Easy baked chicken legs with olive oil and mint

Tender juicy oven baked chicken legs- easiest and healthiest way to bake chicken drumsticks in the oven with a unique olive oil, mint and Greek yogurt marinade.

easy oven baked chicken drumsticks in a white plate

About the recipe

I can claim that these are one of the best oven baked chicken drumsticks among the healthy chicken recipes for dinner. Reason?

  • Easy handsfree cooking. Just marinate for 30 minutes and shove into the oven. Except for flipping halfway through cooking, you can leave them alone to cook for about 35 minutes.
  • The herby, lemony marinade with olive oil and yogurt just hugs the chicken, making it so JUICY and DELICIOUS!
  • Baked chicken legs use much less oil (we also use the healthier olive oil) than frying, yet turn out brown and crispy on the outside while tender soft on the inside.
  • There are just about 100 calories in these oven-baked chicken legs, as compared to the fried ones which have almost double the calories. But there’s no compromise in flavor. So HEALTHY, so TASTY!
easy baked chicken drumsticks with olive oil in a white tray.

Ingredients for chicken marinade

The marinade is made with ingredients you may already have in your kitchen. Each of the main ingredients is a powerhouse of nutrients- olive oil, mint, yogurt and lemon. Other ingredients you’ll need are ginger, garlic, shallots and chillies.

How to make the chicken marinade

Making the marinade is super simple. Blend all ingredients- mint, shallots, ginger, garlic, chili, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, lemon zest, olive oil and salt until smooth.

How to prepare chicken legs for baking

Clean the chicken and remove the skin. Make a few slashes across the chicken drumsticks so they absorb the marinade better. This also helps to check later if the chicken is cooked through.

Common questions about baking chicken legs

Should I remove the skin to bake chicken legs in the oven?

Usually, chicken legs are cooked with their skin since the fat from the skin keeps them flavorful and moist. That’s how the sheet pan lemon garlic chicken legs turn out so juicy.
Here we can achieve the same results with the amazing marinade made of yogurt and lime that help TENDERIZE the chicken and keeps it from drying out while baking. The chicken legs also absorb the marinade better and faster without the skin. So when someone says chicken drumsticks MUST be baked with skin if you want them to be moist, do them a favor by sharing this recipe!

How long do I marinate the chicken drumsticks?

Mix the chicken legs with the marinade and leave it on the kitchen counter for 30 minutes. If you’re going to marinate longer, refrigerate the chicken and take it out about 15 minutes or until it reaches room temperature before baking. Marinating overnight will give the best results. The longer you marinate, the better.

How long does it take to bake chicken legs?

The ideal temperature for this recipe would be 230°C/ 450°F. The cook time would vary between 30 to 35 minutes depending on the size of the drumsticks. The internal temperature of the chicken should reach 75°C/ 165°F. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, the best way to check for doneness is to ensure that the chicken is no longer pink at the bone. Since we’ve already made cuts in the chicken, it’s easy to just poke through one of them to check.

How to bake chicken legs with olive oil

Place the marinated chicken legs on a baking tray or sheet pan lined with parchment paper, such that they don’t touch each other. Drizzle olive oil all over the chicken and bake, flipping once in between.

easy oven baked chicken drumsticks in a white tray

Can I use other cuts of chicken?

Other cuts of chicken can also be used for this recipe. The cook time will vary. Whole chicken legs will need 35 to 40 minutes and chicken thighs will need about 25 to 30 minutes.

If you’re cooking breast, use the same marinade and follow the instructions in the recipe for oven-baked chicken breasts.

closeup view of easy baked chicken breast served with garden salad in a white ceramic plate

Health benefits of olive oil

  • Olive oil is rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. These fats are resistant to high heat that makes olive oil a healthy choice for cooking.
  • It is rich in antioxidants that may reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Olive oil contains nutrients that help reduce inflammation.
  • Olive oil, combined with a Mediterranean diet can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Consuming olive oil does not appear to increase the likelihood of weight gain. Moderate intake may even aid weight loss. (Source)

Health benefits of mint

  • Mint is a great appetizer and natural stimulant.
  • Mint is a calming and soothing herb used as a remedy for a host of health issues like indigestion, nausea, depression, memory loss, fatigue, headache, asthma, oral care and skincare problems, allergies and respiratory disorders.
  • Regular consumption of mint also improves alertness and memory retention. Above all, it supports healthy cholesterol levels and aids weight loss. (source)

Health benefits of yogurt

  • Yogurt is the other ingredient in this recipe that helps with weight loss.
  • Rich in important nutrients, protein and calcium, it strengthens the immune system, improves heart health and protects against osteoporosis.
  • It also contains live bacteria or probiotic that promotes digestive health. (source)

If this recipe is a winner, you might want to try some of my other healthy chicken recipes for dinner:

What to serve with baked chicken drumsticks

You can serve the drumsticks with rice and curry, like chana masala or spinach dal.

Make a low-carb meal out of this chicken recipe by pairing it with coconut cauliflower rice or healthy salads like:

More chicken recipes

easy oven baked chicken legs in a white plate

Easy baked chicken legs with olive oil and mint

Easiest and best chicken legs recipe baked in the oven with a unique olive oil, mint and Greek yogurt marinade. With detailed instructions on how long to marinate and roast, whether to cook with skin and what other cuts of chicken can be used.
4.5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
marinate 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 5 mins
Course dinner, Main Course
Cuisine International
Servings 12 chicken drumsticks
Calories 109 kcal

Ingredients
  

marinade

  • 1 cup mint leaves tightly packed
  • 3 tablespoons Greek yogurt
  • 6 shallots
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 2 green chilies reduce for less spice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt

chicken drumsticks

  • 12 chicken drumsticks
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions
 

  • Clean and remove the skin from the chicken drumsticks. Make a few slashes diagonally across the flesh.
  • Blend all the marinade ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth.
  • Marinate the chicken for a minimum of 30 minutes. (note 1)
  • Preheat the oven to 230°C/ 450°F. Line a baking tray or sheet pan with parchment paper. Place the chicken drumsticks such that they don't touch each other.
  • Drizzle olive oil all over the chicken and bake for 30 minutes, flipping after about 20 minutes.
  • The internal temperature of the chicken should be 75°C/ 165°F. If you don't have a thermometer, you can poke though the cut in the chicken leg to ensure the meat is no longer pink at the bone. If still pink, cook for 5 more minutes.

Video

Notes

  • chicken can be marinated overnight, which gives the best results. The longer you marinate, the better.
  • chicken thighs or whole legs can also be used for this recipe by adjusting the cooking time. 
  • chicken thighs– 25 to 30 minutes
  • whole legs- 35 to 40 minutes
  • breasts– use the same marinade with instructions from the oven-baked chicken breasts.
Easy baked chicken legs with olive oil and mint
Keyword baked chicken legs in oven, baked chicken legs with olive oil, crispy baked chicken drumsticks, oven baked chicken drumsticks

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Thank you and happy cooking!

– Sheeba.

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