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On this Paleo & Whole30 journey chicken legs are a staple in our household. I shop at a local butcher who sells organic flesh. Here I can purchase at a reasonably priced legs. Both Shawn and I prefer dark meat. For this reason, when I cook a whole chicken the white meat often goes to the dogs, and we only get one leg combination from that meal. So buying 6 to 8 chicken leg combinations and cooking them up in one evening feeds us for the week. We eat other foods as well. I often remove the skin in advance and cook it up for our kids (dogs).

Chicken legs are comprised of the thigh and drumstick and are considered the dark meat or cut.  About 100 grams of chicken legs offer 27 grams of protein. 

To ensure you make the most of this poultry cut, here are a few simple SECRETS to consider:

  1. Cut off all excess fat. 
  2. For less fat overall remove the skin completely. After all the legs have more saturated fat than the breasts.
  3. Using a paper towel to pat the chicken thus removing excess moisture.
  4. Either toss the legs in your olive oil/herb mixture or coat the top of chicken with your mixture or sauce. If I’m adding sauce to the legs, I often remove the skin completely.
  5. Spray your oven proof pan with avocado non-stick cooking spray. This ensures you don’t lose any meat that might otherwise be stuck to the bottom of your pan.
  6. Preheat the oven in advance for more unified cooking of the flesh.
  7. Bake legs at a higher temp if leaving the skin on. This makes the skin crispier.
  8. Bake the legs until juices run clear and the internal temp reaches 165 F.
  9. Use a thermometer to ensure the flesh is cooked throughout.
  10. Broil the legs at the end for a more caramelized sauce.

Cooking Times for Chicken Legs:

Cook bone in chicken legs for 40-45 minutes at 400°F

Cook bone in chicken legs for 45-55 minutes at 375°F

Cook bone in chicken legs for 50-60 minutes at 350°F

Also take note: Above baking temperatures and times are estimates.  Follow your own oven’s temperature and cooking time. It takes a gas oven 10-15 minutes to reach the desired temperature. Electric ovens can take 10 minutes longer than that.  The age of your oven will also determine the temperature, time for roasting or baking, and where you want to place your dish in the oven.  The bottom of your oven may be hotter than the top, depending on its condition.  This also includes where to set your dish under the broiler.  So use your own best judgment based on the type, condition, and age of your oven.  Prep times will also vary depending on how slow or quickly you like to work.

Keep ingredient combinations simple. Let the flavours of no more than 3 ingredients shine. Here are some examples:

Lemon, garlic, rosemary

Black pepper, cumin, garlic

Chipotle, lime, no sugar added apricot

Garlic powder, onion powder, paprika

Paprika, salt, pepper

Here are 4 of my favourite Paleo & Whole30 chicken leg recipes: