Baked chicken leg quarters in the oven. Tender-baked, crispy skin quarters, a budget-friendly and delicious family meal.
Roasted chicken leg quarters is one of our favorite budget-friendly dinners, a delicious way of feeding a large family.
Why buy chicken leg quarters?
More flavor: The quarters are our favorite cut of chicken. We love white meat too, but dark meat is juicier, more flavorful. I try to buy and use a whole chicken whenever possible, but truth is, when it comes to cutting a whole roast chicken, everyone seems to want to have the thighs or the drumsticks… So, very often I buy only the quarters, just to make sure that everyone is happy.
Juicier: They are less sensitive than the chicken breasts, so they are less prone to become dry when cooked and they have more meat on them than wings, so you will not have to buy so many to get your family satisfied.
Good value: They are the most affordable cut.
Versatile: You can cook them in every possible way, there are plenty of chicken leg recipes you can choose from! You can make flavorful chicken stocks and soups, stews and curries, salads, and so on. You can bake them, boil them, pan-fry them, broil them, grill them.
What are chicken quarters?
It is a whole leg including a part of the back of the chicken, which is attached to the thigh: Drumstick + Thigh + Portion of the back = Chicken leg quarter.
A drumstick is also sometimes called a leg, but actually, when a recipe calls for chicken legs, I never think about the drumsticks only, I always assume that the recipe calls for a whole leg.
What do you need?
- They can be either fresh or frozen and thawed. Always thaw frozen meat in the refrigerator, it will take at least 12 hours. Or you could learn How to Cook Frozen Chicken Thighs in the oven, it’s really easy and it saves you a lot of time.
- Salted or unsalted. Olive oil or vegetable oil can be used instead.
- You can use pretty much anything you like. A simple seasoning of fine sea salt or Kosher salt and black pepper is sufficient if that is all you have.
- Otherwise, you can never go wrong with paprika powder, I prefer sweet Hungarian paprika powder, but hot or smoked would be fine as well.
- You can add some garlic powder and/or onion powder, lemon pepper, red pepper flakes, and dried herbs like thyme and rosemary, or Italian seasoning for a Mediterranean feeling, you can add ground cumin and coriander for an Oriental touch.
- Curry or turmeric powder would be reminiscent of India and Cajun spices will give the baked quarters a Southern flair.
- You can also use a bought poultry spice mixture.
Do you have to wash chicken parts?
Always wash your hands, tools, and kitchen surfaces immediately after handling raw chicken! And don’t bother washing the chicken parts, you will only contaminate your sink without getting rid of the germs, they will only be destroyed during the cooking process.
How to bake chicken quarters?
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius/ 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel to remove the excess moisture. Turn the legs around and remove the excess skin and fat on the underside.
- Melt the butter in a small pan. Add the salt, pepper, and spices, in my case sweet Hungarian paprika powder with a touch of hot paprika powder (Amazon affiliate links). Mix well.
- Place the legs on a baking sheet in a single layer and rub them well on both sides with about ¾ of the spiced melted butter. Keep a small amount to brush them during the roasting time.
- Bake in the hot oven, skin side up, for 15 minutes. Turn them on the other side, brush with some of the marinade and some of the cooking juices and bake for another 15 minutes.
- Turn again, brush with the remaining marinade and with some of the cooking juices and sprinkle with a little more salt and paprika powder on the skin side.
- Finish baking for another 15 minutes.
How long to bake them?
- I used rather large pieces, each weighing between 350 g – 400 g/ 12.3 -14 oz.
- Quarters of this size need a total roasting time of 45 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius/ 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- If using smaller or larger legs, you will have to adjust the roasting time accordingly, until you reach the required internal temperature.
- According to USDA, the safe internal temperature of the meat, either dark or white meat is 74 degrees Celsius/ 165 degrees Fahrenheit, measured with a meat thermometer. (Amazon affiliate link)
- If not using a meat digital thermometer, pierce into the thickest part of the thigh, the juices should run clear. If they are still pink, give them 5 more minutes in the oven, then check again.
How to serve?
The roasted chicken leg quarters are delicious served with most anything, it would be actually quicker to write what not to serve these with… probably pasta…
What to do with leftovers?
- Keep them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Serve cold or reheat in the oven at 160 degrees/ 325 degrees Fahrenheit until heated through.
- Use the leftover meat in salads, soups, sandwiches, casserole, pasta dishes, and the bones for making stock.
Can you freeze the leftovers?
Yes, they can be frozen for up to 3 months. You can place the whole legs in a freezer bag or strip the meat from the bones and only freeze the meat.
More chicken quarters recipes:
- Oven Roasted Legs with Vegetables
- Baked Quarters in Honey Mustard Sauce
- Turmeric Chicken
- Sticky Roasted Legs with Green Onions
- Easy Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Thighs
Baked Chicken Leg Quarters
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius/ 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Pat the legs dry with kitchen towels.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the salt, pepper, and spices. Mix well.
- Brush: Place the quarters on a baking tray and rub them well on both sides with about ¾ of the spiced melted butter. Keep a small amount to brush them again during the roasting time.
- Bake, skin side up, for 15 minutes. Flip, brush with some of the marinade and some cooking juices and bake for another 15 minutes.
- Flip again, brush with the remaining marinade and some cooking juices, and sprinkle with a little more salt and paprika powder on the skin side. Finish baking for another 15 minutes, a total time of 45 minutes.If the quarters are smaller than indicated, reduce the roasting time accordingly.
- Check if the chicken is cooked through. If using a meat thermometer, the internal temperature of the chicken should be 74 – 76 degrees Celsius/ 165 - 170 degrees Fahrenheit.If you don't have a meat thermometer, pierce the chicken in the thickest part of the thigh, the juices should run clear. If they are still pink, give the chicken 5 more minutes in the oven, then check again.
- If using salted butter, adjust the salt amount required in the recipe accordingly.
- See blog post for more seasoning suggestions.