Chicken legs are often overlooked in favor of chicken breasts, but they have so much to offer. In this article, I will share with you my favorite recipe for tender and juicy chicken legs baked to perfection in the oven. You and your family will love this savory dish that is bursting with mouthwatering flavors.
Why I Love Chicken Legs Oven Baked
When you take a trip to your local grocery store, you might notice the significant price difference between chicken legs and chicken breasts. Many consider chicken legs to be less healthy, which explains the gap in price. However, I absolutely adore the moistness of chicken legs, especially when they are oven-baked. They always come out incredibly juicy, and that’s what matters most to me.
I also have a soft spot for chicken thighs, which are right up there with my favorite, the chicken leg. While there are several ways to cook chicken legs, my preferred method is baking them in the oven. The simplicity of rubbing a homemade chicken leg seasoning, placing them in a pan, and letting the oven work its magic never fails to ease my cooking endeavors.
Prepare the Perfect Chicken Legs Oven Bake Rub
To achieve the best flavor for your chicken legs, you’ll need the following ingredients for the rub:
- Two tablespoons of thyme
- Two tablespoons of Onion Powder
- Two tablespoons of Garlic Powder
- Two teaspoons of paprika
- Juice of 1 lemon
How to Bake Chicken Legs to Perfection
Follow these simple steps to bake your chicken legs to perfection:
Prepare the Chicken Leg Rub:
- Combine the thyme, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, and paprika in a bowl.
- Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into the mixture.
Marinate the Chicken Legs:
- Place the chicken legs in a large bowl and drizzle them with the homemade rub.
- Ensure that the spice is evenly distributed under the skin and in all crevices of the meat.
- Cover the bowl and marinate the chicken legs overnight, preferably. You can also use a zip-loc bag for marination.
Preheat the Oven:
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
Bake the Chicken Legs:
- Line a baking pan with parchment paper or use a nonstick spray.
- Arrange the marinated chicken legs on the pan.
- Bake the chicken legs for 40 minutes on one side.
- Flip the chicken legs over and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
- To ensure they are cooked to perfection, use a meat thermometer to check that the internal temperature reaches at least 165°F (74°C).
Choosing the Right Temperature
The temperature at which you bake chicken legs can influence their texture and flavor. Here are some temperature options to consider:
- Baking at 350°F: This is the standard temperature for cooking chicken legs, resulting in even and thorough cooking, usually taking about 35-45 minutes.
- Baking at 400°F: This higher temperature will yield crispier skin and shorten the cooking time to about 25-35 minutes.
- Baking at 425°F: While this temperature will give you even crispier skin, be cautious as chicken legs can cook quickly, usually in 25-35 minutes.
To ensure your chicken legs are cooked through, follow these guidelines:
Use a Meat Thermometer:
- Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the leg, making sure it doesn’t touch the bone. When the internal temperature reads 165°F (74°C), your chicken is safe and ready to eat.
- Check that the juices run clear, not pink or bloody.
- Ensure the meat is no longer pink near the bone and the flesh appears opaque.
- If you desire crispy skin, it should have a golden-brown appearance.
Storing and Reheating Baked Chicken Legs
If you have leftovers or want to prepare these chicken legs in advance, here are some tips for storing and reheating:
- Allow the baked chicken legs to cool to room temperature before storing.
- Wrap them in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and place them in an airtight container.
- You can store them in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
- For extended storage, freeze each chicken leg individually or place them in a freezer-safe container or bag.
- Remember to label them with the date.
- Baked chicken legs can be frozen for up to 2-3 months.
When reheating baked chicken legs, you have a few options:
- Microwave: Reheat in the microwave for a quick option.
- Oven: Preheat your oven to around 350°F (175°C) and bake the chicken legs for 15-20 minutes or until heated.
- Wet Paper Towel: Wet a paper towel, wrap it around the chicken, and microwave it in 30-second intervals, checking for doneness.
Always ensure that the reheated chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) for safe consumption. Enjoy your delicious crispy chicken legs!
For more chicken recipes, visit Ekilove.