How long to bake chicken drumsticks at 400 ( and at 350 degrees) is answered and explained! How to cook crispy chicken legs while keeping the insides nice, moist, and tender with every bite.
I kind of talked about how long to bake chicken drumsticks at 400 when we shared our chicken teriyaki drumsticks recipe. You can really set anywhere between 350 and 400 but the latter is faster of course. It also will get the outside more of a golden brown, we’ll expand on this a bit later. (affiliate links present)
How Long to Bake Chicken Legs
I will talk about a few (most popular temperatures) and why you might prefer one over the other. I’ll start by stating kinda’ the obvious, the timing will vary depending on how thick and large your pieces are. My two cents and tips on buying the best chicken is to go organic. Period.
- Cage free birds have leaner meat.
- Every piece has a lot more flavor.
- Poultry especially is more tender from the get go if they aren’t cooped up in coops. 😉
- You can find it at your local grocery store (marked organic and free range) or buy in bulk here.
Sorry but I am big on texture and when it comes to chicken I have to share my findings. I cook a lot and I’ll tell you that with this animal especially there is a huge difference. Enough said….
Bake Drumsticks 400
In a 400 degree oven baked chicken drumsticks take about 35 to 40 minutes to be cooked thru. This of course depends a lot on how large and thick your pieces are but it is a good general guide. If you are making lollipop chicken drumsticks those take closer to 20 because some of the meat is removed.
Either way you want to ensure that the thickest part of the internal meat temperature reaches a safe 165 degrees F. before consuming.
How Long to Bake Drumsticks at 350
40-45 minutes is generally the rule of thumb for legs if you are going to bake them at a lower temperature. If you have the time this is a nice idea especially if you are baking them with a sauce. That way they can more slowly get tender covered with foil at the beginning, and then crisp at the end.
You will definitely need to broil or air fry for a few minutes at the end with these though. The lower temp. will keep the outsides soft. If you don’t eat the skin then that won’t matter but if you do that will be a needed extra step at the end.
I do like using a sauce to add lots of flavor and moisture like our teriyaki chicken Cheesecake factory bird.
That probably depends on whom you ask. I opt for 400 F myself because I want it done a bit faster and if you require a crispier outside skin then this is the ticket. Of course a quick switch to broil right at the end will really get you some nice crispy chicken skin too no matter what temp. you start at.
How Long to Bake Chicken Legs in Oven
I hope we answered that question for you in a rather lengthy way, explaining that either way you decide to go you should set aside about 45 minutes to get it done well. Another thing to remember is that you really want all your pieces to be the same size. If you have some huge ones and others small it’s not good.
It shouldn’t have to be explained at length but obviously smaller ones will get done faster where the thicker pieces will still be pink and you won’t be able to all eat together if this occurs. Really doesn’t matter whether you bake, make Instant Pot chicken legs or opt for frozen chicken legs in air fryer.
Choose medium size, skin on, cage free pieces to get the all time best results my friends.
Baked Chicken Drumstick Calories
We have nutritional information listed below in the printable recipe card. There is quite a bit of variation in this though since some brands will be fattier than others so just look at your package for the most accurate numbers as far as calories are concerned. You’ll have to add what is in the sauce too though.
- 6-8 chicken legs defrosted
- timing will depend on the size so I recommend medium legs
- this is how to thaw chicken in the microwave if it is frozen
- Salt and pepper to season meat, garlic powder and onion powder are good too
- 4 tbsp butter cold, diced – or use a dairy free alternative
BBQ Chicken Sauce
- You will start with good old ketchup
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- Brown sugar for sweetness
- Water or chicken broth works too
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
You could use bottled barbecue sauce or our lemon pepper chicken marinade instead too. You could follow the same directions for baked chicken thighs too, the timing would be very similar for bone in. Chicken breasts take closer to 25 – 30 minutes if they are boneless, depending on the thickness.
Baked BBQ Chicken Legs
I have a printable recipe card at the bottom too but here is a quick rundown.
- Set your oven to preheat at 400 degrees. Pat dry with paper towels the outsides to remove as much moisture as you can from the skin. This will help crisp it up.
- Place in a baking dish. Sprinkle protein with some salt and pepper to season, and/or any others you like.
- Pour your ketchup in a saucepan over low heat, add Worcestershire, cider vinegar, water, sugar, smoked paprika. Stir and heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Drizzle 3/4 of the sauce over the legs and pour the remaining sauce into a baking dish.
- Put pieces of cold butter on top of the legs. Cover the baking dish with foil and place in the preheated oven.
- Cook chicken for 25 minutes with foil and another 10-12 minutes cooking time without foil until they are as browned on the outside as you’d like. (timing will vary depending on how large they are)
- If you want to make them REALLY crispy skin on the outside I suggest switching to broil for the last 2 minutes or so.
- OR throw them into your air fryer with a light spray of olive oil preheated at 400 for a couple of minutes.
Remove the pan and test with a meat thermometer outside of the oven to ensure they’ve reached an internal temperature of 165 F before consuming. Pour extra sauce on top and enjoy together with your favorite side dish. For a faster version, refer to our Ninja Foodi chicken legs recipe.
How to save leftover cooked chicken legs
If you “know me” you know that I hate wasting food. Like it is my worst pet peeve. Not only can you almost always enjoy it reheated the next day, but with meat you can always repurpose it into a leftover chicken recipe. Make sure you keep it moist when storing away though, freezer bags are best.
You can either just throw them right in, suck the air out and warm in the microwave the next day or remove the meat. If I know I will use it inside a casserole or something the next day I will just cut off the protein and use a smaller bag to store it all. Then just dump it into your pot and a 2nd meal is born.
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How Long to Bake Chicken Drumsticks at 400
- Set the oven to preheat at 400 F. Rinse and pat dry the chicken legs with paper towels to remove moisture from the skin. Place in a baking dish. Salt the legs and sprinkle with black pepper. Other spices can be used as desired.
- Place ketchup in a saucepan, add Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, water, sugar, paprika. Stir and heat, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Drizzle 3/4 of the sauce over the legs and pour the remaining sauce into a baking dish.
- Put pieces of cold butter on top of the legs. Cover the baking dish with foil and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 25 minutes with foil and another 10-12 minutes without foil until they are as browned on the outside as you'd like. (timing will vary depending on how large they are)
- If you want to make them REALLY crispy on the outside I suggest switching to broil for the last 2 minutes or so OR throwing them into your air fryer preheated at 400 for a couple of minutes.
- Make sure that the legs are baked thru and reach a safe 165 degrees F in the thickest part. Serve them hot, with the remaining BBQ sauce on top.