These Salt & Pepper Oven Baked Chicken Legs will make you love eating chicken legs again! Let’s face it, chicken legs can be our least favourite things to eat or is it just me that grew out of loving them? When I was a kid, I would chose oven baked chicken legs over anything else my Mom made but now as an adult I don’t actually buy packages of chicken legs on purpose – until I came up with the idea of making them in my favourite flavour!
How to Make The Best Salt & Pepper Chicken Legs
Chicken legs are the best when they are oven baked, however if you are in the middle of summertime BBQ season they can also be amazing done on the BBQ! Alas, we don’t always have a BBQ handy, so oven bake chicken legs are the way to go for 80% of the year. Here are a few commonly asked questions about baking chicken legs and their answers!
Is baking chicken drumsticks the best way to cook chicken legs?
I’m going to say yes. Even though I have some crockpot chicken legs coming up soon as a recipe, I can truly say that baking chicken legs is the easiest way to get crispy chicken legs. It’s tied with BBQ drumsticks but I am not wandering through the snow in the winter to make chicken legs on the BBQ! Oven baked chicken legs are the way to go!
How long do you bake chicken legs or chicken drumsticks for?
You bake them until they reach a temperature of 185 °F. Yes, chicken legs are dark meat, which means that you don’t want to only cook them to 165 °F, that’s the temperature suggested for food safety reasons. With chicken dark meat you want to cook it to at least 185 range, so that the fats and meat fibers break down. It’s not about safely, it’s about cooking the meat until it’s the best texture possible and that means cooking dark meat to a higher temperature. You should definitely have a reliable meat thermometer for all of your cooking needs. It’s hard to bake chicken legs or anything else for that matter without one! Temperature matters!
What are some other baked chicken legs or baked chicken drumsticks recipes?
You can make all sorts of oven baked chicken legs and all of these recipes will work for them:
However, let’s talk about how my Salt and Pepper Oven Baked Chicken Legs are the absolute BEST! I know, I know, I am so modest (hahah as if) but these are right up there with my Salt and Pepper Chicken wings and in fact, I pretty much took the premise of those wings and made them into baked chicken legs.
These salt and pepper oven baked chicken legs are going to change your mind about chicken legs! I’m gradually coming over to the Dark Side of chicken legs. Slowly. Maybe is it because I over did them as a kid? Who else got tired of chicken legs? Just me? Chicken legs are a great cut of meat ; cheap, easy to hold and they cook up SO fast. Not only that, chicken legs really are a great piece of chicken to “coat” in sauces and other flavours. Unlike chicken thighs, you eat around the entire chicken legs with flavour on all sides, which is probably why they are so popular.
Tips & Tricks For Making Amazing Oven Baked Chicken Legs
- If you don’t have a pan that is really non-stick, line your baking sheet with tinfoil to prevent a big mess.
- Use a larger than you need baking sheet, you need to be able to toss around the chicken legs while baking.
- While I do toss the chicken wings in the salt and pepper mixture, I tend to sprinkle them onto the baked chicken legs rather than toss them. I can control the amount that sticks to the wings.
- Don’t be afraid to really coat those chicken legs with the salt and pepper mixture. You would be surprised at how much you need to get a really good flavour!
- Don’t skip out on making the garlic and sesame sauce! That’s what really gives these oven baked chicken legs their kapow!
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Salt & Pepper Oven Baked Chicken Legs
- Prep Time
- 5 minutes
- Cook Time
- 25 minutes
- Total Time
- 30 minutes
- Main Course
- Karlynn Johnston
- 8 chicken legs
- 3 teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoons crushed black pepper
- 4 teaspoons sesame oil
- 5 cloves garlic chopped
- 4 green onions diced
- chili pepper flakes optional but the heat is nice!
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Combine the salt and pepper together in a bowl. Place the chicken legs on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Sprinkle the chicken legs with the salt and pepper, then shake on the baking tray to cover completely.
- Bake for 15 minutes then turn and bake for another 15-20 minutes until crispy and cooked to 185 °F at least. You can cook them a bit further to your liking if you desire.
- As soon as the legs are close to being done, heat the sesame oil in a skillet over medium heat then add the garlic and onions.
- Cook until the garlic has browned slightly.
- Remove the chicken legs from oven and place in a large bowl.
- Toss the chicken legs with the garlic oil until completely coated.
- Place the now crispy, oven baked chicken legs on a serving platter, spooning any leftover garlic oil over the top.
- Serve and enjoy!
All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.
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Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!
Way too peppery for my family. The chicken itself came out nice and tender. I’ll try this again with about half the pepper
We loved this recipe. So easy and tasty. I wouldn’t change a thing. although they were not as crispy as I would have liked, they were delicious. I like the comment about adding baking soda to the seasoning mix; I will try that next time…because there definitely will be a next time. Thanks for this recipe!
Loved this recipe – it was quick, tasty and easy as pie – thank you for sharing it!
Is that 601 kcal per drumstick or for all 8?
The flavor was absolutely incredible! My chicken legs didn’t get crispy though, do you have any recommendations to get a more crispy leg?
Toss a little baking soda in with the seasoning mix before baking the chicken – a half teaspoon should do. Season the chicken and then let it rest for 10-15 minutes before patting dry and baking.
Baking soda lowers the temperature at which the maillard reaction (which is responsible for crispy skin) occurs, so a dash in your seasoning mix whenever baking, broiling or griddling any meats gives you a dark, crispy, flavourful crust without drying out the inside =)
Susanna Belter says
Great recipe! It was just what I was looking for. I’m going to try it with wings in my air fryer too.
Lyle Pederson says
I live in New Brundwick for the last 5 years.I was from Edmonton AB for 70 years prior to that. I love to cook
and enjoy you recipes.
Karlynn Johnston says
i am so glad that you enjoy my recipes!! Thanks for letting me know! Happy cooking!