Patience and simplicity are key to this easy healthy recipe for baked chicken legs! If you don’t know how to cook chicken in the oven this is a very customizable method and it’s the perfect meal prep dinner idea. While you’re preparing this super easy chicken recipe, I encourage you to experiment with your favorite spices, herbs and vegetables!
Baked chicken has been probably my favorite meal growing up. My mom would often get a whole chicken and cook it in the oven. Sometimes she’d even fill it up with rice and it was SO good. With some salad on the side – healthy and filling, it was perfect. Now mind you, my mom, she’s amazing, but according to her own opinion – not the best cook in the world. Well, I have a different opinion, based on that baked chicken. And whenever she does decide to cook, her recipes turn out well. So I came to the conclusion, that it’s not that she can’t, it’s that she doesn’t. That was my love poem to my mom.
Well, same with this easy healthy baked chicken legs recipe. It works for legs and wings actually. If you don’t try, you won’t be able to make it. But if you do invest 5 minutes of prep and let it bake, there’s little that can go wrong with it.
When it comes to cooking any type of meat in the oven, you want to do heat up the oven, then cook it slow at low temperature. That’s something I had to learn a few years ago and since then, I know it’s just the best way to prepare your chicken. Because it’s so easy to make.
This recipe is extremely customizable, as you can use my method and add your desired spices, herbs and even vegetables. Why not chop up a few potatoes or sweet potatoes and toss them on the baking sheet along with the chicken? Here, as with more things in life, patience is the key.
Why You’ll Love These Easy Healthy Baked Chicken Legs
well, because they’re
- Easy to prepare
- Super customizable
- Compatible with a variety of side dishes like salads, mashed potatoes, rice, hummus, tzatziki, or even this roasted pepper feta dip.
- Perfect as leftovers for other chicken recipes
As I said, you can go wild with the herbs and spices – add basil, mint, oregano, chili powder, black pepper – whatever you want. The important thing here is to follow the proper way how to bake chicken legs. Once you get the hang of that, you can pretty much award yourself with another star on your cooking portfolio.
If you showcase the patience of a Tibetan monk and wait for a little over an hour, then you’ll get perfectly baked chicken. In the meantime, you can prepare several side dishes and arrange the table nicely so you won’t even notice the “waiting time”!
Basic Healthy Baked Ingredients
Chicken legs. We need skin on, bone-in chicken drumsticks.
Paprika. It’s very basic, but paprika will give the chicken some color and a subtly sweet peppery flavor. If you’re into spicy things – you can mix in some chili powder or crushed red pepper.
Oregano. I love adding something more herby to the chicken and oregano is a great choice here. But so is mint, rosemary or basil.
Salt and pepper. Pretty self-explanatory, it’s important to not overdo it.
Olive oil. You need oil for rubbing the chicken legs and what better than olive oil? It’s rich in monounsaturated fats and antioxidants, and even has anti-inflammatory properties.
Water. You need the H2O to fill the pan and prevent your chicken legs from drying and sticking there forever.
How To Make Easy Healthy Baked Chicken Legs
Now here’s my method to bake healthy chicken legs in the oven:
Clean your chicken legs, wash them, and rub them with paprika, salt, pepper, and olive oil.
Preheat the oven to 400/200C.
Place the coated chicken legs onto a sheet pan with water. Now cover the pan with double foil or another pan of the same size. This will allow the chicken to cook through, without drying it out.
Start baking the chicken at 400F/200C for about 10 minutes – just to get things going.
Then reduce the heat to 350F/175C for one hour, flipping once.
Lastly, remove the cover, brush the chicken legs with the sauce that’s in the pan and bake for 20 minutes at 440F/220C, flipping once and brushing the other side of the chicken as well. If needed add a bit more water. I actually always flip once more, so that they’re on the right side. This step will give the chicken that nice color and crisp.
Enjoy with the side dishes of your choice!
How To Store The Baked Chicken
Great news – you can eat your delicious chicken legs for four to five days! Just put them in an airtight container once they’ve cooled down and keep them in the fridge. If you followed my recipe and didn’t add any more spices you can use the meat in plenty of other dishes too.
How To Serve
Here are some suggestions for serving this easy chicken recipe:
- this everyday salad
- this easy Mediterranean chickpea salad
- with roasted vegetables like asparagus or these Mediterranean vegetables
- mashed potatoes
- with rice dishes like this one or bread
- this roasted pepper feta dip.
More Healthy Chicken Recipes
I hope you try and enjoy this easy healthy recipe for baked chicken legs! For more simple chicken recipes, check these out:
- 8 chicken drumsticks
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp oregano
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp sea salt (a few pinches or to taste)
- black pepper
- onion or garlic powder (optional)
- 1 1/2 cup water
- Clean the chicken legs, wash them. Then rub them with the paprika, salt, pepper, and olive oil. You can also add in some oregano and onion or garlic powder, cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper to the mix. I keep my marinade simple so that I can use the baked chicken in other recipes during the week.
- Preheat the oven to 400F/200C.
- Place the coated chicken legs onto a sheet pan covered with water. Cover the pan with double foil, a lid or another pan of the same size. This will allow the chicken to cook through, without drying it out. Optionally you can place some potatoes or sweet potatoes to cook with the chicken. Whenever available, I also add some thinly chopped scallions on the bottom as well as fresh herbs like mint or oregano.
- Start baking the chicken at 400F/200C for about 10 minutes – just to get things going.
- Then reduce the heat to 350F/175C for 1 hour, flipping once.
- Lastly, remove the cover, brush the chicken legs with the sauce that formed in the pan and bake for 15-20 minutes at 440F/220C, flipping once and brushing the other side of the chicken as well. If needed add some more water to the baking sheet. This step will give the chicken that nice color and crisp.
- Enjoy with the side dishes of your choice!
Nutrition InformationYield 8 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 207Total Fat 12gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 116mgSodium 382mgCarbohydrates 2gFiber 1gSugar 1gProtein 22g