This is your go-to guide for cooking the best chicken legs. You have three options for cooking methods, and eight different sauces to choose from!
Years ago, I published this Caramelized Chicken Legs recipe, and today it is one of the most popular recipes on my site. So many people make it and love it. I wanted to further share my love of all things chicken legs with you so that you too can make a simple dish that you family will love. I’ve made literally hundreds of chicken leg recipes, and today I’m sharing all of my tips, tricks, and advice on how to cook this awesome cut of meat. I’m also sharing 8 different chicken leg recipes so that you can make them over and over again. The recipes all have 5 ingredients or less for the sauce – you are going to crazy for them all.
Here’s what I love about cooking chicken legs:
- They are inexpensive. I normally pay about a $1.00 a pound for chicken legs at Costco, no sale needed.
- Everyone loves them. My kids eat them, my husband loves them, and they are just plain delicious.
- They are super easy to prepare. It’s pretty hard to burn them or dry them out, which is always nice.
When I was working on all of the recipes for today, I didn’t know if I should bake them, slow cook them, or slow bake them. So I wanted to tell you that you can do all three! These recipes work in the slow cooker, oven, or in a Dutch oven in the oven, which is kind of a mix between the two. The sauces are so awesome that you have to plan on using them in your meal. You can make a pot of rice and then serve some of the extra sauce that the chicken cooked in over the rice. Add a side of steamed vegetables and you’re done!
3 Different Cooking Methods:
For all three options, mix all of the ingredients for the sauce in a medium bowl or 4-cup glass measuring cup, and whisk together to combine.
How to slow cook chicken legs:
Place all of the chicken legs in the bottom of a slow cooker (I have this slow cooker). Salt and pepper the chicken, flip it over, and salt and pepper the other side. Pour the sauce over the chicken legs. Slow cook on low for 6 hour or on high for 4 hours, until the largest piece of chicken registers 165 degrees on an instant read thermometer.
This option is great for all the reasons the slow cooker is great. You can start it in the middle of the day and have dinner on the table without much hands-on work during the busy evening. Or you can get the slow cooker going, leave the house, and come home to dinner. This is great for working parents, for Sunday dinner (it can cook while you are at church), or if you are running kids to practices or lessons in the evening. This option leads to flavorful moist chicken, but the outside and skin don’t crisp at all.
How to bake chicken legs:
Place all of the chicken legs in the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking dish. You may want to line the dish with foil for easier clean up. Salt and pepper the chicken, flip it over, and salt and pepper the other side. Pour the sauce over the chicken legs. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes to one hour, until the largest piece of chicken registers 165 degrees on an instant read thermometer.
This option is the fastest cooking option, though it will still take 45 minutes to an hour to bake. This is a great option for those of us who didn’t get the slow cooker rolling when we thought we would. I think this option also lends the best color and texture to the chicken skin.
How to slow bake chicken legs in a Dutch oven:
Place all of the chicken legs in the bottom of your Dutch oven (everyone need this Dutch oven! I have the 7.5 quart in green, perfect for chicken legs). Salt and pepper the chicken, flip it over, and salt and pepper the other side. Pour the sauce over the chicken legs. Bake, with the lid on, at 250 degrees for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until the largest piece of chicken registers 165 degrees on an instant read thermometer. If you want the outside of the chicken to char a bit, you can take the lid off the Dutch oven, turn the oven up to 400 degrees, and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.
This is a nice middle option. I like to get a big Dutch oven full of legs cooking in the oven over a nice low heat in the middle of the afternoon. I’ll often put in baked potatoes alongside it and let everything cook for a couple of hours. This option takes a little bit of the hustle out of dinner but doesn’t have to be planned so far in advance. And there’s something kind of magical about cooking things in Dutch ovens (I use this one almost daily).