Chicken Leg Quarters Roasted with Lemon, Garlic and Herbs

In support of the axiom that simple food is the best food, this post is dedicated to our friend Bill.    Over the years, Bill and his wife have come over for dinner on occasion and I have served lots of different menus depending on the season, the other guests and the celebration.  But no matter what culinary creativity I might try to show off, this simple chicken recipe is his hands-down favorite.  I’ve tried him out on some of my best recipes—beef bourguignon, homemade lasagna, steaks with fancy sauces –and while he’s always appreciative, his eyes only really light up for this chicken, which I served them the first time when I just didn’t have time to mess with dinner, but wanted a party.  And once again I was reminded–simple nails it every time.

For ages now, I’ve been promising to post the recipe for him—and so here it is with love and just a little hesitation—because now I’ve got to come up with something else to serve him that he’ll like just as well.

Chicken Leg Quarters Roasted with Lemon, Garlic and Herbs


Juice of 2 lemons
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme (or basil or oregano)
2 teaspoons Creole seasoning
6 cloves garlic, chopped
4 chicken leg quarters
Kosher Salt
Freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the lemon juice, olive oil, herbs, seasoning and garlic.  Whisk thoroughly.

Sprinkle the chicken leg quarters with salt and pepper and add the pieces to the large bowl.  Generously coat the chicken by turning it in the mixture and then place them skin side down in a large roasting pan or baking dish.  Bake for 1 hour, and then turn the pieces skin side up.  Bake for another hour, basting once or twice during the last 30 minutes of cooking until the skin is nicely browned.  Serve each piece with a bit of the pan juices spooned over.

Note: I like to roast this chicken slowly, taking about 2 hours.  That’s because I really don’t have to watch it when I make it this way—and the slow roasting seems to keep the chicken moist on the inside but nicely crisped on the top.  In a pinch though, I have done it faster—in a 350-degree oven—and that cuts the time down to 45 minutes per side.

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30 Responses to Chicken Leg Quarters Roasted with Lemon, Garlic and Herbs

  1. Christine Hillgartner says:

    You are so right, Susan! Simple doesn’t have to mean bland. I can’t wait to try your roasted chicken recipe…..I see where I have gone wrong in the past by not SLOW roasting. Also, the Creole seasoning will add just the kick I have been looking for. Too bad I already made a trip to the grocery store this morning or this would have been on the menu tonight. Do you usually just serve your chicken with a vegetable or do you have a favorite starch you prepare to accompany it?

  2. Susan says:

    Christine… for weeknight family meals, I usually just serve a vegetable–but when I do want to add a side dish, roasted potatoes or couscous are wonderful with this–and taste great with some of the delicious garlicky chicken juices spooned on. Thanks for writing.

  3. June says:

    Just to let you know I saw this yesterday on TasteSpotting and made it last night for dinner. If there were only two words available to describe the flavors, I’d say “absolutely wonderful” and honestly the slow roasting is obviously key. I used chicken halves that I cut into quarters, and even the usually dry breast meat was amazingly tender. Thank you so much for sharing this method/recipe. It may just kick my husband’s rotisserie bird to the curb which is something because it is fantastic.

  4. Susan says:

    I’m so glad you liked this June, thanks for taking the time to write.

  5. Alicia says:

    I made this with sun dried tomatoes added to it, and it was AMAZING. great recipe!

  6. Susan says:

    Sounds nice Alicia, I’ll have to try that…thanks for writing.

  7. Nanette says:

    Great recipe! I followed it exactly the first time but cut the olive oil to 1/4 cup the next. Really crispy skin and very flavorful. It is my go to recipe once a week. Thanks.

  8. Kendra says:

    Thank you for sharing this! I currently have this in the oven because I had chicken leg quarters in the fridge! The house already smells amazing.

  9. Bonnie says:

    I tried this last week and used half wine, half lemon and since I didn’t have creole season I used italian herbs and oregano. It was delicious!!! Here’s my question; Although Hubby and I enjoy legs and thighs my boys prefer breast meat. To be honest I’m unsure if breast can be roasted the same? Any advice would be appreciated.

  10. Susan says:

    Bonnie, I have never tried this with chicken breasts, but I’m sure you could figure it out–my thought would be to use bone-in chicken breasts and cut the cooking time in half to start. Then, test with a fork to see when the juices run clear in the thickest part of the breast, basting occasionally until the skin is nicely browned and the meat is cooked through. Good luck and let me know!

  11. Heather says:

    I had 4 leg quarters ready to cook and found this recipe on a Yahoo! search. What a treat! The table was oohhhing and ahhhing with every bite. The slow roast method is the way to go, thank you so much for this tip. I did have to substitute a little and used Italian Seasoning and Paprika instead of Creole Seasoning, which I plan on buying next trip to the store. I served it with rice and steamed broccoli. One happy family 🙂

  12. Susan says:

    I am so happy to hear this Heather–this is my family’s favorite chicken, and I love to hear that others like it too. Thanks for letting me know.

  13. bodietl says:

    bo dietl Long time lurker, first time poster. Great post, everyone on here seems to be in agreeance with what you wrote.

    Sometimes I have heard beau dietl say that on his Fox News show.

  14. paula says:

    I followed this recipe with a few modifications in the seasoning and it came out great. Best chicken legs I ever made. The meat was so tender and practically falling off the bone. Thanks!

  15. Bob Gall says:

    So glad you liked it Paula. Thanks for writing.

  16. Tanya Manning says:

    Simple and absolutely delicious. Cooking so slow had the added benefit of making the house smell wonderful to wet our appetites. I placed a pan of cauliflower on a lower rack after the first 30 minutes and let it roast slowly with the chicken. After the two hours I placed the chicken under the broiler on medium for about 5 minutes, gave extra color and crunch.

  17. Bob Gall says:

    Tanya, I love the idea of roasting cauliflower slowly with the chicken. Very smart. Thanks for writing.

  18. Christy says:

    We made this yummy chicken dish this week. The family just loved it! We can understand why your friend Bill was always hoping for it. 🙂

  19. Susan says:

    I’m so glad it worked for you Christy!

  20. Loretta says:

    The boyfriend thinks chicken is ALWAYS dry, I took that as a challenge. I searched the internet for about three hours until I found THIS AMAZING CHICKEN! Thank you, at dinner I said, “So, it’s a little dry isn’t it?” And he said, “NO, it’s perfect!”
    THANK YOU! xoxo

  21. Stephanie says:

    Thanks so much for this recipe! I’ve been searching the internet for a chicken leg quarter recipe that I can put in the oven before church. Only thing is, I’m realizing I need it be left in for three hours (we drive a distance!). What do you think of this recipe at 275 for 3 hours?

  22. Susan says:

    Stephanie, I’ve never gone that long or that low in temperature, so I really don’t know. But I would be worried about leaving the oven on that long while you’re not home, and I also fear that three hours might dry out the chicken. Good luck and take care.

  23. Danielle says:

    Do you think I can put the chicken in the marinade and leave it overnight and cook the next day?

  24. Susan says:

    Danielle, I would not marinate the chicken overnight–this will break down the fibers in the chicken to the point that you have very mushy results. If you want to prepare things the night before–make the marinade and put the chicken in your roasting dish and refrigerate it. Then when you’re ready to cook the next day, just season the chicken and pour the marinade over. The beauty of this dish is that it is fast and easy to prepare–the time is all in the slow roasting.

  25. Darcy says:

    This recipe sounds great and I plan to try it out tonight Susan. I’m glad I read through the comments. I was tempted to start the marinating this morning. It makes sense that the result would be mushy meat. Bleh!

    How bout if I make a dry rub with the herbs and garlic omitting the lemon and olive oil for now? Dry rub marinade first then add the wet before roasting the chicken?

  26. Dana Richards says:

    Oh man! Made this tonight. Everyone loved it including teenagers. A great low temp cooking process that I’ll continue to use. Would be good with Greek Seasoning, lemon and sliced lemons cooked on top. Thanks!

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