[GUIDE] How Long To Bake Leg Quarters In Oven

how long to bake leg quarters in oven

Baking leg quarters in the oven is a delicious way to enjoy this juicy and flavorful cut of chicken. Leg quarters consist of the drumstick and thigh, which are known for their tender meat and rich taste. In this article, we will provide a detailed guide on how long to bake leg quarters in the oven, along with key tips and techniques to ensure a perfect result every time.

Quick Answer: How Long To Bake Leg Quarters In The Oven

The cooking time for baking leg quarters in the oven typically ranges from 45 minutes to 1 hour at a temperature of 375°F (190°C). However, it is essential to consider the weight of the leg quarters and their internal temperature to ensure they are cooked thoroughly.

Key Takeaways

  • The oven temperature for baking leg quarters is usually set at 375°F (190°C).
  • The cooking time depends on the weight of the leg quarters and desired level of doneness.
  • It is crucial to ensure the internal temperature of the leg quarters reaches a minimum of 165°F (74°C) for safe consumption.
  • Basting the leg quarters during cooking can add extra flavor and moisture.
  • Letting the leg quarters rest after baking allows the juices to redistribute and the meat to be tender and delicious.

The Science Of Cooking Leg Quarters

leg quarters

Before diving into the specifics of baking leg quarters, it’s helpful to understand the science behind this cooking method. Baking is a dry heat cooking technique that uses hot air to cook food evenly. When leg quarters are placed in a hot oven, the heat causes the proteins in the meat to denature and coagulate, resulting in a firm and cooked texture.

Choosing Leg Quarters

When selecting leg quarters for baking, look for fresh and high-quality cuts of chicken. Leg quarters with smooth skin and no foul odor are indicators of freshness. The color should be pink for raw chicken and golden brown for cooked chicken. Choose leg quarters that are similar in size to ensure even cooking.

Preparing Leg Quarters

To prepare leg quarters for baking, begin by patting them dry with paper towels. Removing excess moisture from the skin will allow it to crisp up during the baking process. Season the leg quarters with your choice of herbs, spices, and marinades to enhance the flavor. Some popular seasoning options include garlic, paprika, thyme, rosemary, and lemon zest.

Ideal Cooking Temperature For Leg Quarters

The ideal temperature for baking leg quarters is 375°F (190°C). This temperature allows the meat to cook evenly while retaining its natural juices. Preheating the oven is essential to ensure consistent cooking throughout.

Leg Quarters Cooking Time

close up view of oven cooked leg quarters

The cooking time for leg quarters can vary depending on their weight and desired level of doneness. As a general guideline, baking leg quarters in a 375°F (190°C) oven should take around 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Cooking Techniques

To achieve a delicious result when baking leg quarters, consider using the following cooking techniques:

  1. Basting: Basting the leg quarters with their cooking juices or marinade during the baking process helps to keep them moist and flavorful. Use a basting brush or spoon to coat the leg quarters every 15-20 minutes.

Pro Tip: Create a basting liquid by combining melted butter or olive oil with herbs, garlic, and citrus juice. This will infuse the leg quarters with additional flavor and crisp up the skin.

  1. Elevating: Place the leg quarters on a wire rack set over a baking sheet or roasting pan. Elevating the leg quarters allows the hot air to circulate around them, resulting in even cooking and crispy skin.

Pro Tip: If you don’t have a wire rack, you can use a cooling rack or create an improvised one by placing a heatproof dish upside down on a baking sheet.

  1. Applying a glaze: Towards the end of the cooking time, consider applying a glaze to the leg quarters for added flavor and a beautiful caramelized finish. Honey, teriyaki glaze, barbecue sauce, or a blend of your favorite spices and sauces can be used as a glaze.

Pro Tip: Brush the glaze onto the leg quarters during the last 10-15 minutes of cooking. This will prevent burning and allow the flavors to intensify.

Monitoring And Troubleshooting

While cooking leg quarters in the oven, it’s essential to monitor their progress to ensure they are cooked to perfection. Here are some tips for monitoring and troubleshooting:

  1. Use a meat thermometer: To determine the internal temperature of the leg quarters accurately, use a meat thermometer. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat without touching the bone. The internal temperature should reach at least 165°F (74°C) for safe consumption.

Pro Tip: A digital probe thermometer with an alarm feature is an excellent investment for precise and easy temperature monitoring.

  1. Adjusting cooking time: If the leg quarters are not fully cooked after the initial estimated cooking time, continue baking and check the internal temperature every 5-10 minutes until it reaches 165°F (74°C).

  2. Unevenly cooked leg quarters: If the leg quarters appear to be cooking unevenly, rotate the baking sheet halfway through the cooking process. This will ensure even browning and doneness.

Leg Quarters Cooking Instructions

Now that you have a good understanding of the cooking techniques and monitoring methods, let’s dive into the step-by-step instructions for baking leg quarters:

  1. Preheat the oven: Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C) and position a rack in the center.

  2. Prepare the leg quarters: Pat dry the leg quarters with paper towels and season them with your preferred herbs, spices, and marinades.

  3. Set up the baking sheet: Place a wire rack on a baking sheet or roasting pan. This will help elevate the leg quarters and allow for even cooking.

  4. Arrange the leg quarters: Place the leg quarters on the wire rack, ensuring they are spaced apart to allow air circulation.

  5. Bake in the oven: Place the baking sheet with the leg quarters in the preheated oven. Bake for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).

  6. Baste and glaze: If desired, baste the leg quarters with their juices or a basting liquid of your choice every 15-20 minutes. In the last 10-15 minutes of cooking, brush on a glaze for a flavorful finish.

  7. Check the temperature: Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the leg quarters. Ensure the thermometer is inserted into the thickest part of the meat without touching the bone. The minimum safe temperature is 165°F (74°C).

  8. Let them rest: Once the leg quarters have reached the desired internal temperature, remove them from the oven and let them rest for 5-10 minutes. During this time, the juices will redistribute, resulting in tender and flavorful meat.


oven baked leg quarters

While baking leg quarters follow the basic cooking instructions mentioned above, there are countless variations you can explore to create unique and mouthwatering flavors. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Lemon and Herb: Season the leg quarters with a mixture of lemon zest, garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the leg quarters before baking for a tangy and aromatic result.

  2. BBQ: Brush the leg quarters with your favorite BBQ sauce before placing them in the oven. Baste with additional sauce during the cooking process for a sticky and smoky finish.

  3. Asian-inspired: Marinate the leg quarters in a blend of soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, and honey. Bake as directed, and garnish with sliced green onions and sesame seeds for a flavorful twist.

When Things Go Wrong

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, things may not go as planned during the baking process. Here are a few common issues you may encounter and how to address them:

  1. Undercooked leg quarters: If the leg quarters are undercooked after the recommended cooking time, continue baking and check the internal temperature at regular intervals until it reaches 165°F (74°C). Shield the exposed skin with aluminum foil if it starts to brown too quickly.

  2. Dry leg quarters: If the leg quarters end up dry, it may be due to overcooking or inadequate basting. To avoid this, baste the leg quarters frequently during the cooking process to keep them moist.

  3. Pale skin: If you prefer a crispy and golden skin, try increasing the oven temperature to 400°F (200°C) for the last 10 minutes of cooking. Additionally, using the broiler on high for a couple of minutes at the end can help achieve a nicely browned and crispy skin.

Serving Leg Quarters

Once the leg quarters are perfectly baked, it’s time to plate and serve them. Here are some serving suggestions:

  1. Classic sides: Serve the leg quarters alongside traditional sides like mashed potatoes, green beans, roasted vegetables, or a fresh green salad.

  2. Rice and grains: Pair the leg quarters with steamed rice, quinoa, or couscous for a complete and satisfying meal.

  3. Elevation with sauces: Elevate the flavors with a dipping or drizzling sauce. Consider options such as tzatziki, chimichurri, or your favorite homemade sauce.

Best Practices For Leg Quarters Cooking

To ensure the best results when baking leg quarters, consider the following best practices:

  1. Thawing: If using frozen leg quarters, ensure they are fully thawed before baking. Thaw them in the refrigerator overnight or using the defrost function in the microwave.

  2. Room temperature: Allow the leg quarters to come to room temperature before baking. This will promote even cooking throughout.

  3. Temperature accuracy: Use a reliable oven thermometer to confirm that your oven’s temperature is calibrated correctly. This will help ensure accurate cooking times.

  4. Parchment paper: If you don’t have a wire rack, line the baking sheet with parchment paper to prevent sticking and ease cleanup.

  5. Double-check doneness: Always check the internal temperature of the leg quarters using a meat thermometer to ensure they are cooked to the recommended temperature of 165°F (74°C).


Baking leg quarters in the oven is a simple and delicious way to serve this flavorful cut of chicken. By following the recommended cooking time, monitoring the internal temperature, and utilizing various cooking techniques, you can achieve perfectly cooked leg quarters with tender meat and crispy skin. Remember to experiment with different marinades, glazes, and seasonings to discover your favorite flavor combinations. With these guidelines and tips, you’ll be able to confidently bake leg quarters in the oven and enjoy a mouthwatering meal every time.


What Is The Optimal Temperature To Bake Leg Quarters In The Oven?

The optimal temperature for baking leg quarters in the oven is 375°F (190°C). This allows for even cooking and will result in juicy and tender chicken.

How Long Does It Take To Bake Leg Quarters In The Oven?

The baking time for leg quarters in the oven depends on the weight of the chicken and the temperature of the oven. Generally, it takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour to bake leg quarters in the oven at 375°F (190°C).

Should I Cover Leg Quarters In Foil While Baking?

While it is possible to cover leg quarters in foil while baking, it is not required. If you prefer crispy skin, leave the chicken uncovered while baking. However, if you want to keep the chicken moist, covering it loosely with foil can help prevent drying out.

How Do I Know If The Leg Quarters Are Cooked Through?

The best way to tell if leg quarters are cooked through is by using a meat thermometer. The internal temperature of the chicken should be 165°F (74°C) to ensure that it is safe to eat. Alternatively, you can check that the juices run clear and the meat is no longer pink.

Can I Marinate Leg Quarters Before Baking Them In The Oven?

Yes, you can marinate leg quarters before baking them in the oven for added flavor. Make sure to pat the chicken dry before placing it in the oven to avoid excess moisture and uneven cooking. Also, be aware that marinating the chicken may increase the baking time slightly.

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  • About the Author Jenny

    I'm Jenny, a housewife with an unwavering passion for food. My culinary journey began with my grandmother's kitchen, and it's now a full-fledged food blog. I've turned my love for cooking into a creative outlet, sharing recipes and stories with a global community of fellow food enthusiasts. It's proof that being a housewife can also mean pursuing your passions and savoring life's delectable moments.