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Juicy Baked Chicken Drumsticks are simply seasoned and a quick and easy way to get dinner on the table. The chicken rub is made from pantry ingredients and the oven does all the work making the dark meat tender and delicious so you can focus on sides like veggies or a salad. Even better, there is minimal clean up!
Sometimes I just want to make dinner where I don't really have to think about it. Like, I don't really need to plan ahead and I want the prep to be less than 5 minutes because that's all the bandwidth I have that day.
This is about as simple as it gets when it comes to a minimal effort homemade dinner. Grab a few spice jars (or even your favorite premade seasoning blend or spice rub) from the pantry, sprinkle it over some thawed chicken drumsticks, and throw them in the oven. Now all that's left is to toss together a salad with whatever veggies you can find in the fridge and serve it up with some bread and butter or plain old white or brown rice. It's better than takeout because it's still homemade and you don't have to wait in the drive-through line just to get mediocre fast food.
Why this Recipe Works
- Never dry. Dark meat like chicken drumsticks or thighs stays juicy and moist without drying out as easily as chicken breasts. Plus, the skin helps hold in the moisture and the bones themselves make for even more flavorful meat.
- Customize the flavor. Use your favorite premade spice blend to make this recipe your own or go with the classic seasonings that we share below.
- Ditch the knife and fork. Kids love eating chicken legs because you can get medieval and eat them with your hands instead of utensils.
This is a quick overview of some of the important ingredients you'll need for these easy chicken drumsticks. Specific measurements are in the printable recipe card below.
- Chicken drumsticks: You'll want bone-in, skin-on chicken drumsticks, although really this recipe would work just the same with chicken thighs.
- Seasoning blend: We stuck with classic flavors using pantry spices like garlic powder, smoked paprika, and Italian seasoning with some salt & pepper, but any of your favorite seasoning blends would work well here. Two tablespoons of taco seasoning, Cajun seasoning, ranch seasoning, and Greek seasoning are all delicious on baked chicken drumsticks and thighs!
How to Make Chicken Drumsticks
It's super easy to make chicken drumsticks in the oven. This is a quick overview with step-by-step images to help you visualize the process. Scroll down to the recipe card for printable, detailed instructions. Here is the basic approach:
- Preheat the oven. We have found that cooking chicken drumsticks at a high temperature of 400°F gives the best results for tender, juicy meat with crisp skin.
- Prep. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil for easy cleanup. You could also just spray the pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- Season. Pile the drumsticks on your baking sheet and rub them with a little olive oil. Combine the spices in a small bowl, then sprinkle over the chicken and toss them a bit to coat. Space out the chicken drumsticks so they bake evenly.
- Bake. The chicken drumsticks will bake for 40-45 minutes until they reach 165°F when you test them with a digital meat thermometer in the thickest part of the meat. Or look for the juices to run clear when you slice into one of them. Remove them from the oven and let them rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Typically it takes around 40-45 minutes to bake medium drumsticks at 400°F, although if your oven cooks hot or the drumsticks are on the smaller side they might be done sooner than that. I recommend checking them partway through baking to make sure they aren't getting too dark on the outside.
We have found that baking chicken drumsticks at 400°F gives the best results for juicy, moist dark meat with crispy skin. You'll know they are done when they reach an internal temperature of 165°F when tested with a digital meat thermometer in the thickest part of the drumstick without touching the bone.
- Leaving space around each drumstick for the heat to circulate allows them to cook more evenly.
- Dirty fewer dishes by seasoning the meat on the baking sheet rather than in a separate bowl. Cleanup is a breeze if you line your baking sheet with foil first.
- Be sure to completely thaw the meat in the refrigerator before baking if it was previously frozen.
- Want to add a little heat? Add ¼ to ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper to the spice rub.
These baked chicken drumsticks really go with almost any side dish you can think of, but you can't go wrong with some roasted veggies since you are already using the oven anyway. We especially like them with roasted asparagus, roasted cauliflower, or roasted green beans. Here are some other suggestions:
- Creamy Pea Salad with Bacon
- Apple Salad with Candied Walnuts
- Grilled Garlic Bread
- Oven Roasted Barbecue Potato Wedges
Storage & Reheating Instructions
Store any leftover drumsticks in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. You can enjoy them cold in salads or for using in other recipes that call for baked chicken, or reheat in the microwave covered with a paper towel until hot. Or reheat in the oven or air fryer to help crisp up the skin a bit. They will take about 10-15 minutes in a 350°F oven or about 5-6 minutes in the air fryer at 380°F.
More Chicken Recipes
- One-Pan Chicken, Green Bean, & Potato Dinner
- Crispy Chicken Sandwich
- Yakitori (Japanese Chicken Skewers)
- Chicken Stroganoff
Did you make this recipe? Let me know what you thought with a comment and star rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.
Baked Chicken Drumsticks
- 4 pounds chicken drumsticks (usually around 12-14 drumsticks)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked or sweet paprika (we prefer smoked for the extra flavor)
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon thyme
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Lay the chicken pieces on the baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Toss to coat.
- In a small bowl, combine the garlic powder, smoked paprika, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and thyme. Sprinkle the spices over the chicken and toss to coat.
- Arrange the chicken so there is space between them on the pan for a more even bake. Bake for 40-45 minutes until the meat reaches 165°F when tested in the thickest part with a digital meat thermometer or until the juices run clear when you cut into one of the drumsticks. You may want to check the drumsticks partway through baking. If they are darkening too quickly, loosely cover with a piece of aluminum foil until cooked through.
- Storage: Store any leftover drumsticks in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
- Reheating: Reheat in the microwave covered with a paper towel until hot. Or reheat in the oven or air fryer to help crisp up the skin a bit. They will take about 10-15 minutes in a 350°F oven or about 5-6 minutes in the air fryer at 380°F.
- Variation: Two tablespoons of taco seasoning, Cajun seasoning, ranch seasoning, and Greek seasoning are all delicious on baked chicken drumsticks and thighs!