Crunchy Baked BBQ Chicken Drumsticks

4.85 from 284 votes
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Easy and delicious Crunchy baked bbq chicken drumsticks – the best recipe for crispy baked BBQ chicken legs right from your oven, without added breading or extra steps!

Picture of baked bbq chicken legs on wire rack
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Picture of baked bbq chicken drumsticks on wire rack

The Best Baked BBQ Chicken Legs

I love to grill anytime of year – summer, spring, fall – and even winter. There is something about delicious smoky, crunchy, and savory foods right off a hot grill that is so crave-able – but grilling can easily become a giant pain.

Thankfully, when I’m craving crunchy, smoky, and delicious chicken drumsticks, I can make them anytime of year, fuss-free!

This amazing baked chicken legs recipe isn’t done on the grill- we’re getting the crunchy, sticky, bark-covered chicken drumsticks from heaven – made right in your oven! This easy baked chicken drumstick method is then coated in layers of bbq sauce to develop a crunchy bark straight from the oven – as well as rich, smoky flavors.

If you’re on a keto or low carb diet – this recipe can be made with any keto bbq sauce you love.

Don’t Miss: For a crunchy baked chicken drumsticks recipe in an air fryer, check out my Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks recipe.

And if you’re looking to make drumsticks from frozen – with no defrost time – check out my Instant Pot BBQ Legs recipe! If you’re a mustard lover, don’t skip my Honey Mustard Baked Chicken Drumsticks Recipe!

Picture of baked bbq chicken legs on wire rack

How to Bake BBQ Chicken Drumsticks

This method relies on developing a crispy baked crust on the chicken legs, which isn’t labor intensive, but you will need to watch your chicken drumsticks carefully and “mop” them with BBQ sauce, much like you would smoked chicken drumsticks.

  • First off, I prefer to add chicken to oven on a cooling rack – not directly on a baking sheet. This helps to lift your chicken off the baking sheet, so air can move evenly around the chicken and crisp it instead of getting soggy.
  • Let chicken bake about 40 minutes before adding bbq sauce- until skin is crispy, and fat around the drumstick has started to render and melt away.
  • Try to flip chicken drumsticks every 10 minutes to ensure it crisps evenly on all sides.
  • I prefer using tongs coated with heat resistant silicone coated tongs so they don’t stick to the chicken skin and BBQ sauce.
  • With a silicone brush, lightly brush chicken with bbq sauce, flipping its side each time you add another coat of sauce, about every 10 minutes until sauce is used up (which will take about 30 minutes.)
  • When chicken is fully cooked, turn on broiler, and broil for two minutes on each side to give a little extra crunch to chicken skin.
  • Remove chicken when skin looks bubbly and shiny – watch closely to make sure it doesn’t burn!

This recipe for baked chicken drumsticks is one of my favorites – but if you’re looking for how to make addictively delicious chicken drumsticks in an air fryer, be sure to check out my Air Fried Chicken Drumsticks Recipe.

Crispy drumsticks are so delicious in the air fryer – and you can use the basting BBQ method we use here, but in the air fryer!

And don’t forget my favorite way to make french fries at home – my Air Fryer French Fries recipe goes perfectly with delicious chicken legs!

Picture of baked bbq chicken drumsticks on wire rack

Tips to Perfect Baked BBQ Chicken Drumsticks & FAQs

This recipe is simple, but following a couple tried and true tips will help your baked chicken legs turn out perfect every time:

  • Add Sauce Slowly Over Time. Layering bbq sauce slowly over chicken drumsticks as the chicken drumsticks bake helps the crust become crunchy and delicious.
  • Don’t Rush the Magic! It’s hard to let chicken drumsticks cook for a while, especially when they smell as good as these BBQ Chicken Drumsticks do, but for the fat to render and the skin to become crunchy and irresistible, they need time! Let the chicken develop flavors and fight the urge to rush it too quickly, and let the fat and tendons break down on their own, resulting in perfect baked chicken legs.
  • Layer the flavor! Adding layers and layers of flavor helps bring out the rich, smoky flavor you’d normally only get from a hot grill!
  • Let it crisp. Let the sauce crisp a bit and develop a lovely crunchy bark by layering sauce on as it cooks – don’t just coat it with all the sauce at once.

To reheat on the grill:

  • Get coals lit and arranged, or light gas grill and set to high, and bring to 350 degrees.
  • Baste chicken drumsticks with BBQ sauce.
  • Place chicken drumsticks in foil pouch.
  • Add to grill and cook for 3-5 minutes per side, until chicken is piping hot.
  • Finish directly on grill for crunchier chicken drumsticks.

To Reheat in a Pan:

  • To reheat chicken drumsticks in a pan, use a heavy nonstick pan.
  • Melt 1-2 tbsp butter on high heat until frothy.
  • Add chicken to hot nonstick pan over medium high heat.
  • Pan fry chicken legs, moving frequently, until crispy.
Picture of baked bbq chicken drumsticks on wire rack

FAQs

How do I store this recipe?

Chicken drumsticks can keep in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to four days.

Are BBQ chicken legs keto?

This recipe can be made to be 100% keto compliant, since it just involves a spice rub and sauce.
If macros are too high in the spice rub, omit garlic and onion powder (though only do this if you are very strict with intake – as they provide so much flavor).
Use any keto approved BBQ sauce you love – or try a spicy sauce like Nando’s Peri Peri Sauce.

What BBQ sauce should I use?

One of the most frequent questions I get about these crunchy baked chicken drumsticks is what type of BBQ sauce to use. This recipe was actually developed to work with ANY BBQ sauce you like – with one small caveat.
This recipe works best with slightly thicker sauces – anything too watery might make a big mess as it will roll off the chicken instead of coating it.

Do you remove chicken skin before cooking?

This is entirely up to you – but I personally love the crispy crunch from chicken skin and prefer to leave it on and let it crisp when baking.

What temperature do you bake chicken drumsticks at?

Cook chicken drumsticks at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

When are chicken drumsticks done?

Chicken is fully cooked when it has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a digital meat thermometer to probe the fattest part of the chicken drumstick, taking care not to touch the bone, to gauge the temperature.

How can I get crunchier chicken skin?

For extra crunch, broil for 3-5 minutes per side, taking care not to let chicken burn under broiler.

Picture of baked bbq chicken drumsticks on wire rack

What to Serve With BBQ Chicken Drumsticks

This recipe is fabulous with classic BBQ sides like Sour Cream Cornbread and Baked Beans – as well as my favorite Easy Rice Pilaf – but I’m sharing my favorite other dishes to serve with baked chicken legs as well:

You can find our complete side dish recipe archives here.

Picture of baked bbq chicken drumsticks on wire rack

Crunchy Baked BBQ Chicken Drumsticks Recipe

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Crunchy Baked BBQ Chicken Drumsticks

Easy and delicious Crunchy baked bbq chicken drumsticks with a crisp and slightly sticky bark are the best baked bbq chicken recipe that the whole family loves! An easy baked chicken drumstick dinner that is bursting with BBQ Chicken Drumstick lick-your-fingers-clean flavor straight from the oven. 
Course Chicken
Cuisine American
Keyword #chickendrumsticks, #ketochicken, #ketodrumsticks, baked bbq chicken drumsticks, baked chicken legs, bbq chicken drumsticks, chicken drumstick recipe, crunchy baked bbq chicken drumsticks, easy chicken drumsticks
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 175kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Thoroughly pat chicken dry with a paper towel.
  • In a small bowl, mix together spices (all ingredients but chicken and bbq sauce)
  • Coat chicken in dry rub, let sit 30 minutes to overnight.
  • Add chicken to oven on a cooling rack sitting atop a baking sheet.
  • Let chicken bake about 40 minutes before adding bbq sauce- until skin is crispy and fat has started to render. Flip chicken drumsticks every 10 minutes to ensure it crisps evenly on all sides.
  • With a silicone brush, lightly brush chicken with bbq sauce, flipping its side each time you add another coat of sauce, about every 10 minutes until sauce is used up (about 30 minutes.)
  • When chicken is ready, turn on broiler and broil for two minutes on each side to give a little extra crunch to chicken skin.
  • Serve immediately.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1drumstick | Calories: 175kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 192mg | Sodium: 1060mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 16g

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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4.85 from 284 votes (262 ratings without comment)

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100 Comments

  1. SJP says:

    I followed every single step but couldn’t get a crisp on
    I did try to switch to convection on 375
    Maybe I can add more broiling time too

    1. Laura Gerhard says:

      same for me. Tasted great, but not at all crunchy/crispy.

  2. Ivory says:

    Yum! I know what will be on our dinner table tomorrow.

    1. Ceci says:

      I just made this…I don’t know what I did wrong. It didn’t come out crispy. I am happy to say that it came out perfectly cooked with an amazing flavor! I added white pepper instead of black and it gave it a bigger kick.

  3. James says:

    Add a little corn starch to your rub, that will help crisp up the skin for you.

  4. Gloria says:

    These were great. I love the crispy skins. The dry rub definitely adds another layer of deliciousness. I used Sweet Baby Ray’s sauce and the chicken turned out very tasty. My fiancé loved them as well. Thanks for an awesome recipe.

  5. Susan Ogden says:

    Thanks for including how to rewarm them. I can’t wait to try this.

  6. Jenn says:

    OMG! Too much crap, where is the recipe even at? Is it that stood video in the middle? No one gives a shit about you husband’s needs to have chicken on grill but it’s raining out….

    1. Courtney ODell says:

      Hey Jenn, I put a lot of info in my posts after reader requests to do so.

      There is a “skip to recipe” button in the top left corner that will take you past all that. There is also this easy solution called scrolling.

      There is no pleasing everyone online, and I’m frankly sick of being yelled at by rude people who can’t simply read and click a button or who feel they are too important to spend five seconds time dealing with what someone else finds helpful. Do you know there is a real life person behind this site, and not some big corporation? I’m literally just a mom sharing my favorite recipes. Please consider how your negativity impacts others before you type. And I don’t know, CLICK THE BUTTON THAT IS RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU TO SKIP ALL THAT.

      1. Ava says:

        Excellent reply to an obnoxious person that has nothing better to do than be rude. My husband found your recipe and requested me to try it. I appreciate all of your information and look forward to following you.

      2. Barbs says:

        I was frustrated too, till I saw the button and realized how dumb I was lol
        Thank you so so much for the recipe, im on my last layer now! I’ll be following these from now on and spreading the word!

      3. Keisha Chance says:

        You go girl!!!!!

    2. Keshe says:

      Handled so mommish ! I love it !!

    3. Brian says:

      I read lots of recipes and really enjoy making them and I don’t think I’ve ever read such a rude response to a FREE recipe. You can go buy a cookbook and get offline. You should not treat someone the way you did. Courtney is nice enough to test recipes and post them for our enjoyment. How dare you treat someone like this. Clearly this is a case of you wanting your cake and eating it too. I happen to love this recipe and have made it many times. Didn’t you ever hear the saying “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all”? Not only have you insulted the chef / author, but you insult anyone who reads the reviews of this wonderful recipe.

      PS. Courtney, thank you for the effort you’ve put into your recipes and for taking the time to share them with us.