How to Bake Chicken Legs

How to bake chicken legs. How about some baked chicken legs with BBQ sauce for dinner? These are super easy to make and so, so good! Who says you have to have a grill to enjoy some good BBQ food? Sometimes I get reprimanded for dubbing my baked chicken and ribs BBQ — that barbecued food comes from a grill and not the oven. And, I agree. However, I will continue being a cheek and call my baked chicken legs BBQ chicken drumsticks because they are a fabulous substitution!

Baked chicken legs can be tricky in that all ovens are different. It is of utmost importance that you make sure you have cooked these all the way through or you could get sick. The following post has some good guidelines but our times could vary. So please, whatever you do, make sure yours are cooked!

I have a variety of baked chicken legs recipes on this website but I think these are my absolute favorite.

This is how to bake chicken legs that are delectable, moist and finger-licking-good:

Serves six

12 thawed chicken legs – small to medium (larger drumsticks will take longer to cook)
2 TBS olive oil
1 TBS coarse salt
2 tsp. black pepper
1 cup BBQ sauce of choice

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Rinse and pat dry the chicken (make sure it is completely thawed) and place it in a large roasting pan or a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and season it generously with salt and pepper. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375.

Remove the chicken from the oven and brush – on both sides and liberally – with barbecue sauce. I like my homemade apple juice bbq sauce but you can use whatever you like. You might also like this spicy bbq sauce.

Place the chicken back into the oven and cook for an extra 10 minutes. Remove from oven and brush both sides one more time. Place in oven for an extra 7 to 10 minutes until the bbq sauce caramelizes and the chicken registers 170 degrees on a meat thermometer placed close to the bone. You can also slice the chicken, close to the bone, and if it is pink cook it for longer. I would cook it in 5 minute increments. Whatever you do, make sure your chicken is completely cooked through before serving. All ovens are different so your times might vary. I served mine with broccoli slaw and sweet potato chips.


2 chicken legs – CALORIES 345.31; FAT 16.52 grs (sat 4.07; mono 8.14; poly 3.27); PROTEIN 26.07 grs ; FIBER 1.54 grs; CARBS 20.71 grs; CHOLESTEROL 110 mg; IRON 1.67 mg; SODIUM 1514.05 mg; CALCIUM 3.16 mg

Oven BBQ Chicken Drumsticks with Slaw & Sweet Potato Chips

Print the Oven BBQ Chicken Legs Recipe Here

Print the Sweet Potato Chips Recipe Here

Print the Cole Slaw Recipe Here

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  • Hilary! Welcome! I am happy you found me too. Hope these come out delish! Have a wonderful day!
    Mary Ann

  • I loved the directions I just baked them they look beautiful and I am sure they taste delicious.thanks

  • Great! I hope they come out delicious! Thanks so much for coming by!
    Mary Ann

  • Thank you Zac! I really appreciate you coming by! Have a great weekend!
    Mary Ann

  • Thanks for the info… cooking right now. These were the exact directions I was looking for. I use Sweet Baby Ray’s as well. Thanks!

  • I made this last night for my husband and me and it was a huge hit! He doesn’t like chicken breast, no matter which way I make them, but loved these drumsticks (I did too!). I took your suggestion and made the sweet potato chips and broccoli slaw as sides. Great combo.

  • Thanks Stephanie! It makes me so happy when things work out well! I really appreciate your support! Have a wonderful Sunday!
    Mary Ann

  • Hi Traci!
    First of all, thank you very much for coming by! I think your chicken will be perfect tomorrow! Just make sure to add extra sauce after you reheat them so they are not dry. Have a great night!
    Mary Ann

  • O.k. My wife found your recipe and we just took them out of the oven and they look delicious…..This is to be our “Side Dish” which we are taking to a cookout today…. Doing up 8 dozen… πŸ˜‰

  • Thank you so much for coming by! I am happy these worked out for you. We love them! Have a wonderful week!
    Mary Ann

  • awesome suggestions and directions. i made chicken stuffing and had corn on the side instead though thanks a bunch!!!

  • Does it matter how many legs you cook at one time? I’ve tried this recipe twice and the legs are always pink in the middle and I end up cooking them for 15-20 mins longer. What am I doing wrong?

  • Hi Yvonne!
    Every oven is different. Are you piling the drumsticks in your pan? Try heating the oven a little more so that you do not have to cook them for so much longer. Hope this helps!
    Take care.
    Mary Ann

  • This recipe was excellent. I end up using Tandoori sauce by HP and it was delicious! Thank you Mary Ann for posting this.

  • Awesome! I am so happy it worked out for you! Thanks for letting me know! Have a great week!
    Mary Ann

  • Awesome! I am so happy it works and happier that you are bookmarking me! Thanks Missy! Have an awesome night!
    Mary Ann

  • Thank you so much Amy! I really am happy you like this and that you will be coming back! Take care!
    Mary Ann

  • I’m about to pop these in the oven but was wondering if they should be covered at any point?

  • Hi Sunny!
    I do not cover these when I make them. If your oven is too strong, go ahead and do so as they roast. Otherwise, it is not necessary. Happy cooking!
    Mary Ann

  • Thanks Mary Ann. Thought so but wanted to get it from the pro πŸ™‚ I’ll let you know how my family liked them. I can smell them now. P.S. thanks so much for your rapid reply!!

  • i love this recipe i always over cook my chicken but this was great i made a dubble batch and the left overs were moist thanks

  • Thank you SO much for this recipe!! I now have it bookmarked. they are just about done but look soooo yummy, can’t wait to eat them πŸ™‚

  • Made this for the 1st time for 4 people – GREAT success!
    Im a 25 year old guy…if I can do it, anyone can do it!
    Thanks for the detailed steps.

  • That is so great Daniel! I am happy this helped! Thanks so much for letting me know!
    Mary Ann

  • Awesome! I am so happy to hear that! Thank you so much for letting me know!
    Mary Ann

  • Can you give the recipe for the brocoli slaw and sweet potatoe chips. I have never heard of either one and both of them sound and look yummy!!!

  • Hi Diana! You can search for both those recipes on the right hand side of the website. You will get both recipes. Thank you so much for coming by!
    Mary Ann

  • Just wondering can I finish off chicken on the grill after I put
    Bar-B-Q Sauce on them.

  • Oh yum! Absolutely! The chicken will be splendid! Thanks so much for coming by!
    Mary Ann

  • Yum James! That sounds great! Thanks for coming by! Have a fantastic week!
    Mary Ann

  • Yeah,,,, so followed exactly to the t. UNDER BAKES THEM. Perhaps you should advise your audience a longer time to cook.

  • Of the hundreds, literally, hundreds of people that have let me know how well this has worked for them you are the very first one to state this. Every oven is different and I am sorry your chicken was undercooked. Thanks for coming by and letting me know.
    Mary Ann

  • Probably. Chicken needs to cook thoroughly in order to not make you sick. Keep an eye on them so they do not over cook. Thanks for coming by!
    Mary Ann

  • Simple, easy, and delicious! Thank you for this great recipe! I don’t like drumsticks, but my husband does. He said these came out great and would definitely eat them again.

  • Great! Thank you very much for the message! I am happy these came out great for you!

  • I do but you can go ahead and remove them is you want. Thanks for coming by!

  • Thanks for the recipe! I used a digital thermometer to know when they were cooked, and they turned out perfect! Extremely moist and tender, with great flavor!

  • I wondered if when placing the chicken on the baking sheet do you put it skin side up or down and do I need to grease of put tinfoil on the baking sheet prior to putting on the chicken?

  • Hi Dee!
    You do not need to place these skin side down. Go ahead and place some foil on the baking sheet to facilitate clean-up. Thanks for coming by!
    Mary Ann

  • Hi Krystal!
    Thank you for giving this a try! I hope it comes our wonderful! Have a spectacular week!
    Mary Ann

  • Hey, I am a father of 3 little kids and the wife is gone at work, SO. Thanks to your website I am able to answer a lot of cooking questions. THANK YOU. I am Pre-Heating the oven now for my chicken drummies. Working at the Fire Department I like to bring food to work.

  • Hi Michael!
    You are so welcome! I am happy that the website helps out! Thank you so much for giving it a try. Good luck with your chicken! Thanks so much for coming by!
    Mary Ann

  • Dear Frugal Chef,
    I’m wanting to try out your chicken tonight, but I am cooking off of my yacht for hunting clients in Alaska and my oven starts at 400 degrees. Do you have any tips for me in regards to my different degree settings? The chicken should reach 160 degrees inside to be considered fully cooked…. right?

  • Hi Jana!
    Go ahead and cook the chicken at the 400 degrees. Just make sure you flip them halfway. The chicken should be between 165 to 170 degrees to be cooked. Good luck! I hope this works out for you. What a beautiful setting to have some BBQ chicken tonight! Have a great week!
    Mary Ann

  • Making this right now…crossing my fingers/toes. I just recently learned how to operate the oven properly. Will let you know how it turns out. The only thing I’m afraid off is I can’t really tell when the legs are done.

  • Hi Nick!
    No worries! This will come out perfect! If you have a meat thermometer insert it into the deepest part. If it registers 165 to 170 you are golden! If you do not, go ahead and cut one open. If you have no pink or red the chicken is ready. Good luck!
    Mary Ann

  • Hi there!
    Thank you for coming by. 60 to 62 minutes to cook chicken drumsticks is way too long. Either the drumsticks you are cooking are huge or your oven is very slow. Have a great week!
    Mary Ann

  • Hi Kayla!
    I hope these came out great for you! I am sure they did. You just had to cook them for a little longer. Thank you for coming by!
    Mary Ann

  • I followed your recipe to the exact minutes and then I left them longer and it was undercooked!! Thanks again though! I will keep trying!!

  • Kim!
    I am sorry to hear this! Maybe you need to set the oven a little higher next time. Ovens are all so different. Thank you for giving these a try. I hope next time they work better for you!
    Mary Ann

  • oops! Hit enter to soon. I was trying to say I’ve always put the bbq sauce on first and then cooked them all the way through, but always have burnt bbq sauce. Looking forward to trying it this way! Thanks for the super simple directions! πŸ™‚

  • UPDATE!: My chicken turned out Puuuurfect! πŸ™‚ Again, thanks for the great information. This is going in my recipe book!

  • Thank you so much for letting me know Amber! I am so happy this worked for you! I hope you have a wonderful week!
    Mary Ann

  • MaryAnn this was absolutley terrific! I’d like to do this using chicken breast, any suggestions on the cooking variations? Thank you.

  • These came out great! I had fairly large drumsticks, cooked them for about 25-30 minutes, then 7 more with BBQ sauce, turned them and 5 more minutes. They were fully cooked, moist and juicy, with the lightly caramelized BBQ sauce adding just the right touch. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Hi Becky!
    I am so happy to hear this! Thank you so much for the message. Have a great week!
    Mary Ann

  • Hi Jessica!
    Thank you so much for your message. I am happy you like this. I think chicken breast would work great with this. Just follow the recipe. Have a great week!
    Mary Ann

  • I had family pack of drumsticks wasn’t sure what I was going to do with them so I Googled and your site came up they where absolutely delicious my husband loved them as well next time I will try making your apple bbq sauce thanks for your time

  • Hi Heather!
    Thank you for giving these a try! I am so happy they worked out for you! I htink you will love the bbq sauce. Everybody does. You are welcome for my time – it is my sincere pleasure! I appreciate you coming by.
    Mary Ann

  • Mary Ann, this is a first. To see the gratitude you show required a comment. To post to each individual just amazed me. I love your site and God bless you for your gratefulness.
    PS… but with a name like Ann, you can’t be anything but nice. πŸ™‚

  • Hi Ann!
    Yup! Its the name! Hahaha. Thank you for stopping by! I really appreciate it. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!
    Mary Ann

  • Thanks for the recipe my father had got a mini oven and I was looking for some tips and your page came up first so I. Checked it out thanks again

  • The time seems way too short to me. I’ve got legs in the oven right now at 400 degrees and for very nearly an hour and they are not close to done yet.
    Are you sure about that time?

  • Hi Jim!
    I make these all the time and the time I posted is what works. I am surprised that your chicken is not cooked after an hour at 400 degrees. I don’t understand why. Thank you very much for coming by. Have a great weekend!
    Mary Ann

  • Although overs vary, at 350-375 it would be rare that the chicken would be completely cooked in less than 40mins total bake time.

  • Hi Stacey!
    I have many recipes for chicken wings in the oven. Check them out! Thanks for stopping by!
    Mary Ann

  • Well, the time given was kind of a fail. Still quite raw. Dinner will be very late this evening.

  • Hi Rose,
    I am sorry these took longer for you. As I stated, times and ovens do vary. This is how long these take in mine. I hope they were worth the wait. Thanks for giving these a chance!
    Mary Ann

  • I had the same problem as Jim but then covered the pan with foil and that finished it up quick.

  • I came across this site, specifically this article, by accident…or maybe it was divine intervention. Looks like I need to get a shopping list going. I am curious, do you think the bbq sauce would work as well using something other than molasses? My hubby really watches his sugar and it complicates my kitchen fun sometimes.

  • Hi Jenny!
    Welcome! Go ahead and add brown sugar instead of the molasses. Hopefully that helps! Thank you!
    Mary Ann

  • Hey! Just finishing making these! they look so good so far! I was reading some earlier comments and noticed that someone had 400 degrees and still not cooked and I looked back through your recipe and noticed that you did not give separate times for thawed vs frozen drum sticks or specify that your cooking times are specifically for thawed drum sticks. Maybe do an edit to address this? Great recipe though! Meat was falling right off the bone!

  • Hi Zak!
    Thank you so much for the message! I had not thought of that. I will definitely specify that the chicken must be thawed. It never occurred to me that people might be trying to bake frozen chicken. Great tip! I am very happy these worked for you. I really appreciate it!
    Mary Ann

  • tried this, they unfortunately didnt come out done, i had to do it an additional twenty minutes, could just be my stove though. Looked great til it was pink on the inside like mad.

  • Hi Ben!
    Thanks for the message. I am sorry this did not work for you with the times. As I said, and I will go back and restate this, every oven is different and sometimes things take longer. I am living in La Paz, Bolivia – at 12,000 feet and things here do take longer to cook. So it surprises me that it takes so much longer at lower altitudes. Oh well, thanks for giving these a chance! Have a great weekend!
    Mary Ann

  • Hi Mary Ann, I’m a chef in the Chicago suburbs, and I shes your times and played w/ your bbq, it came out great however in the pack of drumsticks three of them were small and two quite a bit larger, thats what I get w/ buying random sized chicken nonconstancy anyway the three smaller pc. on w/ your times but the two larger ones took an extra 20 minutes. Or so… Also at home we have a conventional oven at work we have conviction ovens that circulate the air so every pc . Would have been cooked through in 30-35 minutes max… Thanks for the bbq and info it was very helpful. πŸ™‚

  • Hi Kristoffer!
    Thank you so much for this message! You might have noticed that there are all kinds of comments – some worked perfectly, some needed extra time. Your point is excellent! I always get smaller drumsticks so, of course, they cook faster. I will add that to the instructions. I didn’t even think about this. I really appreciate you taking the time to write me! Have a wonderful week!
    Mary Ann

  • My family loved this recipe, I pre heated the oven as I prepared the chicken cooked it for 30 min instead of 25 but came out delouses made mac N cheese with steamed vegies. next time ill try it with your apple bbq sauce.
    -thank you for this recipe

  • These were wonderful. Thank you so much for sharing. i feed 3 very hungry men and they were very happy with the dinner!!!!

  • Hi Helen!
    Sorry for the delay! I do not take the skin off before cooking. I find that it helps keep the meat moist. I remove the skins after the chicken is cooked. Have a great weekend!
    Mary Ann

  • Hi! Just wanted to let you know I made this tonight for dinner- followed the directions to a “T” and the chicken came out PERFECT! It was so easy which is what I need while dealing with a 2 year old and 9 month old! I am always so nervous making chicken- it’s either too done or not enough, but I needed to do nothing to the time on this! Btw I was using thawed chicken- I have never attempted to cook frozen chicken…


  • I made these for my kids last week as I was tired of them always only eating/wanting frozen chicken nuggets! These were amazing and a hit all around! They are currently in my oven for dinner tonight! Thanks for such a great recipe. I am hoping to make your BBQ sauce next time!

  • Hello Mary…..I wasn’t sure how long to bake drumsticks,so just searched it on the internet. Your site came up and WaLa, perfectly cooked chicken so tender and moist. Thank you for the recipe your awesome.

  • Was hungry all day n had drumsticks in the fridge never made them before n googled n this recipe shows up… WOW I feel like chef lol thank u The Lord has blessed you with Great skill!! God Bless you

  • Get the best of both worlds, after a an olive oil rub, then a nice seasoning on top of that let them sit 30 minutes on the counter, grill till they are colored nicely, about 30 minutes, then put them in the oven with a coating of bbq sauce for another 30 minutes minimum. They may be safe at 170, but not tender, I sometimes go to 185. They are falling off the bone with nice cooked in flavor by that point, and because you do the bbq sauce in the oven, your grill is still in decent shape…remember to let them sit for 10 to 15 minutes before you eat to level out in temp, truth is, never cook by time, always cook by the meats temp, and remember, those nice little thermometers dont last forever, check and replace as needed….

  • Hi Mary Ann…I have NEVER had the want or desire to cook – not even as a play time! Ha! With that being said, you have to understand that coming from me – this must be the ultimate compliment! I found your recipe, followed it and my goodness – I have NEVER tasted better! Thank you so much!

  • Catherine!
    YAY! Thank you so much for this message! You made me very happy! I am glad this helped and worked out for you! I also hope you have a wonderful 2013! Take care and thank you again!
    Mary Ann

  • Well…when Pops returned from the store with drumsticks only, I was baffled. I’m baffled no more! Making these tonight! Thank You in advance!

  • As a person who hates frying chicken.. This recipe came in perfect timing for my dinner plans… My family loved it

  • This is a recipe I have been looking for. Something easy and tasty. Thanks for sharing. I will be posting the results.

  • I love your site, hardly a day passes without I stopping by. Your recipes and explanations are great and I enjoy your cheerful smile as well. Being an experienced home cook myself I can appreciate great cooking.

    Hebe (Puertorrican)

  • Hebe!
    Thank you so much for your message! You made me very happy. I am so glad you like my site and recipes. Your support means a lot to me! Have a great week end.
    Mary Ann

  • I have chicken legs and this will be the recipe I use. I will get back atcha.
    Thanks a bunch

  • Hi Mary Ann! My birth name was Mary Ann Allen , but I have married. I stumbled onto your website for your BbQ chicken recipe, (it sounds delicious) and just had to say hi. May the Lord bless you in all your endeavors.
    Mary Ann Allen Bowling

  • Hi Mary Ann!
    Sorry for the delay! My kids are here for Christmas and I have been bad about following up! My birth name is Mary Ann Jacobs. Peter, my husband is an Allen. Thank you so much for stopping by. I am very happy you did. Blessings to you as well. Here’s to a superb 2014!
    Mary Ann

  • I just looked at your website and then I hit the “back” button to go back to my original google search. You website is coded with a redirect that won’t let me back unless I hit the back button 2 times very fast. This is a tactic that the porn industry and phishing sites use. You don’t need to “trick” people to stay on your site.

  • Hi Todd,
    I can assure you that this is not intentional. I will send your message to my webmaster so he can correct this. I have no desire to “trick” anyone. Thank you for stopping by.
    Mary Ann

  • hi todd,

    im the webmaster @ im sorry to hear you are having problems navigating the site. i can honestly say we do not do anything to alter our users experience on the site. i checked on our end and tested the issue you reported and I could go back to the google search page by using the back button.

    Can you confirm the browser you experienced this issue with and we can continue researching on our end?

    thanks for your time in reporting this issue.

  • Great baking instructions! Chicken came out moist and tender and done!

    I had to do an extra 10 minutes in my oven for a pack of 18 medium sized legs.

  • Mary Ann,

    Oh my gosh, I made these for dinner tonight and my 3 year old daughter ate 3 drumsticks! They came out so good. Which one of your sides would you recommend to go with this the next time I make it?

    Thank you,

  • These look and sound delicious. So easy and simple, just what i was looking for, for tonight.Thank you. πŸ™‚

  • Trying these now! I hope they turn out well! I also made broccoli slaw and white rice to pair with my chicken! Thanks for the recipe!

  • We have a big family witch we have 7 kids still at home and they Love chicken and I wanted to change something’s and seen your way of doing and WE LOVE IT. Please email with anymore great tips on your chicken thank you very much.

  • Hi Nancy!
    Thank you very much for stopping by! I am super happy that you like this recipe. You know if you go to the main page of this website you will find a category for chicken under ‘Everyday’. There are hundreds of recipes for chicken that are simple, frugal and delicious. Make sure to sign-up to monthly newsletter where you will get 4 weeks of menus which will help you decide what to cook for dinner!Take care and thanks again.
    Mary Ann

  • I made this for my family last night, and it came out perfect! They loved it, as did I! Great recipe. Thank you!

  • Dear Mary Ann.. I loved this recipe!! I was just looking to see how long and at what degree to cook the chicken and I happened to find your recipe. I was drawn to, not only your beautiful pictures of the food, and very user friendly site, but mostly to you. The way you describe the food, and teach us to make it was very down to earth, kind, and fun. You can tell that you enjoy what you are doing. And the videos are great!! Not to mention, most of the things are in your pantry or at your local supermarket!! You dont need to send to France for some thing you have never heard of! So thank you!! I want to follow your site and try new recipes.. if your ever in CT…look us husband is from Valencia Spain and makes the best paella and aioli in the world! Come on over. Leah

  • Hi Leah!
    Thank you so much for your message! You made my day. I am so happy that you like my site and that you find value here. So very happy! I would love to meet you someday. I actually have a paella recipe and it gets destroyed by viewers from Valencia. . . ha ha ha! So, maybe one day he can teach me his version. I hope you are all well and thank you again. Take good care!
    Mary Ann

  • Could you use different sauces with this recipe? For example, using a buffalo sauce instead of a BBQ sauce?

  • Hi Matt!
    I am sure you can make this with whatever sauce you want. You might not need to cook the buffalo sauce quite as much so I would suggest adding it at the last 15 minutes and then removing the chicken from the oven. Thanks for stopping by!
    Mary Ann

  • I am a very new cook, so I appreciated the simplicity of this recipe (and that it called simply for BBQ sauce instead of having to make my own!). I cut up some garlic and onion and cooked the chicken with that on top. I’ve made these a few times and me and my boyfriend both love it when I make this for dinner!

  • Hi Laura!
    Thank you so much for the message. I am so happy this recipe works for you. I really appreciate you making this and letting me know how it came out! Have a great week!
    Mary Ann

  • I just made this tonight. I made one with bbq sauce and one without. Everyone loved it. It was so moist and not dried out. It was perfect.

  • My dad helped me out when my pressure cooker went on the fritz by finding this for me…I have these in the oven right now!! They look amazing and I cannot wait to try them…my mouth is WATERING!!

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