How to bake chicken leg quarters in the oven. Tender and crispy roasted chicken leg quarters, a budget friendly and delicious family meal.
BAKED CHICKEN LEG QUARTERS
Chicken legs or chicken leg quarters are our favorite cut of chicken. And roasted chicken leg quarters are our favorite way to eat them.
We love chicken breast too and I try to buy and use a whole chicken whenever possible, but truth is, when it comes to cutting a whole roasted chicken, everyone seems to want to have the thighs or the drumsticks…
So, very often I buy only the legs or chicken leg quarters, just to make sure that everyone is happy.
Chicken leg quarters are also the most affordable cuts of chicken. They are less sensitive than chicken breast, so less prone to become dry when cooked and have more meat on them than chicken wings, so you will not have to buy so many to get your family satisfied.
You really cannot go wrong with chicken leg quarters! And a meal of roasted chicken leg quarters is one of the best meals I can think of.
Chicken leg quarters are also incredibly versatile, I must have cooked them in at least a hundred different ways and I was never disappointed. Have a look at some of these recipes, I am sure you will find something you will want to try next:
WHAT ARE CHICKEN LEG QUARTERS?
Drumstick + Thigh + Portion of the chicken back = Chicken leg quarter.
A chicken leg quarter is a whole chicken leg including a portion of the back, which is attached to the chicken thigh.
A drumstick is also sometimes called a chicken 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 chicken leg.
How to separate chicken leg quarters (if needed):
If you buy chicken leg quarters just because they happened to be on offer and you don’t want to miss that (I do that sometimes), you can cut the legs before you cook or freeze them.
- In order to do that, you have to find the joint that keeps the leg and the thigh together. Grab the chicken leg with both hands, holding the thigh with one hand and the drumstick with the other. Bend the leg against the joint to dislocate it.
- Use a good sharp knife or kitchen shears (I prefer the large knife) to cut through the dislocated joint and separate the thigh from the drumstick.
- Turn the thigh around and remove the excess fat and skin from its inner side with a sharp knife.
- If you wish, you can remove the portion of the back which is attached to the thigh. I often do it because it is more bone than meat, so not really worth roasting.
However, that doesn’t mean I throw those parts away. Never, ever!!! If the chicken leg quarters I bought were fresh, then it is safe to freeze the back portions to make chicken stock or chicken soup later.
If the chicken quarters were frozen and now thawed, I either leave the back portions on or I cut them and make chicken stock immediately. Never freeze thawed products again!
And think about the roasted leftover bones or back portions. You can use them to make chicken stock, roasted bones will add so much flavor to the stock. Freeze them until you have a nice batch and make stock using this recipe.
Stocking the chicken leg quarters:
If I decide to separate the chicken leg quarters, which are bought fresh, I usually place them in different freezer bags in batches of six, usually. So, 6 thighs, 6 drumsticks and 6 back portions.
When needed, I thaw them in the refrigerator, overnight.
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 LEG QUARTERS
This recipe for roasted chicken leg quarters is super easy, a basic recipe I would say. It also uses only one main ingredient – the chicken leg quarters, a little butter and some spices.
Seasoning for oven baked chicken legs:
When it comes to seasoning the chicken leg quarters prepared for roasting, you can use pretty much anything you like. Salt and pepper are 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 or rather a mixture would be fine as well. Whatever you like best!
You can add some garlic powder and dried herbs like thyme and rosemary 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 roasted chicken leg quarters a Southern flair.
So, how to bake chicken leg quarters?
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius/ 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- 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. Mix well
- Place the chicken leg 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 the chicken leg quarters during the roasting time.
- Bake the chicken leg quarters, 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 CHICKEN LEG QUARTERS?
I used rather large chicken leg quarters, they weighed between 350 g – 400 g/ 12.3 -14 oz.
The chicken leg quarters of this size need a total roasting time of 45 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius/ 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
If using smaller or larger chicken leg quarters, you will have to adjust the roasting time accordingly, until you reach the required internal temperature.
According to USDA the safe internal temperature of roasted chicken leg quarters or any other chicken parts, either white or dark meat is of 74 degrees Celsius/ 165 degrees Fahrenheit, measured with a meat thermometer.
If not using 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.
HOW TO SERVE ROASTED CHICKEN LEG QUARTERS?
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…
- 4 chicken leg quarters (between 350 g – 400 g/ 12.3 -14 oz per piece)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (See note 1)
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika powder (See note 2)
- ¼ teaspoon hot paprika powder (to taste)
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius/ 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the salt, pepper and spices. Mix well.
Place the chicken leg 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 the chicken leg quarters during the roasting time.
Bake the chicken leg quarters, 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 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, a total time of 45 minutes.
If the chicken leg quarters are smaller than indicated, reduce the roasting time accordingly.
Check if the chicken leg quarters are cooked through. If using a meat thermometer, the internal temperature of the chicken should be of 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.
Serve as suggested above.
- If using salted butter, adjust the salt amount required in the recipe accordingly.
- See blog post for more seasoning suggestions.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1 chicken leg quarter
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 528 Total Fat: 29g Saturated Fat: 10g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 16g Cholesterol: 343mg Sodium: 828mg Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 0g Sugar: 0g Protein: 62g