Baked Legs with Cream of Mushroom Recipe

Introduction to the Dish

Baked legs with cream of mushroom marries the succulence of oven-baked poultry legs with the rich, velvety texture of cream of mushroom sauce. This dish is celebrated for its comforting aroma and hearty flavors, making it a beloved staple in home cooking. Its preparation involves baking the legs until they’re perfectly tender, then smothering them in a creamy mushroom sauce that’s both flavorful and satisfying. This culinary delight not only pleases the palate but also brings warmth to any dining table, embodying the essence of comfort food.

Brief History of Cream of Mushroom as a Culinary Ingredient

Cream of mushroom soup emerged as a culinary game-changer in the early 20th century. Its origins are rooted in French cuisine, which is known for its luxurious use of creams and mushrooms in various dishes. However, it was the commercial production of condensed cream of mushroom soup that made it a household staple, especially in the United States. This convenient ingredient offered a quick and easy way to add depth and creaminess to recipes, leading to its widespread use in casseroles, sauces, and as a base for gravies. Its versatility and rich flavor profile have cemented cream of mushroom’s place in culinary history.

The Popularity of Baked Legs in Different Cuisines

The concept of baking poultry legs, smothered in a rich, creamy sauce, transcends cultural boundaries, making it a popular dish in various cuisines around the world. In the United States, it’s a comfort food favorite, often featured in family dinners and festive gatherings. European variations might incorporate a medley of wild mushrooms and herbs, reflecting the region’s rich culinary traditions. Meanwhile, in Asia, the dish takes on a local flavor with the addition of indigenous mushrooms and spices. This global appeal of baked legs with cream of mushroom showcases its versatility and the universal love for comforting, hearty meals.

Recipe Overview

Creating a mouth-watering dish of Baked Legs with Cream of Mushroom involves a combination of simple ingredients, basic kitchen equipment, and a few pre-preparation steps to ensure the meal turns out perfectly every time. This recipe is designed to serve four people, offering a delightful blend of tender meat and rich, creamy sauce that’s sure to be a hit at any dining table.

Ingredients List

  • 4 large chicken legs (drumsticks and thighs), skin on
  • 1 can (10.5 oz) of condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup of fresh mushrooms, sliced (button or cremini work well)
  • 1/2 cup of chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)
  • Optional: 1/2 cup of white wine for deglazing

Equipment Needed

  • Oven
  • Baking dish (large enough to fit the chicken legs in a single layer)
  • Skillet or frying pan
  • Mixing bowl
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Cutting board and knife
  • Aluminum foil or oven-proof lid

Pre-preparation Steps

  1. Preheat the Oven: Begin by preheating your oven to 375°F (190°C), ensuring it reaches the correct temperature for baking the chicken legs evenly and thoroughly.
  2. Prepare the Chicken: Rinse the chicken legs under cold water and pat them dry with paper towels. This helps the skin to become crispy when baked. Season the chicken generously with salt, black pepper, paprika, and dried thyme, ensuring an even coat on all sides.
  3. Sauté the Vegetables: Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic, sautéing until they become translucent and fragrant. This not only flavors the oil but also forms the base of your mushroom sauce.
  4. Prepare the Mushroom Mixture: In a mixing bowl, combine the condensed cream of mushroom soup, chicken broth, and heavy cream. Stir in the sautéed onions and garlic. If using, deglaze the skillet with white wine, scraping up any browned bits, and add this to the mixture for an extra depth of flavor.
  5. Slice the Mushrooms: While the onions are sautéing, slice the fresh mushrooms. These will be added to the baking dish, providing texture and enhancing the mushroom flavor in the dish.

Following these pre-preparation steps ensures that the Baked Legs with Cream of Mushroom will be a savory, creamy, and utterly satisfying dish. The blend of flavors and textures makes this recipe a comforting and hearty meal, perfect for any occasion.

Step-by-Step Cooking Guide

Step 1: Preparing the Legs

After preheating your oven and seasoning the chicken, place a skillet on medium-high heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Once hot, sear the chicken legs until golden brown on all sides, about 3-4 minutes per side. This process is not only about coloring but also about locking in the flavors and juices of the chicken, providing a crispy outer layer that will hold up well against the creamy sauce. Once seared, remove the chicken from the skillet and place them in the baking dish.

Step 2: Making the Cream of Mushroom Sauce

In the same skillet, add the sliced mushrooms and sauté until they are softened and have released their moisture, about 5 minutes. Pour in the mushroom soup mixture prepared during the pre-preparation stage, stirring well to combine and warm through. Allow the mixture to simmer for a couple of minutes, adjusting the thickness with a little more chicken broth if necessary. The sauce should be creamy but not overly thick, as it will continue to thicken and reduce in the oven.

Step 3: Baking

Pour the cream of mushroom sauce evenly over the seared chicken legs in the baking dish, ensuring each piece is well-coated. Cover the dish with aluminum foil or an oven-proof lid to trap in moisture and prevent the chicken from drying out. Bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes. Then, remove the cover and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and the sauce has thickened to your liking.

Step 4: Final Touches and Presentation Tips

Once the chicken is cooked, let it rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute, ensuring the meat is succulent and tender. For a beautiful presentation, garnish with freshly chopped parsley. Serve directly from the baking dish for a rustic look, or arrange the legs on a platter and spoon the creamy mushroom sauce over the top for a more refined presentation. Accompany with sides that complement the rich flavors, such as mashed potatoes or steamed vegetables.

Nutritional Information

A single serving of Baked Legs with Cream of Mushroom can vary in nutritional content based on the specific ingredients used, but on average, a portion could contain:

  • Calories: Approximately 500-600 calories. The majority of these come from the chicken’s protein and the fat in the cream and olive oil.
  • Macros: Carbs: 10-15g (primarily from the mushrooms and onions), Protein: 35-45g, Fat: 30-40g. The dish is rich in protein and fat, with a moderate amount of carbohydrates.
  • Serving Size: One serving typically includes one chicken leg (both drumstick and thigh) with a generous amount of mushroom cream sauce.

This dish offers a good balance of macronutrients, with a focus on high protein content, making it a satisfying meal. However, those monitoring their fat intake may wish to adjust the recipe by using light cream or increasing the proportion of broth to cream.

Variations of the Recipe

Alternative Ingredients for Dietary Restrictions

  • Gluten-Free Options: For a gluten-free version of Baked Legs with Cream of Mushroom, ensure that the cream of mushroom soup used is labeled gluten-free, as many canned soups contain flour as a thickener. Alternatively, a homemade cream of mushroom sauce can be made using cornstarch or a gluten-free flour blend to thicken.
  • Vegan Options: To adapt this recipe for vegans, substitute the chicken legs with a plant-based alternative like tofu or seitan. For the cream of mushroom sauce, use a dairy-free cream or coconut milk, and a vegan cream of mushroom soup. Sautéed portobello mushrooms can provide a meaty texture suitable for a vegan version of this dish.

Additional Spices and Herbs for Flavor Variations

  • To add depth to the dish, consider incorporating fresh herbs like rosemary, sage, or tarragon into the mushroom sauce. A pinch of smoked paprika or a dash of cayenne pepper can add a subtle warmth and smokiness. For an earthy twist, include a splash of truffle oil in the sauce just before baking.

Cooking Tips and Tricks

Ensuring the Legs are Perfectly Cooked

  • The key to perfectly cooked chicken legs is to use a meat thermometer. The internal temperature should reach 165°F (74°C) to ensure they are fully cooked and safe to eat. Searing the legs before baking also helps to lock in the juices, ensuring a moist and tender final product.

Making the Cream of Mushroom Sauce from Scratch vs. Using Canned Soup

  • While canned soup is convenient, making the cream of mushroom sauce from scratch allows for more control over the ingredients and flavor. Start with sautéed fresh mushrooms, garlic, and onions, then add broth and cream, thickening the sauce with a roux made from butter and flour (or a gluten-free alternative). Homemade sauce can be seasoned to taste and is free from preservatives.

Storage and Reheating Tips

  • Leftover Baked Legs with Cream of Mushroom can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. For best results when reheating, do so gently in the oven covered with foil or in a microwave with a splash of water or broth to keep the chicken moist. Avoid high heat, as it can dry out the meat and separate the sauce.

These variations and tips ensure that Baked Legs with Cream of Mushroom can be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of dietary restrictions or preferences, and can be cooked to perfection with ease.


Can I use chicken breasts instead of legs?

Yes, chicken breasts can be used as a substitute for legs in this recipe. Keep in mind that chicken breasts are leaner and can dry out more easily, so it’s important to adjust the cooking time accordingly. A meat thermometer can help ensure that the breasts are cooked through without becoming too dry, aiming for an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).

How can I make the dish spicier?

To add some heat to Baked Legs with Cream of Mushroom, consider incorporating spices such as crushed red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, or finely diced jalapeños into the mushroom sauce. Start with a small amount and adjust according to taste. Another option is to swirl in a bit of your favorite hot sauce or spicy mustard into the sauce before baking.

Is it possible to prepare this dish ahead of time?

Yes, this dish can be prepared in advance. You can sear the chicken and prepare the mushroom sauce up to a day ahead, storing them separately in the refrigerator. When ready to bake, assemble the dish and place it in the oven, adding a few extra minutes to the cooking time since you’re starting from a cold state.

Can I freeze the baked legs with cream of mushroom?

Baked Legs with Cream of Mushroom can be frozen, although the cream sauce may separate or change texture slightly upon reheating. To freeze, allow the dish to cool completely, then transfer it to an airtight container. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat gently, adding a splash of broth or cream to help re-emulsify the sauce if needed.

Baked Legs with Cream of Mushroom Recipe

Savor the rich flavors of tender chicken legs baked to perfection, smothered in a creamy, savory mushroom sauce. This classic dish, Baked Legs with Cream of Mushroom, is a heartwarming meal that's perfect for any day of the week. With straightforward instructions and common kitchen ingredients, this recipe promises a deliciously satisfying experience.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, European
Servings 4 Servings
Calories 600 kcal


  • Oven
  • Baking dish
  • Skillet or frying pan
  • Mixing bowl
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Cutting board and knife


  • 4 large chicken legs drumsticks and thighs, skin on
  • 1 can 10.5 oz condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 cup fresh mushrooms sliced
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley chopped (for garnish)


  • Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Season chicken legs with salt, pepper, paprika, and thyme.
  • Sear Chicken: In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high. Add chicken, sear until golden on all sides. Transfer to baking dish.
  • Prepare Sauce: In the same skillet, sauté onions, garlic, and mushrooms. Stir in condensed soup, broth, and cream. Simmer for 2 minutes.
  • Bake: Pour sauce over chicken in the baking dish. Cover with foil, bake for 45 minutes. Uncover, bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.
  • Serve: Garnish with parsley. Serve warm.


  • Gluten-Free Adaptation: Use gluten-free condensed cream of mushroom soup or make the sauce from scratch with gluten-free flour.
  • Vegan Variation: Substitute chicken with a plant-based alternative and use dairy-free cream and vegan mushroom soup.
  • Spicier Version: Add crushed red pepper flakes or a splash of hot sauce to the mushroom sauce for added heat.
  • Make-Ahead: Prepare the sauce and sear the chicken up to a day in advance. Assemble and bake when ready to serve.
  • Freezing: This dish can be frozen, though the cream sauce may separate slightly upon reheating. Store in an airtight container and reheat gently, adding liquid if necessary.
Keyword Baked Chicken Legs, Comfort Food, Cream of Mushroom, Family Dinner, Oven-Baked Chicken