Lemon Garlic Roasted Chicken Drumsticks

It doesn’t get much easier than this savory Lemon Garlic Roasted Chicken Drumsticks recipe. The marinade is full of flavor and the meat is practically fall off the bone tender and juicy.

baked chicken legs on a white platter with lemon slices and minced parsley

My whole family is obsessed with these baked chicken drumsticks. They will eat the leftovers, cold, straight out of the fridge! But for dinner, we like to have them with a whole handheld meal with things like Air Fryer Tater Tots, Homemade Baked French Fries, and Corn on the Cob.

Most of my life I’ve been a boneless, skinless white meat kind of girl. I think it’s because meat on the bone freaks me out. But in the past couple of years, I have learned to appreciate the flavor packed bone-in dark meat of the thigh and drumstick. That’s probably because my son is pretty much obsessed with chicken on the bone.

Upon hearing that dinner is “chicken again??” his next question is, “Wait. Is it on the bone?” A “yes” is met with a cheer while a “nope, sorry” is met with a rather impressive groan. So I’ve been trying to constantly come up with new ways to serve this favorite meat. Our latest favorite is this Lemon Roasted Chicken Drumsticks recipe, and in case you’re wondering, my picky son loved this recipe!

How to season chicken legs

An overnight marinade makes this chicken practically fall off the bone tender, however, if you don’t have overnight, you could go as little as 30 minutes. Just remember that the longer it marinates, the more tender it will be.

collage of images showing hoe to marinate chicken legs and how to roast them

The lemon is subtle and doesn’t overpower the rest of the marinade. You can of course add more lemon juice and even some lemon zest for a more intense punch of lemon. The seasoning is similar to what I use in my simple chicken seasoning, with some added herbs:

  • Garlic powder – I use the granulated garlic for simplicity, but for a more intense garlic flavor you can use 1-2 cloves of minced garlic.
  • Smoked paprika – for an added smoky flavor.
  • Dried oregano – or use fresh, just double the amount.
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper

The flavors blend so well together and are what makes this chicken recipe so irresistibly delicious. If you want to forgo the marinade and just season the chicken with this flavor profile, you could certainly do that as well.

How to Bake Chicken Drumsticks

Marinate – mix up the marinade and pour it into a resealable plastic bag. You could also use a plastic or glass container, but I like to use bags for marinades because you can squeeze out most of the air and really help the sauce permeate the meat. I try to give at least 2 hours for marinating, but if you only have 30 minutes you’ll still get some good flavor.

Chicken – Obviously we are going with chicken legs here but you can use chicken thighs if that’s what you like. My preference is to remove the skin, but if you’re looking for skin-on crispy baked chicken legs, we do that too.

Bake – Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and arrange the marinated chicken on a baking sheet covered with foil. Roast at high heat for about 25 minutes, then flip over and continue to cook the chicken for about 10-20 minutes more or until the temperature reaches 165 degrees F on a meat thermometer.

roasted chicken drumsticks on a platter with lemon, parsley and a fork

How long to cook chicken drumsticks in the oven

Chicken drumsticks take a little longer than boneless chicken. I recommend baking chicken legs at 425 degrees  for 35-45 minutes. The cook time will depend on your oven and the size of the drumsticks. I do flip the chicken about halfway through to ensure even cooking.

Always make sure that the meat is thoroughly cooked to 165 degrees. Use a digital meat thermometer close to but not touching the bone. When pierced, the juices should run clear. If they’re pink, it’s not done.

Here’s a handy guide for baking chicken drumsticks at various temperatures:

  • 350 degrees: 1 hour
  • 375 degrees F: 45-55 minutes
  • 400 degrees F: 40-50 minutes
  • 425 degrees F: 35-45 minutes

close up of chicken legs with lemon slices

Do you cover drumsticks in the oven?

You cover something in the oven for one of two reasons.

  1. You don’t want it to brown too fast on top or burn.
  2. You want to steam it, like my Chicken and Rice Bake.

We don’t want any of those things, so you can bake chicken drumsticks uncovered.

What should I serve with chicken drumsticks?

With their bright lemon flavor, this baked chicken leg recipe lends itself to a lot of citrusy flavors. They will go great with Oven Roasted VegetablesFresh Corn Salad, or Baked Potato Wedges to match the finger foods vibe.

They will also pair quite well with a simple side dish like Olive Garden Salad and Rice Pilaf.

Recipe Notes and Tips

  • The longer you can marinate, the better. At least 2 hours is best or up to 24 hours.
  • Discard any leftover marinade – do not brush onto cooked chicken or re-use.
  • Use nonstick foil or spray the foil with cooking spray. Don’t be afraid to spray it even if you are using nonstick foil.
  • As much as I love chicken skin, I prefer to remove the skin from the chicken legs for this recipe. If using chicken thighs, you can decide whether to leave it on or remove it or use boneless chicken thighs.
  • Bonus tip: When you bring chicken home from the store, prep marinades and place the meat and marinade together in freezer bags. Keep in the freezer up to 3 months, and pull out to thaw in the fridge overnight. As the meat is thawing, it will be soaking up the flavors of the marinade!

Storage and Reheating

Storing leftovers: Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months.

Reheating: Thaw completely if frozen, then reheat at 350 degrees in the oven or air fryer. In a pinch, you can reheat in the microwave. They are also pretty delicious cold, or shredded and added to a salad.

lemon chicken drumsticks baked, white platter, lemon slices, parsley, fork

For more delicious chicken recipes, try these:

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lemon chicken baked drumsticks media image

Roasted Lemon Garlic Chicken

It doesn't get much easier than these savory Roasted Lemon Chicken Drumsticks. They are full of lemon and herb flavor and practically fall off the bone tender and juicy.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 55 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 10 Chicken Drumsticks skin removed
  • 1 large lemon juiced and zested
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano

Instructions
 

  • Pat chicken dry and place into a 1-gallon Ziploc bag.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients. Pour over chicken and seal the bag, squeezing out as much air as possible. Massage marinade into the chicken. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight. (If all you have is 30 minutes, that's fine - just remember the longer the marinade time, the more tender and juicy the chicken).
  • When ready to cook, let chicken come to room temperature (about 20 minutes). Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Arrange chicken on a foil lined baking sheet. Bake, uncovered, for about 20-25 minutes. Flip chicken pieces and cook another 10 minutes, or until chicken reaches an internal temp of 165 F and is no longer pink.
  • Serve immediately.

 

Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

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Comments

  1. I’m making this recipe tonight,it looks delicious so Im excited to taste this lemon garlic chicken.I know it will be fantastic tasting.Thanks

    1. Your so welcome Judy! Let us know with some feedback of your thoughts on the recipe.
      Thanks for stopping by.
      K.

  2. Hi Kristin! Thank you so much for this amazing recipe!!! It was so easy and turned out amazing! My family loved it!!! I’ve tried so many recipes like this and they never seem to turn out good. The chicken turned out so flavorful and crisped up so nicely!

    Thank you again!

  3. Kristin, this looks absolutely delicious and just what I’ve been looking for! Only one person in our family like dark meat though. Hate to not follow recipes as written, but dying to try. Do you think this would work with white meat as well and would I need to make more marinade given breaststroke are larger? Any suggestions? Thank you!

    1. Hi Kim, yes this would work with any type of chicken. It makes a lot so would work for probably 3-4 pounds of boneless, skinless breasts. For bone-in it would depend on how large they are, but probably 2-3 pieces.

  4. Lemons are not in season right now in my part of the world so kicked this up a notch and marinated in fresh passion fruit juice. Can you say “Puckerup buttercup”. Was really good. Thanks for this great recipe.

  5. This is so easy. I can’t wait to try these chicken legs. All of your recipes I have tried are great.

  6. OMG. I wish I found this recipe a long time ago before we grew tired of eating chicken drumsticks all the time. We stock up on a lot of chicken drumsticks mainly because they’re super affordable and well, you can easily feed more people if we have unexpected guests on that day. This is soooo amazing and I could eat this over and over! However, I’m so going to try this marinade out with different kinds of citrus – example, orange, lime, and etc to experiment! 🙂

    1. Different kinds of citrus would be fabulous! Also this marinade will work with any kind of chicken, even boneless.

      1. That’s great to know & thank you for the tip!! I’m going to make them again today, yay!

        So excited and i love love the recipes on your website!! Stay safe & healthy! xo

  7. Chicken is in marinade now but the marinade does not seem to be nearly enough for 10 drumsticks. I am hopeful that it will be tasty as it certainly looks good and has all of my favourite seasonings.

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