drumsticks) stacked in a bowl
4.94 from 15 votes

Easy Baked Chicken Legs

This crispy baked chicken legs recipe is simple, inexpensive, and has minimal prep time. It's great for easy weeknight dinners!
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients 

  • 6 chicken drumsticks (bone-in skin on) see notes
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika or more, to taste

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 400F and move the rack to the middle position. Line a baking sheet with foil for easy clean-up.
  • Pat the chicken dry with paper towel. Place the chicken pieces on the baking sheet and coat them all over with olive oil. Season them generously with salt & pepper. Sprinkle the smoked paprika on the skin, and then rub it on.
  • Bake, uncovered, for 35-40 minutes. See recipe notes below for more info on timing. Optional: broil for a few more minutes to really crisp up the skin.
  • Let the chicken rest for about 5 minutes prior to serving them (this ensures they will be juicy and tender).

Notes

  • You can use whole chicken legs (chicken quarters) if you prefer, or cook more than 6 drumsticks. Simply add a little more oil and seasoning and you’re set.
  • If your drumsticks or chicken legs are particularly large or small, cooking time may need to be adjusted, but in general, dark meat is harder to overcook. I find dark chicken meat (legs & thighs) to be more tender when it’s cooked well beyond the 165F minimum temperature, and it also takes some time for the skin to crisp up. Use an instant read meat thermometer so you’re always in control.
  • You can change up the seasonings – see the blog post for my suggestions.
  • Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information. Nutrition info is for drumsticks (not entire chicken legs).

Nutrition

Calories: 162kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 70mg, Sodium: 79mg, Potassium: 169mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 117IU, Calcium: 8mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Hi! Iā€™m Natasha.

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4.94 from 15 votes (1 rating without comment)

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45 Comments

  1. Natalie says:

    5 stars
    Sounds RAD! I’m baking mine dipped in wheat germ seasoned with lemon pepper, Mrs. Dash, and turmeric. It’s my 1st try at it.

    1. Natasha says:

      Great!! I think that will turn out well!! šŸ™‚

  2. Chevonne Adams says:

    5 stars
    This Was EXTREMELY Helpful!! šŸ™‚šŸ™šŸ¾ Thank You! My Boyfriend Loved Dinner

    (My First Attempt On Cooking PERIOD)

    1. Natasha says:

      Yay!! That’s so great to hear!! šŸ™‚ Thanks for letting me know, Chevonne!

  3. Cheri Fisher says:

    Thanks so much, I always wonder how long or at what temperature to cook chicken. This recipe was easy and the chicken turned out perfect.

    1. Natasha says:

      That’s great to hear!!! šŸ˜€

  4. Shavelle says:

    Thank you for posting this recipe! I did it and absolutely loved it. I added the onion & garlic powder. Also I added some BBQ sauce at the end. Absolutely delicious and juicy! Wayyyy juicier than when I cook it in a deep pan covered with foil. šŸ˜

    1. Natasha says:

      You’re very welcome!! šŸ™‚ I’m so happy you enjoyed it, and I love the BBQ sauce idea!

    2. RC* says:

      I make a very similar recipe.I place a shallow wire cooking/cooling? rack on top of the foil & spray with cooking spray. I then procede with the recipe as directed. Besides the BBQ Sauce, I have also used teriyaki sauce, sweet & sour and orange sauces. All delicious!!!

  5. Odilia says:

    5 stars
    Wonderful recipe! Perfect for that quick weeknight dinner. Thanks!

    1. Natasha says:

      You’re very welcome!! Thanks for taking the time to write me a review. šŸ™‚

  6. Patti says:

    5 stars
    Perfect for those of us who Love GIANT wings!!! I loved them

    1. Miranda @ Salt & Lavender says:

      Awesome! Glad to hear it.

  7. Kevin Downs says:

    5 stars
    Too easy! I baked 4 large legs and one wing. On two of the legs, I changed seasoning adding an Italian rub. Wow! So wanted to eat them all right then and there but had already had dinner. My compliments!

    1. Natasha says:

      That’s great to hear! Thanks Kevin! šŸ˜€

  8. Beth ROCK says:

    5 stars
    Quick and easy

    1. Natasha says:

      Thank you!!! šŸ™‚

      1. Angel Ickes says:

        Just got my first apartment and started cooking on my own with no help from my momma and sometimes I don’t know how long to cook stuff. Did this recipe but with my own twist on seasonings (lemon pepper and chili drumsticks) for our chicken bacon salad tonight. Was super delicious and really helped me so I didn’t accidentally have undercooked chicken.

        1. Natasha says:

          Well that’s great to hear, Angel!! I’m so happy you enjoyed it. Thanks for letting me know! šŸ™‚

  9. Beanie says:

    5 stars
    Easy. Delicious.

    1. Natasha says:

      Thank you!! šŸ™‚

  10. E. Watt says:

    5 stars
    Awesome dinner love it so much thank you.

    1. Natasha says:

      You’re very welcome!! šŸ™‚