Baked Chicken Legs with the best garlic-lemon-dijon marinade that is easy and excellent. Roasting the chicken legs results in crispy skin and a juicy center.

Baked Chicken Legs on Baking Sheet garnished with parsley

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Chicken is on the regular rotation at our house. We love chicken dinners like Chicken Tetrazzini, our favorite Chicken Parmesan, and Chicken Alfredo Pasta because they are simple, tasty, and inexpensive.

Why You’ll Love this Chicken Recipe

There’s something so comforting and welcoming about the aroma of Roast Chicken in the kitchen, and you’ll get compliments on these chicken legs before they even come out of the oven.

The marinade really makes this recipe. Have you tried mustard on chicken? It’s mouthwatering. Everything about this recipe is good from the tasty marinade and easy prep to the juicy dark meat center and crisp salty chicken skin.

Baked Chicken Legs recipe with garlic, lemon and dijon

The Best Chicken Marinade

Here’s our secret – we use the same marinade on our famous Baked Salmon. We were thrilled to find out it’s amazing on chicken as well. P.S. This also happens to be low carb, paleo, and keto-friendly.

  • Olive oil – we used light oil which has a higher smoke point, not extra virgin
  • Garlic – pressed or finely minced cloves
  • Parsley – flat-leaf or Italian parsley
  • Lemon juice – freshly squeezed is best.
  • Mustard – Dijon mustard adds great depth of flavor
  • Salt and black pepper – season generously as some of the marinade is lost to the baking sheet.
Ingredients for baked chicken legs

How to Make Baked Chicken Legs

Chicken legs are our favorite because they are dark meat so they naturally have great flavor. Coat them in this amazing marinade and these may just be the tastiest chicken drumsticks you’ve had.

1. Make the Marinade: Stir together all of the marinade ingredients in a bowl.

The best chicken marinade in a bowl

2. Marinate the Chicken: Place chicken legs in a large mixing bowl or a large Ziploc bag. Pour the marinade over the chicken and toss by hand to evenly coat the chicken and get some of it under the skins. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate for 6 hours or overnight, turning the legs once.

Step by step how to marinate chicken

3. Bake Chicken Legs: Preheat the oven and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or a Silpat liner. Arrange chicken skin-side-down. Brush chicken legs with any extra marinade left in the mixing bowl. Bake 25 minutes at 400˚F skin side down, then turn the chicken legs over and bake another 25 minutes.

For Extra Crispy Skin: bake on a rack for crisp skin all around then broil on high heat for 2 to 3 minutes until the skins have browned.

Baked chicken legs before and after baking

Air Fryer Instructions

Air fry chicken legs at 375˚F for 20-25 minutes, flipping the chicken halfway through. Cook until the internal temperature reaches at least 165˚F. You’ll need to cook in batches for most air fryers to keep them in a single layer so air can circulate. 

Can I Substitute the Chicken Legs?

If you want to make this recipe with different cuts of chicken, you’ll want to adjust the timings and cook to a safe internal temperature of 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. If using chicken breast or tenderloins, cut the marinating time in half.

  • Chicken breasts: bake for 25-30 minutes
  • Chicken tenderloins: bake 15-20 minutes
  • Bone-in, skin-on thighs: bake 45- 50 minutes
  • Boneless chicken thighs: bake 20-25 minutes

Serve With

Perfectly baked chicken legs

Tips For Oven-Baked Chicken Legs

  • Pat dry chicken: use paper towels to pat dry chicken before applying marinade.
  • Give it time to marinate: The secret to excellent chicken legs is lengthy marinating (at least 6 hours and ideally overnight). For even more flavor, massage the marinade under the skin of each chicken leg.
  • Use the pan drippings: brush chicken with the lemony sauce drippings in the baking pan after they come out of the oven.

For Easy Cleanup: line the baking sheet fully with foil before baking to avoid scrubbing the pan.

Make-Ahead

  • Refrigerate – cooked chicken can be stored covered and refrigerated for up to 4 days.
  • Re-Heating – place leftover cooked chicken in the oven or air fryer at 375˚F until warmed through.

More Chicken Recipes

Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

Baked Chicken Legs with Best Marinade

4.98 from 294 votes
Author: Natasha of NatashasKitchen.com
Baked Chicken Legs recipe with garlic, lemon and dijon. An easy and excellent chicken marinade with so much flavor. Learn the secret to great chicken legs! | natashaskitchen.com
Baked Chicken Legs recipe with garlic, lemon and dijon. An easy and excellent chicken marinade with so much flavor. The longer you marinate this, the better (at least 6 hours and ideally overnight).
Prep Time: 6 hours
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours 50 minutes

Ingredients 

Servings: 14 chicken legs or drumsticks
  • 4 lbs 14 count Chicken Legs or drumsticks
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, (Use light oil, not extra virgin)
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 4 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice from 1 large lemon
  • 2 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp salt, (we use fine sea salt)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, combine all of the marinade ingredients and stir or whisk together until well blended .
  • Transfer chicken legs to a large mixing bowl or a large ziploc bag. Pour the marinade over the chicken and toss with your hands to evenly coat the chicken, pushing some of the marinade under the skin of each chicken leg for richer flavor. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate 6 hours or overnight, tossing chicken once while marinating.
  • Preheat oven to 400˚F and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or a silpat. Arrange chicken skin-side-down and bring chicken to room temp while oven preheats. Brush chicken legs with any extra marinade left in the mixing bowl. Bake at 400˚F in the center of oven for 25 minutes skin-side-down then turn the chicken legs over and bake additional 25 minutes skin-side-up. For crispier skin, broil on high heat 2 to 3 minutes or until skins have browned.*

Notes

*For extra flavor, brush chicken legs with the lemony sauce drippings in the baking pan after they come out of the oven and serve garnished with freshly chopped parsley if desired.
Note: Much of the oil, marinade and salt will end up in the bottom of the pan and discarded after baking which makes it difficult to gauge the nutrition facts on this recipe. 

Nutrition Per Serving

179kcal Calories12g Protein13g Fat3g Saturated Fat68mg Cholesterol419mg Sodium165mg Potassium160IU Vitamin A3.1mg Vitamin C11mg Calcium0.6mg Iron
Nutrition Facts
Baked Chicken Legs with Best Marinade
Amount per Serving
Calories
179
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
13
g
20
%
Saturated Fat
 
3
g
19
%
Cholesterol
 
68
mg
23
%
Sodium
 
419
mg
18
%
Potassium
 
165
mg
5
%
Protein
 
12
g
24
%
Vitamin A
 
160
IU
3
%
Vitamin C
 
3.1
mg
4
%
Calcium
 
11
mg
1
%
Iron
 
0.6
mg
3
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: baked chicken legs
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $
Calories: 179

Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

Read more posts by Natasha

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Recipe Rating




Comments

  • Holly
    December 4, 2017

    So delish. Your website is so helpful in finding new meals.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      December 4, 2017

      I’m happy to hear you’re enjoying the recipes Holly! Thanks for following!

      Reply

  • Lana
    November 30, 2017

    Is it possible to replace the olive oil with something other than oil?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 1, 2017

      Hi Lana, I really haven’t tried it with anything else. Maybe melted butter?

      Reply

      • Anastasiya
        February 7, 2018

        I use avocado oil for everything or grape seed oil.

        Reply

  • Maryann
    November 26, 2017

    Do you think skin on, bone in chicken thighs would work?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 27, 2017

      Hi Maryann, yes I think that would work great 🙂

      Reply

  • Melissa
    November 22, 2017

    Amazing recipe! It’s a new family favorite- thanks!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      November 22, 2017

      You’re welcome Melissa! I’m glad your family enjoys the recipe as much as mine does! Thanks for sharing!

      Reply

  • Dana
    November 17, 2017

    Can I use parchment paper instead of foil?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 18, 2017

      Hi Dana, yes absolutely! You might skip the broiling at the very end since the high heat is risky for the parchment to catch on fire.

      Reply

  • Mohi
    November 16, 2017

    I love this recipe just like I love every other recipe on your blog!! I just wish you had a russian versions too, my mom is crazy about your recipes but she doesn’t speak english and I always have to translate lol. I am sure other people are wishing the same thing ☺️

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 16, 2017

      Hi Mohi, I have looked into that and it would be too difficult to develop and maintain. We simply do not have the man power to do it 🙂

      Reply

  • Vincent
    November 12, 2017

    How would a bit of paprika go with this?
    I’m going to try this during the coming week.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 12, 2017

      Vincent, paprika should work well in this recipe.

      Reply

  • kathy b
    November 11, 2017

    How about half thighs and half legs? Would this increase or alter total cooking time>

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 11, 2017

      Hi Kathy, I would keep the cooking time the same if they are all cooking at the same time to ensure the chicken legs are fully cooked. The skins on the chicken wings should get nice and crispy. I think it would still be great 🙂

      Reply

  • Missy
    November 10, 2017

    Can you use this recipe for chicken wings?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 10, 2017

      I haven’t tried that but I think it would still work for chicken wings. You will probably bake faster though since chicken wings are smaller.

      Reply

  • Tiffany
    November 9, 2017

    How long would you cook for drumsticks?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 9, 2017

      Hi Tiffany, I did use chicken drumsticks in this recipe. Did you mean to ask about a different cut of chicken?

      Reply

      • SHANTRELL ROYSTER
        March 17, 2018

        My household is not a fan of chicken legs. Is it possible to try this with chicken thighs?

        Reply

        • Natasha
          natashaskitchen
          March 17, 2018

          Hi Shantrell, yes I think that will work great!

          Reply

  • Jo-Ann
    November 8, 2017

    I’d like to know if I can use skinless chicken, or would it come out better with the skin?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 8, 2017

      Jo-Ann, I would recommend leaving the skin to prevent drumsticks from getting too dry.

      Reply

  • Lisa Huff
    November 7, 2017

    This looks incredible! Yum!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      November 7, 2017

      It’s a popular recipe for good reason! I hope you love it Lisa!

      Reply

  • Yuliya
    November 5, 2017

    This recipe looks so delious 🙂 I want to make this recipe with chicken breast. Do you think it will taste better to put the chicken breast in the oven or to fry them?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 5, 2017

      Hi Yulya, I prefer to sauté chicken breast since it can so easily get overcooked. If you do sautee, serve with some of the pan juices spooned over the top. If baking chicken breast, this is what I usually follow: Preheat oven to 450˚F. Oil a casserole dish. Add chicken in a single layer (chicken should not be over-crowded or touching). Brush remaining marinade over the tops of chicken. Bake 10 minutes, turn chicken over and bake another 5 minutes, turn chicken over then broil 2 minutes to lightly brown top. Bake until an instant-read meat thermometer registers at 165˚F (timing depends on how thick chicken is).

      Reply

  • Janet
    November 2, 2017

    Delicious! I didn’t know if I would like them since I am not a mustard fan but these are over the top scrumptious. My only regret is I didn’t make more.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      November 2, 2017

      I’m glad you love the recipe Janet! Thanks for sharing your great review!

      Reply

  • Marta
    November 2, 2017

    The first words of my husband when he took a bite: “Wow, that’s good chicken!” Thanks again for another great recipe!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      November 2, 2017

      You’re welcome Marta! I’m happy to hear that! Thanks for sharing your great review!

      Reply

  • Tania
    November 2, 2017

    Made it for lunch today and it’s a keeper!! Most of the work is done ahead of time. So it all comes together very quickly. Thank you for another great recipe.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      November 2, 2017

      My pleasure Tania! I’m glad you enjoy the recipe! Thanks for sharing your great review with other readers!

      Reply

  • Zina P
    October 31, 2017

    I checked your site today and had chicken legs in the fridge. . In a hurry, I only marinated them for 3 1/2 hours and forgot salt. I can only say, these were outstanding even with the shortened marinate and no salt. Always fantastic recipes Natasha…..thank you again!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      October 31, 2017

      You’re welcome Zina! I’m glad to hear you enjoy the recipe! Thanks for sharing your great review with other readers!

      Reply

    • Diane
      November 1, 2017

      These sound delish…how do you think this would work with chicken thighs?
      Thanks!

      Reply

      • Natasha
        natashaskitchen
        November 1, 2017

        Hi Diane, I think that would work well on chicken thighs. If you use bone in-skin-on thighs, you can keep the baking temperature the same. It may be shortened for boneless thighs. I hope you love the recipe!

        Reply

  • Melanie
    October 31, 2017

    Can you use boneless/skinless chicken breast?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      October 31, 2017

      Hi Melanie, you could but the bake time would be less. Chicken breasts tend to dry out much quicker which is why I prefer to cook chicken breast on the stove top or grill so I can test for doneness as I cook them.

      Reply

  • Precious @ Precious Core
    October 31, 2017

    You make me want to try mustard on chicken, Natasha. I am seriously drooling over these chicken legs. They look so good!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      October 31, 2017

      Thank you for that amazing compliment!! 🙂

      Reply

  • Laura ~ Raise Your Garden
    October 31, 2017

    Ok, no to the mustard idea. Actually, I’ve never tried mustard at all, I have this weird condiment issue. But these legs look fantastic, right up my husbands alley. He’s always telling me, as we are from Buffalo, NY that he’s “DYING” to order chicken wings. And I keep thinking to myself…yup, you’re going to be dying if you keep eating fried foods!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      October 31, 2017

      Oh but it pairs so well with chicken when it is baked, and really doesn’t taste like mustard. You don’t think “mustard” when you take a bite – it’s just really awesome flavor! Have I convinced you? Also, dijon mustard is much more pleasant than yellow mustard – if you have an aversion to yellow mustard, you should try dijon. I’m working really hard to convince you here! lol

      Reply

      • LC
        November 3, 2017

        I feel the same way as Laura. I detest mustard, I can’t even smell it. However, my husband likes it and if you say that we don’t really think “mustard” then I will believe you! I will try this tomorrow and hopefully I will like it!

        Reply

        • Natasha's Kitchen
          November 3, 2017

          Please let me know what you think!! 🙂

          Reply

        • Lulu
          September 2, 2019

          This was really good, thanks. Just a note that if anyone has ‘normal’ tastebuds that don’t get subjected to a ton of salt, the tablespoon is WAY too much. I used a teaspoon and it was not under-salted. There are so many other flavours going on, it seems a waste to cover it with salt. Otherwise, very good!

          Reply

          • Natashas Kitchen
            September 3, 2019

            Thank you so much for sharing that with me.

      • Maryann
        March 26, 2019

        Hi! What could I substitute lemon juice for?
        I can’t wait to try your recipe! I’m a fan of your chicken soup recipe!

        Reply

        • Natashas Kitchen
          March 26, 2019

          Hi Maryann! The marinade needs the lemon acidity. I haven’t tested this but possibly try it with half the amount vinegar? If you experiment please let me know how you like that

          Reply

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