Sticky Slow Cooker Chicken Drumsticks

Sticky crock pot chicken drumsticks
The Spruce
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 10 hrs
Marinate Time: 8 hrs
Total: 18 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
494 Calories
24g Fat
18g Carbs
48g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 494
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 24g 31%
Saturated Fat 7g 34%
Cholesterol 152mg 51%
Sodium 548mg 24%
Total Carbohydrate 18g 7%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Protein 48g
Calcium 44mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Sticky slow cooker chicken drumsticks is a wonderful recipe for kids and adults alike. The sauce is highly flavored, but with simple ingredients. And this recipe makes the drumsticks so incredibly tender. 

Serve this sweet, spicy, and sticky dish with some steamed vegetables, such as baby carrots, asparagus, or green beans, and some breadsticks. A cooling salad, such as a cucumber salad or fruit salad, would be a great accompaniment. Some cold beer for the adults and cold milk or sparkling water for the kids is all you need.


  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon plain or smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 pounds chicken drumsticks (skinned)
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a small bowl, thoroughly combine salt and all the spices.

    combine spices
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  3. Rub the spice mixture into the chicken, skin side and bone side, making sure it is evenly distributed and pressed down deep into the chicken.

  4. Place the chicken in a resealable plastic bag, seal, place in a baking pan to catch any drips, and refrigerate overnight.

    bag the meat
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  5. In the morning, spray a 4-quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray. Place the onions in the bottom of the prepared crock pot and top with the chicken.

    put meat in crockpot
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  6. In a small bowl, combine the honey, brown sugar, and ketchup.

    combine ingredients
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  7. Drizzle over the chicken. 

    drizzle sauce over chicken
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  8. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 12 hours until very tender. If you have a newer crock pot, the chicken will most likely be done in 7 to 8 hours. Check with a food thermometer—the temperature should be 165 F. Serve immediately with lots of napkins.

  9. Enjoy!


  • If you decide to use drumsticks in this recipe, you can sometimes buy them skinned in the supermarket. If you can't find them already skinned, you'll have to do that preparation step yourself. Use a paper towel to grab the skin, which can be slippery, and pull it off. 

Recipe Variations

  • You can add or omit spices according to your family's tastes. If your kids don't like spicy foods, reduce the chili powder and garlic powder and the pepper. But if your family likes it hot, add some crushed red pepper flakes, minced jalapeño peppers, or chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.
  • You can also make this delicious sticky, fragrant recipe with a whole chicken, but we like the drumsticks best.
  • This recipe can also be made with chicken breasts or chicken thighs. Leave the bone in, but remove the skin. If you use chicken breasts, the cooking time will be reduced to about 5 hours total. The thighs will cook in about the same time as the drumsticks.