BrokeAss Gourmet

BrokeAss Gourmet

Best Ever Roast Chicken Legs

  • Prep Time 5 minutes
  • Cook Time 45 minutes
  • Estimated Cost $6

I had been wanting to try Thomas Keller's famous method for roasting chicken for a while now, but the truth is that these days, I am usually only cooking for one or two. This summer has been so full-to-the-brim with travel, that when we're home, if we're not ordering takeout at 9 PM after arriving home from the airport, we're eating quinoa with olive oil and calling it a night. The idea of roasting a whole chicken seemed like a little much for right now, but I wondered if I could make it with my favorite cheap and individually-sold cut of chicken: the legs.

As it turned out, I definitely could, and, hallelujah, I am now a convert. This is, without a doubt, the best roast chicken I have ever eaten. The skin was outrageously crisp, the inside unbelievably juicy and my belly satisfied beyond belief. Better still, the preparation was absurdly simple.

The trick is in salting the chicken liberally (like, more liberally than you would think), tucking a little garlic and a variety of optional additions like butter, a drizzle of olive oil and/or fresh herbs, and cooking the chicken at a very high heat.

I usually think of roasting chicken as being a relatively low and slow process (350 degrees for 45-50 minutes) but this process calls for a high and slow cooking technique. I was afraid the chicken would overcook or burn, but my fears were immediately assuaged the moment I tasted it. 

I ate one leg for dinner, paired with roasted root vegetables and a kale salad, and the second leg cold, at a picnic the next day, where it held up mighty fine.


  • 2 whole chicken legs $6
  • 4 whole cloves garlic, peeled, ends removed Pantry
  • 2 pats unsalted butter Optional
  • 1 tablespoon fresh flat leaf parsley, thyme or rosemary, chopped, Optional
  • salt and pepper Pantry

Recipe Serves 2


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.
  3. Use paper towels to carefully dry all sides of the chicken.
  4. Place 2 garlic cloves under the skin of each chicken thigh. 
  5. If desired, also place a pat of butter, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and/or fresh chopped herbs under the skin as well.
  6. Make sure the chicken skin is securely pulled back over the garlic and butter/herbs, if using.
  7. Place the chicken legs in the prepared pan and sprinkle salt all over the skin, adding a bit of pepper as well, to taste.
  8. Roast the chicken for 40-45 minutes, until the skin becomes very crisp.
  9. Let rest for 5 minutes, then serve hot.

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What They're Saying

SIA, on Nov 10, 04:56 PM, wrote:

I wanted a new baked chicken recipe. I searched the web and found this recipe. I made it tonight!!!! Insanely gooooooood! The chicken is so flavorful and juicy, the cloves of garlic are heaven when you bite into them and the skin is crispy. I used Oregano and Thyme as my herbs and I added a little onion salt, garlic salt and paprika to the salt and pepper. I have never had crispy oven baked chicken before. You are a STAR!!! Thank you for sharing. EXTRAORDINARILY DELICIOUS!!! YAY!!!!

Melissa, on Nov 12, 01:46 PM, wrote:

I’m about to make this and I’m SALIVATING! Thanks so much for the how to and the confidence to try it. I’ve always been a little leery of the high temps just like you were. This is fantastic.

Sandi Adkins, on Dec 24, 04:40 PM, wrote:

This really is the best roasted chicken leg quarters Ive ever had. My husband made them and we both just loved them. We liked them so much, we are making another batch!

JP, on Jan 12, 01:08 PM, wrote:

I have a similar method. I spray the legs with olive oil cooking spray. Sprinkle with minced garlic and Adobo (instead of salt.)
High heat makes it crispy outside but not dry inside.

JC, on Jan 20, 07:05 AM, wrote:

Have you ever experimented with this recipe and chicken breasts? It was AMAZING with thighs but I know some of my more health conscious friends would want to make it with white meat.

Jenny, on Mar 10, 10:41 PM, wrote:

Can I use this recipe for chicken drum sticks? Is the cooking time too long for just the drum stick?


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You said this recipe calls for Hi and Slow method. I only see the Hi heat. What is the
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This was really great and straight forward. I’m a bit of a nervous chicken cook (we eat mostly veg) and I find I’m often concerned about the meat being undercooked. This was clearly well cooked but not at all dried out and had deliciously crispy skin. I did put some olive oil on the skin and under and would say that by the amount of oil in the bottom of the pan this was not at all needed. Great recipe. Will definitely use this as my go to technique from now on! Thanks.

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Steve, on Jun 5, 11:21 PM, wrote:

I’ve tried this recipe twice now, Both times the chicken has been really tender while the skin has been very crisp—the perfect combination. One things seems a little strange, though. Under the skin, where I put the pats of butter, garlic, etc., seems to bruise during roasting, so that it is discolored, kind of bluish/purplish when it is ready to eat. Is that normal?

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