Tag: 101

Oven Baked Chicken Legs | 101 Cooking For Two by Gordon Ramsay


Oven baked chicken legs are a simple dinner the whole family will love. Just trim, pat dry, simple spices, and bake them in the oven. You will have perfect crispy, juicy chicken legs every time with these easy step by step photo instructions.

A pile of chicken legs on a white plate

Table of Contents:

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Introduction and My Rating

Everybody loves great chicken legs (AKA drumsticks). Kids, grandparents, and mom and dad all love a crispy drumstick. Now you can have them anytime you want. Plus they are economical.

Skip to the next section if you want to skip the story.

Last year I took several weeks working on grilled chicken legs to get them just right. We were having a large retirement party for several family friends, and I was providing the meat course for a hundred people.

I initially wanted to grill all 150 pieces of chicken, but after I got the smaller batch perfected, it was obvious that mass cooking that large was not possible on a home grill. See Grilling Chicken Drumsticks – The Art of Drummies.

But the grill recipe work did show that the secret of a great chicken leg (drumstick) was in the internal temperature of 185. Not 165, which is the safe chicken temperature, but 185 produces the moist tender chicken legs you will ever have.

So I switched my attention to the oven with excellent results. See Chicken for a Hundred. Since then, I have done mainly oven drummies. Here is the scaled-down version.

My Rating:
My rating system. Great 5 out of 5


Just excellent. It always brings a child-like smile to my wife’s face.

♨️Cooking

  • DO NOT SKIP THE PAT DRY, or you will not have crispy skin. (See Chicken: To Rinse or Not To Rinse? about rinsing the chicken)
  • Check the cut joint area for loose parts. You may be handing this to a child and don’t need loose bone aspirated.
  • I like cooking this on a rack to get the meat off the pan, and with convection, all sides of the legs will be nice.
  • Cook at high temp, and you must use a thermometer to be sure you get to 185. Do not guess.
  • Spice as you want. I often add the Cayenne, but if you have little ones, skip it.
  • Scale to any amount you need

Seasoning

I generally use my All Purpose Seasoning; 7:2:1 and 7:2:2 but just some coarse salt and pepper or just the seasoning of your choice.

Skip the seasoning and brush with your favorite BBQ sauce the last 5 minutes to make great oven-baked BBQ drumsticks.

⏰How Long to Bake

There are three variables: the chicken leg size, oven temperature, and the desired internal temperature. I’m aiming for 185 (see next section), so at 425 degrees for about 35 minutes.

ALWAYS COOK TO A FINAL INTERNAL TEMPERATURE. PLEASE, NEVER BY TIME ALONE.

  • Chicken legs at 350°F convection or 375°F conventional – about 45-50 minutes
  • Chicken legs at 375°F convection or 400°F conventional – about 40-45 minutes
  • Chicken legs at 400°F convection or 425°F conventional – about 35-40 minutes
  • Chicken legs at 425°F convection – about 35 minutes (I don’t suggest 450°F conventional, do 425°F conventional and add a few minutes)

Remember, all these numbers vary by your oven, also.

The lower the temperature you use, the less crispy your chicken legs will be.

🌡️Best Final Internal Temperature

Many want to cook chicken legs to 165, which is the minimum safe internal temperature for chicken for the FDA. There is a difference between safe and done. Pork is safe at 145, but you sure won’t want your pulled pork to be cooked to 145. It would be terrible.

Also, a lot of recipes cook “until fluids run clear.” Excuse me, but what does that mean? You should be standing there, poking it with a knife and losing all the moisture — not a good idea. Also, I suspect that it may even be below the safe minimum temperature.

While I cook my chicken breast to 165, there is way too much fibrous tissue in chicken legs. They will be tough and stringy. Just plan not done. Please use 185 as you finish temperature. Check the comments if you need confirmation.

🖊️Other Notes

Why Use a Rack to Bake?

A lot of the fat drained during cooking on the rack. You can cook this without a rack, but you will be happier with a rack.

Storage

Good just refrigerated for 3-4 days. Also, they should freeze fine for 3-4 months. Reheat by thawing first then reheat in an oven.

Side Dish Recipes

🖼️Photo Instructions

image of patting dry drumsticks with white paper towels

Preheat oven to 425 convection. Pat dry the chicken legs with paper towels.

image showing loose bone on a raw drumstick

Trim off any extra skin and any loose joint pieces.

image of seasoning drumsticks

Spice to taste. Here I’m using a light sprinkling of my 7:2:1 seasoning. If you don’t have that, then just some salt and pepper to taste. Other seasonings at your option.

drumsticks on a rack on a cooking tray with foil ready for oven

Place the legs on a prepared cooking pan with the thicker part of the chicken legs to the outside. I usually line with aluminum foil to help clean up. A rack elevates the chicken to help all sides cook evenly. You can do it without the rack but better with it. Of course, a heavy spray of PAM on the rack or foil.

pile of drumsticks on a white plate

Cook to 185 plus internal temp. DO NOT STOP SHORT of 185. About 35 minutes in my oven. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving. They are way too hot to eat right away and will be better after a rest.

image of drumsticks with French fries on a light gray plate

📖 Recipe

Editor’s Note: Originally published September 9, 2012. Updated with discussion and photos updated to improve the presentation and add more information. The recipe remains the same. Please enjoy the update.
Molly and Lilly dogs running in leaves

Easy Chicken Spaghetti | 101 Cooking For Two by Gordon Ramsay


This easy chicken spaghetti has one of the best homemade marinara sauce you will ever taste. Packed with chicken and great Italian flavor, this will become a family favorite.
Chicken Spaghetti on white plate

Table of Contents:

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📰Introduction

Yummers, according to my wife, this great-tasting easy dinner recipe is ready in only 30 minutes with these simple step by step photo instructions.

Somewhat inspired by an American Test Kitchen recipe called Quick Tomato Sauce that is a quick, flavorful marinara which they state will cook in about the time of cooking the pasta.

The only trouble with the original recipe was no meat. We are meatasauruses at this house, and chicken is the favorite. So instead of about 15 minutes, it took 30 minutes. Not bad, not bad at all.

My Rating:
My rating system of a 4 out of 5 so very nice.
I did a 5 rating initially but went back to a 4. But it’s a very high 4. An excellent everyday meal.

📋Ingredients

The Chicken

For the chicken, I chose the classic skinless boneless chicken breasts. You can use thighs, and that would be a great choice.  Cut the raw chicken into smaller cubes so they are bite-size and will cook quickly.

You can use rotisserie chicken. Add it with the tomatoes.

The Tomatoes

The crushed tomatoes will go a long way to making this recipe great. So pick your best.

The texture of the sauce can be varied and is more of a “personal taste” thing. I want mine more of a thicker sauce thing. You might want more chunky. You might also decide to use sauce or diced tomatoes. Make the sauce yours.

Grating the onion

I followed the ATK suggestion of grating the onion to release the flavor faster. A very nice trick for a quick recipe like this. And is the key to the quick sauce.

If you don’t want to grate, just a good dice will do but try to cook a bit longer. But try the grating, it is worth the slight extra work.

📖Great Italian Recipes

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🖼️Photo Instructions

cut up chicken on white board

Trim chicken breast of any fat. Cut into slices across the grain of the meat about 3/8 inch thick then cut again the other way to make more bit size pieces.

cooking chicken in black pan

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large nonstick frying/saute pan over medium-high heat, then add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds before adding chicken.

shredded onions in bowl

Shred onion with the large side of a shredder. You can also chop the onion instead. After cooking the chicken for about 5 minutes, add the onion and continue to cook until some browning of the chicken and clearing of the onion (about 10-12 minutes total). Check some of the larger pieces with an instant-read thermometer to be sure you get to a safe 165 internal temperature on the chicken.

adding spices to cooked chicken in black panadding spices to cooked chicken in black pan

Add all other spices and tomatoes.  Simmer until your pasta is cooked.

Chicken spaghetti on white plate

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Editor’s Note: Originally Published January 29, 2010. Updated with re-edited text and photos over time.
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Oven Baked Blackened Tilapia | 101 Cooking For Two by Gordon Ramsay


Blackened Tilapia is a great way to have healthy baked tilapia that is bursting with taste and spicy goodness. With a great flavor profile, you can easily adjust or eliminate most of the heat.

close up of tilapia on white plate.

Jump to:

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📰Introduction and My Rating

Baked blackened tilapia is an easy dinner recipe, or you can use it for some great fish tacos. So simple with these step by step photo instructions.

Baking is much healthier than frying. I find frying fish in a pan a “pain.” You have to do multiple batches, keep it warm in the oven, and stand there all the time. And the mess, oh the mess, oven baking is just so much easier.

I ended up with an Aaron MaCorgo Jr (Food Networks “Big Daddy”) recipe. This man can cook and is a joy to watch, highly recommended.

The big change was going from fry pan to oven. This was not that hard. Just spice it up and cook with a little oil, including a light spray of PAM, so the top is not dry. I also adjusted the spicing some.

Do you want the grilled version? Try my Grilled Blackened Tilapia

My Rating

My rating system. Great 5 out of 5


Wonderful. Spice it up to your desire. Just give it a try.

🐟The Tilapia

Tilapia is a mild-tasting fish that is commonly available around the world since it is easily farmed. There are hundreds of different varieties, but they are all about the same for us consumers.

Tilapia is native to Africa and the Middle East that is generally freshwater inhabiting shallow streams, ponds, rivers, and lakes. However, they’ve been distributed around the world, and they’re farmed almost everywhere since they can tolerate a wide range of temperatures and are very hardy.

Use a different fish

So, can you do this with a different fish? Sure, other fish can be used and will generally cook about the same just adjust for the thickness.

The 10-Minute Rule for Cooking Fish

Originally published in the “Canadian Fish Cook Book” 1959 from Canadian Department of Fisheries, the 10-minute rule is not perfect, but it is very good. It works for any cooking method – frying, baking, and sautéing. For baking, it generally if for oven temperatures of 400 to 450 degrees.

  • Measure the fish at its thickest point. If the fish is stuffed or rolled, measure it after stuffing or rolling and then time it accordingly.
  • Cook fish 10 minutes per inch, turning it halfway through the cooking time. For example, a one-inch fish steak should be cooked 5 minutes on each side for a total of 10 minutes. Pieces of fish less than 1/2-inch thick do not need to be turned over.
  • Add 5 minutes to the total cooking time if you are cooking the fish in foil, or if the fish is cooked in a sauce.
  •  Double the cooking time for frozen fish that has not been defrosted.

Let’s thank our Canadian neighbors.

♨️ Seasoning

The Blackening Seasoning

First, a brief discussion about blackening, Cajun, and Creole seasoning. All have a base of paprika, pepper, along with garlic and onion powder. But Creole tends to add more herbs and is milder while Cajun is generally the hottest. So depending on how you vary your spice choices, you can change the term.

The Paprika: Traditionally, smoked paprika would be used. But I like sweeter paprika, so I generally use Spanish.

The Cayenne pepper and the heat level: The heat level is generally determined by the cayenne. For my suggested mixture of other spices.

  • 1 teaspoon will be 9/10
  • 1/2 teaspoon will be 7/10
  • 1/4 teaspoon will be 3-4/10 – my usual level
  • none then it will depend on other ingredients but generally about 1/10

This makes more than you need and save tightly sealed for another cooking. It is very handy to have around and goes well with other fish or chicken.

Can I use a totally different seasoning?

Sure, if you have a favorite season or just want to experiment, season as you wish. The basic cooking method will still work well.

🌡️⏰Temperature and Time

What oven temperature to use?

Generally, bake fish at higher temperatures. That will get better browning without overcooking the interior. You can find recommended ranging from 350 to 450 degrees.  For tilapia, I suggest 400 or 425 degrees.

How long will it bake tilapia?

The first thing to say is it varies by the oven temperature and thickness of the fish. To be safe, fish needs to be cooked to an internal temperature of 145 by FDA rules. Also, it should be flaky.

Generally 4-6 minutes cooking time for 1/2 inch thick fish at 400 to 450 degrees oven.  Measure the thickest area, and it needs to be thawed. There is also some variability due to the individual oven and starting temperature of the fish.

So 1-inch thick will be about 10 minutes. Always check the fish a minute or two early.

Other Tips

I was oven baking but did not want dry, so I use some oil on the tray and even sprayed the top with some oil in the form of PAM.

I did an easy tartar sauce that went well with this. This is included in the recipe to use if you wish.

📖Other Tilapia Recipes

Grilled Blackened Tilapia

Oven Baked Parmesan Crusted Tilapia

Easy Grilled Tilapia with Paprika

Grilled Lemon Butter Tilapia

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🖼️Photo Instructions
the spices for blackening seasoning

Combine 3 tablespoon paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon onion powder, one teaspoon black pepper, 1/4 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon dry thyme, one teaspoon dry oregano, and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder. This makes more than you need and save it for another cooking. The cayenne heat level will be 9/10 at 1 teaspoon, 7/10 at 1/2 teaspoon, and 3-4/10 at 1/4 teaspoon.

prepare baking tray lined with foil and brushing on olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a sheet pan with foil and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Brush it over the foil in an area that will have fish.

pat dry tilapia with paper towels

Rinse and pat dry 1 pound of tilapia.

picture of brushing tilapia with oil

Brush the tilapia with olive oil.

coating fish with blackening seasoning

Cover the fillets with the spices and rub it in (both sides). You will only need about 1/3 to 1/2 of the spice mix you made.

a light spray of PAM after the seasoning is applied

Place on the oiled pan and give the fish a light spray of PAM. Place in the preheated oven.

mixing the homemade tartar sauce

If you want a homemade tartar sauce, combine 1/3 cup mayo, 2 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon sweet pickle relish and 1/4 teaspoon onion powder. Mix well.

Blackened Tilapia done on the baking tray

Cook until nicely brown and flaky. This is 9-10 minutes for big fillets and a minute or two less for small to medium fillets.
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Editor note: Originally published August 3, 2012. Updated several times with re-editing of the text and photos.

Molly dog supervising in the kitchen

Lilly dog relaxing on a kitchen rug

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