Ready for a tasty new way to enjoy baked chicken legs? Here's a Mediterranean twist on a classic family dinner. The chicken is flavored with sumac and garlic, giving it so much flavor!
Tasty chicken dinner recipes are always good to have on hand and we've got many for you to choose from. Readers love our balsamic chicken and our Mediterranean garlic chicken has been getting rave reviews. This recipe for baked chicken legs is another favorite that I'm so excited to share with you: the flavors are perfect and the process is as simple as it gets.
Table Of Contents:
Why This Recipe Works
- Easy: Similar to our Greek chicken and potatoes, this dish can be boiled down to two basic steps: marinate and bake! This recipe is perfect if you're a new cook or simply want a recipe that doesn't require a ton of work.
- Flavors: Think sumac, garlic, lemons and cilantro. Every bite is a fest of flavors.
- Crowd pleaser: This recipe is for 4 people, however you can easily double or triple it to feed a crowd.
- Chicken: I used chicken drumsticks for this recipe but thighs would work, too.
- Garlic: You need 2 heads of garlic (yes, 2!!), one for the marinade and one for baking so they get all caramelized and creamy.
- Olive oil: Extra virgin olive oil works best.
- Cilantro: Adds a lot of fresh flavor to the marinade and goes so well with the spices.
- Spices: A combination of allspice, cumin, coriander, sumac and cinnamon makes these baked chicken legs extra flavorful.
- Lemons: Use the juice of 1 lemon in the marinade and slice the other to bake with the chicken.
How To Make Baked Chicken Legs
- Peel the garlic, mince half of the cloves. You can set aside the rest for later.
- Mix the chicken legs with the olive oil, minced garlic, chopped cilantro, juice of 1 lemon and the spices. Cover and marinate for 1 to 8 hours.
- Coat the bottom of a baking pan with cooking spray or olive oil. Add the sliced onion and garlic cloves to the pan. Arrange the marinated chicken legs in the baking pan. Tuck the lemon slices in between the chicken legs.
- Bake in the oven at 425 degrees F for 45 to 50 minutes. If desired, turn on the broiler for the last 5 minutes so the chicken gets a bit crispy.
Tips for the Best Baked Chicken Legs
- The chicken: You can use bone-in skin-on chicken drumsticks, thighs or a combination of both for this recipe.
- Marinade: Just like our Greek baked chicken recipe, the longer the chicken marinates, the tastier it'll be. However, don't keep the chicken in the marinade for more than 8 hours.
- The dish: You can use oven safe ceramic, metal or glass pan for this recipe. Make sure it's large enough that the chicken pieces don't overlap.
- Cooking time: It usually takes between 45 to 50 minutes for the chicken legs to cook completely, however this could change depending on the size of the chicken pieces.
Variations on This Recipe
This is a very versatile chicken recipe that you can customize to your liking. Depending on your preferences, you can switch up the spices and herbs:
- Spices: You can use turmeric, dried oregano, paprika or cayenne pepper in the marinade.
- Herbs: Cilantro adds a lot of flavor to the chicken, however you can also use parsley, rosemary or fresh thyme as well.
Baked chicken legs make the perfect dinner and go well with various side dishes. Here are a few of our suggestions:
- Vegetables: roasted vegetables, briam (Greek roasted vegetables) or roasted brussel sprouts.
- Salads: piyaz (Turkish white bean salad), Mediterranean salad, fattoush salad or beet salad.
- Starchy sides: Lebanese rice with vermicelli, Turkish rice pilaf with orzo, Greek potatoes or Mediterranean potato salad.
Storage and Reheating
Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days. You can reheat the leftovers in the microwave or in the oven at 300 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can use bone-in skin-on chicken thighs or a combination of drumsticks and thighs for this recipe. Cooking time might vary a bit.
Depending on the size of the chicken pieces, cooking time varies between 40 and 60 minutes.
The chicken is cooked when the juices run clean and you can easily cut a piece off the bone. It's best to use an instant read thermometer to determine doneness. If an instant thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken registers at 165 degrees F, it's done and ready to eat.
I don't recommend freezing baked chicken legs because I find that the texture won't be as good once thawed and reheated. However, you can freeze marinated chicken legs in a freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months. To cook, thaw them in the fridge overnight and proceed with the baking steps as instructed in the recipe.
More Chicken Recipes
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Baked Chicken Legs with Sumac and Garlic
- 2 heads garlic
- 8 chicken legs skin on
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup cilantro chopped
- 2 lemons
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1 ½ tsp sumac
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 2 large onions sliced
- Peel both heads of garlic. Mince half of the cloves and reserve the other half for later.
- Place the chicken legs in a large bowl and top with the minced garlic, olive oil, cilantro, juice of one lemon, salt, cumin, coriander, allspice, sumac and cinnamon.
- Using a pair of tongs, move the chicken around to make sure all pieces are fully coated with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour up to 8 hours. The longer the chicken marinades, the tastier it'll be.
- When you're ready to cook, take the chicken out of the refrigerator and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a baking dish large enough for the chicken legs with cooking spray or olive oil.
- Place the sliced onion and the reserved garlic cloves in the baking dish. Arrange the marinated chicken legs on top.
- Slice the remaining lemon and tuck the lemon sliced in between the chicken legs.
- Bake at 425 degrees F for 45 to 50 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked and an instant thermometer inserted into the chicken registers at 165 degrees F.
- If desired, turn on the broiler for the final 5 minutes for more color and some crispy skin.
- You can add other spices and herbs to the marinade. Some of our favorites are cayenne pepper, oregano, turmeric, paprika, parsley and rosemary.
- It's possible to make this recipe using bone-in, skin-on chicken drumsticks, thighs or a combination of both.
- Store the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Reheat using the microwave or in the oven at 300 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Serve baked chicken legs with roasted vegetables, Greek potatoes or Mediterranean salad.
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