Baked chicken drumsticks recipe is going to become your new go to way to make chicken during the week! These crispy baked chicken legs are so easy to make, inexpensive and super juicy and tender! Gluten free, paleo, Whole30, low carb and keto friendly, this recipe only requires 4 ingredients and about 30 minutes!
You won’t believe how easy baked chicken drumsticks are to make! Honestly, for the past 3 years I have been overlooking chicken drumsticks because well I had no idea how to make them. I always thought everything had to be boneless and skinless. What did I know.
But chicken drumsticks are now my go to way to make Dave dinner at least 1 day a week. The skin gets nice and crispy and the legs don’t dry out in the oven so they stay moist and juicy! Dave just loves them! And I love how simple they are to make on busy nights!
How long to cook chicken drumsticks in the oven?
To make these drumsticks in under 30 minutes I have a few tips!
- First make sure you have a hot oven! Preheat the oven to 450F
- Second, the last 5-10 minutes of baking, the skin gets crispy under the broiler! This is the key so don’t skip it!
However, with that being said, it’s important that you check the internal temperature to make sure the chicken is fully cooked. Chicken legs need to reach at least 165F but the sweet spot with chicken drumsticks is about 185F to 190F internal temperature. This is where the skin gets all crispy and the meat is still juicy!
How to check the internal temperature of a chicken leg
Use an instant read thermometer and go through the thickest part of the meat, being careful not to hit the bone. Be sure the chicken leg has reached at least 165F.
How to make Healthy Baked Chicken Drumsticks
What seasoning is good on baked chicken drumsticks
For this recipe, less is more! You only need 4 ingredients:
- Organic chicken drumsticks
- Garlic avocado oil (or garlic powder and avocado oil)
Tip: to save your hand from getting covered in chicken, use a large glass bowl and a pair of tongs to mix the chicken legs and distribute the seasoning.
I like to only do 5 drumsticks at a time in the bowl so that I can easily toss the chicken drumsticks without getting the seasoning everywhere. I just adjust the seasoning accordingly.
So for 5 drumsticks I use about ½ tablespoon garlic avocado oil, ½ teaspoon each of salt and paprika.
Tips for creating crispy chicken drumsticks in the oven
- First don’t wash the chicken. This is a food safety concern more than anything. When you wash chicken, the bacteria can go all over the sink. Pat down the chicken if you find it necessary. However I never pat down the chicken and it turns out perfectly every time.
- Put down a sheet of foil on the baking sheet and then add a baking rack over the foil. This makes it much easier to clean up. The baking rack allows air to get all around the chicken drumstick as they are cooking so there isn’t a soggy side to the chicken.
- Cook at a high heat! 450F for 25 minutes then finish under the broiler to really get that crispy skin.
- Carefully flip the chicken after 25 minutes before broiling to get the crispiest skin.
- Don’t add spices that will burn during high heat cooking. Avoid leafy herbs.
- If you want to add a sauce (barbeque sauce, buffalo sauce), brush it over the chicken drumsticks during the last 3 minutes under the broiler. When the chicken legs are done baking, brush a second coating over them right out of the oven
- Let the chicken drumsticks rest at least 5 minutes after baking.
Are baked chicken legs healthy?
Baking chicken legs is a much healthier application than frying them, which is how you typically see them being used. If you are worried about the higher fat content, you can remove the skin after baking or use skinless chicken legs.
However, if you decide to use skinless chicken legs, I’m not sure how crispy they will get, as I haven’t tried this.
What to serve with healthy baked chicken drumsticks?
- Garlic Mashed cauliflower (Whole30)
- Sweet potato patties (Whole30)
- 5 Minute creamy kale (Whole30)
- Paleo Brussel sprouts with dijon sauce (Whole30)
- Dairy free cauliflower potato salad (Whole30)
Baked Chicken Drumsticks
- 3 pounds chicken drumsticks about 10 drumsticks
- 1 tbsp garlic avocado oil or 1 tbsp avocado oil + 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp paprika
- Preheat the oven to 450F
- Place a sheet of foil on a rimmed baking sheet. Place a baking rack over the foil so the chicken drumsticks will be elevated off the pan.
- In a large bowl, combine the drumsticks, garlic avocado oil, salt and paprika. Mix well until evenly coated. I like to do this in batches so I can use tongs (see post for tips)
- Place the chicken legs on the baking rack, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Usually about 10 per baking sheet.
- Bake in a 450F oven for 25 minutes
- Turn on the broiler. Take the chicken legs out of the oven and flip them.
- Cook under the broiler at least 5 minutes. If I have time in the night I go up to 10 minutes to get extra crispy skin.
- Check the internal temperature of the chicken drumsticks making sure you have reached at least 165F. Ideally around 185F-190F
- Let rest 5 minutes