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.
I’m all about my slow cooker these days, I’m constantly making teriyaki chicken and beef stroganoff. This chicken drumstick recipe is so simple, yet so very satisfying and it’s kid friendly too!
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
- 3 pounds chicken drumsticks
- 2 tablespoons BBQ spice rub
- 2 1/2 cups BBQ sauce divided use
- cooking spray
- 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.
Just finished taking them out of the slow cooker. What do I do with the liquid left? Just toss it? Or is there something you can reuse the drippings for?
I don’t keep the drippings!
So easy and so yummy!
So a small portion of my drumsticks were still frozen (but barely). I just took them out , on low for 6. Hours. Will that be ok?? I do not have a meat thermometer.
Yes that should be fine!
I need to make 12 servings for a party. Can the drumsticks be layered on top of each other? Could I mix in chicken thighs?
Yes you can layer them, and chicken thighs would be great!
Can u cook them in oven,I have legs and bone-in thighs but my hubby dont like the bones in crockpot
Yes they can be cooked in the oven, bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes!
Instead of broiler can i use my bbq grill?
Yes that’s fine!
These look amazing and I can’t wait to try them?
Have you ever combined drumsticks and chicken breasts at the same time? My wife is not a drumstick fan but Iv really want to try this.
I haven’t tried it but it should work just fine! The only thing to keep in mind is that chicken breasts cook quicker than chicken drumsticks, so your chicken breasts may fall apart a bit if you cook everything together!
I have them in my crockpot now !! So excited !! What are reheating suggestions in case I have leftovers ??
You can microwave them or put them in the oven in a covered dish at 325 degrees F until warmed through!
What size slow cooker do you use? I have a 4 quart.
That should work fine, you may want to reduce the amount of chicken to about 2.5 pounds to make sure it’ll all fit.
I saw a lot of 5 stars because this recipe “looked” delicious (which it does) . I’m giving this recipe 5 stars because it tastes delicious! This recipe was a winner with my 2 and 4 year old who typically don’t like chicken legs. I loved the bbq spice rub also. It was so easy to make and I like knowing exactly what’s in my seasoning. Thank you so much for posting!
Delicious delicious delicious
May I know what temp to broil the drumsticks? Broil means top heat baking in the oven correct? Thanks!
Broil is the top heat in the oven, for my oven it’s 500 degrees.
Exactly what I needed, a quick and easy chicken recipe! These were delicious and devoured in minutes. 🙂
These look AMAZING! I can almost smell and taste them through the screen! And I love that this is an inexpensive and easy recipe – it would be great for upcoming parties!
I don’t make drumsticks OR use my slow cooker enough and I know my husband would LOVE these, so I need to add them to my meal plan ASAP!
These chicken drumsticks look mouthwateringly delicious! I am definitely going to have to try these in the slow cooker.
Yes, what a fantastic recipe that the whole family will love!! Chicken drumsticks are so high in protein and delicious and your photos make them look extremely tasty!! I look forward to giving these a go!! Thanks for sharing.
Can you skip the broiler and eat the chicken right from the crock pot?
Yes that’s fine, they just wont be crispy!
I am going to use this drumstick recipe this week. It looks delicious and so easy to make!
Can you mix drumsticks and the thighs at the same time in the pot
Yes that would be just fine!