These chicken drumsticks bake in the toaster oven and are coated with a quick and easy 2-minute homemade savory spice rub. The chicken legs come out juicy and full of flavor with a crispy skin. Specific instructions for baking time and temperature in the toaster oven are included.
Be sure to check out more of my toaster oven recipes including my crispy skin toaster oven chicken thighs, amazingly crispy toaster oven chicken wings and my lemon and herb toaster oven roasted potatoes.
Toaster Oven Cooking – Time and Temperature
Cooking chicken in the toaster oven is a super easy way to bake without turning on a big conventional oven. The heat in the toaster oven is a little more intense because the food is closer to the heating elements. This is a great way to get crispy chicken skin.
Dark meat chicken on the bone, with skin on, does best when baked at a high temperature. I’ll go as high as 500° in a conventional oven. But in a toaster oven, with its more intense heat, 425°F works best for chicken drumsticks or legs. This keeps the meat juicy and gives the skin a nice crust.
Obviously cooking time will depend on the size and weight of the drumsticks. Smaller chicken drumsticks (4-5 oz) will cook in about 23-25 minutes. Average size drumsticks, about 6-7 oz will take 25 to 28 minutes.
The most accurate way of determining if your chicken is fully cooked is to use a meat thermometer. The thermometer can tell you exactly when the chicken is fully cooked. Chicken is safe to eat at 165°F however, drumsticks are better when cooked to 180 to 185°F. Dark meat takes a little longer to cook to the same texture as white meat.
I prefer the meat thermometer pictured below which can stay in while cooking. A wired probe goes into the chicken and the read out device sits on the counter. It can even sound an alert when the target temp is reached so you don’t need to worry about forgetting to check on it.
Should You Wash/Rinse Chicken?
This is a common question I get and the answer is a definite no. I know that so many people rinse raw chicken before cooking it. But the only way to assure that your chicken is safe to eat is to cook it to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F. Washing or rinsing raw chicken cannot accomplish this. And, even worse, you risk splashing water droplets around your kitchen that have touched the chicken.
Crispy Skin Chicken
If I’m going to eat chicken skin, it’s got to be crispy. There are a few things to be mindful of if you want crispy chicken skin.
Drumsticks or chicken legs bake relatively quickly. At a low temperature the skin would not get crispy, so a high temperature of 425°F works well. Fortunately the dark meat in drumsticks is much more forgiving of high temperatures than white/breast meat.
Allowing some space in between the pieces of chicken is also an important factor. If they’re too close together they will steam each other. Give them a little space and allow the hot air to circulate and you’ll get crispier skin.
Use the largest pan that will fit in your oven. It’s best if it’s a pan with low sides which will allow steam from the chicken to escape the pan.
I have a Breville Mini Smart Toaster oven. The biggest pan that fits in the oven is an 8×10 inch sheet pan. This allows for four average sized chicken drumsticks, about 5-7 ounces each. If you have a bigger oven and a bigger pan you may be able to fit 6 chicken legs.
If you cook chicken properly it needs just a few simple ingredients to make it taste delicious.
The simple spice rub contains ingredients that you probably have in your pantry. Onion powder, garlic powder (not garlic salt), paprika and ground black pepper make a nice combination to give wonderful savory flavor to the chicken.
But the most important ingredient is salt. Salt has a magical way of making anything it touches, taste better and enhances the flavor of just about any food.
So before sprinkling on the spice rub, you’ll coat the chicken with some kosher salt. This assures that the salt flavors the skin and meat. Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt is my go to. The crystal size is just right and it breaks up easily when you pinch and sprinkle it. Morton’s Kosher Salt’s crystals are harder and more dense.
Juicy Toaster Oven Chicken Drumsticks with Spice Rub
- Taylor Probe Thermometer optional, but takes the guess work out of the cooking time
- 4 chicken drumsticks
- 1½ tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp paprika
- 2 pinches finely ground black pepper
- 1-2 Tbsp kosher salt I prefer Diamond Crystal
- This recipe was tested with a Breville Mini Smart Toaster Oven using an 8×10 inch sheet pan. If you have a larger toaster oven you may be able to fit six drumsticks on a larger pan.
- Cover the pan with tin foil and parchment. This is optional but the parchment helps with browning and makes for easy cleanup. Preheat the toaster oven to 425°F.
- In a small mixing bowl, stir the onion powder, garlic powder, paprika and black pepper together.
- Place the drumsticks on a plate or pan (not the cooking pan) and sprinkle a coating of kosher salt all over.
- Lay them flat side down and coat with the spice rub. Do not coat the bottom with the spice rub. The intense heat of the toaster oven will burn the spice rub on the bottom.
- Place the drumsticks on the baking pan allowing as much space between them as possible.
- The meat thermometer linked above can take the guess work out of cooking chicken. The wired probe goes into the chicken and the read out device sits on the countertop and lets you know exactly when the chicken is cooked to 185℉ – a good temp for dark meat chicken
- If using a thermometer, slide the probe into the thickest part (probe parallel to the bone) and leave in while cooking. Set the target temp to 185℉ and you're ready.*
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 185°F. Smaller 4-5 ounce pieces will cook in 23-25 minutes, larger 6-7 ounce pieces will be closer to 25-28 minutes.
- Leave the thermometer in the chicken for at least 10 minutes. This will assure that the juices stay in the chicken when you pull it out.