Chicken legs and chicken leg quarters are considered dark meat. They're also inexpensive, versatile, meaty, and moist. Many chicken lovers consider them the most flavorful part of the bird.
Strictly speaking a whole chicken leg is comprised of a thigh and a drumstick in one piece. Pictured above, a whole chicken leg is also known as a thigh-drumstick piece.
When a thigh-drumstick piece has a portion of the back attached to it, these cuts are called chicken leg quarters.
Thigh-drumstick pieces and chicken leg quarters may be used interchangeably; however, because chicken pieces vary in size, be sure to cook whichever cut you use long enough to reach a safe internal temperature of 180 degrees F.
Often, thigh-drumstick pieces are separated into two portions: the drumstick (pictured here) and the thigh. Sometimes, the separate drumstick portion is also referred to as a chicken leg.
Many of our recipes for baked chicken call for "meaty chicken pieces." These include drumsticks, thighs, and breasts. That means any of our baked chicken recipes that call for meaty chicken pieces can be used as a recipe for baked chicken legs (drumsticks).
Here's our basic method for 2-1/2 to 3 pounds of baked chicken legs (drumsticks) or any combination of meaty chicken pieces. Of course, you can use all drumsticks, if you wish.
Tip: To reduce fat and calories, you can skin chicken legs. Bake the chicken with the skin on to keep it moist. Cool slightly and pull the skin off, starting at the thigh end. Have kitchen shears or a knife handy to snip off the skin if needed.
Chicken Leg Recipes:
One of the all-time great recipes for baked chicken legs is Oven-Fried Chicken (also known as baked breaded chicken). While you can make this recipe with 2-1/2 to 3 pounds meaty chicken pieces, you can use all drumsticks, if you like.
In a small bowl combine:
For coating, in a shallow dish, stir together:
Then, stir in 2 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
Skin chicken. Dip chicken pieces, one at a time, into egg mixture.
Coat chicken piece with crumb mixture.
In a greased 15x10x1-inch baking pan, arrange chicken, bone sides down, so the pieces aren't touching. Sprinkle chicken pieces with any remaining crumb mixture so they are generously coated.
What Temperature to Bake Chicken: Bake, uncovered, in a 375 degree F oven for 45 to 55 minutes or until chicken is tender and no longer pink (170 degrees F for breasts; 180 degrees F for thighs and drumsticks). Do not turn chicken pieces while baking. Makes 6 servings.
With just a handful of ingredients and a few minutes of hands-on prep time, you can transform four chicken leg quarters or thigh-drumstick pieces into an irresistible bistro-style roast chicken dish. Just follow these steps:
Alternatively, you can bake the chicken leg quarters or thigh-drumstick pieces in a 375 degree F oven. Increase the baking time to 45 to 50 minutes. Either way, because chicken pieces vary in size, be sure to check the chicken for doneness by inserting an instant-read thermometer into the thigh, avoiding the bone. It should read 180 degrees F when the chicken is done.
Tip: Use the above steps as a guide, and come up with your own chicken quarter recipes by using seasonings you love.
Note that many of these recipes call for meaty chicken pieces in general. This means that you can use any combination of chicken thighs, legs (drumsticks), or breast halves—you can even use all drumsticks, if you wish.