How-To Guides

How to cook chicken legs

What are chicken legs?

Our large, free-range chicken legs are popular for families on a budget, delivering moist, delicious meat and crisp, moreish skin.

Chicken legs are the dark-meat combination of the chicken thigh (top part of the leg) and chicken drumstick (lower leg section). Dark meat contains more fat than white meat, meaning your chicken legs will stay juicy and tender even if you overcook them.

They require a less exacting cook than the white meat provided by the breast, being an altogether more forgiving cut. However, you won’t need to worry about that if you follow our helpful instructions below.

How long does it take to cook chicken legs?

Chicken legs are always a hit on the barbecue with their flame-charred skins, smoky flavour, and luscious meat. However, we are focusing on roasting your chicken legs in the oven, which will take around 30-40 minutes.

If you have a meat thermometer, we would always recommend using this over counting seconds and minutes. Aim to cook your chicken legs to 75°C.

How to roast chicken legs

  1. Remove your chicken legs from the fridge and pat dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture on the skin.
  2. Preheat the oven to 220°C and line a baking tray or shallow baking dish with aluminium foil for easy clean-up.
  3. Coat the chicken in olive oil and season with coarse sea salt and black pepper. Our chicken legs are meaty and full of flavour. Still, the possibilities for flavouring are endless – bashed thyme or rosemary, garlic, olive oil, and a semi-squeezed halved lemon perhaps, or light soy sauce, honey, chilli, and ginger. Smoked paprika, ground cumin, pureed garlic, and thyme leaves, with a little red wine vinegar and olive oil would also be delicious.
  4. Place your chicken legs on the baking tray uncovered and let them cook on the middle shelf for around 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 180°C for the remaining cooking time or until your thermometer registers an internal temperature of 75°C. At the 15-minute mark, baste the chicken with any natural juices. An optional glass of wine or cider could be considered at this stage depending on the recipe – this would help retain moisture, although it should not come far up the side of the chicken legs as this would hinder that all-important crisp skin. The resulting juices could be the base of a quick sauce – think cider bubbled up and reduced briefly, before adding crème fraiche and a large tsp of Dijon mustard, and returning to the boil for a further few moments.
  5. Check the chicken legs approximately 10 minutes before the cooking time is up – should the skin require an additional blast of heat to aid crispness, turn the oven back up to 220°C.
  6. Let the chicken rest for at least 10 minutes before serving, so the juices redistribute themselves back through the meat.

Top tips

  • Instead of rubbing the chicken legs in olive oil, you can brush them with melted butter.
  • Brushing the chicken with your favourite bbq sauce during the final 5-8 minutes of baking will give you a rich, smoky flavour typically associated with an outdoor grill.

Recipe for chicken legs

Chicken legs are an excellent choice for easy weeknight meals. This delicious Coq au Vin by David Gingell is simple to make, smells delicious, and tastes incredible — perfect with mashed potatoes and a glass of red wine.