Slow Cooker Sticky Chicken Drumsticks

Slow Cooker Sticky Chicken Drumsticks |

I don’t know if you are in to Pinterest but I can just say – if you haven’t discovered it…you may just want to leave it that way.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Pinterest, a lot, but it is like a giant vortex of deliciousness that will suck you in with it’s sticky tentacles and you can kiss some hours of your life goodbye forever.

Slow Cooker Sticky Chicken Drumsticks |

A while back I repinned a photo by my friend Jessica at The Novice Chef that has been haunting me for 2 months.  That happens to me a lot when I get into a Pinterest frenzy and start pinning things I know I want to make.  Her recipe for Sweet & Sticky Baked Chicken Drumsticks looked so good I knew I had to make it.  Check out this picture?  Drool!  Click the image below to go to her website – you owe it to yourself to see what she’s puttin down over there.

I tweaked her recipe just a tad to make it slow cooker friendly and swapped out parsley for cilantro and that’s it.  It’s hard to improve on perfection!!

Sticky Chicken Drumsticks – Slow Cooker

Yield: 5 servings

Serving Size: 2 drumsticks

Sticky Chicken Drumsticks – Slow Cooker


  • 1/2 cup local honey
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons sriracha (or other hot pepper sauce)
  • black pepper
  • 10 chicken drumsticks, skin removed and discarded
  • cilantro
  • toasted sesame seeds


  1. In a sauce pan add the honey, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sriracha and season to taste with black pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the temperature and simmer for 5 minutes, until the sugars have dissolved and the sauce is beginning to thicken. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
  2. In the bowl of a slow cooker, add the skinned chicken drumsticks and pour the sauce over. Move the chicken around a bit with tongs to coat completely. Put the lid on and cook on high for 4 hours, flipping chicken a couple of times during the cooking process. Just before serving, sprinkle with torn cilantro leaves and sesame seeds.
  3. Serve with steamed white rice and your favorite veggie and devour!


Recipe adapted from The Novice Chef

Slow Cooker Sticky Chicken Drumsticks

Recipe adapted slightly from The Novice Chef Blog.  Please be sure to stop by her website and show her some love.  

Other Deliciously Sweet & Sticky Recipes

Slow Cooker Sticky Chicken Drumsticks |


  1. This is sooooo good! I think we’ve made it a couple dozen times since discovering it 2 years ago! I generally use mix of thighs and drums. Thanks…I keep coming back for more:-)

    1. boiling it longer will thicken the sauce. Others have suggested doing a slurry of cornstarch and cold water after the drums have cooked and adding it to make the sauce thicker. Hope that helps.

  2. Made this last night, it was absolutely delicuous! Even the kids said it was amazing and had seconds. I didn’t change a thing (except leaving the skin on the chicken) and the sauce made the house smell soooo good all arvo! Thanks for sharing, it will be a regularly made dish in my house 🙂

      1. I used Maple Syrup. i also emailed you and sent the info on your FB. the chicken isnt turning dark brown. I sent you a email with a picture.

  3. This was so good! I’m a mom of 3 very young kids. Every couple of weeks I take some time to make a bunch of freezer meals so that I have very little prep work during dinner time. I made the sauce as directed and then put it and 6 drumsticks in a ziplock bag and froze it. The day before we were going to eat it, I thawed it and then the day of, cooked it in the crockpot as directed. We had extra sauce which was good in the rice and I also used it the next day as a green salad dressing. I’ve already added more of these to the freezer. Thanks!

  4. Made these and as others have said, I was surprised by how thin the sauce was. However, I just took the chicken out of the crock pot to cool for about 3 minutes on a plate and I felt like the amount of sauce that was ‘stuck’ to the chicken was perfect and it needed no additional poured over.

    Tweaks I did (due to not having supplies): Used garlic powder instead of fresh, didn’t use cilantro or seeds, and used Michigan 331 hot sauce instead of sriracha. They were delicious!! So much so that I decided I’d try the sauce again tonight on a pork roast. I think it will compliment the pork nicely as well.

    **also, as another commentor said, there’s something about the smell of it that makes my stomach turn a little. Yet it tastes excellent so I don’t know what that’s about.

  5. I made these on Saturday night for a bachelorette party. I made double the sauce for about 25 drumsticks. Fed 12+ girls and they were raving about the chicken. Like most of the comments you’ll read about this recipe, the sauce was much thinner than expected. I think when you cook chicken in the crock pot, runny sauces are common due to the run-off/broth that the chicken creates. I tried thickening with corn starch, and then put the chicken with the sauce under the broiler at 400 degrees for 15 mins, flipping about halfway. I put them back in the crockpot for later, with extra sauce on the side to pour over top of them before turning it on again when everyone was feeling hungry. I think this recipe would be fabulous in the oven if marinated. The sauce was incredibly simple to make. I will most definitely be making this one again! Thanks for the great recipe!

  6. Yes, I’m cooking for one (me) and I’d like to make these next week. What I want to know is can I make all the sauce in advance then put two drumsticks in the crockpot and put 1/5 of the sauce on at a time for the week? Has anyone tried to make the sauce in advance or tried to make a smaller recipe?

    1. I know this is a late response, jjlandes3, but I’m here now. I know when you buy any crock pot, it is recommended that the crock pot be filled at least half for best results. I have never tried to cook a limited amount such as two drum sticks, If you try this, maybe be home to see that the chicken doesn’t cook faster than normal or something. Good luck!!!!!

  7. I following the directions to a T. It just went in the crock-pot. Will the smell change? It is a bit overwhelming (don’t know if it is the soy sauce or the balsalmic but it is very strong and kind of making me sick).

  8. Could I use vhicken drumettes instead of drumsticks?? If so, would I need to adjust the cooking time?? P.S. I’ve made this with drumsticks before and it was so delicious!!

  9. Follow this recipe (or change it up it a bit), then finish it on a charcoal grill for 10-15 minutes! The grill will perfect this cook x100….don’t question, just do it! 😀

  10. Your drumsticks look sticky and goid but mine look like they are in a broth. Way to much liquid but followed the recipe exactly as stated. Any ideas?

    1. Same thing I always get in a slow cooker. I’ve tried up on a grill rack and they turned out much better. I suppose the chicken would be the same way. Only thing is – you pretty much lose all the sauce.

  11. Would this still work with regular sugar or does it have to be white sugar? I’m just about to start making it but I just realised I ran out of brown sugar 🙁

  12. Just made this following the instructions except I left the skin on, replaced the hot sauce with a pinch of red pepper flakes, and sub’d fresh ginger for minced pickled ginger because it’s what I had on hand. Turned out wonderfully! Will definitely be making again. I might reduce the sugar to 1/3 cup rather than 1/2 cup because it was a little sweet. Not in a bad way. Just since we reduced sweets from our diet my family is more sensitive to it. I would make with the recommended honey/brown sugar for parties tho! Delish!

  13. This recipe has been sitting on my pinterest wall for awhile. I figured I’d finally make it!! Sorry I waited so long because it was delicious!! Thanks for the recipe!!

  14. I made this recipe (with slight modification using what was available to me and left the skin on) for dinner today and it sure was a crowd pleaser! I served the dish with fresh lettuce and stir fry kale from our garden and we were able to use the sauce as salad dressing. Thank you for sharing the recipe, this is definitely a keeper.

  15. Delicious!! I halved the recipe (using 4 drumsticks) as it was just for two. I followed the reccomendation to thicken the sauce with cornflour and it worked a treat.
    I will definitely be cooking this one again!!

    1. Put a piece of bread in your brown sugar container, keeps the sugar soft !! If the bread turn hard again, put a new piece in

  16. Made these today for dinner and my two picky daughters and my husband approved. Absolutely loved them!!! I really liked that I was directed to remove the skin from the legs—great idea!!! So glad I found your page and this recipe!!!

      1. I am sure the chicken would taste the same with or without skin, but the without skin version got kinda crispy 🙂

      1. That wasn’t rude in the lease, let alone obnoxious. It was a direct account of this persons experience with this recipe. There was no derision or negative adjectives, just useful feedback.

  17. These are in my crockpot as we speak… the smell is making my mouth water! I boiled the sauce for quite a while on the stove top, and then added a couple tablespoons of apricot jam… the combination made for a lovely thick sauce. Thanks for this recipe!

  18. You will not get the results of the picture with a crockpot. I cooked according to directions- after 5 hours I drained the liquid from the crockpot. Bring to a boil and simmer 45-60 minutes. Take a cookie sheet lined with foil – take chicken out of the crock and brush half the cooked down mixture onto chicken. Cook on 375 for 20 minutes. Flip and brush othe half of mixture. Now you have truly sticky chicken- like the picture!

  19. If you would like a THICKER SAUCE then get 2 Tbsp water and 2 tsp corn starch. Remove the cooked chicken legs to a serving plate. Pour the sauce in a sauce pan and heat over medium-high heat. Remove garlic cloves. In a small bowl combine the corn starch and water and stir until the corn starch is dissolved. Stir the mixture into the sauce and whisk until the sauce has thickened.

  20. Can I make this dish in a pan about 3 inches deep and just cook it on low? if so, how long do you think it should cook? thanks! – Amy

  21. can I double the recipe? Or triple? I want to make these for a big group. They are so good. I have a standard size crockpot.

  22. It’s almost winter so it’s acceptable to use my crockpot 2 or 3 times a week right?

    Just fired this in and it smells delightful. Although I had chicken breasts on hand and not wings. Lovely looking recipe, first time I stumbled across this blog. Looks dynamite


  23. Based on the comments, I took the extra (easy) step of removing the drummers carefully and adding a cornstarch solution to the sauce to thicken in the crock during the last half hour. (Carefully again) I replaced the stix making sure all sides were coated. I snuck a taste of a falling-off-piece-that-is-owned-by-the-cook and oh, MY! am I looking forward to chowtime! Thanks for this tasty dish!

  24. I just made this – I followed the tips from earlier commenters about cooking the sauce for quite a while on the stove and cooking the chicken partway then removing the juices before adding the sauce. These are good tips, but the sauce still didn’t really thicken up or stick to the chicken, so I removed the drumsticks and used a little tapioca starch (cornstarch would work too) to thicken it. Then I added the chicken back in. It’s perfect and my kids LOVE it.

  25. I just added cornstarch to thicken the sauce and it thickened perfectly. Follow the directions on the cornstarch box.

  26. I found an adapted version of this recipe over that called for chicken wings, and when I came back to your post, I see that you used skinless legs instead. It also called for ground ginger, and I see that yours used fresh. I wasn’t crazy about the texture of the skin in the crockpot, and I much prefer fresh ginger, so I wish I would have seen your version first. The flavor was wonderful, though. It was a little sweet for my husband, but I really enjoyed it.

  27. A very delicious meal! One addition I made was to add about 2 tbsp of oyster sauce to the soup to give it a nice flavor. It was incredibly easy and well worth the wait. Thanks again!

  28. I saw this recipe last night and had all the ingredients to make it. My wife and I just enjoyed this beautiful meal.

    I hear what people are saying about the sauce, but slow cookers do not cook down liquids. If you desire a piece of chicken like in the picture, you must cook down the sauce in the first boil, because more liquid will actually be added from the chicken during the slow cook. You will know its done when you take out the spoon or the whisk and let the whisk cool and you see a candy apple like coating on it (this is called sticky chicken after all).

    From this point, the meat that is submerged will grow a sauce like bark on it as it cooks. I could not be home during the cooking so I made more sauce to ensure the drum meat was mostly submerged. Don’t worry about the bone part because the meat will shrink to the end that is submerged anyway.

    If you start cooking the rice after the 4 hours, it gives the remaining sauce in the cooker enough time to start to re-thicken. Ladling a couple tablespoons of sauce on the drumsticks will almost immediately solidify and you get that shiny chicken as in the pictures above. Plus it flavors the rice.

    I only go into this amount of detail because I almost didn’t make this meal because of some of the comments regarding the sauce. Sauces in a slow cooker have always been a problem for me. I’m glad I took the time to prep the sauce properly.

    I encourage you to give the reipe a shot. It was worth it for me.

    1. I agree! Definitely worth the try! The only thing I found was in order to get the sauce to thicken nicely was a decently high temperature. Other than that….PERFECT! Also, I did use chicken legs without the skin instead of thighs.

    2. Check this out. After reading the posts for this recipe, and hearing that the sauce was a bit too watery, I cooked the chicken for the first hour and a half or so without having added the sauce. I then used a basting bulb to suck out the water from the chicken that collected in the bottom of the cooker. Then I added the sauce and rolled the drum sticks around in it. After that, I cooked as directed. Then I let it sit in the “keep warm” setting for an extra half hour. The result was a nice, thick, gooey glaze. It was soooo good I scraped the bottom of the cooker and ate the remaining sauce like ice cream. Wow.

  29. The flavors in this recipe are great. I’ve made the original before. I’m disappointed in the crockpot version because my sauce was super watery and the chicken fell apart.

  30. Thank you so much for the recipe. I’m making this for my family tonig and hoping it turns out as well as yours. Just a question: how do you achieve the thicker glazed like sauce? I followed your instructions but as of now, the sauce is very watery and I have one hour left. I’m wondering if I should remove the sauce and reduce it some more. What do you think?

      1. Oh no, I wonder if it’s from not boiling it down enough first before adding to the crockpot? Maybe my time for that portion was off? Hopefully you still enjoyed it even if the sauce wasn’t to your desired consistency? Thanks for letting me know. ~heather

  31. They’re cooking right now, but it doesn’t seem like the sauce is thickening at all…..Do you have any pictures from your slow cooker recipe?

  32. I’m wondering if these would work on low for 6 hours as opposed to high for 4. I’d love to be able to throw them in before an early workday but I’m wondering if the sugar is at risk of burning.

    1. You could use the skinned if you wanted to, it will make the sauce greasier and it won’t be a crispy skin due to the crockpot, but if you like some skin, then you should go for it. 🙂 Let me know how it turns out.

      1. If you put crinkled aluminum at the bottom of the crockpot before putting chicken in it can keep the chicken crispy because the crinkled foil keeps the chicken from boiling in the sauce…

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  34. Exactly why I had to stay away from Pinterest for a while. It was too tempting and especially so whenever I was hungry…which happened to be whenever I pinned;)And now all I’ve been thinking of is this chicken since I saw it the other day…love it!

  35. I can’t wait to try this!!!! Like tonight. Do you think chicken breast would work well? Only because it’s what I have in freezer post vacation and I can’t even imagine a grocery trip…. I will report back!

    1. I had a Facebook follower who made it using chicken breast, but I haven’t heard the outcome. I’m sure it would work, it may be more like shredded chicken. Let me know how it goes.

  36. Gooood lawwwd girl, these drumsticks are perfection! Just the right amount of sweet and spicy, and plenty sticky, just how I like them! Plus, throwing anything in a slow-cooker and walking away is a winner in my book.

  37. These drumsticks look so yummy and delicious! I always, always buy chicken breast to cook, but last week tried a drumstick recipe and my family gobbled them up, so these babies are getting pinned & cooked soon for sure!

  38. You are a girl after my own heart. I would inhale these perfectly cooked drumstix! Great job taunting me just when I don’t have any dinner plans. What’s friends for?! 🙂

    1. 🙁 {kicking the dirt} I hope you still love me Gerry! 🙂 To say the chicken was falling off the bone would be an understatement. They were so juicy and….darn, now I want more too!

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