These Parmesan Baked Chicken Drumsticks are better than fried! You'll love this gluten-free, low carb and keto-friendly chicken recipe! There'll be a pool of garlic butter in the pan after baking, so if you can have bread, try dipping some in it!
I'd be remiss if I didn't share this recipe for Parmesan Baked Chicken Drumsticks. It's the most kid-pleasing, man-pleasing and mom-pleasing chicken I make on a regular basis.
Oven-baked and gluten-free, it's a great substitute for fried chicken, with an Italian twist. (Of course.)
Skinless chicken drumsticks are dipped in melted butter, then rolled in a mound of freshly grated Parmesan cheese that's been seasoned with garlic powder and paprika. That flavor profile is incredible, and it's what I use in these keto Parmesan crisps, this lemon baked cod, Parmesan shrimp and these gluten-free jalapeño poppers.
These keto chicken drumsticks are baked on a foil-lined, rimmed sheet pan for an hour. They come out a bit crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside, and resting in a pool of mouth-watering garlic butter that we love to soak up with fresh bread.
Bits of crispy Parmesan dotting the pan provide the perfect, salty accent.
To say I serve these Parmesan-crusted chicken legs "family style" would be too refined. Maybe "Flintstones style" is more appropriate.
Each of us eats with one eyeball guarding the pan of garlic butter. You don't want to be the last one to get to The Pan and start dipping!
There are no bread crumbs here, since this is a gluten-free and keto chicken recipe. We’re dipping the chicken legs in melted butter and seasoned Parmesan cheese to achieve a delicious, crisp coating.
Chicken Drumsticks: Dark meat chicken from chicken legs or thighs works best here. We need to allow the oven-fried chicken to get crispy on the outside, so it must withstand a longer cooking time than what’s best for white meat.
I’ve always removed the skin from the drumsticks for fewer calories, but you can keep the skin on if you prefer.
You can use thick, boneless chicken breasts instead, but they'll dry out if baked too long. Try them at 425 degrees F for 25 minutes. The Parmesan coating won’t turn out as crispy as with the drumsticks.
Parmesan: I prefer the texture and flavor of freshly grated Parmesan cheese here, but the kind in a can should work okay.
Butter: Melted butter helps the cheesy coating adhere, and its delicious flavor takes this recipe over the top! The baked chicken drumsticks will emerge from the oven in a pool of luscious garlic butter. I always use salted butter, so if you use unsalted, you may need to add a little salt to this recipe.
Seasonings: Garlic and paprika work fabulously with Parmesan. Plus, we need that garlic flavor for the garlic butter!
How to make baked chicken drumsticks
See the card at the end of this post for the full recipe, but here's an overview.
- Mix the Parmesan and seasonings to combine.
- Melt the butter and place a skinned chicken drumstick in it, coating both sides.
- Dredge the chicken in the Parmesan coating, again covering both sides.
- Place all of the coated chicken on a foil-lined sheet pan. Drizzle on any extra butter before baking until golden brown.
- To easily remove skin from chicken drumsticks, grasp the bottom of the leg in one hand and use a paper towel in your other hand to grasp the skin from the top and pull it down.
- Bake the garlic Parmesan chicken drumsticks in a greased, foil-lined pan for easier cleanup.
What to serve with them
Keep in mind, you’ll have a delicious pool of garlic butter to enjoy with these baked chicken drumsticks. If you need a gluten-free side dish, go with rice or Amish mashed potatoes. Cauliflower rice would be a great keto-friendly option.
But if you’re not worried about carbs or gluten, you have to dip some crusty Italian bread in that pan of garlic butter!
Frequently asked questions
No. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) does not recommend washing raw chicken because it can easily spread bacteria in your kitchen.
Baking chicken legs at 350 degrees F for an hour allows them to achieve a crispy exterior and juicy interior.
You can check for doneness by cutting into a piece. If it's no longer pink inside, it's done.
You also could use an instant-read thermometer (affiliate link) to check them. Chicken legs should reach an internal temperature of 170-175 degrees F.
More chicken recipes to try
Don't miss my family's Italian chicken cutlets, Chicken Sorrentino or this coq au vin recipe. You also have to try my Italian meatloaf with chicken, roasted chicken thighs and this delicious Hungarian Chicken Paprikash with Dumplings!
If you try these Parmesan Baked Chicken Drumsticks, please leave a comment and a rating!
Parmesan Baked Chicken Drumsticks
- 10-12 chicken drumsticks (skinned)
- 4 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
- Italian sliced bread (optional) (for serving, to dip in butter)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and grease it with cooking spray.
- Remove the skin from each drumstick by using a paper towel to grasp the skin and pull it off.
- Melt the butter in a pan on the stove or in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl.
- Grate the Parmesan (use a Vitamix or food processor if you have one.) Place the grated cheese on a dinner plate and mix in the paprika and garlic powder.
- Set up an assembly line from left to right, with the chicken, the pan of melted butter, the plate with the seasoned Parmesan and the foil-lined pan. Use a fork to spear a drumstick, dip it in butter, then into the Parmesan mixture, coating all sides. Place the coated chicken on the foil-lined pan. Repeat for the rest of the chicken.
- Bake the chicken uncovered for one hour, or until completely cooked. Check for doneness by cutting into a piece. It should no longer be pink inside. The internal temperature should be 170-175 degrees F.
- If you can have carbs, serve the chicken with sliced Italian bread to dip into the melted garlic butter from the pan.
- This recipe can easily be halved. Use the same baking time.
- For a keto-friendly meal, serve with cauliflower rice.
- For a gluten-friendly meal, serve with long-grain rice or mashed potatoes.
- You can use thick, boneless chicken breasts instead, but they'll dry out if baked too long. Try them at 425 degrees F for 25 minutes. The Parmesan coating won’t turn out as crispy as with the drumsticks.
Recipe Source: Adapted from Leanne Ely, Saving Dinner (affiliate link). Originally published on July 9, 2014 and updated now with new photos and additional information. Photos by Kanyi Muraguri for Cooking with Mamma C.