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:

icon
If you’ve made this recipe, please come back and leave us a star rating or a comment below. Or, tag us on social media @yellowblissroad or #yellowblissroad for a chance to be featured.
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.

Free Email Series
5 Secrets to Dinnertime Sanity
Free email series with tested, tasted & terrific dinner recipes!

You Might Also Like

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

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.

  8. This looks amazing! I can’t wait to make it tomorrow. Can you do bottled lemon juice instead of fresh lemons? Silly question but with a new baby going to the store isn’t fun lol!

  9. Delicioso!!!!

    Mis niños adoraron está receta!! Tienen mejor sabor a pimienta limón que cualquier sazonador en polvo. Gracias por la receta!

    Thanks for sear your recipe!!

  10. I have made these several times and they are wonderful! How would you prepare these for a crock pot at a potluck gathering? Bake them 1st and then just keep them warm or actually cook them in the crock pot? Thanks so much for the great recipe!

  11. I love those yummy chicken leg pieces . They are so perfectly cooked . Can’t wait to make the recipe and i am pretty sure it will come out as good as yours. Thank you for the recipe.

  12. Good evening, I need help this is my first time using this recipe and overall I’m really excited to see the outcome. But there’s a little problem I’m pounding on what side dish goes best with this plate, can I can some healthy recommendations? I would much appreciate the help. Please and Thank you. ❤️

  13. We made this last night for our charity cafe. Even without having too much time for the chicken to marinate, we received rave reviews from our clients who gobbled it all up.

  14. Hi there, I saw a comment below about freezing them in the marinade, apologies for being stupid but as I freeze things in a container generally (3 drums for single serving), the right way to do it would be to freeze them wrapped in the Ziploc bag with as much air removed?

    Thanks!

    1. Yes that would work well. Then as the drumsticks defrost in the fridge is when they actually absorb the marinade.

  15. I tried this today and I added butter and lemon grass. The taste and flavor were enhanced. Thanks for sharing this recipe. My family definitely like it..

  16. Hi Kristin, Havemade this several times and love it. Can you freeze the chicken in the marinade, will it still be good?

    Thanks

  17. I have made these twice now and both times they have been so full of flavor and falling off the bone. Wonderful dinner recipe!

  18. Hi,

    I USED your marinade to make fried chicken and it was awesome!
    There were a few modifications; smoked paprika instead of paprika, while I also added McCormick roasted garlic and herbs
    And i added smoked paprika and salt & pepper, mccormick roasted garlic &herbs to the flour.

    Thank you for the recipe!

  19. This is my go to meal now. I use chicken breasts for more meat and lowered the oven temperature due to the burning point of olive oil being so low but oh my word is this delicious. I literally moan while I’m eating it. Hahaha. Highly recommended. (I found that marinating overnight provides more tender and juicy chicken but I’ve done only 2 hours as well and it’s still fantastic).

  20. great recipe but i so wish people would stop using plastic bags for marinating. whats wrong with marinating in a dish or tray?

    1. You can use a baking dish or tray if you like, but using a sealed bag works for a few reasons:

      1. It keep the marinade circulating around all of the meat.
      2. It’s sealed so you don’t have to worry about the aromas affecting any other food in your fridge.
      3. It’s my preference because it’s easier and doesn’t create another dish that has to be washed.

      You are welcome to use any method you like to marinate your meat. This is my preferred method and the one I recommend.

  21. Made these for dinner last night and they were amazing! I marinated them for about 3 hours and roasted as directed. They were tender and juicy with a fresh lemon flavor. Thank you for this recipe. It made me like drumsticks again.

    1. You could, but don’t marinate more than 30 minutes and cook for a shorter amount of time, depending on the size of the pieces.

  22. Delicious! Thank you for the recipe. I made this with thighs rather than drumsticks. Worked out wonderfully. So moist & juicy. It’s a keeper!

  23. I absolutely LOVED this dinner however there is major debate on heating olive oil. EVOO is likely unsafe above 300 degrees so putting it in the oven at 400 or higher kills the good stuff in the oil and creates carcinogens. I”m back and forth on whether I will use olive oil on this again but the recipe itself was amazing. I’ve already raved to everyone.

  24. Tried this tonight and it was flavorful. I marinated for 24 hours and baked it for about 35 min which was not enough. The meat thermometer was off tonight but aside from not fully cooking the drumsticks (user error) the flavor was a big hit with the family. It has officially been added to the dinner rotation. Thanks for the recipe.

  25. I am following your recipe and have used fresh garlic on the drumsticks. I cut the garlic and they were white when i cut them and added the oil and salt, pepper and so on. I placed it in the oven. When i took it out to see if it was ready. The garlic was slightly green. Is that ok or have i just spoiled my roast accidentally. This is my first time making roasts.

      1. Iodine in salt reacts with garlic and makes it go blue/green. Normally the salt packet specified if it’s salt with iodine though

    1. This chicken recipe is pretty versatile, so it would pair well with anything from potatoes to pasta to rice, with veggies or a salad on the side.

  26. I made these lemon garlic chicken legs. I left the skins on. They were amazing. I want to try on a whole chicken.

  27. This was super delicious and simple! I only let it marinade 15 minutes (too hungry!) and baked the drumsticks in a glass dish with the marinade… it made the most amazing sauce!! I put the extra sauce on my roasted veggies. Will definitely be doing this again. Thank you!

  28. Absolutely divine! Smiles on all faces! This will become a staple dish in our house, as we have all ingredients regularly on hand! We served with rice and green salad. Thanks for this wonderful recipe ?

  29. Tried this recipe many times and loved it but I’m wondering if this could go in a crockpot? If so, do you know the temp and amount of time?

    1. I think you could definitely make these in the crockpot. Keep in mind they wouldn’t have that golden color from roasting. 4-5 hours on low should do it, but you’ll want to be sure to check it before serving.

  30. Tried this out yesterday evening – absolutely delicious! Definitely going into my ‘cook again’ folder. Thanks for the recipe. 🙂

  31. This will be a new favorite for me! I did leave the skin on and it turned out perfect. So juicy and flavorful. Glad I came across recipe.

  32. Was looking for some delicious way to use drumsticks on bone. Just made the marinade and can’t do overnight but will do for several hours. I had everything on hand including nice juicy lemons. Also fresh parsley from my garden. Will let you know how it turns outcome . Thank you.

  33. These chicken drumsticks and it’s marinade are sooooo lit! This particular recipe is part of my rotation. My wife and daughter (along with myself) jus love this recipe! Thank you Kristin!

  34. This is my favorite way to make chicken now and my fiancé loves it! Thank you for the great recipe! I was wondering if I don’t have fresh lemons on hand, how much lemon juice I should use?

    Thank you again!

  35. Made this recipe last night. I used a grate to put chicjen on in oven with cooking spray ( so they don’t stick) and get even all around cooking. Left chicken in frig in bag with all flavor over night. Tasted delish. Love it.

  36. Hello Kristin.
    I just found your receipe for garlic lemon chicken. I’m about to make it. Can’t wait

  37. I was looking for a recipe for drumsticks and happen to see your lemon garlic chicken.
    Will try it and let you know , thank you I am sure it
    It will be delicious.

  38. I followed the recipe exactly and now have a new favorite marinade in the rotation! I use drumsticks and thighs quite a bit because of the flavor and value. This delicious recipe uses everything I already have in my pantry, and is a nice departure from my usual suspects. Thanks so much for a great recipe!??

  39. Though I’m a vegetarian, I tried this recipe for a dinner party last night and it turned out superb! Absolutely delicious, thank you so much for sharing

  40. I can’t stomach in-bone chicken. Although my mother gave me chicken legs. I have always had a fear of cooking in-bone chicken. Afraid I wont get it all the way cooked.
    I made this recipe and my family loved it!! A BIG hit in my home. I even tried it. Wanna try it with boneless. Ty.

  41. Unfortunately, my family and I were not impressed. I marinated the chicken for 24 hours and it just didn’t take on any flavor.

  42. What a great recipe and so easy. Marinaded for 12 hours. Didn’t zest the lemon. Family loved it!! Thank you!!!

  43. This looks really good and I’m always up for trying a new recipe for chicken. I don’t see any nutritional info for the recipe. Can you provide that?

  44. Love, love this recipe! I have made it several times, and It is always delicious.
    Thanks, ever so much!!

  45. hi, would this recipe be okay to freeze? i have just started meal prepping for the month and would love to make this. thank you 🙂

    1. I would freeze the raw chicken in the marinade. Then it will marinate as it defrosts. Just make sure the drumsticks are fully thawed before baking.

  46. Like your son, I prefer eat chicken with bone, but I don’t have a lot of idea to cook it ( almost just fried it with some kind of sauces). And be honest I prefer roast than fried. Although I don’t have a lot time but I wanna try to do an overnight marinade for my chicken, it will make its flavor perfectly, I bet!
    Hope to see more your recipes. It make me love cooking more and more!

  47. Hello Kristin,

    Just love this recipe and cannot wait to make it but I think that I will expand the chicken to include thighs. But tell met are HOLY HOT POTATOES if you know? Re: Claire’s post

    Thanks.

  48. Just made this for dinner and….it’s DELISH!!!! Thank you for the recipe, I marinated overnight and HOLY HOT POTATOES – the chicken was packed FULL of flavor. Thanks again!

  49. Hi..I have a question…I need to make these for my daugthers school party…she will need to take them with her when she goes to school in the morning.Would it be ok if I bake them at night and just warm them up in the morning?

    1. I’d be cautious with chicken. Would it be possible to send them in a slow cooker to keep them at a higher temp all day?

  50. I used a whole chicken cut up exactly as recipe states a me it was amzazing!! Favorite way to make chicken

  51. Love your recipes.
    Not so in love with your website design/layout – too many large photos.
    Perhaps a link to a photo gallery page for those who want to look at your “more of the same” pictures of the prepared recipe – it kind of looks like you’re just adding padding to make the page look bigger.
    Perhaps a link at the top of the page to take one directly to the recipe instructions.
    I reference your recipes often – and will keep coming back – this is just a suggestion.

  52. I tried it, and they were perfectly moist and well browned outside, my chicken lover son is really happy
    Thank you for sharing this recipe:)

    1. Sorry, must be a misprint! I didn’t use thyme in the recipe and must have written it in the post by mistake.

  53. This looks great. It looks like there is parsley added in the photo. Did you add it before or after roasting?