Best Crunchy Buffalo Chicken Legs

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The best baked crunchy buffalo chicken legs achieve their irresistible crunch from a clever oven-baking technique that mimics the satisfying bite of frying, using a well-seasoned coating that crisps up beautifully in the heat.

Drizzled with a spicy, buttery buffalo sauce, these chicken legs offer a healthier alternative to the classic dish without compromising on the bold flavors and tantalizing texture that make them a favorite.

chicken drumsticks with red buffalo sauce on them
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Spicy Crunchy Buffalo Chicken Legs

The best crunchy buffalo chicken legs are a culinary delight, featuring a perfectly seasoned and crispy exterior that gives way to succulently tender meat beneath. Each leg is generously coated in a homemade buffalo sauce, offering a harmonious blend of heat and tang that tantalizes the taste buds. The key to achieving the signature crunch lies in a well-crafted breading process, involving a dip in seasoned flour, eggs, and a final coating in panko breadcrumbs for that extra crispy finish. These chicken legs are then fried to golden perfection, ensuring a satisfying crunch with every bite. The spicy kick of the buffalo sauce is masterfully balanced with a cool and creamy blue cheese or ranch dipping sauce, providing a delightful contrast in flavors.

Ideal for gatherings, game nights, or a family dinner, these crunchy buffalo chicken legs are a crowd-pleaser, promising a memorable eating experience that leaves everyone craving more. This is a favorite at Superbowl or any game day!

chicken drumsticks with red buffalo sauce on them

How to Make Crunchy Buffalo Chicken Legs

First assemble the following ingredients:

  • Chicken drumsticks (3 lbs) – Chicken drumsticks serve as the juicy, meaty base for this spicy and flavorful dish.
  • Olive oil (2 tbsp) – Olive oil is used to coat the drumsticks, ensuring the spices adhere well and the skin crisps up in the oven.
  • Garlic powder (1/2 tsp) – Garlic powder adds a subtle, aromatic depth to the drumsticks, complementing the heat of the sauce.
  • Sea salt (1/4 tsp) – Sea salt enhances the natural flavors of the chicken and balances the spiciness of the dish.
  • Ground black pepper (1/8 tsp) – Black pepper introduces a mild heat and earthy notes, which pairs perfectly with the garlic and hot sauce.
  • Frank’s Red Hot sauce (1/3 cup) – Frank’s Red Hot Sauce is the key ingredient for the Buffalo sauce, providing a tangy, spicy kick that’s iconic to the dish.
  • Unsalted butter (1/3 cup) – Unsalted butter is melted into the hot sauce, creating a rich, silky texture and tempering the heat with its creamy flavor.
  • Ranch Dressing for Serving

Use this Method

Prep for Oven. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and put a metal wire rack on top.

Prep Drumsticks. Rinse drumsticks and pat them dry. In a bowl toss the drumsticks in the olive oil. Add the garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat.

Cook Chicken. Place chicken on the wire rack, bake until crispy and cook through, about 50 – 55 minutes. Remove the chicken legs from the oven and set the oven to broil.

Mix Sauce. Mix the hot sauce and melted butter.

Coat Chicken and Serve. Toss the cooked drumsticks in the sauce. Place back on the wire rack and bake about 2 minutes until crispy and golden. Serve with ranch and sliced vegetables. Enjoy!

chicken drumsticks with red buffalo sauce on them dip on the side

Tips and Tricks for Making Buffalo Chicken Legs

Marinate for Flavor: Soak the chicken legs in a mixture of buffalo sauce and spices for at least an hour, or overnight in the fridge, to deepen the flavors.

Dry Skin for Crispiness: Pat the chicken legs dry before cooking to ensure the skin gets crispy in the oven or on the grill.

Low and Slow, Then Broil: Bake the chicken legs at a lower temperature to cook them through evenly, then broil for the last few minutes to crisp up the skin.

Baste with Sauce: Halfway through cooking, baste the chicken legs with additional buffalo sauce to keep them moist and add an extra layer of flavor.

Use a Wire Rack: Cook the chicken legs on a wire rack over a baking sheet to allow air circulation, which helps to crisp up the skin all around.

Rest Before Serving: Let the chicken legs rest for a few minutes after cooking to allow the juices to redistribute, ensuring they are juicy and flavorful.

Serve with Dipping Sauce: Offer blue cheese or ranch dressing on the side for dipping to complement the spicy buffalo sauce.

Keep it Saucy: Reserve some buffalo sauce to serve on the side or to give the chicken legs one final toss before serving for extra sauciness.

Balance the Heat: Adjust the spiciness of your buffalo sauce with butter or honey to cater to different heat preferences.

Grill for Smokiness: If grilling, keep the chicken legs on indirect heat to cook them through, then move them over direct heat for the final char and crispiness.

Safety First: Ensure chicken legs reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to be safely consumed, using a meat thermometer to check.

Garnish for Freshness: Add a garnish of chopped fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro for a burst of color and freshness.

chicken drumsticks with red buffalo sauce on them dip on the side

FAQS

Can I make these drumsticks gluten-free?

Yes, you can use gluten-free flour and breadcrumbs as substitutes for a gluten-free version. Ensure all your other ingredients are gluten-free as well.

How can I ensure the chicken drumsticks are crispy?

Make sure to coat the drumsticks well with breadcrumbs and bake them on a wire rack over a baking sheet. This allows air to circulate around the drumsticks, cooking them evenly and keeping the coating crispy.

What sides go well with baked Buffalo chicken drumsticks?

Celery sticks, carrot sticks, and blue cheese or ranch dressing are traditional sides. Other great options include coleslaw, corn on the cob, or a simple green salad.

Can I use a different part of the chicken instead of drumsticks?

Absolutely! This recipe can also work well with chicken wings, thighs, or breast strips. Keep in mind cooking times may vary based on the size and thickness of the chicken pieces.

How do I store and reheat leftovers?

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven at 375°F (190°C) until they’re heated through and crispy again, about 10-15 minutes.

chicken drumsticks with red buffalo sauce on them

When to Enjoy with Buffalo Chicken Drumsticks

Celery and Carrot Sticks: These crisp, refreshing vegetables are a classic pairing with buffalo chicken, offering a cool contrast to the spicy heat.

Blue Cheese or Ranch Dressing: Creamy dressings are perfect for dipping, helping to tame the spiciness of the buffalo sauce.

Coleslaw: A tangy, crunchy coleslaw complements the heat of buffalo chicken legs and adds a refreshing element to the meal.

Cornbread: Sweet, buttery cornbread provides a comforting, slightly sweet counterpoint to the spicy chicken.

Garlic Parmesan Fries: Oven-baked or fried, these savory, garlicky fries are a hearty side that pairs well with the bold flavors of buffalo chicken.

Baked Beans: A side of sweet and savory baked beans makes for a hearty, comforting addition to a buffalo chicken leg meal.

Cucumber Salad: A light, vinegary cucumber salad offers a cool, crisp respite from the spicy chicken.

Sweet Potato Wedges: Roasted or grilled, sweet potato wedges with a hint of cinnamon or smoked paprika offer a sweet and smoky flavor that complements the buffalo sauce.

Macaroni and Cheese: Creamy, cheesy macaroni provides a rich, comforting side that’s particularly good at balancing the heat of the chicken.

Grilled Vegetables: A mix of grilled vegetables like zucchini, bell peppers, and onions adds a smoky, healthy component to the meal.

Corn on the Cob: Buttered corn on the cob, either grilled or boiled, adds a classic, summery touch to the spicy buffalo feast.

Potato Salad: A creamy or vinegar-based potato salad can cool down the palate and add a satisfying, starchy side to the meal.

Try my other favorite recipes including chicken and dumplings, easy chicken cacciatore, slow cooker honey garlic chicken breasts, and creole shrimp mofongo!

Try these side dishes with these chicken drumsticks:

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chicken drumsticks with red buffalo sauce on them

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Crunchy BBQ chicken legs on a plate with green onions.
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Best Crunchy Buffalo Chicken Legs

Buffalo chicken legs are a spicy and succulent treat, coated in a zesty buffalo sauce that delivers a satisfying kick, perfect for game day or a flavorful dinner option.
Course Chicken Drumsticks
Cuisine American
Keyword buffalo, buffalo chicken, chicken, chicken drumsticks, legs, main dish, poultry
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 571kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs chicken drumsticks
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • cup Frank’s Red Hot sauce or other hot sauce
  • cup unsalted butter melted
  • Ranch Dressing for Serving

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Line a baking sheet with foil and put a metal wire rack on top.
  • Rinse drumsticks and pat them dry.
  • In a bowl toss the drumsticks in the olive oil. Add the garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat.
  • Place chicken on the wire rack, bake until crispy and cook through, about 50 – 55 minutes. Remove the chicken legs from the oven and set the oven to broil.
  • Mix the hot sauce and melted butter. Toss the cooked drumsticks in the sauce. Place back on the wire rack and bake about 2 minutes until crispy and golden.
  • Serve with ranch and sliced vegetables. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 571kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 55g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 21g | Cholesterol: 316mg | Sodium: 698mg

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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