How to cook chicken legs in the oven? There are hundreds and hundreds of recipes which will help you cook a tasty lunch or dinner for your family. This cut of meat is not only tasty, but low calorie and considered to be dietary which is a great news for everyone concerned about weight control. In addition, roasting is a guarantee that you will have tender and juicy meat, without a drop of excess fat.
Baked chicken legs are considered quite healthy food. If you first take off their skin, a minimum of fat will make this dish dietary. The meat is a great source of protein which is necessary for the body, and when it is properly prepared you can enjoy a quality food without fear of adding weight.
Why choose chicken instead of other meat variety? Except for the fact that chicken meat, including legs, is easy to cook, one should not forget that it has many benefits. It contains a lot of animal protein, enriched with all necessary amino acids. When eating a moderate amount of this meat, the benefits to the body are very palpable. It is important to remember that the meat is useful only when properly prepared, the ideal option is to bake chicken legs in the oven. Experts in nutrition recommended to remove the visible fat and skin from chicken which decreases the calories, but if you happen to love the crispy skin, it will not be the end of the world if you do not discard the skin. After all, we all know that food has to bring pleasure as well.
However, Salmonella is one of the greatest concerns when we talk about chicken. Under-cooked meat can be dangerous and it is essential that it is cooked entirely to avoid health problems. Another great concern is the way the birds are raised. They are often treated with antibiotics, hormones and other substances which make them grow faster. It is recommended that you choose free-range, organic and local poultry which may cost a little bit more but are a better alternative.
How to cook chicken legs in the oven – useful and practical tips for choosing and storing meat
Chicken legs are sold in every supermarket – fresh or frozen – and it is important that you pay attention to what you buy. Here are some useful tips that you need to know when buying and storing meat.
When you buy chicken, whole or cuts, make sure you examine it. It is best if you could buy the meat form a butcher or farmer’s market. Ask to smell the chicken. Never buy chicken that has a sour smell or a chemical smell as this is a sign that there is a significant amount of preservatives.
Do not buy meat which looks greenish or grayish. The color of fresh meat is pink.
Press the chicken – if the skin springs back, this is a sign that the meat is fresh. In case the skin sinks or feels hard, this is a sign that it has been sitting on the shelf for a long time.
Avoid packaged meat and cuts which have blood. This is a sure sign that the meat has been frozen and thawed multiple times or roughly handled.
Examine the packaging – typically, in supermarkets, both cuts and whole birds are sold in plastic-wrapped trays. Make sure that the wrap is intact and if you notice that it is loose, do not buy the meat. The plastic wrap should be clear and wrapped firmly around the base.
Always check the “use by” or “sell by” date. Buy the cuts that have the longest time left before expiry date. This rule is valid for both fresh and frozen chicken meat and for any met, in general.
Storing the meat you bought is just as important as buying it. Safe storage is essential for keeping any food, but crucial for meat. To prevent food spoilage, follow these simple rules:
When you bought legs or other cuts, place them in the refrigerator or in the freezer immediately after you get home. In case you bought larger quantity, divide it into portions for one cooking.
Fresh chicken will last for one or two days in the refrigerator after you open it. Keep in in a tightly sealed storage container.
Freeze in airtight packages and store for up to nine months in the freezer.
Do not thaw on the counter at room temperature. Defrost it in the refrigerator.
You can store cooked chicken in the refrigerator in a sealed container for a period of one to three days.
How long to cook chicken legs in the oven?
There is not a single answer to this question as home appliances vary. We shall give you the general rule of thumb but you need to consider the size of the portions that you are cooking and allow extra time, if needed.
Chicken legs are cooked for 40-45 minutes at 180°C/350°F in a fan oven or 190°C/375°F in a conventional oven.
Chicken drumsticks and thighs are cooked for 30 – 35 minutes at 180°C/350°F in a fan oven or 190°C/375°F in a conventional oven.
You need to make sure that the meat is cooked to a minimum of 165 degrees Fahrenheit (75 Celsius) or 175°F (79°C) internal temperature.
How to cook chicken legs in the oven – quick and easy recipes and directions
There are a lot of recipes for cooking chicken legs in the oven. The cooking time will depend on the recipe, the temperature in the oven and the exact type of cut. Some people prefer to separate the leg to thighs and drumsticks, others prefer to roast the legs as they are. Very often recipes advise to open periodically the oven while cooking and pour some of the liquid over the meat. It will give the finished product softness and a beautiful crust. Here are some quick and delicious chicken legs in the oven recipes:
How to cook chicken legs in the oven – basic recipe
- 4 chicken legs
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Granulated garlic and ground red pepper, optional
- Wash and dry the chicken legs. Season them with the spices.
- Place the meat on a lightly oiled baking sheet covered with foil.
- Preheat the oven to 410°F (210°C) and bake for about 30-40 minutes, depending on the thickness of the legs.
- Let the roasted legs rest for 10 minutes and serve with greens, potatoes, rice or anything else that you like.
How to cook crispy chicken legs in the oven – recipe and directions
Oven baked crispy chicken legs are a healthy and delicious way to have tender and juicy KFC style chicken. It is better to separate the leg and cook the drumsticks and thighs and not the whole leg.
- 2 lbs chicken drumsticks (1 kg)
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp white pepper
- 1 tsp Italian Seasoning
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp mustard powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 4 tbsp butter melted
- Place the chicken drumsticks (thighs) in a plastic bag and pour the buttermilk in. Do not remove the skin. Let the meat marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
- Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C).
- Mix together the flour, breadcrumbs, baking powder and all the herbs and spices. Set aside.
- Place a baking sheet in the oven to get hot for at least 15 minutes.
- Remove the drumsticks from the buttermilk, shaking off excess, and dredge in the flour mixture. Coat well on all sides.
- Add the butter to the heated baking sheet, arrange the drumsticks on top with plenty of room between them.
- Bake for 12 minutes, turn the chicken drumsticks over and bake another 12 minutes or until internal temperature reads 165°F (75°C).
- Remove from oven and allow the crispy chicken drumsticks to rest for 5 minutes.
How to cook chicken legs in the oven wrapped in aluminum foil?
Wrapping aluminum foil as a cover reduces the cooking time as the heat is trapped and the meat is exceptionally juicy and tender. Season the legs to your liking, grease the bottom of the baking pan, place the meat and cover with aluminum foil.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes while checking the temperature with your thermometer. Remove the foil and bake for 5 more minutes until the skin is crisp.
Remove from the oven, let it rest for several minutes and serve!