Tex-Mex Chicken Drumsticks

Tex Mex chicken drumsticks
LauriPatterson / Getty Images
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 60 mins
Total: 70 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yield: 3 pounds
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
713 Calories
32g Fat
11g Carbs
92g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 713
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 32g 41%
Saturated Fat 9g 44%
Cholesterol 397mg 132%
Sodium 1719mg 75%
Total Carbohydrate 11g 4%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 92g
Vitamin C 3mg 17%
Calcium 98mg 8%
Iron 4mg 25%
Potassium 1251mg 27%
*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.)

The flavor and hotness of salsa you choose for this simple three-ingredient recipe for Tex-Mex chicken drumsticks will determine the spiciness of the completed dish. If you're making this for kids, unless they are used to (and like) spicy foods, use the mildest salsa you can find and cut down on the chili powder. 

But if you're cooking for a bunch of chile heads, find the hottest salsa you can. Add some chopped or sliced jalapeños or habanero peppers, too, and increase the chili powder. You could add cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes.

You can make this recipe with chicken parts as well, or with chicken breasts. But think about using bone-in pieces, because they have the most flavor. You can use boneless pieces, but they will cook in about half the time. Bone-in chicken breasts will be done faster than drumsticks or thighs. Just be sure to use your food thermometer to make sure the internal temperature is correct and safe before you serve this recipe. Chicken breasts should be cooked to 160 F; thighs and drumsticks should be cooked to 165 F. Make sure the thermometer is not touching bone when you check the temperature.

You could also add other ingredients. Some chopped tomato would be nice, as would chopped yellow summer squash or some sliced green onions. We would add garlic, too (of course). To make this a one-dish meal, add some tiny red or creamer potatoes. You might want to precook the potatoes in the microwave first to make sure they are done in time.

Of course, if this dish is going to be spicy, you'll need some cooling dishes for contrast. Hot cooked rice is the ideal accompaniment, as it will soak up the delicious sauce, as are warmed flour tortillas. Some fresh fruit, perhaps in a salad, is necessary too. Add lots of cold beer and sparkling water for a great dinner.


  • Cooking spray

  • 3 pounds chicken drumsticks, or chicken pieces

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 1 (16-ounce) jar chunky salsa

  • 1 to 4 teaspoons chili powder, to taste

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 9 x 13-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray.

  2. You can skin the chicken or leave the skin on.

  3. Place the chicken pieces in the prepared baking dish, skin-side up, and top with the chopped onion.

  4. Pour the salsa evenly over all and sprinkle with chili powder, salt, and pepper.

  5. Bake the chicken for 55 to 65 minutes until the juices run clear and chicken is thoroughly cooked, to 165 F on a meat thermometer, basting occasionally with pan juices. Serve immediately.