This honey baked drumsticks recipe makes irresistibly sticky and sweet chicken that's sure to be a total crowd pleaser! The marinade is so simple to prep in just 10 minutes.
Easy baked drumsticks
This honey glazed chicken legs recipe is one that you can quickly prep before bed so you can get lunch or dinner on the table fast the next day. The glaze is sweet, smoky, and savory with an optional kick from cayenne pepper. I just love the little charred bits you get from the honey on the delicious skin!
Chicken drumsticks are an inexpensive dinner idea with minimal clean-up, and this also happens to be a good recipe if you have picky eaters in your family. You can easily double or triple it if you've got a lot of hungry people to feed, and it's a hands-off main so you have time to make some tasty side dishes to go with it.
Ingredients you'll need
What kind of chicken
- Drumsticks - we're using bone-in, skin-on chicken legs. Dark meat is very forgiving (much less likely to go dry!), which makes them extra easy to cook.
For the marinade
- Honey - for that sweet, sticky goodness
- Soy sauce - it adds a rich, savory quality. We used regular, but if salt intake is a concern, you could use low sodium.
- Olive oil - for moisture
- Vinegar - it adds a touch of acidity, which helps the marinade to infuse the chicken and make it juicy and tender. Either white or cider vinegar is great.
- Seasoning - garlic powder, smoked paprika, black pepper, and optional cayenne pepper make up my seasoning blend
Do you need to marinate the chicken first?
- I've tested this recipe both ways, and marinating it definitely does give the chicken more flavor and it makes it more tender. However, if you're really in a rush, you can cut the marinade time down.
- Try massaging the chicken when it's in the Ziploc bag so the marinade penetrates faster, or skip it altogether and just toss it together in a bowl.
How to make honey baked chicken drumsticks
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
In a medium bowl, combine the marinade ingredients with a whisk. Add in the drumsticks, and toss until coated. Transfer the chicken and any marinade to a zip-top bag. Marinade overnight, at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours.
Preheat the oven to 375F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the chicken on the sheet. Bake, making sure to flip halfway through. Let the chicken rest for a few minutes before serving, and make sure to spoon on any sauce/glaze from the baking sheet!
- I use these cooking tongs to quickly flip the chicken halfway through baking.
- Try swapping chicken thighs for the drumsticks if you prefer, or use full chicken legs (chicken quarters). If using more than four, I'd double the marinade.
- Chicken is safe to eat at 165F. Unless your chicken drumsticks are particularly large, the chicken reach the safe internal temperature if you follow suggested recipe timing. I like to cook drumsticks for a bit longer than the safe temperature (unlike chicken breasts) to get them perfectly tender. Use an instant read thermometer so you're never guessing when it comes to chicken.
What to serve with them
- I like serving them with family-friendly sides like my Quick & Easy Stovetop Mac and Cheese or Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole along with a side salad with my popular Homemade Ranch Dressing. White rice is a great option too for something even easier!
- These honey glazed chicken drumsticks would be fun to make for a football or hockey game or tailgating along with other game day favorites like my Easy Buffalo Chicken Dip or Quick Chili Recipe.
Leftovers and storage
- Leftovers will keep in a covered container for 3-4 days in the fridge.
- Reheat chicken drumsticks in the oven at 350F until warmed through. If you've got an air fryer, that'll work too.
- You could try freezing leftovers for up to 3 months in a freezer bag. Make sure they're fully cooled before freezing.
Questions about this baked drumsticks recipe? Ask me in the comments below, or leave me a review if you made them! I'd love to hear from you. 🙂
Honey Baked Drumsticks
- 6 chicken drumsticks (bone-in, skin on)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon white or cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Pepper, to taste
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
- Combine the sauce ingredients in a medium bowl.
- Add the chicken drumsticks in and toss until coated. Transfer chicken (and any marinade) to a large Ziploc bag.
- Refrigerate for 8 hours (or overnight... basically anything up to 24 hours).
- Preheat oven to 375F and move the rack to the middle position. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper for easy clean-up.
- Arrange the chicken pieces on the baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes, flipping halfway through (very important so sauce actually sticks to the chicken).
- To really crisp up the skin, broil for a couple minutes (watch it carefully and use caution if using parchment paper. I'd use foil if you plan on broiling! I did not broil the chicken in the photos).
- Let the chicken rest for 4-5 minutes to redistribute juices prior to serving. Spoon any leftover glaze from the baking sheet back onto the chicken.
- You don't have to marinate the chicken, but I've tried it both ways and find it's more tender and flavorful when you do let it marinate.
- You can use chicken thighs instead for this recipe. I'd keep cook time the same, but if you're even in doubt whether chicken is cooked or not, use an instant read thermometer (165F is the safe minimum temperature for chicken).
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.