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 298 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

  • Meghan
    September 15, 2018

    Natasha! Your site has been so helpful in my journey to learn to cook for my Russian husband. <3 Thank you for all you do! You’ve got a great palate. I rely enjoy your cooking style. :]

    I want to make this for Sunday dinner tomorrow, but it’s been so hot here, do you think this would work in a crockpot?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 15, 2018

      Hi Meghan! I honestly haven’t tried this recipe in a crock pot. I feel like the cook and finish won’t be the same. If you experiment I would love to know how you like this recipe!

      Reply

  • TesB
    September 2, 2018

    This was spot on for my southern Sunday dinner. We had a crowd of about 20, so I tripled the marinade recipe to cover 30 legs and 15 wings. I saved the pan drippings for an awesome gravy. I used rosemary and thyme instead of parsley and really enjoyed it.
    Yum. My family thanks you.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      September 3, 2018

      Thank you for this wonderful review, Tes! We love these also!

      Reply

  • Yelena
    July 28, 2018

    Just made this yesterday and it is delicious! Do you think this would make a good marinade for kebobs?

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      July 28, 2018

      Great question Yelena! I haven’t tried this marinade but it could work! If you experiment please let me know how you like it.

      Reply

    • Patricia A. Garcia
      January 3, 2019

      bet it would be yummy with lamb kebobs, because the marinade is so Greek!

      Reply

  • Jane
    June 18, 2018

    Hi Natasha!

    Just wondering what would you recommend serving the chicken with? Thanks!

    Reply

  • LFK
    June 2, 2018

    Hi,

    The legs were delicious! At the end of the 2nd 25 minutes of cooking, I read the temperature using my instant rad thermometer, and they registered around 195 to 200. This is higher than what I target for chicken, but the dark meat proved pretty reslient. I might play with cooking time to bring the temperature down to 160, relying on broiling to to crisp up the skin.

    Reply

  • Roxanne Pynn
    May 25, 2018

    HI there,
    I love all mustards, dijon being my fave! Can’t wait to try it tomorrow night as I will set them in the marinade tonight. I am wondering if you have ever tried grilling them though? I also love the BBQ taste that meats can take on 😉 and it’s hot outside so instead of turning the oven on I thought I would try grilling.

    Thanks for any feedback!

    Roxanne

    Reply

    • Natasha
      May 25, 2018

      Hi Roxanne, I haven’t tried grilling them but I bet that would taste amazing! If you try it out, let me know how it goes! 🙂

      Reply

      • Roxanne Pynn
        May 29, 2018

        Hi Natasha,
        I grilled them and they were AMAZING! My family kept making humming sounds while eating them haha! Grilled at 400F for 25 minutes, flipping every 5 min’s. A bit tedious but so worth it. Your marinade I marinated over night) was the best I have found in a very long time. Thank you for sharing it!! 🙂

        Reply

        • Natasha
          May 29, 2018

          Your music is like music to my ears Roxanne 😁. Thank you for such a nice review.

          Reply

  • Vicky
    April 25, 2018

    I LOVE this recipe! It’s my go to baked chicken recipe…. I use it with chicken thighs a lot! Perfect for company too! So many compliments when I serve it!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      April 25, 2018

      I’m happy to hear how much everyone enjoys the recipe Vicky! Thanks for sharing your amazing review!

      Reply

    • Ryan
      May 19, 2018

      This really was very very good. Perfect w a Provençal rosé.

      Reply

      • Natasha's Kitchen
        May 20, 2018

        I’m glad you enjoy the recipe Ryan, thanks for sharing!

        Reply

  • Ginka M.
    April 23, 2018

    Added dill to the marinade and kept the drumsticks in it for a little longer than 24 hours. So much flavor! Delicious, the whole family loved it, will make it again!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      April 23, 2018

      I’m happy to hear how much you and your family enjoy the recipe! Thanks for sharing your excellent review Ginka!

      Reply

  • Sam
    April 12, 2018

    I don’t have Dijon Mustard, but Honey Mustard. Will that work

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      April 12, 2018

      Hi Sam, I do think honey mustard would still work well in this baked chicken drumsticks recipe. It will be a little milder and sweeter. I hope you love it!

      Reply

  • Lisa
    April 3, 2018

    Is 1 Tbsp of salt correct?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      April 3, 2018

      Hi Lisa, yes for 4 lbs of chicken that is correct. We use sea salt so if you are using a table salt, it would be ok to cut it back just slightly since table salt granules are smaller, but it is a lot of chicken! 🙂

      Reply

      • Lisa
        April 3, 2018

        Ok thank you! It was a bit on the salty side for me. Maybe I will cut it back next time.

        Reply

        • Natasha's Kitchen
          April 3, 2018

          You’re welcome Lisa!

          Reply

  • Alena
    March 21, 2018

    Hi Natasha, just wanted to point out that these drumsticks tasted just as delicious and flavorful 2 days later after I took them out of the fridge, as fresh from the oven. I was too lazy to warm them up and ate them cold. They were very good 👍

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 21, 2018

      I’m happy to hear their just as tasty as leftovers! Thanks for sharing your outstanding review Alena!

      Reply

  • yvonne
    March 15, 2018

    best drumsticks i’ve ever had. i didn’t marinate first and used a lot of extra garlic. i patted the legs dry before applying the sauce. thanks for the recipe.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 15, 2018

      My pleasure Yvonne! I’m glad to hear how much you love the recipe. Thanks for sharing your excellent review!

      Reply

  • Ciara
    February 16, 2018

    Have you tried doing it with cilantro instead of parsley?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      February 16, 2018

      Hi Ciara, I haven’t so I’m not sure how it would meld with the dijon but I think it could work – would be a good experiment! 🙂

      Reply

      • Ciara
        February 16, 2018

        Alright! Thank you 🙂 I’m excited to try this!

        Reply

        • Natasha's Kitchen
          February 16, 2018

          You’re welcome Ciara! Please let me know how it turns out if you decide to try it!

          Reply

  • Ksusha. A
    January 19, 2018

    Yummy!
    I usually marinade with mayo garlic and salt but Im glad I found this new great marinade for drums since we have them pretty often.
    Thank you!
    (P.S. my husband hates anything mustard. I didn’t tell him what is in the marinade and he loved it! 😉 😁

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      January 19, 2018

      That’s great to hear! Thanks for sharing your fantastic review! 🙂

      Reply

  • Jess
    January 17, 2018

    So excited to try this dish tonight, its been marinating all day. Thank you for helping me to enjoy cooking again!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      January 17, 2018

      I’m so glad to hear that! I hope you LOVE this recipe 🙂

      Reply

  • Eleni
    January 16, 2018

    Not crazy about this recipe. Doesn’t wow me like some of your other recipes. It s very easy for sure.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      January 17, 2018

      Hi Eleni, it does improve the flavor with longer marinating if that helps 🙂 I would love to hear which recipes have been your favorites! 🙂

      Reply

      • Ksusha. A
        January 19, 2018

        I agree. I marinated this for 2 days! It was tender and flavorful!

        Reply

        • Natasha's Kitchen
          January 19, 2018

          I’m happy to hear that! Thanks for sharing!

          Reply

        • Eleni
          January 19, 2018

          I had them marinated overnight, but this chicken drumssticks one just isnt for me or my family. I followed the recipe exactly. However, I love most of your recipes, such as the salmon, pana cotta, chicken soup with spiral pasta noodles-so yummy, the salads…just to name a few. I was about to give up cooking and order take out everyday for my family until I tried your recipes. The videos definitely help since I have never cooked before. Now i have a few recipe to use through out the week. The three cheese lasagna is the best I have ever had!!! Even my extremely picky eater 7yro daughter raved about it. I had it for a whole week.

          Reply

  • Elizabeth
    January 14, 2018

    Absolutely awesome!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      January 15, 2018

      Glad we agree Elizabeth! 🙂

      Reply

  • Katie Tseng
    December 10, 2017

    I have trouble retaining moisture in chicken legs when I bake them. Any suggestions?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 11, 2017

      Hi Katie, leaving the skin on is very important to keeping the meat underneath moist and tender. Also, bake in the center of the oven and not too close to the burners and be sure you are on the regular baking mode and not convection since convection cooks foods faster and requires less baking time. I hope that helps! Oh one last thing, with chicken legs, the longer you marinate, the juicier they will be 🙂

      Reply

  • Jovana
    December 9, 2017

    Hi Natasha! Great recipe! Just tried it last night. Did it turn out well on the whole chicken as well?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 9, 2017

      Hi Jovana, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I haven’t tried this on a whole chicken but I imagine it would work really well – it’s on my list and I will share details once I try it 🙂

      Reply

  • Mary Thomas
    December 6, 2017

    I’m not a big fan of anything but chicken breasts and would really love to try it. Maybe less cooking time?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      December 6, 2017

      Hi Mary, We typically cook for this amount of time (sometimes longer!) because it is bone-in and we love the skin to be crisp on the outside.

      Reply

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