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.
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!
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.
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.
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:
- easy 5 ingredient chicken curry
- oven-baked chicken breasts
- oven baked tandoori chicken
- lemon mustard chicken
- Asian stir-fried chicken with red rice
What to serve with baked chicken drumsticks
More chicken recipes
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Thank you and happy cooking!