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Cast Iron Skillet Chicken Drumsticks (Chicken Legs)

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These cast iron chicken drumsticks or chicken legs are delicious. Tender, juicy, crispy-skin chicken, one pan, just a few ingredients, and minimal effort – this recipe is a keeper!

four large drumsticks in a cast iron skillet with parsley.

Here’s another way of cooking awesome chicken legs: cast iron chicken drumsticks seared in the skillet and then baked in the oven. An easy recipe perfect for the whole family, quickly put together on a busy weeknight, and perfect for meal prep.

And while you’re here, check out How to Cook Chicken Drumsticks on the Stove and make some Honey Soy Chicken Drumsticks, Spicy Curry Drumsticks (in the Oven), or Slow Cooker Chicken Drumsticks.

Why should you cook chicken drumsticks in a cast iron skillet?

  • One pan: A cast-iron skillet is oven safe, so you will only need one pan for this recipe. You will start cooking the legs on the stovetop and finish them in the oven without transferring the food to another pan.
  • Just a few ingredients: Only one main ingredient – the chicken. Otherwise, you will only need a bit of oil, butter, and spices. This also makes the recipe very affordable.
  • Minimal prep work: About 5 minutes.
  • Family favorite: The kind of recipe that everybody loves (especially the kids).

Recipe ingredients

raw chicken legs, oil, spices, butter in bowls.
  • Chicken legs or drumsticks, bone-in, skin-on. For 4 servings, you will need 8 chicken legs, about 2 lbs/ 1 kg. An average piece weighs about 4 oz/ 120 g.
  • Fat: Some oil and butter for searing the legs in the skillet.
  • Spices: I mixed my own spices for this recipe: ground coriander and cumin, turmeric, smoked sweet paprika, garlic powder, and fine sea salt.
  • Alternative spices: Anything you like. You can use a mix of your favorite spices, a store-bought seasoning mix or rub; you can use your favorite curry powder, Cajun seasoning, taco seasoning, Italian herbs, and so on. Check out Baked Chicken Drumsticks for more seasoning ideas.
  • Or try our Peri Peri Seasoning – super spicy!

Equipment

  • One large cast-iron skillet 12-inch/ 30 cm.
  • Tongs to turn the pieces in the pan.
  • Oven mitts to be able to touch the hot skillet without burning your hands (all Amazon affiliate links).

How to cook chicken legs in a cast iron skillet?

  • Season: Pat dry the legs with paper towels and place them in a large bowl. Rub them well with olive oil. Add the spices mixture and toss the legs to coat them with the spices.
  • Marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes or in the refrigerator for longer (up to 12 hours). If marinating them in the fridge, bring them to room temperature before cooking; it will take about 20 minutes.
raw chicken legs coated with spices in a bowl.
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C.
  • Sear on the stovetop: Heat the skillet, add the oil and the butter, and let the butter melt. Lightly brown the drumsticks on all sides, about 2-3 minutes per side (turn them with tongs).
collage of two pictures of browning seasoned chicken legs in a skillet.
  • Carefully transfer the skillet to the oven. Caution: It’s very hot; use mitts when you touch it.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the cast-iron chicken drumsticks are cooked through.
  • Rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Expert Tips

  • Don’t wash the poultry. According to USDA, this will only spread bacteria in your sink and on your kitchen surface. Only heat will destroy it.
  • Marinating the chicken is optional but recommendable; the spices will have more time to penetrate the meat, making it more flavorful.
  • Clean the cast-iron skillet by hand with warm water and preferably without soap. If you must use soap, ensure it is only a minimal amount. Use a scraper for stuck-on bits. Dry the skillet immediately with kitchen towels and rub it lightly with cooking oil. Use a paper towel to remove excess oil.
one drumsticks that was bitten to show the white flesh.

Recipe FAQ

How many drumsticks should I serve per portion?

Two, but three is realistic as well. Children under 7 or so would only eat one.

How to check if the chicken is cooked?

The best way to check is with an instant-read thermometer; the internal temperature should be 165°F/74°C. If you don’t have one, tear one piece and check near the bone; the flesh should be white with no traces of red or pink (Amazon affiliate link).

How to store?

Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
Freeze the leftovers in an airtight container for 2-3 months. Defrost in the fridge and reheat before serving.
Reheat in the preheated oven at 350°F/180°C for 5-10 minutes or until heated through.
Reheat in the microwave in a covered container for 2 minutes. If not hot yet, add another minute and check again.

overhead view of a cast iron skillet with four chicken legs and fresh parsley inside it.

How to serve?

These cast-iron chicken legs are super versatile; you can serve them with almost anything. Here are some side dish ideas.

More cast-iron chicken recipes

Do you like this recipe?

Please leave a good rating in the recipe card below. Stay in touch through social media: Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram. Don’t forget to tag me #whereismyspoon when you try a recipe!
overhead view of a cast iron skillet with four chicken legs and fresh parsley inside it.

Cast Iron Skillet Chicken Drumsticks (Chicken Legs)

These cast iron chicken drumsticks or chicken legs are delicious. Tender, juicy, crispy-skin chicken, one pan, just a few ingredients, and minimal effort – this recipe is a keeper!
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Main Course, Poultry
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 336kcal
Author: Adina

Equipment

Ingredients 

  • 8 chicken drumsticks 2 lbs/ 1 kg, Note 1
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 ½ teaspoon cumin Note 2
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika Note 3
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt or Kosher salt Note 4

Instructions

  • Season chicken legs: Pat them dry with paper towels and place them in a large bowl. Rub them well with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the spices (1 ½ teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon coriander, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon (smoked) sweet paprika, ¼ teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon fine sea salt) and mix well to coat the legs with the mixture.
  • Marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes or in the refrigerator for longer (up to 12 hours). If marinating in the fridge, allow the legs to come to room temperature before cooking; it will take about 20 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C.
  • Sear on the stovetop: Heat the skillet on the stovetop and add oil and butter. Brown the drumsticks on all sides, about 2-3 minutes per side; turn them with tongs.
  • Carefully transfer the skillet to the oven. Use mittens when you touch it; the skillet is super hot all over.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes or until cooked through. Check with an instant-read thermometer; it should read between 165-170°F/74-77°C. If you don’t have one, tear one drumstick; the flesh near the bone should be white.
  • Rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Notes

  1. One drumstick weighs about 4 oz/ 120 g. You will need at least 2 per serving, maybe 3 for big eaters. Children under 7 will probably only eat one piece.
  2. Alternative spices: Anything you like. You can use your own spice mixture, store-bought seasoning blends or rubs, curry powder, Cajun, Italian, or taco seasoning, etc. Check out Baked Chicken Drumsticks for more seasoning ideas.
  3. For spicy drumsticks, use hot paprika or add cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes (to taste) to the spice mixture.
  4. If using table salt, start with only ¾ teaspoon; table salt is more potent than sea or Kosher salt.

Nutrition

Serving: 2drumsticks | Calories: 336kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 147mg | Sodium: 772mg | Potassium: 376mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 0.1g | Vitamin A: 420IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 2mg
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