Chicken legs marinated
Poultry & Meat

Pan-fried Italian marinated Chicken Legs

Pan-fried Italian marinated chicken legs recipe is a simple and inexpensive main course, much appreciated in Italian cuisine.

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I love to prepare simple and genuine dishes, today’s recipe is simple and tasty and it’s flavored with natural aromas and spices.

These pan-fried marinated chicken legs are tender and juicy. The delicious crunchy crust retains all the juices inside the meat and this makes the chicken tender and not stringy. You will love them!

Moreover, the recipe is really simple to follow and does not require special culinary skills, anyone can bring to the table a dish of all respect: healthy and light, but at the same time tasty and succulent.

Essential is the marinating of the chicken. Let’s see together how to proceed!

How to make a great marinade for chicken legs

stir-fried chicken legs

A perfect marinade to flavor white meat consists of three groups of ingredients.

First, you’ll need a fat base that wraps the meat and makes it succulent. To do this I love to use Classico EVO oil for its nutritional characteristics and for its flavor. Then, I like to add a little mustard to give it creaminess and sourness. I prefer sweet mustard so as not to alter the chicken flavor too much, but if you love stronger sour you can choose a good spicy non-grain mustard.

Secondly, an acid part is needed. I love the taste of citrus fruits, which make the meat fresh and at the same time very fragrant.

Lemon and orange are fine, or for a sweeter scent as I did for this recipe, use mandarins.

Wanna dare a little bit? Another excellent combination is to mix lime and pomegranate juices. The meat will take on a pinkish color and the flavor is amazing.

The third fundamental element for a good marinade is given by spices.

Here you can indulge yourself according to your tastes.

The Italian tradition mainly uses rosemary, bay leaf, or sage. Here I have enriched my chicken legs with juniper berries and Pantelleria Salted Capers.

Few more tips

The traditional recipe of Italian-style marinated chicken legs requires only the addition of olives to give an extra touch of flavor to the tender chicken meat.

Here I used the Taggiasca ones because of their countless shades of color and the delicate and fruity taste.

Recently, I discovered a few perfect ingredients to boost my dishes. These are fresh ginger slices, sweet paprika, and cardamom. They give an exotic spicy note and a slightly spicy taste. In addition, ginger is very useful for promoting digestion and speeding up the metabolism.

stir-fried marinated chicken legs

What to pair with …

If you are looking for side dishes to match today’s recipe, give a try to our Italian Sweet & Sour Baked Peppers or refresh your mouth with a Fennel and Orange Salad. Alternatively, a giant pan of baked potatoes will always be appreciated by all diners.

Do you want to combine a good Italian wine with your meal? 

Italian red wines are exceptional to accompany tasty meat and poultry dishes. Take a look at our short guide of 20 Italian Red Wines you Can’t-Miss and choose your favorite.

Yield: 2

Pan-fried Italian Marinated Chicken Legs

Chicken legs marinated

These pan-fried Italian Marinated Chicken Legs are tender and juicy with a delicious crunchy crust
that retains all the juices inside the meat and this makes the chicken tender and not stringy.

Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 25 minutes


  • 4 chicken legs with the skin on
  • 20 g Taggiasca olives
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 mandarin
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 shallot
  • 6 salted Pantelleria capers
  • 1 branch of rosemary
  • 3 juniper berries
  • 2 cardamom berries
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 pinch of black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon of sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons of mustard
  • 5 tablespoons of water
  • 2 slices of fresh ginger or alternatively ½ tablespoon of powdered ginger
  • 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil


First of all, make the marinade

  1. Squeeze lemon and mandarin and eliminate the seeds.
  2. Take a large container with a lid (a Tupperware is fine) and pour in the citrus juice. 
  3. Chop one garlic clove and the ginger, then pour them into the container.
  4. Add the mustard, the juniper and cardamom berries, paprika, pepper, the pre-washed capers, and half of the oil (2 sp).
  5. Whisk to emulsify the mixture.

Now keep chicken to marinade

  1. Clean the chicken legs by removing any remaining
    feathers and transfer them into the marinade container.
  2. With a spoon, gently twist the chicken legs a couple of
    times to allow them to flavor properly.
  3. Close the lid and leave the chicken to marinate for at least 2 hours (turn the legs in the marinade halfway through).

Then Manage the cooking

  1. Take a large, high-sided pan (wok type).
  2. Pour in the remaining oil, the water, and chop the shallot
    inside the pan. Add inside the second clove of unpeeled garlic too.
  3. Heat the pan on the stove for a couple of minutes. 
  4. Then place the chicken legs in the pan and pour the marinade juice over it, along with the rosemary and bay leaf.
  5. Add the olives, salt, rosemary, and bay leaf.
  6. Cover with a lid and cook over medium heat for about
    20-25 minutes, turning the chicken legs a couple of times.
  7. If the juice becomes too thick, add a few more tablespoons of water.
  8. When chicken will be almost cooked, remove the lid, raise
    the heat and brown to form the famous crispy crust.
  9. Put out the flame and plate up.
  10. Buon appetito!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1349Total Fat: 76gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 52gCholesterol: 655mgSodium: 823mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 10gSugar: 12gProtein: 128g

Nutrition Data is automatically calculated and may be not accurate.

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  1. I totally agree with you, I also love to prepare simple and genuine dishes and chicken legs is one of those dishes! Thank you for sharing your recipe! I will definitely try it out, because normally I am marinating chicken legs in mayonnaise. Nevertheless, I love trying new recipes! Thanks a lot!

  2. Yum!! This looks delicious. And great blog layout!

  3. This looks awesome! I have a really hard time not drying chicken out. I can’t wait to try it.

  4. LaRena Fry says:

    Marinating chicken always makes it more flavorful Sounds yummy

  5. Jeannie says:

    this recipe I can share with my nephew and nieces on their next visit! they will love this with rice

  6. These chicken legs look so good! I’ve never cooked with juniper berries before so I’m intrigued by this!

  7. I love the marinade! I hope it is suitable for barbeque, too, as the season approaches:)

  8. These look delicious. I am always looking for new meals for the rotation and will have to try this one. Thanks so much!

  9. I could eat chicken legs all of the time. This recipe – and pictures – look amazing. I’ve never tried this way before but I will definitely give it a try.

  10. They look amazing and I bet they have a lot of flavour! Thanks for this 😀

  11. This dish looks absolutely delicious! Your pictures look amazing and love how you put your recipe together on your post. Great job and will definitely save this to try! 🙂

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