I make this simple everyday recipe for baked chicken drumsticks often. It has this winning combination of being easy AND delicious!
Simply coat the chicken pieces with a mixture of olive oil and spices, then bake them for about 40 minutes. So juicy!
Anyone who has kids knows that they love drumsticks and that when the kids like something, the grownups find themselves eating it frequently.
It's OK. You make sacrifices as a parent. But your food needn't be one of them! These baked chicken drumsticks are simple but good. All they need is olive oil, a few spices, and 40 minutes in a hot oven. Perfection!
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this recipe. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
- Chicken drumsticks: I use eight drumsticks in this recipe, each weighing about 4 ounces. I don't remove the skin - it's the best part! If you buy them in packages of five, you can make ten using the same recipe and increasing the olive oil by about half a tablespoon.
- Olive oil: I love cooking with this delicious oil. Melted butter is another good option.
- To season: Kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper. The cayenne dramatically improves the flavor of this dish. It adds a hint of spice without overwhelming the dish. But if you're not a fan of spicy foods, use just ⅛ teaspoon (a pinch).
- As mentioned above, you can coat the chicken drumsticks with melted butter instead of olive oil.
- Vary your spices! Sometimes, I make life easy, and instead of garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, and cayenne, I use a tablespoon of chili powder.
- You can increase the cayenne to ½ teaspoon if you enjoy spicy food.
- Sometimes, I add a teaspoon of dried thyme or ½ teaspoon of dried cumin.
- When I'm lazy, I arrange the drumsticks in the pan, spray them with olive oil, and sprinkle them with spices.
Baked Chicken Drumsticks Instructions
Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps for making this recipe:
- Preheat your oven to 400°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Mix the oil and spices into a paste. (Photos 1,2).
- Arrange the drumsticks in a single layer on the baking sheet and coat them with the paste. You can use a pastry brush or your hands. (Photo 3).
- Bake the chicken pieces until their internal temperature reaches 165°F. This should take about 40 minutes for medium drumsticks. (Photos 4,5).
- Serve immediately. You can sprinkle them with chopped parsley for garnish. (Photo 6).
Check on the drumsticks after the first 30 minutes. If they seem to be darkening too quickly, loosely cover them with foil and keep cooking until they are cooked through.
No, you should not cover them. You want the skin to brown and the chicken roasted, not steamed. To achieve these goals, you should leave the drumsticks uncovered.
Yes, unfortunately, you can. So keep an eye on them. They should be ready after about 40 minutes, but if your oven runs hot, they might be ready sooner.
Chicken should be fully cooked. It should reach an internal temperature of 165°F when measured with an instant-read thermometer, not touching the bone.
Not exactly, although many people use these terms interchangeably. A whole chicken leg (or a chicken leg quarter) can be separated into a drumstick and a thigh. In this recipe, I use the drumsticks. I use the thighs in other recipes (such as these baked chicken thighs).
Since I bake them in a 400°F oven, I like to serve these drumsticks with a side dish I can cook in the same oven. So, I often serve them with one of the following:
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. Reheat them gently, covered, in the microwave at 50% power.
Or enjoy them cold! I sometimes remove the skin, cut them into chunks, and use them in a chicken Cobb salad. Or I make a picnic-style plate of cold drumsticks, cauliflower "potato" salad, and quick pickles.
More Drumstick Recipes
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Baked Chicken Drumsticks
- 8 (4 oz each) chicken drumsticks skin-on; about 2 pounds total weight
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt or ½ teaspoon of any other salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Preheat your oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with high-heat-resistant parchment paper and arrange the drumsticks in a single layer on the parchment.
- Make the seasoning paste: In a medium bowl, use a fork or a spatula to mix the olive oil, kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper.
- Using a pastry brush or your hands, coat the chicken pieces with the seasoning paste.
- Bake the drumsticks uncovered until their internal temperature, measured with an instant-read thermometer and not touching a bone, reaches 165°F, about 40 minutes.
- Baste the drumsticks with the pan juices using a clean pastry brush. Serve immediately.
- Check on the drumsticks after the first 30 minutes. If they seem to be darkening too fast on top, loosely cover them with foil and keep cooking until they are cooked through.
- Chicken should be fully cooked. It should reach an internal temperature of 165°F when measured with an instant-read thermometer, not touching the bone.
- You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. Reheat them gently, covered, in the microwave at 50% power. Or enjoy them cold! I sometimes remove the skin, cut them into chunks, and use them in a salad.