the best oven baked crispy chicken
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Note: You have to plan ahead to make this, as the chicken will need anywhere from 1-4 hours to brine (3-4 hours is optimal). Don't brine the chicken for any more than 4 hours, as it can get salty. The actual baking time only takes 30 minutes though!
Recipe type: chicken
Serves: 4-6
  • For the brine:
  • 6 chicken drumsticks and 2 thighs (bone-in, skin-on) or 4 thighs and 4 drumsticks - see my below note on chicken quantities - You can use any combination of chicken pieces for this recipe, even bone-in, skin on breasts. We just prefer the darker meat, as it has more protein and way more flavor.
  • 3 tablespoons sea salt - Don't use table salt! Table salt contains iodine, which doesn't work with brining.
  • 1 tablespoon honey - honey adds a depth of flavor
  • 1-2 quarts warm/room temp water - you want enough water to cover all of the chicken
  • For the breading:
  • 1 cup almond meal flour
  • 2 teaspoons celtic sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast - I used Bragg's nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  1. In a large (large enough to hold all the water and chicken) stainless steel or glass bowl, (don't use plastic) whisk together 3 tablespoons sea salt, 1 tablespoon honey and 2 quarts warm water to create a brine.
  2. Place chicken drumsticks and thighs into the brine, cover, and transfer to the refrigerator. Let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours. Make sure that there is enough water to submerge the chicken, if not, add more water.
  3. When the chicken is finished brining, preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Take out the chicken drumsticks and thighs and pat each piece of chicken throughly dry with a paper towel. Drying the chicken drumsticks and thighs will keep your chicken from getting soggy.
  5. In a shallow bowl, gently whisk together the almond meal, seal salt, nutritional yeast, thyme, cayenne pepper and smoked paprika.
  6. Dredge the chicken drumsticks and thighs in the seasoned breading until well-coated on all sides. Arrange them presentation side down in a single layer on the baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes, then turn over each drumstick and thigh, and then increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the chicken's internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Increasing the oven's temperature to 425 helps to ensure a crispy skin.Note: If your chicken is finished cooking, but not browned to your liking, then you can place the chicken under your boiler for a few minutes to brown up the skin.
  8. NOTE: Baking times vary as chicken cuts vary in size. My chicken cuts were on the smaller side, so my total baking time was roughly 30 minutes. Don't worry if you overcook the meat, brined dark meat chicken is very forgiving and still tastes great even if it's overcooked!
  9. Got leftovers? This chicken makes for awesome leftovers! I wrap a few pieces of cold chicken in some parchment paper and then wrap that with aluminum foil, toss it in the kid's lunches with some leftover kale salad or seasonal fruit!
  10. You can also re-heat the chicken in a 250-degree oven till warm. If the leftover chicken's coating gets soggy, just place it under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp up again.
Note: The above chicken quantities are really up to you and depend on the size of your family, and what leftovers you want. Zoe usually has a thigh and drumstick, Eli has 2 drumsticks and I have a thigh, then we have leftovers for school lunch the next day. Easy peasy! Adjust the breading quantities based on the amount of chicken you’re making.
Recipe by Marin Mama Cooks at