The Best Baked Chicken Legs

4.98 from 167 votes

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This simple 5-ingredient recipe makes The Best Baked Chicken Legs I have ever had! (And the masses agree—this recipe has been shared over 250,000 times!) Pop these legs in the oven, and you’ll have a crispy chicken dinner!

plate of chicken legs on a gray towel.
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Not only is this one of my kids’ favorite ways to enjoy chicken, but this recipe is also on its way to breaking the internet! For real. I knew it was delicious and easy, but after being shared more than 250,000 times and receiving oodles of reviews from people who’ve made it, I almost can’t believe how much you guys love this recipe!

The sauce is truly addicting. You’ll want it on fried rice, steamed veggies, and maybe even in a cup with a straw to drink it—it’s THAT good. I’d love to know if you try this recipe and love feedback, so leave a comment if you do!

chicken legs on a sheet pan with sauce.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Recipe Ingredients

  • Chicken legs
  • Honey
  • Soy sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Garlic – cloves

See the recipe card below for full information on ingredients and quantities.

POV hand holding sticky saucy chicken leg.

How to Make Baked Chicken Legs:

  1. Prep a baking dish by lining it with foil.
  2. Mix up your sauce.
  3. Place all the chicken legs in the dish and pour the sauce over the top.
  4. Bake and enjoy!

Recipe FAQs

How long does it take for drumsticks to cook in the oven?

This really just depends on how you’re cooking it. I like to start with a preheated 350-degree oven and bake the chicken for 45 minutes, rotate the legs, raise the heat to 425 degrees, and put them back for about another 15 minutes until the sauce is bubbly and everything looks caramelized. Turning the legs is key to getting the sauce on the “top” of the chicken legs!

Is chicken drumstick dark meat?

Yep! Thighs and drumsticks are dark meat in chicken, and they usually have a much heartier, juicier flavor and more tender texture than white meat.

What kind of pan should I use?

Because these guys are thick and saucy, you’ll want a sheet pan with high sides to keep all the juices in and large enough so the chicken isn’t drowning in the sauce. The chicken should stick out of the sauce while cooking to get the best-caramelized texture.

pan with chicken legs in it with lots of sauce on the bottom of the pan.

Expert Tips

  • If you don’t have honey on hand, you can substitute it for your favorite jam that doesn’t have seeds. My favorites are peach and apricot jam for this recipe
  • Lining your pan with foil makes clean-up much easier. I recommend it.
  • The sauce the chicken cooks in is delicious over cooked rice and steamed or roasted vegetables (like broccoli and cauliflower) to round out the meal.
side view of multiple chicken drumsticks in the pan they cooked in.

More Chicken Recipes to Consider

Here’s a video on how to make the best baked chicken legs at home for all you visual learners:

This simple 5 ingredient recipe makes the best baked chicken legs I have ever had in my whole life! (And the masses agree - this recipe has been shared more than 250,000 times!)
4.98 from 167 votes

Baked Chicken Legs Recipe

This simple 5 ingredient recipe makes The Best Baked Chicken Legs I have ever had in my whole life! (And the masses agree – this recipe has been shared more than 250,000 times!) Just pop these legs in the oven, and you’ll have a crispy chicken dinner!
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 10 chicken legs

Ingredients 

  • 2 1/2 pounds chicken legs, (about 10 legs)
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 heaping teaspoon of preminced garlic)
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Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lay the chicken legs out in a foil-lined baking dish with high sides (the foil is to make clean up easier — it’s not essential but helps a whole lot). A high-sided sheet pan is the best option because it has sides to keep everything in, but it is big enough that the chicken isn’t drowning in the sauce. It will caramelize best if half of the chicken is poking out of the sauce while cooking.
  • 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 30 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 top, out of the sauce.
  • Put the legs back in the oven. Raise the heat to 425 degrees F., 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. Serve the sauce the the chicken cooked in with the meal or over rice if you’d like.

Video

Notes

  • A pan slightly larger than 9×13 inches with sides is the best option because it has sides to keep all the juice in but is big enough that the chicken isn’t drowning in the sauce. It will caramelize best if half of the chicken is poked out of the sauce while cooking. My pan is 11×15 inches, and it works best. If your pan is too large, though, your sauce will be too shallow, evaporate, and burn.
  • I like to use a little meat thermometer to ensure the chicken is done – better safe than sorry!
  • How to cook chicken legs in a slow cooker: Place all of the chicken legs in the bottom of a slow cooker (I have this slow cooker). Pour the sauce over the chicken legs. Slow cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 4 hours, until the largest piece of chicken registers 165 degrees F. 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, Sunday dinner (it can cook while you are at church), or 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1leg +1/3 cup sauce, Calories: 230kcal, Carbohydrates: 24g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.04g, Cholesterol: 60mg, Sodium: 758mg, Potassium: 188mg, Fiber: 0.2g, Sugar: 22g, Vitamin A: 90IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 12mg, Iron: 1mg
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Recipe Rating




531 Comments

  1. Wendy D Mansfield says:

    5 stars
    Man I wish I could post my picture of this recipes. Yummy

  2. Salma says:

    5 stars
    This Easy Baked Chicken Legs was absolutely delicious! It was extremely easy to prepare and the end result was tasty! I poured the juice over rice and it was yummy! The kids all raved about how good and juicy the chicken was and I loved how easy it was to prepare midweek. Thank you!

  3. Patsy Snyder says:

    Please send the baked chicken leg or small legs/wings recipe you enjoy! Thank you

  4. K says:

    Melissa, can I leave out the ketchup in this recipe? If so what could I use instead? I want to make this for my mom who has kidney disease and is not suppose to eat anything with tomato such as ketchup. Could I just increase the honey and soy sauce to make up for the 1/4 cup ketchup?
    Thank you,
    K

    1. Melissa says:

      Hmmm, is there something else that you normally use for a ketchup sub? I’d probably do more jam if it were up to me.

    2. Brewer says:

      As a catsup (yeah, that’s how we spell it in my region) substitute, try roasting red bell peppers and then pureéing them with some apple cider vinegar, salt, sweetener (I prefer agave to any of the sucrose options), onion and garlic powder. Taste as you go to get the sweet/salty/sour ratio to your liking.

  5. Theresa Nichols says:

    I tried the recipe exactly as it’s written except with only 6 chicken legs (because that’s all we had) & it turned out JUST like the pick! The 15 min at 425o was the trick to making them looked broiled. The chicken was moist with crispy bits on top & my picky husband said they were the best chicken legs he has ever had! 🤗

  6. D. Jackson says:

    5 stars
    Have made these numerous times and it never disappoints! I do remove the skin for fewer calories. Delicious every time. Have even got my son in law hooked! Thanks for the great recipe.

  7. Scott says:

    5 stars
    I used honey to soy sauce closer to 1 to 1 – 3/4c of honey to 1/2c soy sauce was too sweet for me, I also added 1 tbsp of corn starch. I overcooked it, my oven may be on the hot side. I’m definitely making it again and exactly the same way, overcooked and all. My twin 4 year old granddaughters ate it up. One of my granddaughters is diagnosed with failure to thrive, she’s a tubi. Its hard to get her to eat. She had two chicken legs which for her is close to a miracle.

  8. Joni says:

    5 stars
    Wow, now I know why these are so popular! I had prepped the sauce and legs in a gallon storage bag last week. Before I could cook them we had to leave for an emergency, so I threw the bag in the freezer. I thawed them for last night’s dinner, and this is now our favorite recipe for chicken legs. I plan to keep a container of these ready in the freezer at all times. Thank you for a recipe that is delicious and affordable.

  9. Kim says:

    5 stars
    I made the best baked chicken legs recipe and WOW! My whole family gave it a thumbs up and I have picky eaters! The sauce is so tangy, I never dreamt that ketchup, honey, garlic and soy sauce would mesh together so well! I had one drumstick left over and I have to say, the sauce (which was delicious the first time around) was even tastier after sitting for a day! I can’t wait to try it again with rice or noodles. I’m so glad I printed this recipe and put it in my keeper notebook for future use. I think I will try dicing up some chicken thighs to bite size pieces to cook as the one complaint I got was how messy the drumsticks were. This recipe is definitely a keeper! Thank you so much for adding a new recipe to my boring dinner rotation!

  10. Penny Lee says:

    5 stars
    Another 5 star recipe – picky husband said tje Orange chicken was delicious! Can’t wait to try the Hawaiian chicken next! Just loving your recipes serving them with rice and Don Don noodles!
    Thanks for the recipes!