One-Pot Wonders

Jamie Oliver’s Tender & Crisp Chicken Legs With Sweet Tomatoes & Basil

July 26, 2017
4.3 Stars
Photo by Julia Gartland
Author Notes

This summery chicken-tomato-mélange's miraculous qualities have all the hallmarks of a braise—the fall-apart tenderness and well-developed, concentrated sauce—without having to sear anything first or spatter your stovetop or do much at all.

You truly can throw everything into the pot in the time it takes the oven to heat, and the simplicity of the technique—snuggle in pan, roast—is fairly un-stumpable, and will expand and contract to fit any size vessel you have. Recipe adapted slightly from Jamie Oliver. —Genius Recipes

Watch This Recipe
Jamie Oliver’s Tender & Crisp Chicken Legs With Sweet Tomatoes & Basil
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Serves 4
  • 4 higher-welfare chicken leg quarters
  • 1 pinch sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 big bunch fresh basil, leaves picked, stalks finely chopped
  • 2 big handfuls red and yellow cherry tomatoes and ripe plum or beefsteak tomatoes, cherry tomatoes halved, plum tomatoes quartered
  • 1 whole bulb garlic, broken into cloves
  • 1 fresh red chile, finely chopped, or a big pinch of dried chile flakes
  • 1 splash olive oil
  • 1 14.5-ounce/410 g can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed (optional)
  • 2 handfuls new potatoes, scrubbed (optional)
In This Recipe
  1. Heat your oven to 350°F (180°C). Season your chicken pieces all over with salt and pepper and put them into a snug-fitting pan in one layer, skin side up. Throw in all the basil leaves and stalks, then chuck in your tomatoes. Scatter the garlic cloves into the pan with the chopped chile and drizzle over some olive oil. Mix around a bit, pushing the tomatoes underneath. Place in the oven, uncovered, for 1 1/2 hours, turning any of the exposed tomatoes halfway through, until the chicken skin is crisp and the meat is falling off the bone. If after an hour or so the skin isn’t crisping to your liking, you can turn up the heat and switch to convection, or just blast it under the broiler for a bit at the end, rotating the pan occasionally and watching closely, until you get the skin as brown as you like. Just don't let the sauce simmer too vigorously or the meat might toughen up.
  2. If you fancy, you can add some drained cannelini beans or some sliced new potatoes to the pan along with the chicken. Or you can serve the chicken with some simple mashed potato. Squeeze the garlic out of the skins before serving. You could even make it part of a pasta dish—remove the chicken meat from the bone and shred it, then toss into a bowl of linguini or spaghetti and serve at once.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Leslye Borden
    Leslye Borden
  • wendy hyer
    wendy hyer
  • Mandy Sunde
    Mandy Sunde
  • Nancy
  • Aimee Miller-O'Toole
    Aimee Miller-O'Toole
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

148 Reviews

Leslye B. August 19, 2021
I just made this again last night. My garden has too many tomatoes and this recipe used up a few of them. Always delicious. And the skin comes out so crispy. This is a go to recipe for me when I'm running late and want something in a hurry that takes no prep.
Daniel B. August 19, 2021
Endlessly adaptable - this is a no-recipe recipe. It's basically an exercise in the low, slow concentration of flavors (which is why it is uncovered). The fact that this dish makes your house smell fantastic is just a bonus. Personally, I think fresh-baked bread goes even better with this than the potatoes, and I think the beans make the dish.
Woodside March 27, 2021
Dependable, highly flexible, and extremely high flavor-to-effort ratio. I’ve made this many times and it’s always great.
Picot July 1, 2020
I love this recipe. Depending on what I have in the larder, I will add roasted peppers, peppadews, shallots, olives, artichokes, etc. I also like to double the beans; they become super creamy and flavorful. One change I make is to place everything in the pan before the chicken to prevent the beans and basil from drying out during roasting. I lay the chicken on top, so that it bastes everything with schmaltzy goodness.
Wendy W. June 10, 2020
I strongly advise one to add the basil later in the process. Otherwise it tends to dry out and adds little flavor. It's a very easy recipe, which is a big plus.
wendy H. May 14, 2020
Delicious and easy...all you need is the time to let it cook. I added a can of diced tomatoes as I like a lot of sauce plus a good glug of red, be sure to have some good garlic bread to soak it up. Added most of the basil toward the end of the cooking time. Forgot the chili and didn't have the canneli bean but can see how they would be good. Added whole small potatoes. Great comfort food during this COVID-19 time.
Michelle M. March 21, 2020
So, so good! It does remind me of a quicker cassoulet and the beans really make the dish. Our addition was some chopped green olives, which were nice. Next time I will try a little wine or lemon perhaps. A keeper!
Mandy S. October 10, 2019
This is by far one of my favorite recipes. I brown the chicken so the skin gets crispy and throw what I have in on hand. I love the richness of the broth it creates, the potatoes and beans are a must in my book because it almost becomes like a hearty stew.
Nancy September 22, 2019
This was just delicious! I feel that some reviews are maybe over thinking this? Its very open to interpretation and you don't have to stress. It's not like baking. I added a can of San Marzanos because it looked like I'd want more juice, I did add the beans and thought that was a nice addition. It was amazing over Basmati rice.
vvn August 26, 2019
A lil glug of red wine really pulls the whole dish together. And don't skimp on the tomatoes!

I know some people complained about the crunchiness AND mushiness of the beans, but I enjoyed both immensely - adds a nice textural aspect to the dish. Also took the suggestion of smashing the garlic with a wooden spoon while the chicken is resting so that it's nicely integrated with the sauce - this is good and key.

Didn't have red wine the second time around so tried a squeeze of lemon before serving. Adds a nice brightness to it but I do miss the depth of the vino!
Boscosmom August 15, 2019
I made it with 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs because that's what I needed to use up so I was pretty heavy handed with the olive oil. I needed something to use tomato and basil from the garden. I stuck it in the oven and ran to the store for Cannelini beans and when I opened the door oh, the aroma!. I'll hold off on the beans till the last 10-15 minutes next time but I just had a bowl and am very happy with it. I did chuck a halved lemon in there for the last 20 minutes or so and squeezed it over the whole thing at the end, as someone suggested, and really feel it adds a nice brightness. Can't wait to see how it tastes tomorrow. I pulled the chicken into smaller pieces and will have it over rice or pasta. The sauce it makes is lovely. I have got to remember to read the comments first before I try a recipe. It really doesn't say when to put in the beans. It would have been better to wait and I may peel the garlic to see if it matters next time. I didn't mind the crispy basil leaves but I can see how it may put some people off.
I'll just have one more little bite, then I'll stop.
SandraH August 15, 2019
I enjoyed your comments and excitement with trying this Jamie Oliver recipe! It is a good one!
Hieu N. August 7, 2019
My kind of recipe, no measuring or cooking, just throw everything in a pan and bake! This sounds so delicious! I don't make chicken often for fear of undercooking, but I will definitely try this one! Thank you!
Ben August 7, 2019
I was a serial undercooker of chicken, and then grabbed a digital meat thermometer for a few bucks. No more rare chicken for this guy's family!
Aimee M. July 26, 2019
I made this last night and oh boy, was it delicious. We are Jamie Oliver enthusiasts over here so after multiple trips to this review thread after peeking into the oven and noticing the basil was dry, etc..., I chilled down to the idea of over cooked beans: This IS a Jamie Oliver recipe, it's supposed to be slovenly, rustic and so freaking good... and it was. I used two skin-on chicken breasts and a skin on leg for my husband - but lo, the breasts were nice and tender. THE BEANS: holy moly but they were unreal. I could have just gone with beans, tomato and garlic but obviously the chicken juices helped as well.

Also to note: I added lemon slices on the very top (which was over-flowing) and a little dry white wine (I realize this is one of Jamie's 5 item recipes, so- it couldn't hurt) and another thought I had was to throw in some Italian sausage next time for a tremendous Italian cassoulet. CHEERS!
crustncrumb July 2, 2019
Maybe I'm a Neanderthal, but I don't see all the hub-bub about the beans, cooking time, 'dry' chicken etc. I've made this recipe many time and its always absolutely delicious. My beans are always intact. The chicken is never dry. I think it's great just the way it is, proudly serve it to friend and family, and would highly recommend it. Hat's off to it's creator!
Snowbird June 24, 2019
I made this tonight for the first time and we loved it! Because this was a throw together quickly meal, I added a shallot that was languishing, also some wine and a little chicken broth, and Trader Joe’s Everyday seasoning...stirred and basted a couple of times and upped the temperature right at the end to brown the chicken a little more. It was very flavorful and the juices were wonderful!
Beth June 22, 2019
Tried this once - meh. Not a fan of chicken and tomatoes, but will try again, maybe. The chicken didn't crisp up even though I left the skin on which I usually don't do. Definitely didn't put potatoes in though. Have other chicken recipes we like better.
SandraH June 22, 2019
This is great! Made this tonight, threw in some chopped tarragon into the mix along with the fresh basil since both are plentiful in the garden. I added the cannelini beans during the last 1/2 hour of cooking. Will make this again. Many times, I’m sure!
catherine October 6, 2019
Its cooking in my oven right now! I just upped the temperature to 400 which is where my Martha Stewart's chicken is at. I also added a little white wine. Next time, I'll add sliced black olives.
Little P. June 16, 2019
Ok. I just made this tonight. It was fabulous. Yes, I cooked it for exactly 1 1/2 hours and the chicken was so tender. I too tossed the basil, tomatoes and garlic clovers together with some olive oil, salt and pepper. I layered the chicken on top of that. I added some cooked (dried) beans about 15 minutes before the chicken was done. I also put a 1/4 of a lemon in to brighten it up. Make this asap!
Alison June 16, 2019
Outstanding! My friends LOVED. I used chicken breasts and it was still delicious.
David H. June 15, 2019
I just made this dish last night. Even though the recipe is a great starting off point it has problems. For instance, the recipe calls for cooking the chicken legs for 1 1/2 hours in a 350º oven. The recommended cooking temperature for red meat chicken is 180º and these chicken legs reached 180º after just 45 minutes in the oven. Another 45 minutes would've resulted in dry, overcooked chicken. Secondly, since the fresh basil was added at the beginning it was blackened and burnt after 45 minutes. And what about the canned cannelini beans? Since canned beans are already cooked why would you cook them for another 1 1/2 hours in a 350º oven? This resulted in mushy beans. It’s because of these glaring errors that I don’t believe this recipe was ever vetted by Jamie Oliver. To improve this recipe, increase the cooking temperature to 375º (for crispier skin) and cook the chicken for 45 minutes or until the inside temperature reaches 180º. (I prefer an even more tender chicken so I cook the chicken til 170º.) Also, add the cannelini beans and fresh basil leaves the last 10 minutes of cooking. For added acid, I like to add two halves of a lemon to the pan and then squeeze the juices over the chicken just before serving.
Danielle June 15, 2019
I’ve always cooked this for the recommended time. It makes the meat fall off the bones. I broil it at the end to crisp the chicken. I like my beans on the softer side so I like the extra time they spend in the oven. I mix the basil in with everything and no burning issues. I think what you’re proposing is for a well composed, beautiful dish, but Oliver’s dishes have always been peasant fare-esque, almost stew like concoctions that are best when all of the flavors have had time to “brew” together. (That’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it :) )
David H. June 16, 2019
Thank you, Danielle, for your reply but most of all thank you for stating your opinion kindly. We need more of you in this world. Dinner's at 6.
Danielle June 16, 2019
I would be lying if I said the reappearance of this recipe didn’t have me cooking it up tonight. Enjoy!
Jennifer June 20, 2019
Hi, I’m making this now and curious if I should put the beans (canned) & potatoes (raw) in at the beginning or will it be mush?
David H. June 20, 2019
I’ve made this 3 times now. The beans were mushy when roasted for 1 1/2 hours. Think about. They are already cooked in the can. My favorite way is to add the beans 10 minutes before finished.
David H. June 20, 2019
The beans are already cooked in the can. They come out mushy if you cook them for another 1 1/2 hours. I would add the bean 10 minutes before finished. Also, why ruin the beautiful green basil? I would chiffonade the basil and stir it in just before serving. None of these differences is any more time consuming than the original recipe.
Elyse S. September 27, 2020
I think it's important to note that they're using chicken leg quarters in this recipe, not chicken legs. I imagine the cook time would be very different, which may be why you experienced the discrepancy in cook time.