Confit-Style Chicken Legs Recipe

While duck confit usually gets all the credit, there are many different proteins and vegetables that can be cooked this way. While technically 'confit' refers to food cooked in its own fat, it's regularly used to describe things cooked in any type of fat — potatoes cooked in duck fat or fish cooked in olive oil, for example. As such, to make confit chicken legs can become just as rich and tender as duck legs when cooked in fat, you don't need to search around for a few quarts of rendered chicken fat to get it.

For these confit-style chicken legs, recipe developer Taylor Murray used olive oil to confit chicken legs to achieve an easy version of the classic French dish at home. "Most people will have a much easier time finding olive oil than a ton of chicken fat, and I think the flavor comes out even better this way," says Murray. 

Whether eaten with a simple green salad or used to make the classic slow-cooked French stew cassoulet, these chicken legs are fall-off-the-bone tender and ridiculously indulgent.

Gather the ingredients to make chicken leg confit

The two main ingredients in this dish are going to be bone-in chicken legs (meaning thigh and drum attached) and olive oil. The chicken can just be any kind you can find at the grocery store, and the olive oil should be a good quality oil. You will end up using a fair amount for this recipe, so look for some on sale or at a big-box discount store. The olive oil can be reused after making this recipe for things like roasted potatoes or searing chicken, so don't worry too much about waste.

The other ingredients are going to be for the cure, a very important part of traditional duck confit recipes. This stage involves creating a mixture of salt and sugar plus a few aromatics, like bay leaves, black peppercorns, whole garlic, and fresh thyme. Some of these aromatics will get used in the confit as well.

Make the cure

In a small bowl, combine sugar and salt. Break up a few sprigs of thyme and thinly slice two cloves of garlic. Add both to the bowl. Work with your fingers to combine all the ingredients, making sure the garlic rubs into the sugar and salt. 

Cure the legs

Sprinkle the curing salt mixture all over the legs, making sure some is packed on both the bottom and top. You should use all of the cure, putting any extra around the legs. Place the chicken into the refrigerator and chill overnight. 

Rinse and pat dry

The following day, remove the chicken from the fridge, rinse the chicken legs in fresh water, and pat them completely dry. This step draws the moisture out of the chicken skin and legs so that it won't disrupt the confit process. 

Start the confit

First, preheat your oven to 225 F.  Next, place the chicken legs into a deep, oven-safe dish. Ideally, you'll have a dish or pan that is wide enough so the legs do not have to sit on top of each other, but not too wide that you'll have to use a ton of oil to cover the chicken. Add the bay leaves, black peppercorns, and remaining garlic and thyme to the dish, and add enough oil to cover the chicken. 

Put the pot or vessel into the oven and cook until the chicken is completely tender — it should take about 3 hours. Remove the pot from the oven and transfer the legs to a sheet tray.

Finish the legs

Turn the oven up to 425 F. Place the legs in the oven and cook until the legs have crisped up and turned golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before eating.

There are cafes all over France that serve duck confit shredded over salad and as part of cassoulets. While those are both great uses for these confit-style chicken legs, there are so many more that are equally as delicious. Chicken confit can be used in so many ways from stuffing a dumpling or topping a pizza to taking chicken salad to the next level. Of course, it can always be served as a rich side to crisp vegetables or roasted potatoes.

Confit-Style Chicken Legs Recipe
5 from 40 ratings
Whether eaten with a simple green salad or as part of another dish, these confit-style chicken legs are fall-off-the-bone tender and ridiculously indulgent.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Chicken leg confit with greens
Total time: 3 hours, 20 minutes
  • 2 bone-in chicken legs (drum and thigh attached)
  • 1 cup salt
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 8 sprigs thyme
  • 7 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 3 bay leaves
  • Olive oil (enough for the confit)
  1. Pat your chicken legs dry and set them on a tray.
  2. Combine the salt and sugar in a small bowl. Break up three sprigs of the thyme and thinly slice the garlic. Add both to the bowl with the salt mixture.
  3. Liberally cover the chicken with the salt mixture on both sides, using all of it to achieve a thick coating.
  4. Place the chicken in the refrigerator and chill overnight.
  5. The next day, rinse the chicken and pat dry. Discard the salt mixture.
  6. Heat an oven to 225 F. Place the chicken in a oven-safe dish or pot. Cover the chicken in olive oil and add the peppercorns, bay leaves, and remaining garlic and thyme.
  7. Place the pot in the oven and cook until the chicken is extremely tender -- about 3 hours. Remove the chicken from oven and transfer to a sheet tray.
  8. Turn the oven up to 425 F. Crisp the legs in the hot oven until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool before eating.
Calories per Serving 1,591
Total Fat 136.8 g
Saturated Fat 26.4 g
Trans Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 319.9 mg
Total Carbohydrates 34.9 g
Dietary Fiber 3.0 g
Total Sugars 25.1 g
Sodium 1,109.6 mg
Protein 58.2 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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