15 Chicken Leg Recipes You'll Want Over And Over Again

honey mustard chicken thighs
honey mustard chicken thighs - Catherine Brookes/Tasting Table

It's hard not to love juicy chicken thighs and drumsticks. Grilled, roasted, braised, or pan-fried, the versatile protein is less likely to dry out when you cook it because it has a bit more fat and connective tissue compared to lean chicken breast. In fact, chicken leg meat is even better when cooked to a slightly higher internal temperature, because the connective tissue melts into gelatin above 170 degrees Fahrenheit, making the meat even juicier. That makes it easier to get deep browning on these pieces without worrying about overcooking -- and browning is where the flavor is.

This collection of our favorite chicken leg recipes covers all the bases, from low and slow-baked chicken thigh recipes to simmered drumstick recipes and also versions that are pan-fried or oven-roasted. They're all packed with flavor and straightforward to prep, too. So whether you love skin-on crispy thighs or slow-cooked succulent legs and thighs, you'll find a delicious recipe here to add to your dinner rotation.

Read more: 12 Different Ways To Cook Chicken

1. Confit-Style Chicken Legs

confit chicken legs
confit chicken legs - Taylor Murray/Tasting Table

This recipe for oil-poached chicken uses whole leg pieces, which is one of the least expensive ways to buy chicken. You'll need to plan at least a day in advance of when you'd like to serve this confit chicken as the raw legs spend some time in a salt, sugar, and spice mixture to flavor them and draw out excess moisture. After a long, low-temperature simmer in olive oil, the chicken emerges meltingly tender and deliciously flavorful, ready to shred on bistro salads, pizzas, or as part of your French-inspired menu.

Recipe: Confit-Style Chicken Legs

2. Cajun Blackend Chicken

Cajun blackened chicken
Cajun blackened chicken - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

If you'd like to recreate the flavors of grilled chicken in your oven, this is the recipe for you. Blackened chicken takes its name from the technique of roasting the meat at high temperature with a robust mixture of Cajun-inspired spices that darken dramatically when cooked. If you want less spicy heat, you can reduce the cayenne pepper in the mix and still get a mouth-popping flavor from this simple recipe. Red beans and rice or a hearty salad would round out this meal nicely.

Recipe: Cajun Blackened Chicken

3. Coconut And Lime Chicken Thighs

coconut and lime chicken thighs
coconut and lime chicken thighs - Jennine Rye/Tasting Table

Thai-inspired aromatics and three kinds of coconut combine to make this rich, simmered chicken dish that would be a weeknight wonder at any time of year. The one-pot dish gains layers of flavor by searing boneless, skinless chicken thighs and then shallot, ginger, and garlic in the same pan for quick cleanup. Coconut milk and chicken stock are used to deglaze the pan, and after the thighs braise for 10 minutes, salty fish sauce and tart lime balance the dish. Then, all you need is a pot of steamed rice to soak up the savory sauce.

Recipe: Coconut And Lime Chicken Thighs

4. Crockpot Greek Lemon Chicken And Orzo

Greek-style lemon chicken with orzo
Greek-style lemon chicken with orzo - Julianne De Witt/Tasting Table

There's nothing as comforting as the aroma of a chicken dinner simmering in the Crockpot. This recipe, with flavors from sunny Greece, will perk up your weeknight meals. The longer cooking time in onion and garlic-scented broth ensures the chicken thighs are tender, and adding orzo near the end of cooking soaks up all that brothy flavor into the tiny pasta shape. Sundried tomatoes, feta cheese, and olives provide a dash of Greek-style umami and salty contrast to the richness of this braised dish, which also includes wilted baby spinach to make it a complete meal.

Recipe: Crockpot Greek Lemon Chicken And Orzo

5. Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore

chicken cacciatore
chicken cacciatore - Julianne De Witt/Tasting Table

Your Crockpot comes in handy once again for this flavorful hunter-style braised chicken in tomato sauce. A slow simmer on low heat makes it another nearly effortless way to bring a tasty chicken dinner to the table that everyone will enjoy. The traditional cacciatore sauce created in the Crockpot includes capers and olives to add piquant notes along with oregano and thyme that make the dish even more cravable. You could serve this Italian classic over polenta or with a simple loaf of bread to wipe up every drop of sauce.

Recipe: Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore

6. Crockpot Coq Au Vin

coq au vin
coq au vin - Julianne De Witt/Tasting Table

For another twist on simmered chicken, try this French-inspired braised chicken dish. With a hearty red wine base, the chicken takes on all of the aromatic flavors of traditional mirepoix and bacon by simmering in the broth. This is the perfect recipe to use with bone-in chicken legs to make the broth even richer with built-in bone broth flavor. The traditional garnishes of button mushrooms and pearl onions can be cooked right in the Crockpot near the end of cooking, too. Don't let the fancy-sounding French name fool you: This is a hearty country-style recipe meant to warm you up with filling meat and vegetables.

Recipe: Crockpot Coq Au Vin

7. Cuban Mojo-Roasted Chicken

Cuban mojo-roasted chicken
Cuban mojo-roasted chicken - Michelle McGlinn/Tasting Table

Citrusy mojo marinade is a Cuban staple with herby oregano and bright orange achiote-based Sazon seasoning. Whole chicken legs are marinated in the punchy combination overnight to permeate them with flavor and then roasted at high heat in the oven to yield a crisp, golden-brown finish. Dark meat is ideal for this recipe because it won't dry out during the roasting time like white meat would. This chicken is not just a great dinner idea to round out a pot of Cuban black beans and rice, but any leftovers would make a tasty Cubano sandwich filling or the perfect shredded topping for a salad.

Recipe: Cuban Mojo-Roasted Chicken

8. Sheet-Pan Maple-Glazed Chicken Thighs With Butternut Squash

Sheet pan chicken thighs with squash
Sheet pan chicken thighs with squash - Ksenia Prints/Tasting Table

Versatile chicken thighs are a great choice for sheet-pan dinners. You don't need to worry about the meat becoming dry and stringy while any vegetables on the pan finish, and the extra fat and flavor from the thighs cooking add their flavor to everything roasting with them. A clever mixture of Greek yogurt and maple syrup spiced up with a hint of paprika and chili peppers allows the marinade to cling to the thighs and accompanying butternut squash chunks during the roasting time. With another dash of maple syrup and a sprinkle of fresh thyme leaves near the end of the cooking time to further glaze the combo, this is one of those effortless but elegant dinners that make it look like you've been cooking all day.

Recipe: Sheet-Pan Maple-Glazed Chicken Thighs And Butternut Squash

9. Pan-Fried Chicken Thighs

pan fried chicken thighs
pan fried chicken thighs - Susan Olayinka/Tasting Table

This is a back-to-basics recipe with a great lesson in how to get deliciously browned chicken skin and tender braised meat in the same skillet. After a liberal shower of salt, onion powder, and garlic powder for seasoning, these thighs are placed skin-side down in a hot skillet to brown. Once golden on both sides, the thighs are flipped skin-side up again, and a bit of chicken stock is added to the skillet, where they'll simmer, covered, until they're ready to eat. The pan juices can be spooned over the chicken or a bit of rice -- you'll want to save every flavorful drop.

Recipe: Pan-Fried Chicken Thighs

10. Baked And Glazed Honey Shallot Chicken

baked and glazed honey shallot chicken
baked and glazed honey shallot chicken - Jessica Morone/Tasting Table

For another take on bronzed chicken thighs from the oven, this recipe first marinates bone-in chicken thighs in a mixture of honey, soy sauce, orange juice, dijon mustard, and minced shallot. The marinade adds color and a balanced salty-tart flavor to the meat, and when roasted, the skin becomes glistening and browned. A bit of reserved marinade serves as the time-saving glaze: Simply reduced over low heat to a sticky, thick texture, the glaze is brushed on after baking to prevent it from burning. This sweet chicken will have everyone at the table licking their fingers and asking for seconds.

Recipe: Baked And Glazed Honey Shallot Chicken

11. Garlic Butter Chicken Thighs

garlic butter chicken thigh
garlic butter chicken thigh - Kit Hondrum/Tasting Table

Garlic lovers, here's your new favorite chicken recipe. These bone-in thighs are roasted in butter with 20 sliced cloves of garlic — you'll want a loaf of crusty bread to spread all that melted garlic butter around. The chicken starts by browning in an oven-proof skillet before finishing in a hot oven, where it continues to brown. You'll have plenty of time to prepare a side dish or salad to go with this aromatic chicken because most of the cooking time is hands-off.

Recipe: Garlic Butter Chicken Thighs

12. Crockpot Chicken Fricasee

chicken thighs fricasee
chicken thighs fricasee - Julianne De Witt/Tasting Table

A fricassee is a home-style simmered dish of meat and vegetables, with a sauce made by thickening the cooking juices. This version does all the simmering work in your Crockpot after a quick sear on the stovetop to get the chicken and chopped vegetables brown for that extra layer of flavor. The cooking broth is then thickened with heavy cream and a paste of butter and flour before the final simmer. By using bone-in thighs, you'll be creating a rich stock in the Crockpot as the dish cooks, with a heavenly aroma that will bring everyone to the kitchen to see if dinner's ready yet.

Recipe: Crockpot Chicken Fricassee

13. Slow Cooker Adobo-Ish Soy Sauce Chicken Thighs

adobo soy sauce chicken thighs
adobo soy sauce chicken thighs - Taylor Murray/Tasting Table

If you're a fan of the tangy, soy-flavored Filipino favorite, chicken adobo, you'll love this adaptation that uses a handful of pantry items to produce a quick, flavorful meal. Like many other slow cooker recipes, the chicken thighs and onions get a quick browning in a pan on the stove before simmering in the sweet-sour cooking liquid. If you prefer a more acidic version, feel free to adjust the levels of vinegar and honey to your liking -- and hot tip: Be sure the level of the cooking liquid covers at least half the depth of the chicken. Slow cookers vary in size and you'll want enough sauce to keep the chicken moist as it cooks.

Recipe: Slow Cooker Adobo-Ish Soy Sauce Chicken Thighs

14. Honey Mustard Chicken Thighs

honey mustard chicken thighs
honey mustard chicken thighs - Catherine Brookes/Tasting Table

Piquant dijon mustard and honey form the simple sauce used for these oven-roasted, bone-in chicken thighs. The combination is a classic favorite that perks up the flavor of chicken nicely but is mild enough for all palates to enjoy. You might want to make an extra batch of this chicken because the leftovers would make a superb base for chicken salad or even stuffed into a crusty baguette for lunch. It's hard to go wrong with this simple baked chicken that needs almost no prep time.

Recipe: Honey Mustard Chicken Thighs

15. Traditional Chicken Paprikash

chicken paprikash
chicken paprikash - Jennine Rye/Tasting Table

Paprikash is a one-pot meal made of bone-in chicken legs and thighs simmered in a broth redolent of sweet Hungarian paprika, tomato, onion, and fresh red bell peppers. The mild, dried peppers used for Hungarian paprika bring a rich, umami-packed background flavor to this braised dish without the heat of other chilis. The dish comes together quickly, with the chicken browned and stewed in the same pot on the stove, with a bit of sour cream stirred in at the end of cooking to enrich it. Enjoy the chicken and its rich cooking sauce with egg noodles or your favorite starchy side dish.

Recipe: Traditional Chicken Paprikash

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