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.
I think you'll also like my Crispy Baked Drumsticks or Easy Baked Chicken Thighs next.
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.
Making 2 doz. of these for a group as they look yummy & so simple to make, even doing 4 batches. This may be a dumb question, but what did you sprinkle on them?
(Basil, cilantro, what? )
Hi Patty! It's just some chopped parsley to add a little color for photos. 🙂
I wonder if these can be done in air fryer?
I think it's worth a try!
Second time making this one. Always a hit with my picky kids!
I love to hear that, Leigh!!
Thank you for this recipe Natasha! Marinated overnight and I used coconut aminos versus soysauce. I also drizzled some honey before these went into the oven and dusted with ground peppercorn mix. The juiciness of the chicken legs and flavor were quite a hit at my table!
I'm thrilled they were a hit, Michele! 🙂
Angela Moss says
Hi Natasha, going to give these a try in my air fryer. Wish me luck. Do you have any air fryer recipes ? Never been disappointed with the recipes I’ve tried from your blog .
Hi! Good luck (it'll be fine). 😀 I don't. I do own an air fryer, but so far it's just been for personal use.
1 tsp soy sauce for 6 drumsticks and they are not even seasoned with salt. I don’t think that is correct.
Adjust as you like.
Somehow when the drumsticks were done I had no flavor.. I have no clue why, I love your recipes but this one went sour somewhere. Let me know if you have any ideas.
Hmmm... that's too bad... I'm sorry they didn't work out for you. How long did you marinate them for?
Was extremely easy and very tasty. I have picky eaters in my home and they all loved it! Definitely a recipe that will be used very often.
That's so nice to hear!! Thank you! 🙂
Maria Tortorici says
Very easy and very good! Thank you
You're very welcome!! 🙂
I added some powdered ginger, onion powder and some garlic chili sauce in addition!
The marinade has a great balance of sweet and smoky flavours and is so easy to put together. I broiled the chicken for a couple of minutes at the end to crisp the skin a little, but it also would have been just fine as is. Perfection either way!
I'm so pleased you enjoyed it! 🙂
I made this the other night and it was delicious. As soon as my husband put the drumstick in his mouth he was shaking his head up and down and saying it was yummy nummy! I just want you to know I have tried many of your recipes lately and they have all been delicious. Thank you for this site and the recipes. 🙂
Haha that's great!! Thanks so much for letting me know, Mimi! 😀 Let me know if you try something else.
Would this be ok to use chicken breasts? And if I did, any adjustments on cooking?
Hi Laura! I haven't tested it with chicken breasts, so I don't know about timing. Use an instant read meat thermometer to ensure it's 165F before eating. You may like my honey garlic chicken breasts recipe that's been tested, though: https://bit.ly/3fitesb
Easy and delicious! It took less than 5 minutes to get the chicken and marinade ready, and they were so easy to bake. They tasted just as good as they look! Flavorful and perfectly caramelized skin. These were a perfect quick weeknight meal, but they are delicious enough for company. Thank you for helping me get out of my recipe rut!
That's awesome!! Thanks so much for taking the time to review this recipe, Hilary. 🙂