My baked chicken leg quarters recipe is one of the tastiest chicken recipes you’ll ever make. It’s also one of the easiest! Juicy, tender, and flavorful dark meat with that crispy skin we all love. My chicken quarter recipe is the perfect choice for an easy weeknight dinner your whole family will enjoy!
Often overlooked the Chicken Leg Quarter is one of the most economical cuts of chicken and also one of the most flavorful.
There are no extra steps involved in making my Baked Chicken Leg Quarters recipe. No pan searing and no frying. Just rub the chicken quarters down with the seasoning mixture and place them in the preheated oven. It’s really that easy!
Made with simple pantry ingredients, it’s one of my favorite chicken recipes!
Let’s start by gathering the ingredients we need to make Baked Chicken Leg Quarters. In Chef Speak this is called the “Mise en Place” which translates to “Everything in its Place”.
Not only does setting your ingredients up ahead of time speed up the cooking process, it also helps ensure you have everything you need to make the dish.
The ingredient list is short:
- Chicken Leg Quarters
- Olive Oil
- Brown Sugar
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Black Pepper
Can I leave out the brown sugar?
You sure can. And actually, the sugar is what causes a good deal of the caramelization of the chicken so that the end product will be lighter in color.
You can also use your favorite blend of seasonings with this recipe. Tailor the seasoning mix to your tastes and your family’s. It can be a different seasoning blend every time you make Chicken Leg Quarters.
Can I use whole chicken with this recipe?
You sure can. You can cut the chicken up in quarters, creating two chicken leg quarters and two chicken breast quarters. You can also just roast the whole chicken using the seasoning paste, but I would reduce the heat to 350 after 25 minutes and continue cooking the whole chicken for an additional 60-90 minutes depending upon the size of the chicken.
You can also use this recipe with chicken breasts, chicken thighs, wings, legs or a mixture of chicken pieces. My baked chicken leg recipe is another favorite.
How to make Seasoning Paste for Baked Chicken
- Add the seasonings to a small bowl
- Combine all of the spices using a fork, making sure to break up as many of the clumps of brown sugar as you can.
- Add the olive oil to the seasoning mix to make a paste.
*The seasoning mix can be made up in larger batches or ahead of time. Just keep it in an airtight container until it is used.
How to make Baked Chicken Leg Quarters
- Rinse the chicken leg quarters in cold water. After rinsing pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Make sure to dry the skin as much as possible.
- Trim off any excess fat or skin from the quarters without breaking the skin. This is usually on the bottom side of the chicken quarters.
- Rub the chicken quarters on both sides with the seasoning paste, making sure to get the entire quarter covered with the seasonings.
- Place the seasoned chicken quarters, skin side up in a single layer on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet.
- Bake the chicken leg quarters at 400°F for 40- 45 minutes (cooking time can vary), or until the internal temperature of the meat is 165°F. Use a meat thermometer (instant-read thermometer) to check the temp!
- Remove the sheet pan from the oven and allow the baked chicken to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
*I like to let the chicken get closer to 180 degrees, the dark meat can take the extra heat and it makes it even more tender while remaining moist and juicy.
Wouldn’t your family love to sit down to these OMG delicious Baked Chicken Leg Quarters? I know they would! Just make sure to make extra, they’re going to be coming back for seconds!
At 400 degrees F. it takes between 35 -40 minutes to reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees. For a more tender chicken leg quarter, I like to cook the quarters for up 45 minutes. Because it’s dark meat the leg quarters can take extra time in the oven, which not only makes it more tender but crisps up the skin nicely.
I prefer cooking chicken without foil. It makes for crisper skin and adds color to the chicken. If the chicken begins getting too dark, it’s okay to cover it with foil at that point to prevent it from getting darker
No, you don’t. In the oven, it’s not necessary to turn the chicken over, during the process.
Do you use ground thyme or thyme leaves?
Chef Dennis Littley
I used thyme leaves but you can use ground thyme.
Really very good. Definitely will make again.
Delicious and so easy!!! I didn’t use the olive oil because I forgot about it! Chicken was so crispy on outside and tender on the inside. I love the flavor combo of these seasonings! Thank you for sharing this recipe.
Excellent recipe my family loved it. Going to keep this one in my back pocket. I have some picky toddlers and they liked it. Thanks!
This is so delicious & juicy. Followed directions & took advice to cook a bit longer than 165°, more like 180°. I also checked after 40 min. & covered with foil (to keep from over browning) & cooked for another 5 min. or so.
Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe, so simple, so delicious. It was enjoyed by everyone at dinner even a couple of my self-proclaimed “foodies” gave it a 10.
Chef Dennis Littley
Thank you for letting me know you enjoyed the chicken quarters. I hope you find more delicious recipes on my website to try.
Made this today and I’m not a great cook, but it turned out wonderful! Very tasty! I didn’t have olive oil but used sunflower oil and it worked fine. Thanks for a recipe easy enough even I can do it.
Just one question: you say preheat oven to 425 yet bake at 400. Is that a typo? Do you preheat to 400?
Chef Dennis Littley
thanks for catching that it’s a typo. It should be 400 preheat and bake.
could this be cooked in the crock pot
Chef Dennis Littley
they can but they won’t come out the same, it will be more like stewed chicken
I’m so glad I joined your recipe email list! I usually cook with chicken breasts, but I was having a large family gathering and chicken legs and chicken thighs were on sale…So I bought those and used this recipe because I trusted you would not steer me wrong!
I put the seasonings in a large plastic zip bag and made the paste – and then put the chicken in the bag – one or two at a time and smooshed it all around so it got really covered with the seasoning. I put it in the oven and baked it! Ta-Da!
This was Really good – we all loved it! and even my husband who doesn’t really like dark meat ate several pieces and said to make it again!
I also really like that the ingredients were not things that I would only use once and never use again. These are normal things that I have in my pantry. I hope other people try this at least once because I know that they will make it a regular rotation in their meal schedule.
Thank you Chef Dennis!
I love your chicken leg recipe. So flavorful and easy to make. We will put this meal in our bi-weekly rotation; it is so good! Thanks for sharing this!
These chicken legs were flavorful and simple, just what I needed for a weeknight. Thanks for this!
I made these tasty chicken legs last night for dinner. The seasonings were just right and I loved the touch of sweet from the brown sugar.
I love the seasonings you add to these chicken legs. They sound absolutely amazing! I definitely want to try this recipe for dinner.
Hi Dennis! Please add me to your list. Thank you
This recipe can’t be easier. It’s perfectly seasoned. It’s perfect for mid-week dinner: short prep-time, and then let the chicken leg quarter cook. The whole family loved it.
These chicken legs came out super juicy and incredibly flavorful. Loved that all the ingredients you use in the rub are pantry staples. The recipe comes together super quickly, and my family devoured the lot in no time!
What would you pair this meal with?
Chef Dennis Littley
roasted potatoes or mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, or rice would be a good starch, and green beans, sauteed greens, or cole slaw would be a good veggie.
These really were the best!! They’re one of our favorite cuts but no one has recipes for them! Loved this, so did my whole family!
This chicken was so tasty and we loved all of the different flavors of the spices. It made a delicious and easy dinner so I’ll be adding it to our dinner rotation! Thanks for another delicious recipe Dennis!
Legs are the best part of the bird, they were juicy, delicious and a big hit with the family.
This was about the best (and easiest) chicken dinner I’ve ever made. THANK YOU! It was delicious, juicy, flavourful, well cooked – but not actually crisp. The chicken temperature was 205° and I baked it at 400° for 50 minutes. I do a lot of cooking and recipes are usually bang on for time and temperature. But …Suggestions? Maybe broil it for a bit?!?
Also, I would very much like to make this again shortly for my daughter’s family but can’t use paprika because of dietary requirements. My son-in-law can’t eat nightshade foods (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, peppers) therefore no paprika. In their household cumin is in constant use instead but I’m hoping there might be another alternative that might fit the bill and that you might be just the person to ask.
Thanks again for this recipe. It was enjoyed by my today’s company very much.
Chef Dennis Littley
you can easily leave out the paprika, it doesn’t add that much flavor, it’s more for color. It’s easy to add additional spices or fresh herbs to the seasoning mix, changing it up to include your favorite spices. Other spices I normally add like chili powder, old bay and cajun seasonings won’t work since they have peppers in them, cumin is nice but if you use it in a lot of dishes already I understand wanting other seasonings.
Oregano, marjoram and thyme blended with the garlic and onion can add nice flavor, you might try that with some lemon zest, for a change of pace.
Thanks so much for your suggestion. I will try that shortly and those spices should work out perfectly. I didn’t realize the paprika doesn’t add that much flavor so that was also good to know for when I would like more color in something.
I very much appreciate your response!
Very tasty but not very crispy.