Crispy Panko-Crusted Baked Chicken Legs

4.45 from 9 votes

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Easy to make Crispy Panko-Crusted Baked Chicken Legs made with just a few simple ingredients – so crispy you won’t believe they’re not deep fried.

Crispy panko-crusted baked chicken legs in a white bowl with a black rim sitting on a white towel with black lines.
Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Oven Baked Panko Chicken Legs Recipe

Hello easy chicken dinner! This is such a simple recipe that turns an inexpensive chicken leg into something super delicious that your whole family will love. Plus, this is an easy meal to plan your favorite seasonal sides around.

In the summer, this classic main dish is perfect with Crispy Sweet Potato Fries and some Broccoli Salad. And in the colder months, you can pair them with some Homemade Butternut Squash Soup and a Fall Salad or a Beet Salad.

Baked crispy chicken legs sitting on a black wire baking rack inside of a baking pan.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Crispy panko-crusted chicken legs are super simple to throw together (season the chicken, dip it in beaten eggs, then roll it in some panko, and repeat).
  • This recipe is easy to scale up or down, so you can make it for a table set for 2 or 20.
  • Baked crispy chicken is healthier than fried chicken.
  • Perfect for any season! Just change the sides you pair with them.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Chicken legs: look for legs that pink with skin that is free from tears and bruises
  • Kosher salt: makes a difference when it comes to the flavor
  • Garlic powder: watch out that you aren’t using garlic salt because it is different
  • Onion powder
  • Smoked paprika: smoked paprika has a richer flavor than regular paprika
  • Eggs
  • Panko breadcrumbs

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

How to Make Crispy Panko-Crusted Baked Chicken Legs

  • Step #1. Mix together all of the seasonings in a small bowl and rub it on each chicken leg. 
  • Step #2. In a separate shallow bowl, beat the eggs. In another shallow bowl, add the Panko breadcrumbs. 
  • Step #3. Dip each chicken leg in the beaten eggs, then coat with Panko breadcrumbs and place it on a wire rack on a lined baking sheet. 
  • Step #4. Bake for an hour at 375 degrees F or until their internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Let the chicken legs cool for 5 minutes before serving them. 

Recipe FAQs

What is the difference between smoked paprika and regular paprika?

As the name smoked paprika implies, the peppers are smoked before being ground. If you can’t find smoked paprika at your local store, it is available on Amazon. In a pinch, you can use regular paprika but the flavor will not be the same. 

What are panko breadcrumbs?

Panko breadcrumbs are extra large breadcrumbs that help things to cook up extra crispy. They originate in Japan and are made from steamed crustless bread. Look for them in a box next to your traditional breadcrumbs at the grocery store.

Are these crispy chicken legs gluten free?

No. Panko typically uses flour, which has gluten. However, you can usually find gluten-free panko next to the regular panko breadcrumbs. 

Is this recipe for crispy chicken legs dairy free?

Yes. None of the ingredients contain dairy. But be sure to check all of the ingredients that you use, especially the panko breadcrumbs, to ensure nothing contains dairy. 

Crispy panko-crusted baked chicken legs in a white bowl with a black rim sitting on a white towel with black lines.

Expert Tips

  • Smoked paprika adds great depth of flavor and richness that’s hard to mimic. Finding it is worth the effort (and it’s great in Mexican dishes, too).
  • Bake the chicken on a wire rack because it’s the key to the crispy outside (it cooks evenly all around and isn’t sitting in its own juices).
  • If you don’t have a wire rack, you can bake the chicken directly on the pan though your results won’t be quite as crispy.
  • If you have time, let the chicken rest with the spice rub on it for a half hour to improve the flavor.
8 chicken legs evenly spaced on a pan that are golden brown and baked to crispy perfection.

What Makes Baked Chicken Legs Crispy?

There are few tricks to make these drumsticks extra crispy. One is baking the chicken on a wire rack set in a baking pan. This helps the hot air circulate all around the chicken while baking and it also keeps the chicken from cooking in its own moisture.

Panko breadcrumbs are the other key to this recipe. They are extra-large breadcrumbs that help things to cook up extra crispy. You can usually find them by the traditional breadcrumbs.

Can You Freeze Baked Chicken Legs?

When it comes to this crispy chicken recipe, freezing doesn’t work. It loses its crispy outside which kind of defeats the whole purpose of the recipe. So no, don’t freeze this recipe; the end result isn’t great.

What to Serve with Crispy Panko-Crusted Chicken Legs

More Easy Dinner Recipes to Consider

4.45 from 9 votes

Crispy Panko-Crusted Baked Chicken Legs

Easy to make Crispy Panko-Crusted Baked Chicken Legs made with just a few simple ingredients – so crispy you won't believe they're not deep fried!
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 8 legs


  • 2.5 to 3 pounds chicken legs, about 8
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup original Panko breadcrumbs
Save This Recipe!
Get this sent to your inbox, plus get new recipes from us every week!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.


  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment and set a wire baking rack inside the pan.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and smoked paprika.
  • Use the spice mixture like a meat rub and rub it all over the chicken legs.
  • In a shallow dish, add the eggs and beat well. In a second shallow dish, add the Panko breadcrumbs.
  • Dip one chicken leg in the egg mixture coating completely then dip it in the breadcrumbs coating completely.
  • Set the coated drumstick on the wire rack in the prepared pan.
  • Repeat with remaining chicken legs, keeping them from touching as you set them on the rack.
  • Bake for 1 hour or until the centers of the biggest chicken legs register 165 degrees F.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.


  • If you can, after you put the spice rub on the chicken legs, let them rest for 30 minutes to enhance the chicken’s flavor. 
  • If you don’t have a wire rack, the chicken can be baked in a pan or on baking sheet, but the chicken legs will not turn out as crispy. 
  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to three days. 
  • This recipe does not freeze well. The crispy coating doesn’t hold up to the freezer. 


Serving: 1 of 8 chicken legs, Calories: 223kcal, Carbohydrates: 6g, Protein: 16g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 122mg, Sodium: 1013mg, Potassium: 209mg, Fiber: 0.5g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 265IU, Vitamin C: 0.2mg, Calcium: 30mg, Iron: 1mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

Other Chicken Leg Recipes You’ll Love:

About Melissa

You May Also Like:

4.45 from 9 votes

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. Mike says:

    5 stars
    This is a great recipe! I read the reviews beforehand and wondered about the saltiness. I used 1 Tbs of kosher salt as directed but had 15 drumsticks. With only 8, it might be a little salty; however, it is an easy and delicious recipe! The chicken comes out moist with a crispy skin. This is nearly impossible with baking and Melissa has accomplished it! I served it with white rice with creamy black pepper gravy (my recipe) and it was a hit. Thanks for a great recipe to include in my rotation.

    1. Melissa says:

      The gravy sounds amazing! Thank you for sharing!

  2. EttaSue says:

    5 stars
    Panko crusted baked chicken legs was everything the recipe said it would be. Crispy, tender & delicious thanks

  3. Janice Harrold says:

    5 stars
    We love this recipe!
    It’s crunchy on the outside and juicy inside!
    I don’t like cooking that much since I worked most of my life, so if I’m going to try something, I like it to be easy with ingredients I might use again.
    I signed up for more!

  4. Becca117 says:

    I have a black rack that looks exactly like yours. Is yours a cookie-cooling rack? When I looked online to see what kind of racks are oven-safe, I read that they have to be stainless steel or chrome-plated…without the black coating (as you and I own) and without the anti-stick element. But, if you actually used the black rack shown in the pictures for baking (as opposed to just using it for a nice photo) and had no problems, then I’ll go ahead and do the same (I’m not super particular and would rather not go out and buy one). Thanks for your input!

    1. Melissa says:

      I did bake on it, I didn’t even think to look. I just assumed it was good for hot things.

  5. Oyagi John says:

    5 stars
    Nice one Melissa, I did this exactly according to your recipe and the result was outstanding, particularly using the paprika and open oven rack. I used Tyson Drumsticks (frozen but partially thawed…) which were slightly large but at 375F came out just right in my convection oven and without burning the Shirokiya Panko.
    I don’t think I’d change anything doing this next time.

  6. Seguin Sailors says:

    4 stars
    This was crispy AF. but waaaaaay too much salt. I would go with a teaspoon not a table spoon. All I taste is salt.

    1. Melissa says:

      Did you use kosher salt? It’s significantly larger in size so it takes up less space meaning it’s not as salty based on measurements. If you used a tablespoon of table salt it would be have been pretty salty.

    2. Tron says:

      1 star
      Used 1 tbsp kosher salt in the rub, as written, and some pieces are so salty the crust is inedible. Really ruined the meal. Plus the smoked paprika is a bit too intense.

  7. says:

    5 stars
    I am going to try this tonight, thank you for the recipe, instead of using the pan I am going to use my chicken hanger, it will keep the air circulating
    I just know this is going to be good

  8. Jake mclean says:

    5 stars
    I am going to try this tonight, but instead of the wire rack I’m going to try my chicken hanger, I assume it will do the same as it lets the air flow, thanks for the recipe I can’t wait to try it

  9. Myrts says:

    5 stars
    I made this tonight, first recipe I looked at and as soon as I saw it I knew this was the one. My husband wanted crispy and this delivered, it was very crunchy outside and moist inside. I made legs, left the skin ON and although I was a tad worried about a tablespoon of salt it wasn’t overly salty I used a bit less and it was perfect. I firmly believe in using a baking rack when I make anything that needs to be crispy. I will save this one thank you!!!!

  10. Beth Winegardner says:

    Hi. I’ve made this before but now cannot see the actual recipe on this page.

    1. Melissa says:

      I’m so sorry, that was an error on my end! It’s all fixed and showing up now. Thank you for letting me know or I wouldn’t have caught the mistake!