Tender juicy oven baked chicken legs– easiest and healthiest way to bake chicken drumsticks in the oven with a unique lemon, mint and Greek yogurt marinade.
These oven baked chicken drumsticks are one of my favorite healthy chicken recipes for dinner. Reason?
- Easy to cook. 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 yogurt just hugs the chicken, making it so JUICY and DELICIOUS!
- Baked chicken legs use much less 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!
Marinade for chicken drumsticks
Main ingredients for the chicken marinade are mint and yogurt:
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 Greek 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)
Now you can see why baking chicken with this marinade is the best way to cook drumsticks.
How to make the chicken marinade
(full printable recipe at the bottom of the post)
Blend all ingredients– mint, shallots, ginger, garlic, chili, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, lemon zest, oil and salt until smooth.
Preparing the 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.
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 to 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 to bake chicken legs in the oven?
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.
How long does it take to bake chicken legs?
The ideal temperature for this recipe would be 220°C/ 430°F. The cook time would vary between 35 to 40 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.
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 40 to 45 minutes and chicken thighs will need about 30 to 35 minutes. If you’re cooking breast, use the same marinade and follow the instructions on the recipe for oven-baked chicken breasts.
If this recipe is a winner, you might want to try some of our other healthy chicken recipes for dinner:
- easy 5 ingredient chicken curry
- oven-baked chicken breasts
- oven baked tandoori chicken
- lemon mustard chicken
- Asian stir-fried chicken with red rice
Make a meal out of this chicken recipe by pairing it with a healthy salad:
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Thank you and happy cooking!