Did someone say “finger lickin’ good?” Honey Garlic Baked Chicken Drumsticks leave other chicken in the proverbial herbs-and-spices “dust” on that count. These sweet and sticky chicken legs are a frugal and flavorful crowd-pleaser. 100% no fuss, but be prepared for a wee bit of muss.
I’ve been singing the praises of bone-in chicken for awhile now, but I feel I’ve been remiss in shining a spotlight on an unsung hero: the chicken drumstick. All credit due to the chicken wing drumette and the searing logic of a child for making me realize the error of my ways.
You see reader, I recently broke down and purchased an air fryer. (Wait’ll you see the alchemy I shall weave. Muahahaha!) and was testing chicken wings. We were enjoying some of our favorite served buffalo-style when my carnivorous, sauce-covered son ripped the meat off a drumette like a caveman and exclaimed he wanted “ostrich chicken wings” so there was more meat.
*Ding* Chicken Legs. Bigger. Meatier. Hand-held (and therefore still “fun”). More surface area for sauce. More crispy skin. And for some “inexplicable” reason (don’t get me started about the football-industrial snack complex), significantly more bang for your buck in a family pack than chicken wings. Inspiring to say the least.
To be clear, these Honey Garlic Drumsticks are baked, not air fried (but if you want air fryer chicken drumsticks, we’ve got you covered there too); but the point is my meat-eaters moved through these legs like foxes in a henhouse. By the end, we had nothing but full bellies, sticky fingers, and a pile of bones to show for it. (Plus, no ostriches were harmed in the making of this recipe.)
In this Recipe, Sauce is Boss
When preparing bone-in chicken recipes, sometimes you want to highlight the crispy skin, and sometimes the sauce is boss. This is an occasion for the latter.
There are plenty of preparations for chicken drumsticks that don’t absolutely require a sauce. We love a grilled chicken drumstick with our signature dry rub, and air fryer chicken drumsticks are all about that crispy skin.
But oven roasting plain chicken legs is…boring. These guys are coated in a sweet and sour sticky sauce, and they’re all around better for it.
How to Bake Chicken Drumsticks
Get out your wet naps! These sweet, savory, and sticky Honey Garlic Chicken Drumsticks are a meaty treat. Simple sauce prep and a quick bake make these an easy dinner for a weeknight. Plus, they pair with an almost endless array of sides for a worry-free dinner.
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- Combine sauce ingredients – soy sauce, honey, dark brown sugar, olive oil, rice vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic – and whisk until smooth.
- Pat the drumsticks dry, then arrange in a casserole dish. Add the sauce, turn to coat, then cover and marinate for 2-10 hours in the fridge.
- Bake in a 425°F oven for 30-35 minutes, turning once halfway through. Crisp in the broiler for 3-5 minutes at the end.
- Plate the chicken and drizzle with sauce; garnish with sesame seeds and sliced green onions, and serve right away. Enjoy!
Tips for Making This Recipe Perfectly
- For crispier skin, flip the oven to the broiler setting for 3-5 minutes after roasting – this will broth crisp the skin and slightly caramelize the sauce. Extra texture and flavor!
- The prep takes just 10 minutes, so it’s a quick and easy chicken recipe to marinate first thing in the morning for a stress-free dinner.
- Flip the chicken halfway through marinating (if time and opportunity permits).
What to Serve with Honey Garlic Chicken Drumsticks
- Serve over white rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice (to mop up all of that delicious honey garlic sauce!)
- With garlic green beans, roasted cauliflower, simple roasted asparagus, or sautéed zucchini.
- Enjoy it picnic-style with cold sides like bacon coleslaw and Italian potato salad.
Make it Your Way
- Gluten Free and Grain Free: use gluten-free tamari or grain-free coconut aminos in the sauce.
- Freezer Friendly: combine the chicken and the marinade in a gallon ziplock bag. Press out the air, then seal and stash in the freezer for up to 2 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight before transferring to a casserole dish and baking as directed.
More Easy Bone-In Chicken Recipes
- Artichoke Chicken with White Wine Pan Sauce
- Instant Pot Chicken Wings
- Creamy Garlic Chicken Thighs
- One Pan Apple Chicken with Cider Mustard Pan Sauce
- Creamy Rosemary Garlic Chicken
Did you make these Honey Garlic Chicken Drumsticks? I’d love to know how they turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below.
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- ½ c soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos
- ¼ c honey
- 1 tbsp dark brown sugar, or coconut sugar
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 3 lb chicken drumsticks
- sesame seeds, to garnish
- sliced green onions, to garnish
- Combine the soy sauce, honey, brown sugar, olive oil, rice vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic in a measuring cup or small bowl. Whisk until well combined.
- Arrange the drumsticks in a casserole dish in a single layer, then pour the marinade over the chicken. Work the marinade into the chicken using your (clean and dry) hands. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and up to 10. Turn the chicken every few hours, time and opportunity permitting.
- Position a rack in the center of the oven, then heat the oven to 425°F.
- Transfer the chicken to the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, turning once halfway through, or until the temperature registers 165°F using an instant read thermometer. For extra crispy skin, flip the oven to broiler and broil on high for 3-5 minutes.
- Plate the chicken and drizzle with sauce; garnish with sesame seeds and sliced green onions and serve immediately.