Chicken Legs are one of the least expensive parts of the chicken to buy and one of the easiest to cook. Tender, juicy, and flavorful on the inside, and perfectly crispy on the outside, these Crispy Oven Roasted Chicken Legs are seasoned to perfection and bake together with tender potatoes, tons of fresh garlic, and lemon slices.
Whole Oven Roasted Chicken Legs Recipe
Chicken legs are fast becoming my favorite easy weeknight dinner. Loved by the whole family, they’re budget-friendly, versatile, and so yummy. Baked them in a simple seasoning, simmer low and slow in your favorite stew, or marinate them overnight as I did in this Jamaican jerk chicken recipe.
Faster than roasting a whole chicken (and easier if I’m being honest), these whole chicken legs have a crispy crackling skin, and tender, juicy, melt-in-your-mouth inside. Roasted with baby potatoes, whole garlic cloves, and fresh lemon, feel free to make this recipe all your own.
Ingredients and Frequently Asked Questions
- Whole bone-in skin-on chicken legs
- Salt and Pepper
- Onion powder
- Whole heads garlic
- Baby potatoes
- Olive oil
What is the difference between a chicken drumstick and a chicken leg?
Let’s explain this with some definitions:
- Drumstick: The bottom part of the chicken leg below the knee joint. Chicken drumsticks consist of all dark meat.
- Chicken Leg: Chicken legs, unlike drumsticks, consist of two parts- the thigh and the drumstick. Like the drumstick, it consists of only dark meat.
Can I use chicken drumsticks or chicken thighs instead of chicken legs?
This recipe will work great with just about any cut of chicken from chicken thighs, to legs, to wings, or even breasts. If you plan to use breast meat, remember that chicken breasts are white meat and are quicker to dry out when overcooked. Cooking times will vary and oven temperature may need to be adjusted from one cut of chicken to another, so keep your digital meat thermometer nearby and start checking for doneness approximately 30-40 minutes into cooking.
If you love chicken breasts you may want to check out how to cook chicken breasts (perfectly).
Can I make this without potatoes?
If you prefer to make your oven baked chicken legs without potatoes, go for it! Chicken legs with a side of your favorite roasted or steamed veggies make for a delicious low-carb chicken dinner the whole family can get behind – no one will even notice the potatoes are missing.
My chicken is nearly cooked but the skin isn’t crispy, what can I do?
At the very end of cooking, set your oven to broil. Allow your chicken and potatoes to cook under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, or until the skin is crispy and golden brown. Careful, though, this happens super fast. Turn your oven light on and keep an eye on it. The last thing you want is a perfect chicken dinner burnt to a crisp.
Can I remove the skin from my chicken?
Please do not remove the skin unless you absolutely must. It’s the most flavorful part! Even if you decide that you’d rather not eat the skin, the skin will help keep the meat moist as it cooks, preventing it from drying out.
What to Serve with Baked Chicken Legs
It’s easy to find different ways to serve this oven-roasted chicken legs recipe. Served as is, with a side salad or tender roasted asparagus, and consider dinner done. Fresh lemon juice is highly recommended.
For anyone who prefers a side dish of mashed potatoes (in place of roasted potatoes), feel free to leave out the baby potatoes and make a big batch of creamy mashed potatoes, four-cheese mashed potatoes, or even low carb cauliflower mashed potatoes (no one will notice any difference).
Serve leftovers shredded and tossed in your favorite green salad, grain bowl, or wrapped in a large flour tortilla with homemade hummus and roasted veggies including cauliflower, eggplant, bell peppers, and tomatoes.
Chicken Drumsticks Recipes,
If you try making these Crispy Oven Roasted Chicken Legs with Potatoes, please leave me a comment and let me know! I always love to hear your thoughts.
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Crispy Oven Roasted Chicken Legs
- 6 whole bone-in skin-on chicken legs (with the thigh and drumstick attached)
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 2-4 whole heads garlic (root end sliced off)
- 1 pound baby potatoes or small Yukon gold potatoes (halved)
- 2 lemons (washed and cut into slices)
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp butter
- fresh herbs (parsley, oregano, thyme, etc) (for serving)
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly coat the inside of a large baking dish (or rimmed baking sheet) with non-stick cooking spray (you may need to use two pans to prevent overcrowding).
- Remove the chicken legs from the refrigerator and pat dry using paper towels. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine the salt, black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. Mix thoroughly to combine. Generously sprinkle both sides of the chicken legs with the pre-mixed seasoning and set aside. Allow the chicken to come to room temperature (time allowing). This should take approximately 20-30 minutes.
- Transfer the chicken legs to the prepared baking dish. Tuck the heads of garlic (cut-side-down), halved potatoes, and lemon slices around the chicken. If things are getting crowded, use two pans, otherwise, your chicken skin won't turn out crispy and cooking may be uneven.
- Drizzle the olive oil over the potatoes and chicken legs. Use your hands, if necessary, to ensure that everything is evenly coated in oil.
- Transfer baking pans to the oven and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, rotate the pan and bake for another 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, brush the tops of each chicken leg with melted butter, and return to the oven until chicken registers an internal temperature of 165°F.
- Remove from the oven, and allow the chicken to rest for 5-10 minutes before spooning pan juices over the top of the chicken and potatoes. Serve with fresh minced herbs, if desired.
- Feel free to use chicken drumsticks or even chicken thighs (or a combination of the two) if you can't find whole chicken legs at your local grocery store. Cooking time may vary, however, so keep an eye out for doneness and always use a digital meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of your chicken.
- For this particular recipe, I highly recommend using bone-in, skin-on chicken legs to guarantee the best flavor and juiciest chicken. If you choose to go boneless or skinless, keep an eye on your chicken as it cooks to make sure it's not burning. If it starts to brown, tent with foil.
- I expect that these baked chicken legs would also cook beautifully on a bbq, grill, or even in an air fryer. If you try either of these methods, please leave me a comment and let me know, I'd love to hear how it turned out.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.)