Baked BBQ Chicken Legs and Thighs (2023)

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Baked BBQ Chicken is a classic American family dinner. Kids love it, husbands love it, and us moms can make it lickety-split for a crowd-pleasing dinner -- therefore, we love it too. With crisp skin and BBQ sauce that actually stays put, this easy recipe for perfect Baked BBQ Chicken Legs and Thighs is guaranteed to be the best Baked BBQ Chicken you have ever had!

Baked BBQ Chicken Legs and Thighs (1)

While baked BBQ chicken seems like a simple enough dinner idea, it's also a dish that often gets the short end of the stick. However, there will be none of that here.

Oven-baked Barbecue Chicken doesn't have to be rubbery, and it certainly shouldn't be lackluster in the flavor department. This simple recipe ensures that the dish remains a crowd-pleasing staple on any American dinner table, and one your family will eagerly look forward to again and again.


In addition to the ingredients for your Baked BBQ Chicken Legs and Thighs, you will also need a large pan, a casserole dish, and aluminum foil.

This dish doesn't require much in the way of ingredients. In fact, you'll only need three of them. They are as follows:

  • Chicken Legs and/or Thighs
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Canola Oil

If this is your kind of recipe, be sure to check out our smoked chicken legs recipe next!


Legs and thighs are the perfect vessels for oven-baked BBQ chicken. You'll find them much more forgiving when it comes to staying moist, whereas the breasts are more likely to dry out.You can use both chicken legs and thighs, or one or the other -- just make sure they are bone-in and skin-on for consistent results.

If you're in need of more chicken leg recipes, make sure to take a look at our easy Baked Chicken Legs recipe! Super simple -- always delicious!


The sauce you choose to smother your chicken with should not be thin or watery. Rather, the BBQ sauce should be thick, viscous, and almost sticky so that it will better adhere to the skin of the chicken while baking. Use your favorite sticky-sweet storebought sauce or whip up a batch of Easy Homemade BBQ Sauce.


To ensure your Baked BBQ Chicken Legs and Thighs don't end up with rubbery or chewy skin, pan-sear the chicken before baking in the oven.

Any time you are searing meat on the stovetop, you'll need an oil that can withstand high temperatures. Canola oil and Avocado oil are the best options for searing meat at a high temperature as their smoke points are very high and they are truly flavorless oils.

Baked BBQ Chicken Legs and Thighs (2)


If the proper steps are not taken, you'll end up with a pile of rubbery chicken skin and a sauce barely clinging on. So how do you cook barbecue chicken in the oven? Simple. All you need to know, straight ahead.

  1. Prep and sear the chicken.
  2. Brush with chicken with sauce.
  3. Bake in a casserole dish, covered, and then, uncovered.


Searing the chicken for Baked BBQ Chicken prior to baking not only helps to develop depth of flavor but also gives the chicken texture. However, before you sear the chicken, you should take a couple of steps to ensure it is optimized for browning.

Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel to remove excess water, drizzle it with oil, and then sprinkle it with either TAK House Seasoning (a simple mix of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder) or your favorite poultry seasoning.

To sear the chicken legs and thighs, add oil to a large pan and place it over medium-high heat. Place the chicken skin-side down in the hot oil and cook it for 4 minutes without jostling or moving the chicken around. This will allow it to develop a nice sear. Then, turn the chicken over and cook it an extra 3 minutes.


Have your pan prepared with a thin layer of BBQ sauce on the bottom. This way, the chicken legs and thighs will have big BBQ sauce flavor on both sides.

Once the legs and thighs go into the casserole dish, brush or spoon the remaining sauce over each leg and thigh and cover with aluminum foil.


The Baked BBQ Chicken Legs and Thighs will first bake covered at 350° for 3o minutes. Once the time is up, you'll pull the aluminum foil, increase the oven temperature to 375° and allow the chicken to bake for an additional 15 minutes.

This additional 15 minutes at a higher temperature, uncovered, will allow the BBQ sauce to thicken, bubble and better adhere to the chicken.


For Baked BBQ Chicken Legs and Thighs without rubbery skin, there are three important things to keep in mind:

  • Use bone-in, skin-in legs, thighs (or a combination of the two).
  • Pan -sear the chicken before it goes into the oven.
  • The barbecue sauce you pick is important! See tips above.
  • How you bake the chicken matters:
    • First, bake it covered to cook the chicken through without drying it out.
    • Then, increase the oven temperature, and bake it uncovered to help the sauce stay put on the chicken.

Baked BBQ Chicken Legs and Thighs (3)


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4.57 from 88 votes

Baked BBQ Chicken Legs and Thighs (4)


Baked BBQ Chicken Legs and Thighs

Prep Time

5 mins

Cook Time

1 hr

Total Time

1 hr 5 mins

A recipe for easy baked BBQchicken featuring chicken legs and thighs, plus a quick, homemade barbecue sauce (optional).

Course:Main Course


Keyword:BBQ Baked Chicken

Servings: 6 Servings

Calories: 698 kcal

Author: Kelly Anthony


  • 4tablespoonsCanola Oilseparated
  • 3poundsChicken Legs and Thighsbone-in and skin on
  • 1tablespoonTAK House Seasoning(or your favorite seasoning blend)
  • 1 ½cupssweet and sticky-style BBQ sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 350°, and pour a ½ cup of barbecue sauce in a 9x13” casserole dish and set aside.

  2. Heat 3 tablespoons of Canola oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Pat legs and thighs dry with a paper towel and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of Canola oil. Add seasoning and rub into chicken evenly on all sides.

  3. Taking care not to overcrowd the pan, add the chicken skin-side down, and cook 3-4 minutes without jostling. Turn the chicken over and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and place in casserole dish.

  4. Brush evenly with remaining barbecue sauce on both sides, cover dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.

  5. Remove the foil, place the chicken back into the oven and increase the temperature to 375°. Bake for an addition 15 minutes. Serve and enjoy.

Recipe Video

Nutrition Facts

Baked BBQ Chicken Legs and Thighs

Amount Per Serving

Calories 698Calories from Fat 432

% Daily Value*

Fat 48g74%

Saturated Fat 11g69%

Cholesterol 216mg72%

Sodium 798mg35%

Potassium 628mg18%

Carbohydrates 26g9%

Fiber 1g4%

Sugar 19g21%

Protein 37g74%

Vitamin A 445IU9%

Vitamin C 0.8mg1%

Calcium 79mg8%

Iron 2.8mg16%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Baked BBQ Chicken Legs and Thighs (5)


Is it better to bake chicken thighs at 350 or 400? ›

It depends on how quickly you want the chicken thighs to cook. At 400F, bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs will need 40 minutes. At 350F, they will need around 50 minutes. While the lower temperature takes longer, it decreases the risk of them drying out.

How long are you supposed to bake chicken thighs? ›

In our basic meal prep boneless chicken thighs recipe, they take about 25 to 30 minutes baked at 425 degrees F. You'll know the chicken thighs are done when they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

How long should you BBQ chicken legs? ›

For perfectly succulent chicken drumsticks, a grilling time between 25-30 minutes is ideal for almost any recipe.

How long to cook drumsticks in the oven at 400? ›

At 400 degrees, drumsticks should only take around 20-25 minutes to bake all the way through to 165 degrees F.

How long does it take to cook chicken thighs and legs at 400? ›

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Bake the chicken leg quarters or thigh-drumstick pieces uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 175°F on your meat thermometer.

What is the best temperature to cook chicken thighs and legs? ›

How Long to Bake Chicken Thighs at 425F (218C)? This high temperature is best for baking bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs because it can easily dry out boneless and skinless thighs. At 425F (200C) you'll have thighs ready in about 35 minutes.

How do you BBQ chicken legs without burning them? ›

Cook them low and slow.

That's why we choose to cook them mostly covered over indirect heat for the first 30 minutes; then over direct heat, uncovered, for the last 10-15 minutes. Times may vary according to your grill, so give or take a few more minutes for both steps.

Should you pre cook chicken drumsticks before BBQ? ›

The key to grilled chicken is to precook it in the oven ahead of time so you know it's fully cooked and ready for the grill. Cooking it ahead of time also lets you cook it slowly, which yields nice, juicy, and tender meat.

How do you know when chicken legs are done? ›

Poke the meat to see if juices are red or clear

For properly cooked chicken, if you cut into it and the juices run clear, then the chicken is fully cooked. If the juices are red or have a pinkish color, your chicken may need to be cooked a bit longer.

How long to cook chicken thighs in the oven at 350? ›

In an oven preheated to 350, boneless chicken thighs should bake for 25-30 minutes. Bone-in chicken thighs will need to bake for 45-50 minutes.

Is 400 too high to bake chicken? ›

Wondering if 400 degrees is the appropriate temperature to bake your chicken breast? Yes, it is. Baking chicken breast at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes guarantees the meat is completely cooked and moist. Nonetheless, bear in mind that cooking time might vary depending on the size and thickness of your chicken breast.

Is it better to bake chicken thighs at 350 or 375? ›

Baking chicken thighs at 375°F takes less time in the oven than cooking chicken legs at 350°F since the total cooking time is roughly 45 to 50 minutes. Use an instant meat thermometer to check the doneness of the meat before removing it from the oven.

Is it better to cook chicken thighs high or low? ›

America's Test Kitchen says to keep the internal temperature between 140 and 195 degrees Fahrenheit for as long as possible while cooking to let the meat gently break down. Braising the thighs or cooking them slowly over indirect heat are some of the best options to achieve perfectly tender chicken thighs every time.

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