These marinated chicken drumsticks are baked in the oven until the skin is crispy and the meat is pull-apart tender. You will need only a few ingredients to make this rich and tangy chicken marinade for the best chicken drumsticks ever.
Chicken drumsticks are juicy, meaty, and are so versatile. They take longer to cook because of the bone but at the same time, they are hard to overcook, compare to the tenders or breasts.
If you do not have much time, try to make these Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Chicken Drumsticks instead. They are ready in under 30 minutes.
Baked chicken drumsticks and thighs are great for kids, as they are soft with crispy skin and so easy to eat. These parts of the chicken are inexpensive even if you buy organic. Our whole family often enjoys them with a side of Buckwheat Groats or Roasted Green Beans and Carrots. Leftovers are great the next day for wraps or salads when shredded and bones removed.
⭐The best chicken drumsticks marinade
Chicken marinades are usually oil-based or dairy-based, with added citrus juice, salt, herbs, and spices. Today, I am sharing the dairy-based marinade to make these delicious chicken drumsticks. You can also use it to make chicken wings or thighs.
Yogurt marinade tenderizes the meat without the risk of being rubbery, compare to citrus or vinegar. Marinading in vinegar is great, but if you add too much of it, it may make the meat tough instead of juicy. Yogurt has a different type of acidity, it tenderizes mercifully and helps the spices to penetrate deeper into the tissues of the meat. As a result, the chicken always comes out so flavorful and tender.
Please, see the recipe card for ingredient quantities.
Chicken Drumsticks - bone-in, skin-on chicken drumsticks or thighs. Skin-on meat is great when using marinates. It comes out super flavorful and crispy.
Greek Yogurt - use plain full-fat (preferred) or low-fat Greek yogurt or sour cream. Both have similar thickness and acidity and will do a great job marinating the meat.
Lemon Juice - only a little bit of lemon juice for extra flavor, as yogurt will do the main job to tenderize.
Salt - I usually use between ¼ teaspoons (for boneless and skinless meat) and -½ teaspoons (for bone-in and skin-on meat) per pound of chicken. There are approximately 4 chicken drumsticks per pound.
Herbs and Spices - you will need paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and dried oregano. You can experiment with different combinations of dried spices.
Olive oil - is used to grease parchment paper. You can skip it, but it is great for crisping the skin making it look browned and almost charred.
🍗How to marinate chicken drumsticks
- Remove the chicken legs from the packaging and pat dry them with a paper towel to get rid of access moisture. This trick will make the skin super crispy.
- You will need a large bowl or a container to fit the marinade and the meat with some room for mixing and stirring. Add there yogurt, lemon juice, salt, dried herbs, and spices. Whisk everything with the fork to combine.
- Now, add the chicken and coat the meat with the marinade. Massage the chicken gently to distribute the marinade evenly.
- Use plastic wrap to cover the bowl tightly and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, but better few hours.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking pan with some parchment paper. Take out the meat from the fridge and arrange them on the prepared baking tray.
- Let the marinated chicken legs come to room temperature for about 15 minutes before baking.
- Bake for 45-60 minutes flipping the chicken halfway through to have it browned evenly on both sides. Remove the chicken from the oven once the internal temperature reaches at least 165° degrees F.
- for best results marinate the meat for at least 30 minutes.
- flip the drumsticks halfway through for browned color on both sides.
- for best results, take out the legs from the fridge 15-20 minutes before baking to bring them to room temperature. Cold meat will dry out in the oven fast, and as a result, the chicken will be rubbery.
- baking time will depend on the size of the drumsticks.
- use an instant thermometer to ensure the meat is fully cooked.
Always wash your hands with soap after handling raw meat. Make sure to disinfect any surfaces and cutting boards it came in contact. Never rinse the chicken as it will only spread the bacteria all over your sink and kitchen.
Marinate the meat in the fridge in a tightly closed container or resealable plastic bag. Discard the leftover marinade leftovers immediately and never reuse it, even if the meat was marinating for a short period.
If you do not have a meat thermometer, I recommend getting one. It will guarantee your meat is fully cooked. The chicken meat is cooked, when the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
But since the drumstick is hard to overcook, I like to bake mine until it registers at least 175°F. This way there is no red liquid coming out of the bone if you accidentally bite into it. Make sure you insert the thermometer in the thickest part of the largest drumstick.
Avoid cooking on aluminum foil when possible, as it may leach into food. Parchment paper is more affordable and is great for baking meat.
🌡️How to store
Place chicken legs in an airtight container and store them in the fridge for up to 3 days. They reheat well in the microwave, air fryer, or oven.
📖Frequently asked questions
Yes, make sure to marinade and thaw the frozen meat in the fridge, never on the counter. You can add the marinade straight to frozen chicken, it will absorb it better while thawing.
For the best results let the chicken marinade at least for 30 minutes, but better for 1-2 hours. Do not marinate it for longer than 24 hours, as harmful bacteria may grow.
Yes, this marinated chicken recipe is great for baking, air frying, or grilling.
🥗Healthy side dishes to serve with
🐓Other popular chicken recipes
- Air fryer frozen chicken wings
- Cast iron skillet chicken breasts
- Chicken muffins
- Chicken thigh broth
Marinated Chicken Drumsticks
- 1 large bowl
- 1 Baking pan
- 1 Measuring Cup
- 1 set of measuring spoons
- 2 pounds chicken drumsticks (about 8)
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil to grease the parchment paper
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- In a large mixing bowl, add yogurt, lemon juice, salt, herbs, and spices. Pat dry the drumsticks and add them to the prepared marinade. Massage to distribute the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate the meat for at leas 30-60 minutes.1 cup plain Greek yogurt, 2 Tablespoons lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon onion powder, ½ teaspoon black pepper, 2 pounds chicken drumsticks (about 8)
- Line parchment paper over the baking pan. Spread a thin layer of olive oil on top. Preheat oven to 400°F. Meanwhile, arrange marinated chicken legs on a prepared pan. Let them sit for 15 minutes to bring them to room temperature.
- Bake for 45-60 minutes flipping the legs halfway through until the juices run clear and internal temperature reaches 165°F.
- you can use this marinade for legs, thighs or wings.
- you can use sour cream instead of yogurt.
- great for baking, air frying or grilling.
- marinade the chicken in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, but no longer than 24 hours.
- serving size is 2 legs per 1 person.
- the nutrition data is for information purposes only.