Baked Chicken Legs are moist, tender and packed with savory flavor. Easy to make with a few simple ingredients. No marinade required. Simply mix ingredients, rub on chicken legs, and bake.
DISCLOSURE (NOT SPONSORED): Pictured products are personal favorites I purchased and used to make this delicious recipe.
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Moist chicken legs are baked at 400 degrees. Baking time really depends on thickness. Smaller sizes should be baked 15-20 minutes on one side before flipping over. Large, thick chicken legs should be baked 20-25 minutes on one side before flipping over.
The key to tender baked chicken legs is to AVOID OVER BAKING. If baked too long, the meat will be dry and rubbery. I figured that out the hard way.
Use a meat thermometer to make sure that the meat is thoroughly cooked. Insert it into the deepest part of the chicken leg all the way to the bone. The internal temperature should be 165°F (75°C).
I seasoned this main dish with thyme and cumin. Both provided wonderful flavor. I did not use garlic powder and onion powder simply because I wanted a different taste.
Thyme is an aromatic herb used often in Mediterranean cooking. This popular ingredient blends well with other spices and herbs. Often added to many slow-cooked dishes like stews, soups, vegetables, meat, poultry, stuffing and bread.
Cumin is a native Mediterranean seasoning used to enhance the flavor of pickled vegetables, meat, poultry, and tomato-based sauces. It’s a popular ingredient in Caribbean and Mexican cuisines.
Hot sauce and Liquid Smoke add even more flavor. These classic ingredients are loved by many.
What are your favorite seasonings for baked chicken? Please sure in the comments section. I would love to know!
How To Read & Follow A Recipe
Reading a recipe is an important life skill. It starts with knowing how to read a recipe’s ingredients, follow the instructions, prep ingredients, and knowing what equipment to use.
The following tips and strategies will help beginners or experienced cooks create a delicious dish as intended in the recipe.
Start with clean hands and organized kitchen. Wash hands thoroughly. Make sure kitchen and countertops are clean before making a recipe.
Create a relaxing environment. Play favorite music while in the kitchen. I love listening to classical or gospel music.
Read the recipe. Don’t just quickly skim it. Thoroughly read from start to finish. Visualize doing each step which will help you avoid missing a step.
If you see ingredient that you and your family don’t use for whatever reason, use a substitutions or omit the ingredient.
My recipes are packed with helpful tips like shortcuts and serving sizes which save time and help with meal planning.
Pay attention to the order in which ingredients are prepped. For example, 1 cup of chopped pecans is not the same as pecans, chopped (measure whole pecans and then chop).
Know the assumptions. For example, when my recipe calls for “sugar,” use granulated sugar. If brown sugar is an ingredient, it will be written as such in the recipe.
Figure out the timing. Check the listed “prep time” and “total time” to be sure you have enough time to complete the recipe.
Look for hints, such as the words “meanwhile” or “at the same time,” which indicate two or more steps can happen simultaneously.
For example, my prep time doesn’t include bringing cold butter up to room temperature. Be sure to include in your timetable.
Watch Recipe Videos. If you’re a visual learner (like me), watch recipe videos. Perfect for when you’re learning a new skill or just want to see how a recipe is made.
Mise en place is a super time saver. This French cooking term translates as “putting in place.” It means prepping/measuring ingredients and chopping food before you start cooking. It’s the perfect way to get organized and avoid missing an ingredient or missing a step in the instructions.
Organize your tools and kitchen equipment. Mise en place isn’t just for ingredients. Before starting, make sure you have parchment paper, aluminum foil, measuring cups, measuring spoons, the right pans, mixing bowls, and other equipment.
Make notes in your recipe. Note any special prep instructions and highlight cooking times. Make note of ingredients omitted, favorite substitutions and creative twists. The notes will be very helpful the next time you make this recipe.
Baked Chicken Legs
- 6 each chicken legs Also known as chicken drumsticks.
- 4 teaspoons hot sauce Or use Cajun sauce.
- 1-1/2 tablespoons Hickory Liquid Smoke
- cumin seeds or cumin powder
- salt to taste
- black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- If desired, remove skin from each leg (optional). Use paper towels to pat each leg thoroughly dry. See Recipe Notes about washing chicken.
- In a large bowl, thoroughly combine Cajun sauce, Liquid Smoke, cumin (powder or seeds), thyme, salt, and black pepper.
- Add the chicken legs. Roll around in mixture until evenly coated.
- Arrange the chicken legs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Pour marinade over the chicken legs
- Baking time depends on thickness. Bake smaller legs 15-20 minutes before flipping over. Bake large/thick chicken legs should 20-30 minutes before flipping over.
- After flipping legs over, bake another 10-15 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting thermometer into thickest part of drumstick all the way to the bone. The internal temperature should be 165°F (75°C).
- Broil for 1 minute or until the skin turns golden brown and crispy.
- Serve immediately.