Slow Cooker Chicken Drumsticks
This is hands-down my favorite way to prepare affordable chicken drumsticks – and it just happens to be one of the easiest. These slow cooker chicken drumsticks come out well seasoned with the meat falling off the bone. Perfection!
Have you heard?
Chicken drumsticks are one of the cheapest meat options in the grocery store. Just recently, I bought a pack of 9 chicken drumsticks for $4.83 ($1.69/lb).
And as this recipe proves, they can be so, so good!
When you cook drumsticks in the slow cooker with a flavorful sauce, they basically become infused with sauce flavor as they cook. And by the time they’re done cooking, the meat practically falls off the bone.
This is the best way to cook chicken drumsticks, in my opinion.
Making Chicken Drumsticks In A Slow Cooker: Recipe Tips
Does chicken have to be pre-cooked before adding it to slow cooker? No. The heat of the slow cooker is enough to fully cook the chicken. However, you can sear the chicken before placing in slow cooker to crisp up the skin a bit. Personally, I like to do this at the end of the process (under the broiler, see recipe) once the chicken is fully cooked.
How long does the chicken cook in the slow cooker? The chicken will cook for 5 to 6 hours on low, or 3 to 4 hours on high. I recommend cooking on low, if time allows. Note: Depending on your slow cooker, it may take less or more time to cook the chicken. Always test to make sure the chicken is cooked to 165F.
Is slow cooking the best way to cook chicken drumsticks? This is my personal favorite way to cook chicken drumsticks, because the meat is permeated with the flavor of the sauce and perfectly cooked. I do recommend finishing the meat under the broiler for a minute or two to crisp up the skin – but this is not absolutely necessary.
Other Sauce Options
This recipe calls for a sweet-tangy Asian-flavored sauce made with soy sauce, honey, brown sugar, tomato paste, and seasonings.
But it’s not the only sauce option for these slow cooker chicken drumsticks. You can use a ready-made sauce or a homemade sauce with ingredients you already have on hand at home. Here are some ideas:
- BBQ sauce (ready-made or homemade)
- Gochujang BBQ sauce
- Mexican-flavored simmer sauce
- Indian-flavored sauce (tikka masala, for example)
- Stir-fry sauce
- Kung pao sauce
How much? For a batch of 6-8 chicken drumsticks, you’ll want to use about 2/3 cup of sauce. The chicken will release more liquid as it cooks, so by the time it’s done, there will be plenty of sauce in the slow cooker.
The sauce will be quite runny, but you can thicken it up with cornstarch and make a sort of gravy to pour over the chicken – and perhaps mashed potatoes.
Learn How To Properly Cook Cheap Cuts Of Chicken
If you’re looking to save money on food, you should learn how to properly cook affordable cuts of chicken. Typically, the most affordable chicken in the grocery store is chicken thighs and chicken drumsticks.
Once you master the process, you can experiment with different flavors and sauces. Here are a couple recipes to get you started:
- 6 chicken drumsticks (about 2.25 lbs)
- Salt and pepper
- 2 teaspoons meat seasoning blend (optional)
- 2 tablespoons corn starch, to thicken sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, for garnish
- 1 green onion, chopped, for garnish
- 1/3 cup soy sauce (or tamari, for GF)
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons ketchup or tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon paste (or 1 chicken bouillon cube dissolved in a tablespoon of hot water)
- Use paper towel to blot chicken drumsticks dry. Season with salt, pepper, and seasoning blend.
- Spray bottom and sides of a slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Place drumsticks across the bottom of the crock.
- Mix all sauce ingredients together. Pour sauce over drumsticks. Heat on high for 3 to 4 hours or low for 5 to 6 hours.
- To prepare gravy: Remove drumsticks from slow cooker. Pour liquid into a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Mix 2 tablespoons of corn starch with 3 tablespoons of water, until smooth. Whisk into the sauce and heat until it comes to a simmer and thickens.
- For crispy drumsticks: After cooking, transfer drumsticks to a baking sheet. Heat under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes to crisp.