Best-Ever Baked BBQ Chicken Legs + Drumsticks
Truly the best oven-baked bbq chicken legs and drumsticks recipe perfect for an easy weeknight dinner with a sticky homemade honey BBQ sauce. One dish dirtied and 5 ingredients (including chicken!) required.
The Best Way To Make Oven-Baked BBQ Chicken Legs
Sticky, tangy BBQ baked chicken is such total comfort food. When the recipe’s this easy, it’s just about heavenly.
I streamlined a recipe for you down to one that dirties only one dish and requires only 5 ingredients, including the chicken! (I use a mix of chicken legs – both drumsticks and thighs).
The first thing I do when making a quick-and-easy weeknight dinner is take the main ingredients out of the fridge ASAP. Before you even tie on your apron, pull your chicken out to room temperature. It sheds some of it’s chill while you mix your sauce ingredients.
How to Make The Best Easy Homemade BBQ Sauce
To make this quick and easy homemade barbecue sauce, simply follow these 3 simple steps:
- Measure the ingredients for the BBQ sauce (½ c ketchup, ½ c honey or brown sugar, 6 minced garlic cloves and ¼ cup soy sauce)
- Add to small bowl
- Stir to combine
For this recipe, I honestly skip the bowl and simply measure all of the ingredients directly onto the parchment-lined baking sheet we’ll be baking the chicken on.
It’ll look like a hot mess. That’s A-ok. This is what totally winning at weeknight dinner looks like.
How to Make BBQ Chicken Legs in the Oven
Wondering how to make BBQ chicken in the oven that comes out tender, juicy, sweet and sticky? While it may seem simple, there is a bit of science to it.
Because the BBQ sauce on the chicken has sugar in it, if left unwatched, it can easily darken very quickly and burn if you aren’t careful.
We’re aiming for baked chicken, not scorched chicken!
Here’s exactly how to make perfect BBQ chicken in the oven every time:
- Ensure your chicken is brought to room-temperature before you bake it
- Use the correct oven temperature (425ºF)
- Ensure the rack in your oven is in the centre
- Cover the chicken with foil after it has begun to brown (about 20 minutes)
- Use a meat thermometer to check the chicken’s temperature (should reach 165ºF)
- Remove the foil and bake for the last 5 minutes uncovered to create some yummy char
How Long to Bake Chicken Legs
The truth is, nobody enjoys dry, overcooked chicken.
So, how long should you bake chicken drumsticks?
For perfect juicy and tender chicken drumsticks, bake for 45 minutes at 425ºF in the centre rack of your oven, covering with foil half-way through to prevent burning.
It’s important to note, that you first need to bring your chicken drumsticks to room temperature. Room-temperature ingredients cook faster (and more evenly) than cold ingredients, simply put.
Easy Homemade BBQ Sauce Recipe (3 Ways)
This homemade BBQ sauce recipe is such a great base and is a versatile sauce that I riff on frequently. Here are my favourite ways to mix this one up.
Chinese BBQ Chicken
To make a Chinese-style BBQ sauce, add 1/2 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder, a tablespoon of hoisin sauce and a tablespoon of Shaoxing wine or sherry if you have it.
Mexican BBQ Chicken
Add 1/2 tsp chipotle powder (or more, to taste, just taste before you add the chicken obvs. and increase by small amounts – it’s hot stuff!).
Indian BBQ Chicken
Take this BBQ sauce for a South Indian adventure with a riff on Adarsh’s Chicken 65 sauce.
Fry a tsp of mustard seeds, a handful of curry leaves, and 1/4 tsp of ground cayenne until toasty smelling and stir them into the sauce.
What to Serve with BBQ Chicken
If anything embodies the flavours of summer, it’s sticky, sweet, smoky BBQ chicken. Here are just a few of our family’s favourite side dishes that I love to serve with this recipe:
Oven-Baked Honey BBQ Chicken Legs
- 3 1/4 lbs bone-in chicken pieces (drumsticks, thighs)
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup honey or brown sugar
- 6 large cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- Remove chicken from fridge and let stand at room temperature while you mix the sauce. Preheat oven to 425ºF.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Measure all remaining ingredients directly onto baking sheet and stir to combine. Add chicken and turn to coat evenly, rubbing some sauce under the skin.
- Bake in centre of oven for about 45 minutes, covering with foil about halfway through, until centre reaches 165ºF.