These slow cooker chicken drumsticks are coated in a spice rub and barbecue sauce, then cooked to tender perfection in the crock pot. A super easy 3 ingredient dinner option that takes just minutes to assemble.
In my opinion, chicken drumsticks are an underutilized cut of meat. They’re inexpensive, widely available, flavorful and super kid friendly. It doesn’t get any easier than these slow cooker chicken drumsticks – 3 ingredients in a crock pot and you’re ready to go!
How do you make slow cooker chicken drumsticks?
For this recipe, you’ll need chicken drumsticks, BBQ spice rub and your favorite BBQ sauce. That’s it! The drumsticks are coated with seasoning then the sauce is poured over the top. The final step is to brush a little extra sauce onto the chicken and broil it to crispy perfection.
Can you put frozen drumsticks in a crock pot?
Yes, you can use frozen chicken drumsticks in this recipe. Just be aware that the spice rub won’t stick as well to frozen meat! If you’re using frozen chicken, you’ll want to cook it on low for 8-9 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.
Tips for slow cooker chicken drumsticks
- I like to use my homemade BBQ spice rub in this recipe, but your favorite store bought spice rub will also work fine.
- I also have an amazing recipe for homemade BBQ sauce! Don’t have time to make your own? Use your favorite store bought sauce instead.
- Leave the skin on your drumsticks, the skin helps to keep the meat from drying out.
- Watch your chicken carefully under the broiler! You want to crisp up the edges a bit, but you don’t want your drumsticks to burn.
- You can also make this recipe with boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts for a shredded BBQ chicken alternative.
How long does it take to cook chicken drumsticks in a slow cooker?
You’ll want to cook your chicken drumsticks on low for 5-6 hours or high for 3-4 hours. You’ll know when the chicken is done because it will be so tender that it will practically fall off the bone!
Slow cooker chicken drumstick variations
This is a simple recipe with a simple ingredient list, but you can add other flavorings into the mix to make this recipe your own!
- Spicy: Stir 1 chopped chipotle pepper in adobo sauce into the barbecue sauce before you pour it into the slow cooker.
- Garlic Lovers: Add 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic to the crock pot.
- Sweet and Tangy: Add 2 tablespoons brown sugar to the barbecue sauce before you pour it into the slow cooker.
How to serve slow cooker chicken drumsticks
I like to serve my crock pot drumsticks over mashed potatoes or another starch such as rice. I also include a veggie on the side. Here are some of my favorite side dish options.
- Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
- Homemade Rice-A-Roni
- Parmesan Roasted Broccoli
- Garlic Butter Mushrooms
- Candied Carrots
Once you try these drumsticks, you’ll find yourself making them all the time! It’s so easy to keep the ingredients on hand for when you need to assemble dinner in a hurry. There’s only 5 minutes of prep time and the crock pot does the rest of the work!
Slow Cooker Chicken Drumsticks
- Coat the inside of a slow cooker with cooking spray.
- Rub the BBQ spice all over the drumsticks, then place the drumsticks in the slow cooker in layers.
- Pour 2 cups of BBQ sauce into the slow cooker. Gently toss to coat.
- Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
- Preheat the broiler.
- Remove the chicken drumsticks from the slow cooker and place them in a single layer on a sheet pan coated with cooking spray.
- Brush the remaining 1/2 cup sauce over the drumsticks. Broil for 3-5 minutes or until edges are starting to brown and crisp, then serve.