The Best Baked Chicken Legs

Guys, you will love this. We are chicken leg lovers and I make them often; this is one of the best recipes that I’ve made! Chicken legs are cheap and everything in the recipe is a whole food, plus it is easy! We all need some easy meals this week while we are preparing to enjoy a holiday weekend.
Sweet and salty chicken legs with a hint of garlic and a sticky gooey outside: what’s not to love? Plan on making these as soon as you get the legs; you’ll thank me later.
Are you all traveling, hosting, staying in town for Turkey Day? We go to my mother-in-law’s for a big extended family dinner and then a gigantic alumni basketball tournament at the high school that lasts all weekend. It’s a lot of fun and on top of all that I’m excited to meet my newest nephew who was born this week. Holidays are the best!
Let me know if you try the recipe. I love feedback. Enjoy!
how to bake chicken legs in the oven, sweet and salty chicken legs, chicken and soy sauce recipe

Caramelized Baked Chicken Legs
Recipe adapted from
Printable Recipe
Serves 6 as a main dish

2 1/2 pounds chicken legs
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lay the chicken legs out and give them a good sprinkling of salt and pepper on both sides. Put them in a foil-lined baking dish with high sides (the foil is to make clean up easier and is not essential). In a glass measuring cup measure out the honey, soy sauce, and ketchup. Add the minced garlic and stir. If the mixture doesn’t combine well microwave it on high for thirty seconds and stir again. Pour the honey mixture over the chicken legs.

Put the chicken legs in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Take the chicken out of the oven and rotate it so that the bottom that was in the sauce is now on the top out of the sauce. Put the legs back in the oven. Raise the heat to 425 degrees and bake until the sauce is bubbly and starts to caramelize on the chicken legs. This should take about 15 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Notes: Don’t forget the napkins because this is a finger lickin’ kind of meal.

caramelized chicken legs, chicken wing recipe for party

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    • I would tell you no on the crispy… sticky and delicious yes, but not really crispy. I think you could pull them out of the sauce and bake them at the high temperature and get them crispy though! Let me know if you try them :)

  1. Hi Melissa, I mad this for lunch today, and at first I was not likeing too much the sell of garlic and soy sause. Once it started cooking in about 30 minutes in to it, it started smelling a little better :) but I was still not too sure about garlic and soy sauce. After I took a bite of the chicken I thought it was verry tastefully and verry good. Thank you for sharing ur recipes.

    • I’m so glad it turned out well. I’m a bit of a garlic nut so I’m glad it was ok for you too! Enjoy and thank you for commenting. I love feedback!

  2. I absolutely love this dish! The first time my wife made this I walked into the kitchen and proclaimed how yummy it smelled. She then read to me the ingredients and I was a skeptic: ketchup, soy sauce, honey?
    Well, I have to say this has become a staple weeknight dish and the leftovers are even tastier for lunch the next day. This chicken comes out with a sweet, garlicky, ooey-gooey, deliciousness that is just amazing.

  3. Going to try these for dinner tonight, have two kids visiting who are VERY FUSSY eaters. Will let you know if it passes the fussy kids eaters test!

    • My kids LOVE chicken meat on the bone much more than a breast… which isn’t quiet what the average American likes! Hope it goes well :)

  4. I just made this and it was deelicious! I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs and did everything else as directed. I think it may be my go to baked chicken recipe from now on. Thanks for sharing!!

  5. we do something almost identical except we add a little dried ginger to the sauce. My kids call it “Sticky Chicken” and are thrilled when it on our dinner menus!

    • Yep… I think mine is a little smaller than 9×13 but you for sure want sides on the pan bigger than a cookie sheet!

    • Half the delight is cooking it in a bunch of liquid that starts to caramelize… I would cook it in a pan on the grill so that the chicken is still swimming the sauce while it’s cooking. Does that make sense? I think grilling the chicken and just brushing on the sauce might not work the same, but it’s totally worth a try in my book! Let me know how it turns out.

  6. Flavor was awesome. But it didn’t thicken up the way I thought it should, even after jacking the temp up. Didn’t quite carmelize except at the edges of the pan.

    • You could try using a bigger pan next time so that less of the chicken is under the sauce… the part that is sticking out in the end is what really gets wonderfully caramelized… I hope you try it again!

  7. I made this tonight and I also thought it didn’t thicken as much as I wanted – next time for sure I will pour some of the sauce out at the very end when I crank up the heat. It was still yummy though!

  8. im making this dish as I type~this dish is pleasing to the eye & caught my attention sunday dinner will be @ 2pm along with baked corn-on-cob, cabbage, devil eggs & dinner rolls

  9. Melissa, I cannot tell you how many times I have made this now, but it has been amazing every time! It is my husbands new favorite dish. I just hosted a business meeting and served this, it was easy, beautiful and yummy. Thanks!!

    • Yeah for loving a dish! We love it to, but get this… the tiny town we live in doesn’t carry chicken legs in the store! I need to pack a cooler and go pick some up because I’ve been wanting them lately too. So glad you like it and thanks so much for letting me know!!

  10. Hi there! I tried this recipe a few times and although it tastes good ,for some reason mine are not coming out crispy at all. I’m wondering what I can do to make them crispier? Any ideas?

    • Hey Dora!

      I think you’d have more luck using a larger pan or less sauce. If about half of your chicken is sticking out of the sauce then it should have a chance to caramelize on the outside. If too much is covered or the chicken is too close together then it kind of just boils in the sauce. Does that make sense?! I’ll add that to the recipe because that crisping up really makes it divine! Thanks for the comment :)

  11. We tried this last night for dinner – it was GREAT! I added a pinch of red pepper flake and I think next time I will sprinkle on some diced green onions as I am serving it, for a pop of freshness, but this was real good – and the sauce made the meal complete. I served with steamed white rice and some steamed edamame.

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  13. I’m commenting just to note that I used 4 pounds of chicken legs using the same amount of ingredients listed and I did NOT cover the chicken during baking… Just in case anyone was wondering as I was. I also baked the chicken legs skin down so that when I rotate them the skin would be up during the last 15 minutes of cooking at 425 degrees. after cooking time I turned the oven off and leaving the chicken in i begin basing the chicken with all of the sauce it was swimming in to get maximum flavor on the outside of the skin. you can baste the chicken as many times as you want for maximum flavor. I did this about 3 times every 5 to 10 minutes. And of course as everyone else said who tried the recipe the chicken was delicious.

  14. Tried this recipe tonight ad ohh boy was I skeptical. Won’t lie the smell of the sauce once all is mixed together doesn’t smell that good lol. But once poured over the chicken and baking has started it smells fantastic! I used chicken thighs instead of drumsticks… They turned out sooo moist and delish! Thanks for the recipe :)

    • Woohoo for chicken leg success! Now I should go make them for my family… it’s been way to long. Thanks for leaving feedback, it makes my day!

  15. This dish was good….but not what I was expecting. It was missing something spice wise and they were not a sticky. I used a bigger pan per a couple recommendations but it didn’t help. I will try it again.

  16. The ingredients sound weird lol but I just put it in the oven about 20 min ago and it smells great. I’m excited to see how it turns out!!

  17. I made these last night my husband who is not a chicken fan ate 3 legs. I followed what an earlier post recommended and basted them every 5 mins. I doubled the sauce and marinated them for the day. then cooked them with the other1/2 of sauce. I am going to try this sauce with pork chops next

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  19. I really want to make these tonight. I have a convection oven. Should I put it on the convection roast setting, convection bake, or regular bake? In my convection oven everything seams to take longer not shorter time.

      • I did try it. I put them in the convection oven on roast at 400 which is actually 375. They turned out really good, My husband really liked them, which is a plus because he can be picky. I think I will try this with other cuts of chicken.

  20. This recipe sounds yummy and easy. I don’t know if this sounds kind of crazy but do you think I could get away with making a ton of these for a party? For about 35 people? Obviously I would have to increase portions and measurements but I am kinda worried chicken may not com evenly in oven because of so many chicken legs! Army suggestions?

    • I think it would would great if you have a few large pans with sides and did a decent amount of rotating and such… I’d totally do it. It might not be quite as stick and caramelized, but that flavor will still totally be there! Let me know how it goes!

  21. These were awesome!!! I wasn’t paying attention and switched the amounts of ketchup and soy sauce, cooked in a convection toaster oven, and they were still great!!! Thanks for the recipe!

  22. hey i’m about to try this dish, but i dnt hve soy sauce to hand, any other sauce i can use?

    • I have! It tastes great but doesn’t quiet get the same sticky outside/caramelization. We love it in the crockpot though. I’ll throw it in before church and enjoy them for Sunday dinner. The clean up is nice and quick :) Enjoy Stephanie!

  23. Made these last night. the only thing I did differently was to sprinkle Trader Joes’s South African Smoke Seasoning over the chicken. We ate all of it -no left overs. So delicious. Thank you for this recipe-definitely a keeper!

  24. can’t wait to try this on legs,wings,and thighs. I might even try on a roasted chicken. ummmm then I might use it on a ROASTING TURKEY! WOW!

  25. Oh my goodness, I normally don’t comment on recipes I make but I figured this one deserves it! I made this for my boyfriend and myself as kinda a “date night” dinner. Oh boy was it delicious! Since there were only two of us, I halved the recipe and all the ingredients but holy schmoly! Both my boyfriend and I were licking our fingers and went back for seconds! As a previous commented stated, it really didn’t smell that good when I was mixing up the sauce (Honey and ketchup?!) but my mind quickly changed once it started baking!

    I served it with some brown rice cooked in chicken broth, and I used a wooden spoon to kinda baste the chicken legs, so I stirred my rice once it was done and it had some of the sauce on it, yum! Also steamed broccoli.

    So A+ recipe! THank you so much!

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  27. These legs are fabulous. I added hot sauce and 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper for a light kick. Cooked them the first 45 min as directed. Turned them and basted every 10 min for the second 45 min. Perfect. Served with broccoli salad and cilantro rice. Easy dinner with very little prep.

  28. I wanted to let you know that despite my lifelong distrust of Ketchup and any recipe including it, I tried this last night for dinner, and served it with rice. Huge hit, everyone got seconds, and now I have another super easy mid-week meal to toss together. It took very little work, and the cleanup wasn’t bad. With a no-gluten soy sauce, it’s gluten free, which helps, too.

    Thanks for posting it, and proving me wrong about a sauce with Ketchup in it.

    • Bippy! I literally LOLed when I read that. “Life long distrust of Ketchup” such a great line! I’m so glad you liked it. We make it GF all of the time too and then my father-in-law can enjoy it too!

  29. Made this yesterday for dinner, it was so delicious. Did use skinless chicken legs, and worked out very well. Next time I make it, will place hot sauce with ketchup, my son likes it spicy, may add cayenne pepper also, as one of your readers did. Didn’t have quite enough of honey ,added maple syrup, I don’t think it changed the taste. Will contiinue making this!!! Thanks!

  30. This is delicious! What a huge bang for your buck. My kids and husband love it too. This has been added to my menu rotation. Thank you!

  31. i am making this tonight for my husbands dinner tomorrow. He workd nights and I like to prepare something so all he has to do is heat it up before leaving for work in the afternoon. I will let you know how it is.

  32. Made this for dinner last night and hubby liked it but I didn’t care for it. The flavors were off for me. It doesn’t help that I don’t like garlic but still super easy thank you for sharing.

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  34. It’s in the oven now cooking (and a couple of baking potatoes on the side too). Will let you know how hubby and I liked it after dinner. Smells delish!

    • Husband that cooks?! KEEPER! I’m so pleased you liked it :) Hope you con him into trying a few more. There’s a steak carnita recipe for the crockpot floating around the archives that I highly recommend :)

    • Most chicken has already been frozen once so I try to avoid freezing it again. If you can get fresh chicken legs though I sure think it would freeze fine!

  35. This was very yummy and the family loved it! I’m a photographer so I had to take a photo of mine to share. Posted with your blog address, found on Pinterest. Thank you for sharing!