Chicken Leg Quarters Recipe

by Erin @ Food Doodles on July 21, 2020

You only need 5 ingredients and 5 minutes to put these chicken leg quarters together. This recipe is ridiculously easy and the result is way more flavorful and delicious than you would imagine. Because this recipe just calls for olive oil, salt, paprika, garlic powder and pepper, these chicken quarters are also naturally paleo, dairy-free and gluten-free.

I am so excited about today’s recipe. We’ve made a ton of chicken leg quarter recipes and this is, by far, our favorite and definitely the easiest. 

It’s my go-to recipe when I realize that we don’t have any leftovers and I don’t have enough time to stand around in the kitchen to prepare something. 

Even if I do have the time, I still make these about once a week. I actually made a whole chicken yesterday and my husband was a little disappointed that I hadn’t made these roasted chicken leg quarters instead.

 

They’re just so good! I can’t blame him. 

Whenever it’s his turn to make dinner, he usually makes these. I make up a huge batch of the spice mix so all he has to do is put some olive oil and the spice mix on the chicken. 

What are chicken leg quarters?

Chicken thigh + drumstick (which is the lower part of the leg) + part of the back = chicken quarters.

What makes baked leg quarters so great?

If your family fights over the dark meat, chicken quarters are where it’s at.

They’re inexpensive, moist, meaty and so easy to prepare. Compared to white meat, they have a juicier flavor, are richer and harder to dry out. 

I love whole roasted chickens but I have a knack for overcooking them. I also don’t like preparing them. These quarters are just so much easier.

There’s nothing not to love about them, unless you dislike the flavor.

Are they healthy?

I’m sure you’ve heard that white meat is a healthier choice than dark meat. It’s true that dark meat has about double the amount of saturated fat as white meat, but it’s still a small amount. It also has double the amount of healthy unsaturated fat.

Some studies even indicate that dark meat is healthier than white meat. It has more nutrients and contains more zinc and iron. That is great news, right? 😄

One thing everyone agrees on is that the skin is unhealthy. But bake the chicken with the skin on.

It keeps the chicken moist! And it’s much easier to remove after cooking.

For another healthy chicken recipe, check out my Paleo Chicken Meatballs! Just like these baked chicken quarters, they’re naturally gluten-free, dairy-free and paleo.

How to bake chicken leg quarters

Baking chicken leg quarters in the oven is the easiest method to prepare them.

If you want the bottoms of the chicken quarters to be crisp, you need to place them on a cooling rack in the pan as you see in the photos.

I prepared them that way for the pictures because I know most people want those crisp bottoms. I don’t eat the skin so I don’t care if the bottoms are soggy.

So what I actually do is put the chicken in the pan, without a rack, and then fill up the rest of the space with potato and sweet potato chunks as well as some carrot slices. They should be in a single layer – not piled on top of each other. 

Add a bit of olive oil and maybe about 1/2 portion of the spice mix. They’re my favorite potatoes! They suck up the chicken juice and fat and become the most flavorful potatoes.

If they don’t brown enough for your liking by the time you take out the chicken, just remove the chicken from the pan, turn up the heat a bit and let the potatoes get golden brown.

But even if they’re not golden brown, those potatoes are crazy delicious. I often skip the browning step because I simply can not wait any longer to eat the potatoes. 😂

If you don’t want to make roasted potatoes, these Dairy-free Mashed Potatoes
make an excellent side dish!

What temperature to bake chicken quarters

I’ve tried baking chicken quarters at 300 °F, 350 °F and 400 °F. I thought slowly cooking them on low would yield the best results but 400 °F was the winner.

And it takes the least time, which is another bonus.

How long to bake chicken leg quarters

Here’s another reason why chicken quarters are better than roasting a whole chicken (at least if you like the dark meat). Chicken should be cooked to 165 °F. It’s often recommended to stop cooking at 160 °F and letting it come to 165 °F while it rests.

That’s usually not an issue when roasting a whole chicken. White chicken meat is the best right at 165 °F and once you start going over that, it starts to dry out. 

But did you know that the dark meat gets even more succulent when you cook it to between 185 °F and 190 °F? If you do that with a whole bird, the white meat will be overcooked and dry.

To actually answer the question – at 400 °F, you only need to bake chicken leg quarters for 40-50 minutes.

How do I know if they’re cooked thoroughly?

They used to say that once the juices are clear and the meat isn’t pink, then it’s done. But that’s not true. You can’t tell just by looking at the meat, bones or juices. You need a good digital thermometer.

But like I said earlier about dark meat – it’s almost impossible to overcook it. If you don’t have a thermometer, just cook the meat for 50 minutes and you should be fine.

If you have some monstrous chicken quarters and you think they don’t look done enough, put them back in for another 5 minutes. 

Can I use a different cut of chicken for this recipe?

You can use the spices on any kind of chicken but you’d need to look up exactly at what temperature and for how long to cook the cut of chicken you’re using.

Can I omit the salt / paprika / garlic / black pepper?

Of course, but they won’t be as delicious. 😉

Speaking of paprika, we’ve made these with hot paprika and smoked paprika. I’ve never tried it with regular paprika (which is sweet paprika) but I’m assuming it’d work. 

If you have kids and are worried about the hot paprika – you can just not put as much of the spice on the pieces for the kids. Or use half hot and half sweet. My toddler ate them with the full amount of spice with no complaints and I can’t handle much heat, so I don’t think they’re overly spicy.

Can I use fresh garlic?

If you use fresh garlic and put it on the chicken with the rest of the seasoning at the beginning, it’ll burn. If you want to use fresh garlic, use a tablespoon of minced garlic and brush it (with the help of fat that has dripped down) on the chicken during the last 10 minutes of baking.

What can I use instead of olive oil?

Butter or another type of oil works just as well.

I think that’s about it. If you try this recipe out, I’d love to hear what you think!

You only need 5 ingredients and 5 minutes to put these chicken leg quarters together. This recipe is ridiculously easy and the result is way more flavorful and delicious than you would imagine. Because this recipe just calls for olive oil, salt, paprika, garlic powder and pepper, these chicken quarters are also naturally paleo, dairy-free and gluten-free.

5 from 1 vote
You only need 5 ingredients and 5 minutes to put these chicken leg quarters together. This recipe is ridiculously easy and the result is way more flavorful and delicious than you would imagine.
Chicken Leg Quarters Recipe
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
50 mins
 
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 people
Ingredients
  • 4 chicken leg quarters (mine were 3 1/4 lbs or 1.5 kilos total)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon hot or smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 °F (205 °C).

  2. Place an oven-safe cooling rack on a baking tray big enough to fit all the chicken.

  3. Stir together the spices in a little bowl.
  4. Place the chicken on the cooling rack (in the pan) and drizzle the olive oil over the top.
  5. Rub half the spice mix between the skin and the meat. Rub the other half on top and on the bottom of the chicken. On the bottom, there's just a little drumstick meat that you need to rub - no need to rub the bones.

  6. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until the internal temperature is 185 °F (85 °C) and the skin is browned and crisp. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before serving.

  7. If you have any leftovers, let them cool and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Recipe Video

Leave a Comment

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jeanne Mills September 13, 2020 at 23:39

I have made these twice in the last two weeks. As soon as I have an empty shaker I am going to make a batch of the seasoning for the next time! They are that good!

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2 Erin @ Food Doodles September 16, 2020 at 06:03

Woohoo! I’m so glad that you enjoyed them. I totally agree with you. We also have some in a jar, ready to go! Thanks a ton for your feedback. 🙂

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3 Donny August 2, 2020 at 19:36

I love chicken legs and yet I never buy them. Thanks for this recipe because now I will! They look so good.

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4 Jennifer July 31, 2020 at 01:24

Oh this looks amazing, one of my Dad’s favorites! I’ve never tried to make before , but am going to give it a go this weekend.

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5 Kelly July 30, 2020 at 05:55

So simple but so good! The family will love these!

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6 Stacey Crawford July 29, 2020 at 19:23

That crisp chicken skin looks so good! Can’t wait to try the rub the next time I get chicken legs.

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7 Elaine July 29, 2020 at 00:05

These look perfect Erin. Yum!

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8 Marisol Chancellor July 28, 2020 at 17:26

Love this recipe! looks like a great weeknight dinner. cant wait to try it

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9 Megan Stevens July 28, 2020 at 02:11

I love how affordable and easy this dinner is. Chicken legs are the best, and the spice rub is something I’ve never tried. Thank you!

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10 Jean Choi July 28, 2020 at 01:29

SO simple but delicious! The only way I’ll be cooking drumsticks from now on.

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11 Erin @ Food Doodles August 6, 2020 at 11:32

Yay! I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed them! Thanks for your comment. 🙂

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12 Jacque Hastert July 27, 2020 at 20:24

Love how simple and budget-friendly this dinner option is. Made with simple staples in the pantry and comes out perfect everytime.

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13 Jordan Elbaum July 27, 2020 at 17:15

These are the best looking baked chicken quarters i’ve ever seen and I cannot wait to make these!

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14 Daniela Modesto July 27, 2020 at 16:04

That perfectly crispy skin!!! Ahhh, just simply the best protein packed dinner!

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15 Kari Alana July 27, 2020 at 03:24

I absolutely love chicken leg quarters and think I should buy these more often because my litle one does not like breast meat. Your recipe looks lovely.

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16 Sophie July 26, 2020 at 15:32

Wow, these look perfectly seasoned and yum. That spicy crusted skin is mouth watering. Thanks for this amazing step by step recipe.

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17 Mama Maggie's Kitchen July 26, 2020 at 10:57

This Chicken Leg Quarters looks so deliciously good. I wish I could eat that right this minute!

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18 Veronika July 25, 2020 at 21:48

Love trying new simple recipe ideas for chicken! Using different spices bring so much more flavor and so easy to make! Will try your recipe next week.

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19 Jamie July 25, 2020 at 10:30

I love all the spices you added to this chicken! I happen to have all those seasoning in my pantry so this will make a perfect dinner! The chicken looks so juicy and flavorful!

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20 Marta July 23, 2020 at 19:32

My family loves to eat leg quarters. They’re so filling and easy to make. Thanks for this recipe!

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21 Andrea Howe July 22, 2020 at 20:29

I always see the chicken leg quarters in the store but usually skip right past because I always wonder how to get them crispy AND bake them. But baking them this way was fantastic! Thank you!

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22 Candice July 22, 2020 at 18:06

Such an easy recipe with ingredients I already had, so I just had to make it. It is so juicy! And that crispy skin is unbeatable. Great recipe!

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23 Jacque Hastert July 21, 2020 at 18:42

Chicken leg quarters are always on sale and I never have a recipe, so I don’t ever buy them. However, I am going to add these to my menu for next week.

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