This baked bbq chicken drumsticks recipe is deliciously simple to make in the oven, uses only simple ingredients, and will be a sure family favorite. Making delicious barbecue chicken is as easy as dusting drumsticks with seasoning, painting them with sauce, and then roasting the legs to perfection. Finally, we finish them off under the broiler.
You can do this! Let's get ready to enjoy an easy dinner the whole family will love!
What are they?
There are different ways to bake BBQ chicken drumsticks in the oven. Some recipes apply the BBQ sauce right at the beginning, others apply it at the end. The benefit of applying it at the beginning is that allows the sauce to thicken in a jam, however, the skin on the chicken stays rubbery and soft. The benefit of applying the sauce at the end is it allows the skin to crisp up, but the BBQ doesn't have time to caramelize and thicken.
My baked BBQ chicken drumsticks recipe overcomes these challenges by baking the flavorful chicken at a high temperature to firm up the skin, then broiling the sauce at the end to thicken it. Broiling the sauce is the real secret to this easy recipe because as the sauce broils it thickens into a jam, radically intensifying the flavor.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Chicken Drumsticks - This simple recipe also works for baking chicken legs, so feel free to grab whatever is on sale at the grocery store.
- Olive Oil - Any other vegetable oil can also be substituted.
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Fresh Ground Black Pepper
- BBQ Sauce - You can use your favorite kind of BBQ sauce for this recipe, however, if you are motivated enough to make your own, I recommend my tangy BBQ sauce recipe.
How to Make BBQ Chicken Drumsticks in the Oven
Set all of your chicken pieces in a large mixing bowl along with the olive oil, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper. Toss the drumsticks with the seasoning until well coated.
Place the chicken drumsticks on a rimmed baking sheet, leaving space in between each piece. Place the baking sheet in an oven preheated to 450 degrees and let bake for 40 minutes.
Take the chicken out of the oven and turn the broiler to high heat. Then paint the chicken with BBQ sauce and set the chicken on the middle oven rack under the broiler and broil for 10 minutes, rotating the chicken as needed. (You can use the upper rack, but you risk the sauce burning quickly.)
Let the chicken cool for a few minutes and then serve with your favorite sides, such as mashed potatoes, potato salad, roasted green beans, or a simple salad.
Chicken Drumsticks FAQs
Recipes for baked chicken drumsticks vary from 375 degrees to 450 degrees. 450 degrees is the best oven temperature for baking chicken drumsticks because the high heat is needed to prevent the chicken skin from being rubbery and soft.
It takes 40 minutes at 450 degrees to bake chicken drumsticks. However, this cooking time can vary depending on the size of your drumsticks. Drumsticks baked at a lower temperature will take longer to cook. It is always recommended to use an instant-read thermometer to check for doneness.
Baking chicken drumsticks at 450 degrees is a great way to firm up the skin. However, if you want truly crispy skin the secret is to broil the skin after it finishes baking by waiting to apply the BBQ sauce until after you first broil the skin.
Leftover BBQ chicken drumsticks should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and eaten within five days for the best flavor and texture. The leftovers can easily be reheated by baking the BBQ drumsticks for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.
Easy Baked Chicken Drumsticks
If the idea of messing with your broiler intimidates you, or you just decide that you don't have the energy for it, the easiest way to make this recipe is to apply the BBQ sauce directly to the drumsticks after 30 minutes and then return them back to the oven to bake for another 15 minutes. Easy peasy, hassle-free, and still delicious!
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Baked BBQ Chicken Drumsticks
- 10 Chicken Drumsticks (~4 lbs)
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- ¼ teaspoon Paprika
- ¼ teaspoon Garlic Powder
- ¼ teaspoon Onion Powder
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Fresh Ground Pepper
- 1-2 cups BBQ Sauce (click link for my recipe, or use your favorite)
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Place chicken in a large bowl and add oil and seasonings then toss to evenly coat.
- Set drumsticks on a large rimmed baking sheet so they are not touching each other and place in the oven. Bake for 40 minutes.
- Remove chicken from the oven and set broiler to high.
- Generously slather BBQ sauce over the chicken and place on the middle oven rack and broil for 5 minutes, rotating and removing from heat as needed to prevent burning.
- Flip drumsticks over and slather the other side with BBQ sauce and repeat the broiling process again for 5 minutes.
- Chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees and the BBQ sauce has thickened into a sticky jam.
- Let cool briefly and serve.
This recipe was originally published on October 3, 2018, on FoxValleyFoodie.com.
Oh my goodness, this is the best recipe for juicy, perfectly cooked chicken legs. And I’ve tried quite a few. Thanks do much for this recipe, it’s my new go-to.
Jenny and Luke
My husband was so happy with this recipe that he told me I needed to respond about how well it worked. The temperature of our chicken legs (pretty hefty sized) was 200 degrees after following directions. You would think it could be dry, but it was soooo juicy and the gooey bbq sauce after the broiling was delish! We used Sweet Baby Rays because this was last minute. Will try the recipe on here next time. Thank you for a simple and amazing chicken recipe for the holiday.
My kids LOVE your recipe and it's so delicious I won't cook it any other way now! Thank you for the awesome explanations and recipe!
PERFECT! My family approved 100%!!!!! Moist inside, crispy skin outside. Will make again, definitely.
Perfect! I was searching for the ideal baked drumsticks recipe for a family party where we compete for the best entree. Drumsticks are ALWAYS a hit but never win because of the skin turning to goo.
Foodie, you were spot on and the results were over the top!
I don't like the SUPER sweet BBQ sauce so I use a thinner base. The results was a very Cuban chicken looking drumsticks! Middle rack for the final broil put the icing on this wonderful dish.
Thank you. I bet I win this year!!!!
Great explanations of cooking process, delicious recipe!
Lisa Gagliano Dawson
Not only was the result fantastic--Best BBQ Oven Chicken Ever--the directions were so clear and precise that it calmed my fears of having dry chicken after cooking it for 40 minutes in a 450 degree oven (something I had obviously never done before). The explanations behind the method made me feel more confident. The chicken was so moist (even when the skin looked dry) that I had no qualms slathering on BBQ sauce and broiling it some more. I got rave reviews. Finally, BBQ chicken from the oven without the nasty rubbery skin ruining it. Thanks Fox Valley Foodie for sharing your recipe and the great explanations!
This was great!