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Food & Recipes

Our Test Kitchen Director’s 5 Favorite Chicken Leg Recipes — So Delicious For Less!

And they prep in as little as 10 minutes!

We pretty much never get tired of chicken as a weeknight dinner option. After all, you can roast it, grill it, fry it — the possibilities are endless. And for results that are guaranteed to be delicious every time, chicken legs can’t be beat. Lots of folks overlook this dark meat because it come with skin and bones intact. However, it’s one of the cheapest cuts to buy and yields succulent results no matter the cooking method. Keep reading to learn more about chicken legs (also called chicken leg quarters) and five mouthwatering recipes that’ll become a part of your regular dinner rotation:

What parts of the chicken make up the leg quarters?

A chicken leg is one piece consisting of the thigh and drumstick, which are attached by connective tissues. This cut is a gem, especially if you love dark meat, as you’re getting double the amount in each serving. Plus, chicken legs give you the best of both worlds as they produce juicy meat and crispy skin every time. Woman’s World Test Kitchen Director Susan Chiusano likes leg quarters because they are so affordable. “Look for family-packs of leg quarters in your grocery store,” she suggests. “They will usually cost about half as much per pound than chicken breast pieces.”

How long do chicken leg quarters take to cook?

The USDA notes that 4- to 8-ounce chicken leg quarters need to roast for at least 40 minutes at 350°F and grill for a minimum of 10 minutes per side. While cook times for this cut may vary, the meat is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. Once cooked, allow the chicken to rest for about five to 10 minutes before serving so the juices redistribute throughout the meat. Susan notes that chicken leg quarters are really forgiving, “Because the dark meat has a higher fat content, it’s difficult to over-cook them. They also lend themselves to a variety of cooking methods — baked, grilled or even braised.” 

Out top 5 chicken leg recipes

Since Susan is a huge fan of chicken leg quarters, we asked her to share her top five favorite recipes developed in the Woman’s World test kitchen. Whether you prefer infusing poultry with the fresh, zingy flavors of lemon and herbs or smothering it with smoky BBQ sauce, there’s a chicken leg recipe guaranteed to keep your taste buds and wallet happy: 

Paprika-Rubbed Chicken Legs

Paprika-Rubbed Chicken Leg Quarters
Food & Photo

A splash of wine adds richness to this irresistible main course — for a nonalcoholic version, substitute chicken or vegetable broth.


  • 1 tsp. paprika 
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder 
  • ½ tsp. salt 
  • ¼ tsp. cracked black pepper 
  • 4 chicken leg quarters, about 3 lbs, 12oz. 
  • 1¼ cups roasted garlic pasta sauce, from 24-oz. jar (Buy from Walmart, $2.76)
  • ½ cup red wine 
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh parsley + additional leaves 
  • ½ tsp. grated lemon zest 


  • Active: 10 mins
  • Total time: 55 mins
  • Yield: 6 servings
  1. Heat oven to 400°F. 
  2. In small bowl, combine paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Rub over both sides of chicken. Stir together 1 cup pasta sauce and red wine; transfer to 4-quart. baking dish. Transfer chicken to baking dish; brush with remaining ¼ cup pasta sauce.
  3. Bake until chicken is no longer pink near bone, about 40 minutes. Broil 3 to 4 minutes. Top with fresh parsley and grated lemon zest. 

Lemon-Herb Chicken Legs

Lemon-Herb Chicken Leg Quarters
Food & Photo

Marinating chicken in the fridge for several hours adds bold flavor. Short on time? Celebrity chef Anne Burrell says you can let it sit at room temperature for up to an hour.


  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup lemon juice 
  • 1 Tbs. fresh oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 4 chicken leg quarters 
  • 1 lb. baby potatoes
  • 2 red, green and/or yellow peppers, quartered 


  • Active: 30 mins
  • Total time: 4 hrs. + grill prep
  • Yield: 4 servings
  1. Whisk first 5 ingredients and ½ tsp. salt; reserve ¼ cup. Place chicken in baking dish; add remaining dressing. Cover; chill 4 hours.
  2. Prepare grill for medium direct- and indirect-heat cooking.
  3. Cook potatoes in boiling water, 12 minutes; drain. Grill chicken over direct heat, 5 minutes; flip. Move to indirect heat. Cover; cook until no longer pink, 30 minutes.
  4. In grill basket, grill potatoes, 10 minutes, and peppers, 6 minutes. Serve with chicken; drizzle with dressing. 

Memphis-Style BBQ Chicken Legs

Memphis-Style BBQ Chicken
Getty Images

Unlike most homemade BBQ sauces, which require a simmer on the stove, ours is completely no-cook — perfect for hot summer nights.


  • 6 chicken leg quarters 
  • 4 Tbs. barbecue seasoning, divided (Buy from Walmart, $4.90)
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 3 Tbs. red wine vinegar 
  • 2 Tbs. molasses 


  • Active: 10 mins
  • Total time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 6 servings
  1. Heat grill for indirect cooking. Sprinkle chicken with 1 Tbs. barbecue seasoning; coat with cooking spray. Grill chicken 10 minutes over direct heat, turning once.
  2. Meanwhile, in bowl, combine last 5 ingredients and remaining seasoning; reserve half. Grill chicken over indirect heat 8 minutes or until 165°F, basting with ½ sauce. Serve chicken with reserved sauce.

Chimichurri Chicken Legs

Chimichurri Chicken

These tangy, garlic-packed chimichurri chicken legs taste extra-delicious dipped in creamy avocado sauce!


  • 1½ cups coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and stems 
  • ⅓ cup red wine vinegar 
  • 1½ tsp. dried oregano 
  • 2 cloves garlic 
  • ½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes 
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil 
  • 1¼ tsp. salt 
  • 4 chicken leg quarters, about 5 lbs. 
  • 1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, coarsely chopped 
  • Lime wedges, optional 


  • Active: 30 mins
  • Total time: 6 hrs., 15 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings
  1. Prepare grill for medium direct- and indirect-heat cooking.
  2. In food processor, pulse cilantro, vinegar, oregano, garlic and pepper flakes until cilantro is finely chopped. Transfer ¼ cup of mixture to large bowl; stir in oil and 1 tsp. salt. With knife, pierce chicken all over; add to bowl and toss to coat. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  3. To remaining cilantro mixture in food processor, add avocado and remaining ¼ tsp. salt; pulse until smooth. Transfer to bowl; cover with plastic wrap, pressing it tightly against surface. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  4. Grill chicken, skin side down, over direct heat until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Turn over and transfer to indirect heat. Cover; grill until no longer pink near bones, 25 to 35 minutes. Serve with avocado purée and, if desired, lime wedges.

Chicken Legs with Tomatoes and Potatoes

Chicken Legs with Tomatoes and Potatoes
Are Media

Our almost-instant walnut pesto would be just as delicious spread over fish, beef or stirred into pasta.


  • 5 cloves garlic, not peeled 
  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • ¼ cup + 1 Tbs. olive oil 
  • 2 tbs. chopped walnuts, toasted 
  • 2 tbs. grated Parmesan cheese 
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice 
  • ¾ tsp. Pepper
  • 4 chicken leg quarters, about 3 lbs. 
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 1 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, cut into ¾-inch wide wedges
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes 


  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Coat large roasting pan with cooking spray.
  2. Peel 1 clove garlic. In food processor, process basil, ¼ cup oil, walnuts, Parmesan, lemon juice, peeled garlic and ¼ tsp. pepper until smooth; cover and chill until ready to use.
  3. Rub chicken with ½ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper. Transfer to roasting pan.
  4. In bowl, toss potatoes with remaining oil, ¼ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper. Transfer potatoes and remaining garlic to roasting pan around chicken. Roast until chicken is no longer pink near bone, about 40 minutes. adding tomatoes during last 15 minutes of cooking time. Top with reserved pesto.

Want more tasty recipes for chicken? Check out these guaranteed-easy ideas:

5 Delicious Chicken Breast Dinners That Are a Total Cinch

Paula Deen Reveals Her Secret Swap That Guarantees Perfectly Crispy Fried Chicken

This ‘Lazy’ Roast Chicken Only Needs 2 Ingredients and a Cast Iron Skillet

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