These crispy baked chicken leg quarters are so simple but delicious and can be served with so many different things.
Have you ever cooked chicken leg quarters? I’ve gotten really into them lately because they are so affordable and produce such juicy meat! I can’t wait to share my chicken leg quarters recipe with you and hear what you think.
What Are Chicken Leg Quarters?
First off, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page as the part of chicken I’m talking about. This cut of chicken is the whole chicken leg which is the thigh and drumstick pieces still together. This is about a quarter of the chicken and is mostly juicy dark meat, full of flavor.
Chicken leg quarters are an economical cut so it’s a great option when trying to cut down on that grocery bill! The bone-in, skin-on leg quarters will be your cheapest option, which is what we will be using in this recipe.
How To Make Crispy Baked Chicken
Most baked chicken recipes recommend starting with a low oven temperature and then raising the temp to crisp up the skin. I’ve found that this can dry out and overcook the chicken while trying to get the skin crispy enough.
Instead, start with an extremely hot oven temperature and after 30 minutes, lower the temp to finish cooking the chicken. Doing this will ensure you get crispy skin and the chicken is perfectly cooked and moist.
Air circulation is also important for the chicken skin to become as crispy as possible, so using a roasting pan fitted with a rack is a must. This will allow the fat and juices to drip into the bottom of the pan, keeping the air around the chicken skin hot and dry. Using a sheet pan isn’t recommended because the volume of pan drippings produced by the chicken from juices and rendered fat could either overflow or come up too high in the pan and make it dangerous to safely remove the pan from the oven.
It’s also important to season the chicken well, under the skin and then all around. I like to use a combination of salted butter under the skin and a sprinkling of salt around the chicken legs, tops and bottoms.
Herbs and spices will burn with the oven temperature set so high, so just simple salt and butter is all that is needed for seasoning.
How To Bake Chicken Legs
To make the best baked chicken leg quarters, first preheat the oven to 450°F. While the oven is preheating, mix together the butter and one-half teaspoon of the salt. Set that aside and fit a flat rack (not a V-shaped rack) inside the roasting pan.
Place the chicken legs on the rack in a single layer with as much space between them as possible, which will help the air circulate around them. Pat each chicken leg dry with paper towels on the top and bottom to remove excess moisture. The chicken needs to be very dry in order for the butter to stick to it.
Rub one tablespoon of the salted butter mixture under the skin and on top of the skin of one of the chicken legs, and then repeat the process with the remaining chicken legs. Once all of the legs are buttered inside and out, sprinkle the remaining one-half teaspoon of salt evenly over the tops and bottoms of the chicken legs.
Place the pan into the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 400°F, and bake 15 minutes more or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F on an instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken leg.
Remove pan from oven, and let this stand for 10 minutes before serving.
The drippings in the bottom of the pan can be used to make a chicken gravy, or transferred to a ramekin and refrigerated. Once solidified, it can be used as a cooking fat for other recipes.
Try serving these baked chicken quarters with side dishes of roasted vegetables and mashed potatoes for a delicious meal.Print
- 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tsp. salt, divided
- 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken leg quarters
- Preheat oven to 450°F.
- In a small bowl stir together butter and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Set aside.
- Fit wire rack into large roasting pan. Place chicken legs on rack in a single layer. Pat each chicken leg dry with paper towels.
- Rub 1 tablespoon of the butter under skin and on top of skin of one of the chicken legs. Repeat with remaining chicken legs. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 teaspoon of the salt evenly over the tops and undersides of chicken legs.
- Place pan in oven. Bake 30 minutes.
- Reduce oven temperature to 400°F. Bake 15 minutes more or until internal temperature of chicken reaches 165°F on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken leg.
- Remove pan from oven. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.