What does one sheet pan, plus a list of simple ingredients, plus a resolute mindset to not clean a bunch of equipment and cooking gear at the end of the night equal?
Everything adds up to the perfect easy dinner!
This Mediterranean chicken sheet pan dinner is quick to prepare, healthy, and delicious – a winner for any night on a busy – or lazy – week.
It won’t matter if you’re juggling multiple jobs with little downtime for prepping a meal and cleaning everything up afterwards, or if you’re sipping on your third cocktail of the evening while enjoying some sluggish time off with little motivation to waste too much of a relaxing evening in the kitchen.
The concept of any sheet pan recipe is simple, whether you’re stressed, sober, tired, or tipsy:
Excluding any final garnishes, all of your ingredients are roasted together at the same time on the same sheet pan.
Prepping will be a breeze. Assembling will be next to nothing. Cooking will be super easy. And cleaning will be kept to a minimum.
In other words, a sheet pan meal is a dream come true!
And for this particular rendition, you can enjoy a medley of fun, Mediterranean-inspired flavors from a delicious combination of ingredients.
Skin-on and bone-in chicken drumsticks are roasted with potatoes, lemon wedges, bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, and kalamata olives.
A quick blast of flame from the broiler towards the end of the cooking time will help to crisp the chicken skin while leaving the dark meat succulent, with the added bonus of blistering the exposed tops of some of the other ingredients for another layer of texture and flavor.
The juices released from the fresh tomatoes and lemons will combine with the olive oil and chicken renderings, creating a saucy, incredibly well-seasoned thin liquid layer on the bottom of the sheet pan with very little effort on your part.
Don’t be selfish when serving these drippings to your guests – there’s not that much of this liquid gold, so make sure everyone gets a little taste.
Each plate will have a glorious mix of tender yellow potatoes, melt-in-your-mouth onions and peppers, bursting tomatoes, warmed olives, and perfectly cooked pieces of chicken.
Squeeze any juices remaining in the roasted lemon over your plate – the slightly caramelized citrus will provide your dish with a more subtle acidity, less astringency, and a bolder depth of flavor compared to fresh lemon juice.
Once you’re full and happy, you needn’t utter any profanity or curses directed towards cleaning up afterwards. If you managed your time wisely enough, you would have already cleaned up the few bowls, cutting boards, and utensils used during your prep while the chicken was roasting.
Cleaning everything else will be pretty effortless – toss away the foil, give the virtually clean baking pan a quick wash and rinse, and put all the dirty plates and silverware in your dishwasher.
You can add a few reps of squats as you load if you feel like you didn’t break enough of a sweat while cooking and cleaning this easy meal.
You have nothing left to do but rest, relax, and maybe even plan your next sheet pan supper!Print
To minimize a messy cleanup, make our Mediterranean chicken sheet pan dinner with juicy drumsticks and a savory mix of vegetables and seasonings.
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried fennel seeds
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 pound medium yellow waxy potatoes, scrubbed and quartered
- 2 red, orange, or yellow bell peppers, cut in 1/2-inch slices
- 1 small white or yellow onion, cut in 1/2-inch slices
- 1/2 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
- 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
- 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken drumsticks (about 1 3/4 pounds total)
- 1 lemon, quartered with seeds removed
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place a rack on the upper third level of the oven. Line a rimmed sheet pan with aluminum foil.
- Using a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, coarsely grind together the fennel seeds, oregano leaves, red pepper flakes, and garlic flakes. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, toss together the potatoes, bell peppers, onion, tomatoes, and olives with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add half of the spice mix, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and mix again until all of the vegetables are evenly coated.
- Dump the contents of the bowl on the prepared sheet pan and spread out in a single even layer.
- Pat the chicken drumsticks dry with a paper towel and place in the same bowl. Toss with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Evenly coat the drumsticks with the remaining spice mix, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
- Place the chicken on the sheet pan on top of the vegetables, arranging them with about 1 inch of space between each drumstick.
- Transfer the pan to the oven. Roast, rotating the pan halfway through, until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 175-185°F, about 35-45 minutes.
- Immediately turn the broiler on high. Broil the top of the chicken for 3-5 minutes, rotating the sheet pan if necessary for even broiling, until the skin is browned and crisp.
- Remove the sheet pan from the oven and allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes. Sprinkle the top with parsley and divide the chicken and vegetables among 6 plates. Drizzle any pan juices over the chicken, and serve.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Category: Chicken
- Method: Roasting
- Cuisine: Dinner
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Because you will be broiling the ingredients at the end of the cooking time, locate your broiler in the oven. Most ovens are designed with the broiler at the top of the oven, so place a rack on the upper third level.
Do this step now so you won’t have to worry about shifting too much around later as you are cooking.
However, you know your oven best! If you get the most even heat in the center of your oven, leave the rack in the center of your oven as you are roasting, and move the rack closer to the broiler when you are ready to broil.
If the sheet pan is too heavy to move on top of the rack with the ingredients, you may need to transfer the sheet pan out of the oven, then place it back on the rack after moving it.
If your broiler is located in a separate section underneath the oven, you will need to transfer the pan to this section at the appropriate time.
Line a rimmed sheet pan with aluminum foil.
Measure the dried fennel seeds, dried oregano, garlic flakes, and crushed red pepper flakes, placing them in a mortar or spice grinder.
If you don’t have garlic flakes available, it’s okay to use an equal amount of powdered or granulated garlic instead.
Measure out the salt and pepper – freshly ground and cracked is best! Measure out the olive oil.
Measure the kalamata olives – and check for pits! If you find any rogue pits, remove them with a pitter.
Wash and dry your vegetables.
Slice the yellow waxy potatoes in quarters, or in halves if they are smaller.
Avoid using green bell peppers, which can be more bitter than the sweeter red, orange, yellow ones.
Quarter one lemon. Remove the seeds from each quarter.
Using a clean cutting board, coarsely chop the fresh parsley and keep it refrigerated until you need it for the final garnish.
Use paper towels to pat the drumsticks dry – water will cause the skin to steam, preventing it from crisping. If needed, trim off any excess fat or skin.
Step 2 – Make the Spice Blend
If using a mortar and pestle, grind the spices by hand until they are coarsely ground – there should not be any excessively large pieces of spices and herbs, but a little coarseness is fine for more rustic bites of texture.
You can also complete this step in a spice grinder to save some muscle and prep time.
Step 3 – Combine, Season, and Assemble Ingredients
Place the prepped potatoes, bell peppers, onion, tomatoes, and olives in a large bowl – the bowl should be big enough to freely toss all of the ingredients together without any spills.
Mix together these ingredients with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Then, add about half of the spice mix, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Mix everything together again to evenly coat the ingredients.
Transfer the contents of the bowl to the foil-covered sheet pan. Spread everything out in a single even layer, but don’t worry about meticulously separating everything – the ingredients will touch one another and may overlap slightly.
Step 4 – Season and Assemble the Chicken
Don’t wash that bowl! With trace amounts of herbs, spices, and oil still left in it, use it for seasoning the chicken – don’t let any of that go to waste!
Transfer the drumsticks to the bowl and mix with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Add the remaining spice mix, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 black pepper and mix to thoroughly and evenly coat the drumsticks. You can use tongs, a sturdy spoon or spatula, or your hands – just remember to wash them well after handling raw chicken.
Place the drumsticks one by one on top of the vegetables on the sheet pan, placing them about 1 inch apart from each other.
Placing them away from each other will help the chicken to cook evenly, and will also help the skin to crisp without steaming.
Step 5 – Roast
Transfer the sheet pan to the oven.
Roast until the chicken reaches an internal temperature between 175 and 185°F. Your meat thermometer will help you get the most accurate temperature reading.
The roasting process will take between 35 and 45 minutes.
Even though chicken is technically fully cooked at 165°F, dark meat will yield a better texture when cooked to a higher temperature, but no higher than 195°F.
Keep in mind that the drumsticks will also continue cooking for a few minutes longer in the next step, and residual heat will continue the cooking process a few minutes after they’re removed from the oven as well.
Step 6 – Broil
While the sheet pan is still in the oven, immediately turn on the broiler so it’s set to high.
Broil the top of the chicken for 3 to 5 minutes, rotating the sheet pan if necessary for even broiling, until the skin is browned and crisp. Monitor this closely to prevent burning.
The surrounding ingredients will start to blister slightly.
Step 7 – Garnish and Serve
Remove the sheet pan from the oven and place on a heatproof surface. Let the chicken rest slightly, for about 5 minutes.
Garnish everything with an even sprinkle of the reserved chopped parsley. Divide the vegetable mix, drumsticks, and any pan drippings between dinner plates.
If desired, squeeze any remaining lemon juice over the top. Serve and enjoy!
Want Leftovers? Make Some Changes
This dish is best served fresh from the oven. It’s all about that crispy chicken skin!
When it’s cooled and stored in the refrigerator, the skin will become soft and a little rubbery, and it won’t improve in texture when the pieces are reheated for leftovers the next night.
If you don’t need as many servings to start, I suggest reducing the recipe as needed.
However, if you are really hoping to take advantage of make-ahead meal prepping, you can do one of two things to adapt this dish:
First, you can make this recipe as is and enjoy a few servings immediately for dinner that same night. For your leftovers, remove and dispose of the skin from any remaining chicken prior to storing in the fridge.
Even though you no longer have to deal with the disagreeable texture of the limp skin, the main issue with this method is that you’ll lose most of the delicious seasoning that you coated on the surface.
As a second option, you can buy poultry pieces with the skin already removed. Unfortunately, you won’t get to enjoy all the pleasures of tasty and crispy skin, but there won’t be any textural woes with leftovers.
Do you have any sheet pan dinners that are popular in your household? Do you prefer bone-in, skin-on chicken, or would you rather go boneless and skinless? Leave a comment below!
Fennel seeds provide a mild licorice flavor and aroma that beautifully perfumes this easy Mediterranean meal. Learn how you can use both the seeds and the bulb of fennel in more homemade recipes:
- Balsamic Tomato and Fennel Bruschetta
- Homemade Turkey Breakfast Sausage Patties with Sage and Fennel
- Organic Brussels Sprouts Sauteed with Bacon, Fennel Seed, and Dill
Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Lorna Kring on October 11, 2015. Last updated on March 6, 2023.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Nikki Cervone
Nikki Cervone is an ACS Certified Cheese Professional and cheesemonger living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she's not nibbling on her favorite cheeses or testing a batch of cupcakes, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga, wine, hiking, singing in the shower, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.