Slow Cooker Chicken Drumsticks cooked with herbs, and barbecue sauce have a bold, zesty flavor the whole family will enjoy. This easy chicken dinner recipe is sure to become a new favorite meal to make on busy nights.
If you need an easy side to go with these crockpot chicken drumsticks, try Slow Cooker Collard Greens or Barbecue Baked Beans.
Why this chicken drumsticks recipe works
Thanks to the crock pot, these slow cooker chicken drumsticks allow you to dump and go. This minimizes prep time, and the cooking time is perfect for fall-apart tender bbq chicken. You will get the barbecue grill flavor in the drumsticks, but they will be FAR more tender.
You’ll also create a knockoff homemade bbq sauce by adding brown sugar and a few traditional seasonings.
- Chicken Drumsticks: You’ll keep the chicken leg skin on for this recipe. It will help enhance the flavor.
- BBQ Sauce: This is where you can get creative with your favorite brand. We use Sweet Baby Rays for the best chicken drumsticks.
- Brown Sugar: Adding a little brown sugar adds sweetness to the sauce.
- Seasonings: Salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and onion powder provide the perfect combination of flavors for the chicken and the bbq sauce. Essentially we are making a bbq rub for the slow cooker drumsticks.
Step One – Add the drumsticks and seasonings to a Ziploc bag and toss until the chicken is fully covered.
Step Two – Place the seasoned chicken drumsticks into the slow cooker.
Step Three – Add barbecue sauce over the chicken legs.
Step Four – Cover and cook chicken drumsticks on HIGH for 3 ½ – 4 hours or on LOW for 5 to 6 hours.
How to serve
- Crock pot chicken drumsticks can be served alongside a nice side salad and garlic bread.
- Other side options to consider for serving the best chicken drumsticks are: mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, corn on the cob, rice, or macaroni and cheese.
- Use some of the bbq sauce for dipping sauce. Ranch dressing is also another great option to top the drumsticks with.
- The drumstick part of the chicken is typically just the lower leg; another variation you could try is the actual chicken leg, which includes the thigh. Then you’ll have crock pot chicken thighs.
- You could also switch things up by using chicken breasts, wings, or chicken thighs.
- Add drained crushed pineapple, peach preserves, or even sliced jalapenos for different flavor combinations.
No. It is always best to let the frozen drumsticks defrost before cooking in the crock pot to ensure it is thoroughly cooked.
Once they are cooked, take them out of the slow cooker and put them onto a lined cookie sheet (using aluminum paper makes cleaning easier). Place your drumsticks and pour an additional ½ cup of barbecue sauce over. Place in the oven on Broil for 3 to 4 minutes or until edges are crisp. BE CAREFUL not to burn them.
Suppose you are tight on time or need to plan for a busy dinner. You can do the directions to step 3. Keep in the fridge for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 45 days. When thawing, place in the refrigerator overnight. Place in the slow cooker and resume cooking according to directions.
Keep the leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Or in the freezer for up to three months.
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Slow Cooker Chicken Drumstick Recipe
- 3 lbs. chicken drumsticks (about 8 drumsticks)
- 1 Tbsp. packed light brown sugar
- 1 tsp. onion powder you can use garlic powder or granulated garlic as well
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika you can use regular sweet paprika
- ½ tsp. ground pepper
- 2 cups BBQ sauce (sweet baby ray original barbecue sauce works great for this!)
- Place all the chicken drumsticks into a plastic bag.
- Sprinkle the brown sugar, onion powder, salt, smoked paprika, and ground pepper.
- Close the bag and massage the meat so the seasoning coats all the chicken legs.
- Place the chicken drumsticks into the slow cooker. If you don't want to waste a bag, you can do this in the slow cooker, but mix them with the seasoning with clean hands.
- Pour the BBQ sauce to cover the drumsticks.
- Cover and cook on HIGH 3 ½ – 4 hours. If you want to cook on LOW allow 5 to 6 hours. You'll know the chicken is done when the meat is falling off the bone.
- Serve and enjoy!
- Keep in mind if the chicken is 175-180 degrees F it will be tender (can even cook to a higher temperature). This is the magic of the chicken drumsticks. They contain more collagen and connective tissue which means they can go at higher temperature so they can dissolve and lead to a tender bite. If you don’t have a thermometer, you’ll know they are done when the meat is falling off the bone.
- Keep the leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Or in the freezer for up to three months.
- Want crispy skin? Once the drumsticks are cooked, take them out of the slow cooker and put them onto a lined cookie sheet (using aluminum paper makes cleaning easier). Place your drumsticks and pour an additional ½ cup of barbecue sauce over. Place in the oven on Broil for 3 to 4 minutes or until edges are crisp. BE CAREFUL not to burn them.
- Want to make this a freezer meal? If you are tight on time or need to plan for a busy dinner. You can do the directions to step 3. Keep in the fridge for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 45 days. When thawing, place in the fridge overnight. Place in the slow cooker and resume cooking according to directions.
Nutrition info is auto-generated. This information is an estimate; if you are on a special diet, please use your own calculations.
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