These Chinese honey chicken drumsticks are sweet, tangy, and so delicious. It starts with just a simple marinade to make this easy Chinese chicken drumsticks recipe. Cook them up in the oven or slow cooker until perfectly tender. When ready, all you have to do is serve them up, and then watch them disappear.
Chinese Drumstick Recipe
Roasted chicken drumsticks were always a big hit when my son was small. I think in our case it had a lot to do with the Flintstones, remember them?
My husband and son used to watch the Flintstone reruns when my son was small. Boy oh, boy did they used to laugh together.
I’m sure this Chinese drumstick recipe is better than any Fred Flintstone ever ate though! The flavors in these slow cooker Chinese chicken drumsticks blend together perfectly.
I love to roast chicken drumsticks in the oven and have made these Chinese chicken drumsticks for years.
Just to switch things up, these chicken legs or drumsticks can be baked in the oven or in your slow cooker with a final step in the oven so the skin comes out crispy. No matter the method, they come out with the perfect balance of sweet and salty.
We recently updated this recipe with a method that produces a better roasted chicken drumstick and I can’t wait to hear what you think. Hopefully, you will agree.
Cooking up meals with chicken legs is a budget-friendly meal the whole family will love. It’s part of our menu rotation at home and we change up the flavor with honey mustard drumsticks and bbq drumsticks.
Need some ideas for side dishes? We love this simple roasted potato recipe or for special occasions, volcano potatoes. If you want a simple Asian side dish, try this white or fried rice or a simple stir fry of vegetables.
Chinese Chicken Drumstick Marinade
These Chinese honey chicken drumsticks are so easy to prepare and taste so delicious, every time you make them.
They’re made with the best Chinese chicken drumsticks marinade using only simple ingredients.
We have used this Chinese chicken marinade for years and still enjoy it. The thickness of the sauce hangs on the chicken perfectly giving so much umami flavor in every bite.
It’s made with three simple ingredients, teriyaki sauce, hoisin sauce, and honey.
Ingredients for Chinese Drumsticks
This recipe uses basic ingredients that you can easily find at your local grocery store.
- Chicken drumsticks: Buy fresh or frozen but be sure to thaw out frozen chicken legs first.
- Teriyaki sauce: Use storebought or make your own.
- Hoisin sauce: This Chinese-based sauce is available in most grocery stores you can find it at a local Asian market.
- Honey: Just a touch of sweetness to balance with the saltiness.
- Paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper
The exact ingredients are listed on the recipe card further down the page.
How to Make Honey Chicken Drumsticks
Whichever method you choose, making these drumsticks is very easy.
Step 1: Prep and Season
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Then, line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place a rack on the baking sheet. Coat it in cooking spray and set aside.
Rinse the drumsticks and pat them dry with paper towels. Then, sprinkle them with garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
Step 3: Make the Sauce
Combine the teriyaki sauce, hoisin sauce, and liquid honey and stir until completely mixed.
Step 4: Bake
Evenly space out the drumstick on the prepared rack and bake them for 30 to 35 minutes until the skin is crisp and the internal temperature is 165 degrees.
Step 5: Add the Sauce
When the drumsticks are cooked, use a food-grade silicone brush to coat them with sauce, then bake for an additional 5 minutes.
Remove the drumsticks and coat them with more sauce. Allow them to rest for a few minutes, then serve.
How to Make Asian Chicken Drumsticks in a Slow Cooker.
Follow the same instructions for seasoning the chicken and making the sauce mentioned above.
Then place the chicken drumsticks into the slow cooker and pour the sauce over the top. Set them to cook on low for 6 hours or high for 4 hours.
When the chicken is cooked, broil them in the oven and brush them with the sauce. This step gives them a crisp outside similar to cooking them in the oven.
Don’t have the correct ingredients on hand or want to change something up? Here are some helpful tips for you to change this slow cooker Chinese honey chicken drumsticks recipe.
- Change the Cut: You can use chicken thighs or leg quarters in place of drumsticks.
- Swap the soy: If you don’t have teriyaki sauce use Worcestershire sauce mixed with a little water. Four tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce mixed with 1 tablespoon of water replaces a one-half cup of soy sauce.
- No hoisin? Although not exactly the same, if you don’t have hoisin sauce use sweet and sour sauce instead.
- Teriyaki Hoisin Glaze: Swap out the Chinese drumstick marinade with ½ cup honey, ½ cup soy sauce, ½ cup ketchup, and 1 teaspoon minced garlic.
- Marinate the Chicken: Double the sauce ingredients and combine. Then combine with chicken legs in a large resealable bag. Toss around to make all the pieces are coated. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or, if possible, overnight. When ready, remove the chicken from the marinade and cook your chicken as desired. Be sure to discard the marinade.
- Meal Prep: Turn this into a freezer meal easily. Combine the chicken and sauce in a freezer bag and store in the freezer for up to one month before cooking. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight prior to cooking.
- Spicy: If you love Asian chicken legs a little spicy, add some red chili flakes or sriracha to the marinade.
Be sure to line your cooking tray with aluminum foil to make for easier cleanup.
If using frozen chicken, be sure to thaw it out in the refrigerator prior to cooking.
If you like crispy skin, be sure to finish the slow cooker version in the oven. This step crisps up the skin perfectly.
It will vary depending on the temperature but when cooked at a high temperature (425° F) it takes about 30-35 minutes. Use a digital thermometer to determine the doneness of the chicken.
A chicken drumstick is simply the bottom portion of the chicken leg. It is cut at the joint to separate the thigh and drumstick.
When it comes to white meat and dark meat, most dark meat cuts are definitely less expensive. Chicken legs or drumsticks are less expensive than chicken thighs alone. On-the-bone chicken is always less expensive than its boneless counterpart.
More Chicken Drumstick Recipes
You could not ask for an easier weeknight meal! I love meals like this, the quicker the better! These drumsticks are so delicious! Take a moment to peek at our video and give this recipe for our Chinese chicken drumsticks a try!
Chinese Honey Chicken Drumsticks Video
Chinese Honey Chicken Drumsticks (Oven or Slow Cooker)
- rimmed baking sheet
- Aluminum foil
- pastry brush
- small bowl
- Slow Cooker optional
- 3 pounds chicken drumsticks
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- salt and pepper to sprinkle over chicken legs
- ¼ cup teriyaki sauce
- ¼ cup hoisin sauce
- 2 tablespoons liquid honey
- cooking spray
Chicken Legs In Oven
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Prepare a rimmed baking sheet with tinfoil and a rack lightly coated in cooking spray. Set aside.
- Rinse drumsticks and pat dry with paper towels.
- Sprinkle drumsticks with garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
- Place the chicken legs on your prepared sheet spaced evenly apart.
- Bake for between 30-35 minutes (DRUMSTICKS), 35-40 minutes (CHICKEN THIGHS) and 40-45 minutes (CHICKEN LEGS). Skin should be crisp and internal temperature should be 165 degrees.
- While the chicken cooks, combine the teriyaki sauce, hoisin sauce, and honey in a medium-sized bowl.
- Once cooked, coat them with your sauce, using a brush if possible.
- Bake for another 5 minutes.
- Remove from oven and coat with more sauce.
- Allow to sit for a few minutes before serving.
- Serve with additional sauce and on the side if desired. Enjoy every bite!
- Get out drumsticks and toss with garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Stir until drumsticks are coated with seasonings.
- Place seasoned drumsticks in your greased crock pot.
- In a small bowl, whisk together whisk the honey, soy sauce, ketchup and garlic.
- Pour the prepared sauce over the chicken.
- Cook on high for 4 hours (or low for 6 hours) or until the chicken's internal temperature reaches 165ºF.
- Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil.
- Remove drumsticks from the crock pot and place them on a baking rack on the baking sheet.
- Broil at 550ºF for 10 minutes, flipping halfway through. Chicken will begin to brown.
- Remove chicken from the oven and brush BBQ sauce over them.
- Broil again for 3 minutes. Flip them and brush the other side. Broil for an additional 3 minutes. Dark spots will form, but be sure not to overcook and burn them.
- Brush with more BBQ if you choose and serve.