This chicken leg quarters recipe is by far one of the tastiest chicken recipes. There is a lot of flavor coming from the rub alone, but pan-searing, followed by oven-roasting, adds a ton of extra flavor. That beautifully caramelized skin is just so tasty. With most of the fat rendered out, it turns thin and crispy in the oven. You can’t have enough of this chicken. This recipe is a sibling of my popular Crispy Oven Roasted Chicken Breast recipe with a modified seasoning mix. It’s hard not to love.
Unlike the Crispy Oven Roasted Chicken Breast, chicken leg quarters don’t have to be brined, but you can if you want. Personally, I don’t feel the need to brine the chicken in this recipe as it already gets so much flavor and the dark meat stays moist and juicy very well on its own.
Some may disagree, but chicken leg quarters, which consist of chicken drumsticks and thighs, just taste better when they are cooked way past the safe temperature of 165F. To be exact, they need to be cooked to about 185F – 190F. That’s when they become fall-off-the-bone tender, while still being juicy and moist inside. Dark meat takes heat much better than white chicken meat.
You can vary the seasoning mix in this recipe and use what you like. I’ve tried using Creole and Cajun spice mixes with great results. Just be careful with herbs that consist of large pieces, they tend to burn in the oven. I try to stick to powders as they seem to work best.
To give the chicken even more flavor, you may use butter instead of cooking oil for pan-searing. Not only will it give the chicken more flavor but it will also result in a richer, deeper color.
Looking for more great chicken leg quarters recipes? Check this out:
- 6 chicken quarters
- 2 tsp kosher salt (or to taste)
- 1 tsp Black pepper (or to taste)
- 2 tsp granulated garlic (or garlic powder)
- 2 tsp granulated onion (or onion powder)
- 1 Tbsp Ancho chile powder
- 1/2 TSP cayenne pepper (optional, adjust the amount to taste)
- 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil (for rubbing)
- 1/2 cup cooking oil (for frying)
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Dry the chicken quarters with paper towels and rub with oil. Evenly sprinkle the seasonings on both sides of each quarter and gently pat to make the seasonings stick.
- Heat 1/2 cup of cooking oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. In two batches, sear the chicken quarters, about 2 minutes per side or until the skin is deep golden brown. The time will depend on how hot your skillet is. Tip: the hot oil will splatter so be careful not to get burned. Use a splatter guard if you have one.
- Transfer the chicken onto the baking sheet, fitted with a cooling rack. Pour about 1 Tbsp of the cooking oil from the skillet over each chicken quarter. Tip: line the baking sheet with aluminum foil for a much easier cleaning after cooking. Tip: you must use a cooling rack, or else the bottom of the chicken will come out soggy and greasy.
- Bake at 400F for about 35-45 minutes, or until the chicken skin is crispy and deep golden brown. Different ovens bake differently so the exact time may vary. In my oven, I need 45 minutes.
Tip: chicken quarters will be fully cooked and reach 165F internal temperature at 400F in about 25 minutes, but you want to cook them longer for two reasons. One is that chicken legs and thighs just taste much better when cooked to about 185F - 190F. That's when they become super tender. The second reason is that the skin won't be as crispy after just 25 minutes.
- Remove from the chicken from the oven, let rest for 3 minutes and serve with you favorite side dish.
Looking for more crispy chicken recipes? Check these out: