How long does it take to bake chicken drumsticks at 400 degrees? I will show you the best recipe with the perfect cooking times and temperatures!
Chicken drumsticks don’t need much of an active cooking effort. The fast ritual of patting them dry, tossing some seasonings and fats or oils on them, with some flour or starch, and hopping them into a preheated oven to bake for 40 minutes makes a crispy, tender, amazing meal.
As they bake slowly, you can go on your merry way to do your chores.
They are perfect meals for busy days; you don’t have to overthink them, and there is a chance you already have everything you need for them at home.
You don’t need too much planning or grocery shopping; there are no extra ingredients you have to hunt for. Pair them with your favorite spices and your most hearty side dish.
I use this meal for days when I have my head full of stuff to do and think about, work, and chores, and I need a quick meal without much input or effort on my part. The family loves it, the guests love it, and everyone is a fan of this recipe. Chances are, yours will be too!
How long does it take to bake chicken drumsticks at 400 degrees?
Chicken drumsticks need a higher heat to cook through. This means you have to bake them at 400-450 degrees for 35-40 minutes, turning them once in the middle.
You should place the oven rack on the upper part and preheat the oven beforehand. Marinading them beforehand for up to 24 hours can lead to much tastier drumsticks and even slightly less cooking time, especially when using acidity in the marinade.
Roast these chicken legs on a pan until they are crispy, golden brown outside and tender, soft inside. Cook them uncovered in the oven, so the skin can cook well and not just steam. Steamed chicken legs can become rubbery and sticky.
Drumsticks are great for any day, occasion, or meal. When done cooking, the meat juices have to be clear, not red or pink.
What is the best temperature to bake chicken drumsticks?
The best oven-baking temperature range for chicken drumsticks is between 400-450 degrees Fahrenheit.
They just love higher temps. Always place them well apart, not touching each other, and place foil underneath them on the baking sheet. Good non-sticking cooking oil can make cleaning up much easier for you.
Chicken is one of the most popular meats, but many people cook it badly. Turn that heat up, and always preheat your kitchen devices for cooking chicken.
If you use lower heat, the meat will steam and undercook, while the longer cooking time will burn the outside, turning it dry, underdone, and tangy on the outside. The worst combination!
On higher heat, the chicken pieces will stay moist but crisp on the outside. The internal temperature should reach 165 degrees to be on the safe side and for the skin to cook through.
What do I need to bake chicken drumsticks?
Fortunately, you don’t need much for this recipe. Some seasoning, your favorites, some drumsticks, some oil or fat of your choice, and a side dish.
The butter makes the meat skins crisp and heavenly, and the seasonings stick perfectly while making the meat tender and soft. Simple but fresh and good-quality ingredients make a perfect dish.
Lemon, garlic, and herbs go hand in hand and always elevate any dish, be it fish, meat, or vegetarian.
Earthy, acidic, and savory, the perfect combo! Adding a splash of fresh lemon or orange juice makes the taste pop.
Fresh herbs provide a very unique depth to every meal. If you have to choose between a very suitable but dry herb addition to meat or a fresh but not the most suitable one, always go for the fresh. They are unmatched!
How to Bake Chicken Drumsticks at 400
- ½ tbsp Onion powder
- ½ tbsp Garlic powder
- ¼ tbsp Black pepper
- ½ tbsp Sea salt
- ¼ tbsp Ground nutmeg
- 12 Chicken drumsticks (skin-on)
- 5 tbsp Melted unsalted butter
- A handful of panko crust
- 2 Green onions (chopped)
- 1 tbsp All-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp Corn starch
- A squeeze of lemon juice
- Bring the chicken drumsticks to room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Pat dry the chicken drumsticks with paper towels, making them as moisture-free as you can. Toss the chicken drumsticks with the seasonings in a large bowl.
- Let them bathe generously in the marinade. Let them sit for 10-20 minutes until the oven is preheated.
- Line a baking sheet with foil and place the chicken drumsticks on the sheet, at an even distance from each other.
- Place them in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Flip them over so the other sides can crisp too, and bake them for another 15-20 minutes.
- They need to get browned and crisp up.
- Let them rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
TIP: At the same time they are baking in the oven, toss some potatoes into the air fryer with some sea salt and fresh herbs. They will be ready at the same time, making a hot and delicious meal. A light salad will also go very well with them.
Can I replace some ingredients in the recipe?
This recipe can be made with skinless, skin-on, bone-in, or boneless chicken drumsticks. I suggest you go with skin-on and bone-in chickens.
With all of these versions, the cooking method is the same; only the outcomes are different. The skin on drumsticks holds the tender meat together, retaining moisture and natural juices and adding depth of flavor while crisping up.
Dark chicken meat is best prepared at high heat and for longer cooking times. Marinade them for 24 hours before cooking with acidic ingredients, fats, and spices.
Instead of butter or olive oil, some chefs prefer avocado oil thanks to its neutral taste and ability to withstand high heat. They are very healthy too, and great, in this case, for using on chicken at high heat.
Tips and tricks to improve the recipe
With good quality meat and spices, there is very little room for improvement in simple but balanced meals. But you can always get creative.
Adding some smoked paprika can get you a real outside-barbeque feeling to it. Oregano, rosemary, olives, and feta can create the perfect light summer, Greek-inspired dish, especially with a Greek salad on the side.
Any seasoning mix is amazing with chicken drumsticks, so they are perfect to get a grasp on other cuisines with some familiarity. Oven-baking is great when using butter and heat-resisting spices. Dippings are amazing for a drumstick, be it BBQ, ranch, roasted paprika sauce, or pesto.
Avoid overcooking them. Otherwise, you will end up with leathery drumsticks that are rubbery and undercooked. Overcooking, in this case, means cooking them at a lower heat. Chicken drumsticks need high heat!
Some of the best side dishes to oven-bakes chicken drumsticks are rice with roasted broccoli, cheddar oven-baked potatoes, fried rice, mashed potatoes, coleslaw, pasta salad, or Greek salad.
Making a dip and having fun with it is also great. Make sure that your dipping sauce matched the seasonings on the drumsticks. You won’t need any extra trips to the grocery store for this recipe, just use what you have at home, they will be just perfect.
Chicken drumsticks also feed a bigger crowd with a big bowl of salad and some tasty dippings. Perfect for movie nights, or friends coming over.