I make this simple everyday recipe for baked chicken drumsticks often. It has this winning combination of being easy AND delicious!
You 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 anyone who has kids also knows that when the kids like something, the grownups find themselves eating that something over and over again. 🙄
It's OK. You make sacrifices as a parent. But your food needn't be one of them! That's why, over the years, I came up with many variations to keep drumsticks a bit more interesting for the adults. And when my kids grew up, they learned to appreciate those variations too. Here are a few of them:
Still, nine times out of ten, when faced with chicken drumsticks staring at me from the fridge, I simply bake them. No special sauces or marinades. Just some olive oil, a few spices, and 40 minutes in a hot oven. Perfection! 🍗
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this simple and tasty chicken 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 oz. I don't remove the skin - I think 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. But if you'd rather use an oil with a higher smoke point, you can use melted butter instead.
Kosher salt and black pepper: If using fine salt, you should reduce the amount you use, or the dish could end up too salty.
Spices: Garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper. The cayenne greatly 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, try using just ⅛ teaspoon (a pinch).
Baking drumsticks in the oven is so easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
1. Your first step is to preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Then line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Now, mix the oil with the spices into a paste. Arrange the drumsticks in a single layer on the baking sheet and coat them all over with the paste. You can use a pastry brush or simply your hands.
3. The last step is to bake the chicken pieces until their internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. This should take about 40 minutes for medium drumsticks.
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.
Frequently asked questions
No, you should not cover them. You want the skin to brown, and you want the chicken roasted, not steamed. So definitely 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.
This is one of those main dishes that truly goes with anything. But since I bake them in a 400°F oven, I do like to serve these drumsticks with a side dish that I can cook in the same oven. So I often serve them with one of the following:
- Cauliflower tots
- Roasted asparagus
- Baked shiitake mushrooms
- Roasted vegetables
- Loaded mashed cauliflower
- Roasted cabbage
- Roasted frozen cauliflower
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. Reheat them gently, covered, in the microwave on 50% power.
Or do like I do and enjoy them cold! I sometimes remove the skin, cut them into chunks, and use them in a chicken cobb salad. Or I simply make myself a picnic-style plate of cold drumsticks, cauliflower "potato" salad, and some quick pickles.
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Crispy-Skinned Baked Chicken Drumsticks
- 8 (4 oz each) skin-on chicken drumsticks (about 2 lb. total weight)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher 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 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with 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, salt, pepper, and spices.
- Using a pastry brush or your hands, coat the chicken pieces with the seasoning paste.
- Bake the drumsticks uncovered until their internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F, about 40 minutes.
- Baste the drumsticks with the pan juices using a clean pastry brush. Serve immediately.