Sticky Slow Cooker Chicken Drumsticks

Sticky crock pot chicken drumsticks

The Spruce Eats

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 10 hrs
Marinate Time: 8 hrs
Total: 18 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
399 Calories
17g Fat
17g Carbs
44g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 399
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 21%
Saturated Fat 4g 22%
Cholesterol 230mg 77%
Sodium 421mg 18%
Total Carbohydrate 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 1g 3%
Total Sugars 15g
Protein 44g
Vitamin C 1mg 5%
Calcium 36mg 3%
Iron 2mg 14%
Potassium 553mg 12%
*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 are so tasty, and it's a wonderful recipe for kids and adults alike. The sauce is highly flavored but with simple ingredients. There are many crock pot chicken drumsticks recipes, but this one makes the drumsticks so incredibly tender, thanks to the cooking method. The slow cooker method is a set-it-and-forget-it approach, too.

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. These crock pot drumsticks also work great as an appetizer, too.


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a small bowl, thoroughly combine salt, paprika, chili powder, onion powder, thyme, white pepper, garlic powder, and black pepper.

    Spices combined in a white bowl

    The Spruce Eats

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

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

    Marinated chicken drumsticks in a zip-close bag in a glass dish

    The Spruce Eats

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

    Put chicken drumsticks in a crock pot

    The Spruce Eats

  6. In a small bowl, combine honey, brown sugar, and ketchup.

    Honey, brown sugar, and ketchup in a bowl

    The Spruce Eats

  7. Drizzle over chicken. 

    Marinade drizzled over drumsticks in a crock pot

    The Spruce Eats

  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 (an instant-read thermometer is great)—the temperature should be 165 F. Serve immediately with lots of napkins.

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.


  • 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. 
  • You can cook this using frozen drumsticks if you don't have time to defrost them.

How to Store and Freeze Sticky Drumsticks

These drumsticks will keep for three to four days in the fridge in an airtight container. Reheat, wrapped loosely in foil, until hot. If desired, they can be wrapped well and frozen for up to three months. Defrost in the fridge and then reheat.