Orange Saffron Marinade for Chicken Legs (Baked or Grilled)

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Orange Saffron Chicken Legs can be baked or grilled, and with a little touch of that fancy spice, you can make a simple dish extra special. An easy marinade with exotic citrus flavors infuses juicy drumsticks that you can toss on the grill or in your oven.

Baked or Grilled Orange Saffron Chicken Legs Recipe Image with Title

Originally published July 21, 2016.

I know many people who read my blog are parents. So you can relate to the stress and overwhelm that sometimes comes with the job.

But then there are the moments of unconditional love that make you melt into a puddle. Like when after a rough day your kid says to you, “Mommy, you know how you said a little while ago that you try to be the best mommy. Well, you don’t have to try. You just are the best mommy.”

As my hubby says, parenting is a whole lot of work with moments of joy, but it’s those moments of joy that make it all worth it.

Here is a terrible segway, but there is one particular ingredient that is so special that just a little pinch is all you need to be totally worth it.

Saffron.

Orange Saffron marinated Grilled Chicken Legs on a plate with potatoes and glasses of wine in the background

What is saffron?

Saffron is a spice derived from a crocus plant. The small threads are actually the stamen of the flower. Because of its rarity and tedious harvest process, it is the world’s most expensive spice. But just a pinch imparts a bright, golden color, and a sweet and grassy exotic flavor.

It is most frequently used in Spanish paella, Italian risotto Milanese, and many Indian, Persian, and Arab dishes.

In this recipe, a lot of orange juice and zest and just a bit of saffron in the chicken leg marinade gives the drumsticks a ton of flavor. A nice long soak combined with a hot grill or oven leaves you with moist and juicy drumsticks that taste absolutely incredible.

Juicy citrus marinated chicken drumsticks on a platter

Orange Saffron Chicken Leg Marinade

Whether it’s summertime and you are ready to fire up the grill, or winter and you want comfort food coming out of your oven, do yourself a favor and invest in a little package of saffron so you can make this marinade for chicken legs. It is a super simple but extra special addition to your dinner table.

And this chicken marinade is gluten free, keto, and paleo. So based on your choice of side dishes, you’ll have everyone digging into this pile of baked or grilled chicken legs!

Here is a brief overview so you can see just how easy it is to make. Scroll down to the printable recipe card for the full quantities and details.
But don’t skip my PRO TIPS below!

What You’ll Need

  • Olive oil
  • Oranges – zested and juiced
  • Garlic
  • Pepper
  • Dry thyme leaves
  • Saffron threads
  • Chicken legs

Directions

  1. Combine the marinade ingredient in a zip-top storage bag and add the chicken legs. Marinate for at least 6-8 hours.
  2. Remove the chicken from the marinade and dry with paper towels.
  3. To bake: preheat the oven to 450°F, and place chicken a cooling rack set on top of a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, flip the legs, then bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the juices run clear and the meat reaches a temperature of 165°F.
  4. To grill: preheat your grill to medium heat, and grill over indirect medium heat for 40-50 minutes, flipping occasionally, or until the juices run clear and the meat reaches a temperature of 165°F.

Serve right away. Leftover can be stored in the refrigerator and reheated in the oven.

Orange Saffron Marinated Grilled Chicken Drumsticks on a plate

Side dishes for grilled chicken legs

A plate with grilled chicken legs with an orange saffron marinade

More grilled chicken recipes

Orange Saffron Marinated Baked or Grilled Chicken Legs Recipe

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A plate with grilled chicken legs with an orange saffron marinade

Baked or Grilled Orange Saffron Chicken Legs

An easy marinade recipe infuses exotic citrus flavors into juicy drumsticks you can cook on the grill or bake in the oven.
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely ground pepper
  • 2 oranges zested and juiced
  • 1 clove garlic minced or crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry thyme leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 3 pounds chicken legs

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients except the chicken in a large plastic zip-top storage bag and mix to combine.
  • Add the chicken, seal the bag, and place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 6-8 hours or overnight.
  • If you are baking, preheat the oven to 450°F, and place a cooling rack on top of a cooking sheet. Remove the chicken from the marinade, dry with paper towels, and place on the rack. Bake for 30 minutes, flip the legs, then bake for and additional 10-15 minutes, or until the juices run clear and the meat reaches a temperature of 165°F.
  • If you are grilling, preheat your grill, remove the chicken from the marinade, dry with paper towels, and place on the grill. Grill over indirect medium heat for 40-50 minutes, or until the juices run clear and the meat reaches a temperature of 165°F.
Nutrition Facts
Baked or Grilled Orange Saffron Chicken Legs
Amount Per Serving (2 drumsticks)
Calories 380 Calories from Fat 261
% Daily Value*
Fat 29g45%
Saturated Fat 6g30%
Cholesterol 120mg40%
Sodium 109mg5%
Potassium 354mg10%
Carbohydrates 6g2%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 21g42%
Vitamin A 215IU4%
Vitamin C 23.9mg29%
Calcium 34mg3%
Iron 1.1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Enjoy!

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