Chicken drumsticks, the unsung heroes of poultry! From grilled summer BBQs to oven-baked cozy winter meals, they’re super juicy and brimming with flavor. Here are some of the best chicken drumstick recipes to try!
Who else recalls those intense dinner table debates over the last drumstick? Yep, they’re THAT good. And kids? They adore them—easy to grip and a blast to munch on.
But despite them being most popular on the grill, their magic isn’t limited to barbecue season; they hold a special place in many cultures, from the aromatic Indian curries to the Southern American crispy fried treats. They’re even delicious air-fried.
Budget-wise, they’re a smart pick too. They offer so much more flavor and are more cost-effective than other cuts like chicken breasts or thighs.
Best Ways To Cook Chicken Drumsticks
During my days in professional test kitchens, one of the many things I quickly came to appreciate was the sheer versatility of certain ingredients, and bone-in, skin-on chicken drumsticks are certainly high on that list. With my deep background in food science and countless hours spent experimenting, here are some tried-and-true techniques for preparing this yummy cut:
Roasting drumsticks in the oven is perhaps the most traditional method. The even heat ensures a consistent cook, crisping up the skin while preserving the juicy tenderness inside. If you’re using a rich marinade or glaze, the oven helps it really sink in and flavor every bite. It’s classic for a reason.
Air fryer achieves a crispy exterior using just a touch of oil or cooking spray, providing a healthier yet equally delicious alternative to traditional frying. It’s especially great for recipes that require a crunchy, breaded coating or those marinated in lighter, zesty flavors.
I’ve been playing around with my air fryer a lot recently, and it’s really changed the game for me. Thinking about getting one? Check out my no-nonsense Air Fryer 101 guide.
When I think of grilled drumsticks, my mind goes straight to those charred, smoky flavors – maybe something with a bit of spice like chili-lime or just classic BBQ. They’re perfect for those summer BBQ parties or even just a family weekend in the backyard.
For those who love a good sear, the stovetop method is ideal. A well-heated skillet or pan can offer a beautiful caramelization to the drumsticks, with the added benefit of being able to create delicious pan sauces from the drippings.
Pressure Cooking / Instant Pot:
The rise of the Instant Pot in recent years is well-deserved. This versatile gadget can cook drumsticks in a fraction of the time, making them fall-off-the-bone tender. Perfect for those days when you’re pressed for time but don’t want to compromise on flavor.
The slow cooker, or as I like to think of it, the “flavor infuser”, takes its time to break down the drumstick fibers, ensuring each bite is saturated with the flavors of the accompanying ingredients. If you have the luxury of time, this method is a rewarding one.
The ultimate treat-yo-self method! Now, I’m all for healthier options, but every once in a while, who can resist a drumstick that’s golden and super crispy all over? When you deep fry, the drumstick gets that irresistible crunch on the outside and stays oh-so-juicy on the inside. It’s a bit indulgent, sure, but perfect for those times when you just want some good old comfort food like my Buttermilk Fried Chicken or Fried Tandoori Chicken.
Easy Chicken Drumstick Recipes
I’ve put together this post because of my genuine love for chicken drumsticks. Trust me, once you dive in, you’ll find recipes that’ll fit every vibe – whether you’re pulling together a comforting family dinner or firing up the grill for a sun-drenched backyard BBQ with pals.
From fried to grilled, baked to air-fried, there’s a chicken leg recipe here for every method and mood.
So, let’s jump in and get our hands a little messy, shall we?
Let’s start with the classic Tandoori Chicken Drumsticks – a staple in Indian restaurants but, let’s be honest, it sometimes misses the mark with its overly dry texture and artificial red hue. But, my version? It’s a game-changer.
Prepared with a medley of aromatic spices, these drumsticks are juicy, slightly charred, and incredibly flavorful. It is perfect for those cozy family dinners or when you have friends over. Serve them up with some tangy mint chutney and fluffy basmati rice or Kerala parotha, and you’re in for a treat!
Crispy Buttermilk Fried Chicken
There’s something deeply satisfying about biting into Fried Chicken Drumsticks that are done right – that golden, crunchy exterior giving way to perfectly seasoned, juicy meat. Bathed in buttermilk, seasoned with parsley, paprika (or smoked paprika), and garlic, I’ve added a secret ingredient for that extra crisp.
Grilled Sweet & Spicy Lime Chicken Drumsticks
Drawing inspiration from the vibrant flavors of Vietnamese & Thai cuisine, my Grilled Chicken Drumsticks are a treat for the senses. The marinade bursts with sweet, spicy, salty, and tart notes.
Picture this: a sunny day, these sweet & spicy lime Chicken drumsticks sizzling away, complemented by grilled corn and a fresh seasonal salad. Sounds like the perfect BBQ evening, doesn’t it?
Baked BBQ Chicken Drumsticks
Who said you can’t have a BBQ indoors? These Chicken Drumsticks are oven-baked but still bring the BBQ vibes with a sticky homemade honey sauce. And with just five ingredients and almost zero cleanup, they’re not just comfort food – they’re ‘comfy pants and binge-watch your favorite show’ kind of food. Round off your indoor BBQ experience with some kale caesar salad, crispy yam fries, or a vibrant israeli couscous salad.
Fried Tandoori Chicken
When I think about the magic of Indian cuisine, these Indian-style Fried Tandoori Chicken Drumsticks truly embody it. Marinated in a delicate yogurt mix bursting with aromatic spices, they’re a beautiful dance of flavors and textures.
It’s reminiscent of your go-to Indian takeout but elevated to a whole new level. I often serve it with samosa potatoes or aloo masala. And a little insider info – My Indian husband couldn’t resist seconds!
Spicy Gochujang Chicken Drumsticks
Gochujang is a fermented chili paste that, when mellowed with sugar and sesame oil, becomes a game-changer for marinades. I was blown away by how beautifully it melded with these Korean Gochujang Chicken Drumsticks. Best enjoyed with a side of jasmine rice and pickled vegetables.
Sesame Soy Chicken Drumsticks
These Sesame Soy Chicken Drumsticks are the real deal. Sweet, savory, and the kind of sticky that has you reaching for another. Marinated overnight with soy, sesame oil, ginger, and a touch of five-spice, it’s no wonder they’re such a hit. Pair them with some roasted brussels sprouts and jasmine rice, and you’ve got a meal that’ll stick in your memory, much like the sauce on your fingers!
Buffalo Chicken Drumsticks
Swap traditional wings for these oven-baked drumsticks with the signature buffalo kick. Ideal for game nights, these drumsticks are fantastic when paired with celery sticks and blue cheese dip.
Crispy Baked Italian Drumsticks
Crisp, herb-covered drumsticks paired with a creamy ranch dip? Yes, please! These baked italian drumsticks, boasting nutritional yeast and Italian herbs, are perfect alongside a fresh Caesar salad or roasted veggies.
Lemon Garlic Roasted Chicken Legs
Jo Cooks takes simplicity to the next level, preparing drumsticks with the zesty embrace of lemon and the aromatic punch of garlic. Everything marinates effortlessly in a Ziploc and cooks up in one pan. Less fuss, maximum flavor. Elevate this Lemon Garlic Roasted Chicken Legs by pairing it with roasted potatoes or a refreshing couscous salad. Dinner, done beautifully.
Honey Soy Chicken
Drenched in sweet honey and savory soy combo, this Baked Honey Soy Chicken Drumsticks is easy yet mouthwateringly good. Perfect for busy weeknights or laid-back weekend dinners. And to make it a meal, pair it with some fried rice or these tasty chow mein noodles. Simple, fast, and delicious!
Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks
Bathed in creole seasoning, these Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks bring the crunch of deep-fried goodness but without all the grease. Ideal for both busy weeknights and casual weekend hangouts. Want to make it a wholesome meal? Throw in a side salad, mac and cheese or let them dive into your family’s go-to dipping sauce.
Smoked Chicken Drumsticks
For those who love a touch of smoke in every bite, these Smoked Chicken Drumsticks, grilled to perfection in a pellet grill, won’t disappoint. With a savory rub boosting their flavor, these drumsticks are your passport to a hearty dinner. Thinking of sides? How about some coleslaw or rustic oatmeal brown bread?
Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken Drumsticks
A sweet and spicy symphony, these Grilled Honey Mustard Chicken Drumsticks are your go-to for that midweek BBQ craving. Their unmistakable tang from the marinade pairs splendidly with a side of broccoli salad or even some baked sweet potatoes.
Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Drumsticks
Let’s slow things down, shall we? These Crockpot BBQ Chicken Drumsticks meld flavors over hours, resulting in drumsticks so tender, they’ll fall off the bone. Seasoned with a unique dry rub and slathered in BBQ sauce, these drumsticks beg to be accompanied by mashed potatoes or a fresh salad.
Asian Chicken Drumsticks
For those after a harmonious blend of flavors, these Asian Chicken Drumsticks hit the mark. Marinated in a Ponzu/Soy fusion with hints of curry, vinegar, and brown sugar, they bring a delightful sweet and salty kick to the table. Pair them up with a classic macaroni salad or a refreshing cucumber salad, and you’re all set for an Asian BBQ feast.
Lemon Pepper Chicken Drumsticks
These Lemon Pepper Chicken Drumsticks bring simplicity to your table with a zesty twist. A touch of lemon zest, a dash of spices, and these drumsticks bake to juicy perfection. Need a side? Think pan-fried asparagus or roasted potatoes, or even a creamy carrot mac and cheese.
Oven-Baked Bacon Wrapped Drumsticks
Juicy drumsticks wrapped in smoky bacon? Yes, please! These Oven-Baked Bacon Wrapped Drumsticks combine the best of both, with the oven doing most of the work. That hint of crunch from the bacon adds just the right touch. Serve them up with some steamed veggies, and watch them disappear from plates!
Deep Fried Chicken Drumsticks
Crunchy on the outside, yet incredibly juicy on the inside, these Deep Fried Chicken Drumsticks get an extra kick with a simple mustard-mayo marinade. The mayo ensures the chicken stays moist, and the mustard brings out a distinct rich taste. These drumsticks are a game day must-have. For the ultimate feast, pair them with fries, a fresh salad, or even waffles drizzled with maple syrup.
Instant Pot Chicken Drumsticks
For those seeking tender, fall-off-the-bone chicken with minimal fuss, these Instant Pot Chicken Drumsticks are the answer. Cooked perfectly in the Instant Pot and then crisped up under the broiler, these drumsticks are a treat for both casual dinners and game-day appetizers.
Lollipop Chicken Drumsticks
Chicken lollipops, anyone? This recipe is all about turning those drumsticks into fancy lollipops (minus the sugar). It’s all about that French technique, making them super easy to munch on. Seasoned to perfection, you can glaze them with Korean Barbecue Sauce or really any sauce that floats your boat. I’d recommend setting the table with some Jasmine rice and any dipping sauce.
Homemade Shake and Bake Chicken
These breaded chicken drumsticks are inspired by the classic Shake ‘n Bake style, promising a crispy exterior that’s baked to perfection. Simple and flavorful, this chicken pairs well with just about any fried chicken side.
Maple Mustard Chicken Legs
For a sweet and bold twist on chicken drumsticks, this Maple Mustard Chicken Drumsticks recipe is a must-try. The marinade strikes a perfect balance – the sweetness of maple syrup contrasts the robust mustard flavor. Whether you choose to roast them in the oven or whip them up in your air fryer, these drumsticks are sure to impress. For a hearty meal, pair them with sides like mashed potatoes, or even some crispy potato wedges.
Saucy Baked Chicken Drumsticks
For a burst of flavor that’ll have you coming back for seconds, try these Saucy Chicken Drumsticks. Oven-baked to perfection, they’re drenched in a mix of honey, mustard, and the surprise kick of yellow curry powder. The outcome? A sweet, salty, and earthy combination that’s perfect for meal prep or any dinner table.
Instant Pot Chicken Adobo
Made effortlessly in the Instant Pot, these adobo chicken drumsticks are simmered in a robust, flavorful broth that’s rich in Asian nuances. It has a savory, tangy sauce that infuses every bite. Best served alongside a crisp Greek salad and your favorite juice.
Baked Parmesan Chicken Drumsticks
Crispy on the outside, tender inside, and all without frying! With simple ingredients like olive oil, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, and a seasoning blend, you get an easy yet mouthwatering Baked Parmesan Chicken Drumsticks. Serve them up with fresh veggies, a salad, or your choice of carb — be it rice, potatoes, or pasta.
Jamaican Jerk Chicken Drumsticks
A blend of aromatic spices, a hint of soy sauce, and a squeeze of lime juice make these jerk chicken drumsticks a real winner. Whether you’re cooking indoors or grilling outside, these juicy drumsticks are a crowd-pleaser and a must-try for anyone who loves bold flavors.
Slow Cooker Greek Chicken Drumsticks
These Slow Cooker Greek Drumsticks bring a tender and flavorful delight to your table. Marinate overnight in a zesty yogurt blend or pop straight into the slow cooker. With ingredients like garlic, lemon juice, and oregano, each bite is a nod to classic Greek tastes that everyone will love. Perfectly paired with a side of Greek salad, warm pita bread, and a dollop of tzatziki sauce.
Sticky Chicken Drumsticks
Oven-baked and utterly tempting, these Sticky Chicken Drumsticks showcase a crisp, golden-brown exterior, yet inside, they’re as juicy as can be. The best part about these drumsticks is the sticky glaze that makes every bite irresistible. You can serve them with a side of jasmine rice and steamed broccoli for a satisfying and balanced meal.
Boiled Chicken Drumsticks
Seasoned with essentials like chicken stock cube and fresh veggies, and enhanced with herbs like rosemary and bay leaves, this Boiled Chicken Drumsticks recipe promises versatility. Use them in soups, salads, or give them a quick grill to switch things up.
Cast Iron Skillet Chicken Drumsticks
Cooking drumsticks in a cast iron skillet gives them a unique flavor that’s hard to beat. In this recipe, you just season them with a blend of spices like parsley, paprika, and garlic powder, then sear them in some olive oil and butter. When they come out of the oven, you’ll love the tasty crust from the skillet and the tender meat inside. These drumsticks go well with roasted vegetables and a simple garden salad with a light vinaigrette.
Baked Honey Mustard Chicken
If you’re looking for a chicken dish that’s both sweet and savory, this is it. Just mix up some honey, mustard, soy sauce, garlic, and a bit of chili flakes to make the marinade. Let the chicken soak in it and then bake. The result? Honey Mustard Drumsticks coated in a glossy, flavorful glaze. Great with a side of wild rice pilaf, green bean casserole, or grilled asparagus.
Healthy Chicken Drumsticks with Sweet Potatoes & Apples
These sheet-pan chicken drumsticks are everything you want in a weekday dinner. Crispy chicken legs mixed with the sweet combo of sweet potatoes and apples, and it all comes together on one baking sheet. It’s a no-brainer, and you have dinner in about 40 minutes. You can throw in a fresh salad or some steamed veggies on the side if you’re feeling fancy.
Air Fryer Crispy Curry Chicken Legs
Think Thai flavors, and you’re on the right track. These curry chicken legs are marinated in this cool massaman curry paste, then air-fried to crispy perfection. You can also bake or grill ’em if you want. Want sides? Try watermelon and basil salad or Thai glass noodle stir fry.
Slow Cooker Italian Chicken and Potatoes
If you’re all about that minimal effort life, this Slow Cooker Italian Chicken drumstick is for you. Chicken, potatoes, and some Italian seasoning thrown into a slow cooker with creamy tomato soup. What comes out is this amazing, tender chicken dish. Got rice or maybe cauliflower rice? Throw it on there.
Mediterranean Chicken Drumsticks
The Mediterranean-style chicken drumsticks are marinated in a blend of spices and yogurt. Then it’s grilled and paired up with this basmati rice that’s got a little something special—vermicelli, onions, parsley, and cranberries. Oh, and there’s fresh tabbouleh on top. You can also throw in some hummus, yogurt, and Turkish bread on the side.
Curried Chicken Legs
Ever thought of giving your usual chicken legs a curry twist? This Curried Chicken Legs recipe does just that, bathing those drumsticks in a rich curry blend. You get a burst of flavor but also a stunning golden color that’ll make you grab ’em right off the plate. Pairing wise, I’d say go classic with rice or maybe even toss up a fresh salad on the side.
Golden Baked Chicken Drumsticks
We’ve got golden baked chicken drumsticks wearing a coat of crushed cornflakes, coconut, and, wait for it… chili flakes. It’s a flavor party! You’ve got the crispy crunch from the cornflakes, a touch of tropical from the coconut, and that spicy kick from the chili. And for dipping? Go for that sweet and sour papaya dip or keep it Thai with some sweet chili sauce.
Colombian Chicken Stew
This Colombian Chicken Stew is all about juicy chicken hanging out with tomatoes, onions, and red potatoes. Plus, the spices and herbs? On point. It’s the kind of bowl you want on a cool night. Serve it over jasmine rice, slap some avocado on top if you’re feeling it, and enjoy the heartwarming vibes.
One Pot Spanish Chicken Stew
Tender chicken mingling with punchy spices, olives, and a sauce so rich, it feels like a hug in a bowl. And the one-pot factor? Total game-changer. Pair this Spanish Chicken stew with fluffy white rice, maybe some crispy fried plantains on the side, and if you fancy, a mojito.
Chicken Drumstick FAQs
Yes, drumsticks can be grilled, baked, or fried. Adjust seasonings and cooking times based on the method.
Marinades are liquid mixtures, often acidic, that tenderize and flavor the drumsticks as they soak. Rubs are dry spice mixes applied directly to the drumsticks, adding a flavorful crust when cooked. Glazes are thick sauces, sweet or savory, brushed on during or after cooking, giving a shiny finish and added flavor layer.
Popular marinades and rubs for drumsticks include BBQ, lemon-herb, garlic-parmesan, tandoori, and teriyaki. Simple mixes like olive oil, salt, pepper, and herbs also work well.
Chicken drumsticks pair well with a variety of herbs and spices. Favorites include garlic, paprika, thyme, rosemary, oregano, and lemon zest. Combining these with a touch of salt and pepper brings out the drumsticks’ natural flavors.
Yes, drumstick marinades, rubs, and cooking techniques can be used for chicken thighs or wings. Adjust cooking times for different cuts.
Drumsticks pair well with mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, Caesar salad, cucumber salad, macaroni salad, and coleslaw.
For raw drumsticks, refrigerate in an airtight container for 1-2 days or freeze (wrapped and in a freezer bag) for up to 9 months. For cooked drumsticks, refrigerate in an airtight container for 3-4 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Always reheat to a safe temperature before consuming.
A Few Tools For Perfect Chicken Drumsticks:
Depending on your recipe, here are a few simple pieces of equipment I keep on hand:
- Parchment paper or aluminum foil (to ensure easy clean-up)
- Meat thermometer (to make sure they’re cooked to juicy perfection)
- Paper towel (to remove excess moisture anytime you’re aiming for crispy skin).
We’ve gone through a bunch of chicken drumstick recipes, each with its own unique twist. Whether you’re into baking or grilling, there’s definitely something here for you. The key? A dash of the right spices and the perfect cooking method.
And if you make any of these, let me know in the comments. I’d really love to know how you liked it!
Last Updated on November 3, 2023 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD