15 Chicken Drumstick Recipes That Are Way Better Than Wings

Step aside, chicken wings.

air fryer bbq chicken drumsticks
Joel Goldberg

Chicken wings tend to steal the spotlight from chicken drumsticks, but here at Delish, we think it's time that drumsticks get the attention they deserve. Chicken drumsticks are often a cheaper alternative to wings, with a lot more meat than their winged counterparts. They even taste just as tender and meaty in our recipes for Buffalo chicken drumsticks and air-fryer BBQ chicken drumsticks, and will impress everyone on game day.

What is a chicken drumstick, anyway? Drumsticks are located in the lower part of the chicken leg, which consists of the chicken thigh and drumstick; try our maple mustard chicken legs, and you'll get both! If you've ever made a whole roasted chicken before, you've likely realized just how delicious drumsticks can be (and maybe even fought over them). Thankfully, you don't have to fight over them when you make a batch of our sticky grilled chicken, Crock Pot chicken drumsticks, and air-fryer drumsticks.

Drumsticks are a classic cut for so many classic regional dishes too. They add tons of richness and meatiness to jerk chicken, five-spice roast chicken, and chicken adobo. Thai khao soi stars chicken drumsticks in the rich, savory coconut-milk based noodle soup that's sure to become a weeknight staple.

Hungry for more chicken recipes? Try all our favorite chicken breast recipes, marinated chicken recipes, and chicken pasta recipes. Got leftovers? We've got tons of ways to use up shredded chicken and rotisserie chicken that will make meal prepping for the week a total breeze.

crock pot chicken drumsticks
Parker feierbach
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Crock-Pot Chicken Drumsticks

These chicken drumsticks are the perfect game-day treat. They're super tender and crazy flavorful with a gingery, garlicky glaze. Broiling is an optional step, but it really takes them to a whole other level. Fall-apart meat and crispy skin? Sign us up!

Get the Crock-Pot Chicken Drumsticks recipe.

air fryer bbq chicken drumsticks
Erik bernstein
2 of 15
Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Drumsticks

The key to that tasty BBQ flavor lies in both the sauce and the technique of glazing the drumsticks. Returning them to the air fryer sets the glaze to finger-licking stickiness (a GREAT thing in our book). If you already have a favorite brand of BBQ sauce, streamline the recipe and use 1 cup of that instead of our homemade version.

Get the Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Drumsticks recipe.

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Buffalo Drumsticks

Try something a bit different for your next tailgate: Buffalo drumsticks. The perfect game day snack for mega fans, these tender drumsticks will be a repeat favorite.

Get the Buffalo Drumsticks recipe.

air fryer drumstick
Erik bernstein
4 of 15
Air-Fryer Drumsticks

This dish is loosely inspired by two Chinese dishes: fragrant, umami-filled Cantonese soy sauce chicken and Coca-Cola wings. Instead of the traditional method of poaching, we get the soy-marinated chicken slightly crispy and perfectly tender in the air fryer. Then we will use the reserved marinade, along with some Coke, to make a sticky, sweetish sauce, perfect for serving with some cooked white rice or garlicky broccoli rabe.

Get the Air-Fryer Drumsticks recipe.

baked chicken drumsticks
Parker feierbach
5 of 15
Baked Chicken Drumsticks

The only time we really think about eating chicken drumsticks is when we roast a whole chicken. We forget to cook them on their own sometimes, but with this simple baked recipe, we're about to start! After a quick marinade, these drumsticks bake in the oven in no time and stay extremely tender and juicy. The high heat helps the skin get nice and crispy for a perfectly cooked drumstick that only takes about 20 minutes to bake.

Get the Baked Chicken Drumsticks recipe.

bbq grilled chicken
Ethan calabrese
6 of 15
BBQ Grilled Chicken

Let’s be honest: Grilled chicken may not seem like the most exciting meat out there, but it’s affordable, crowd-pleasing, and a snap to cook. So why not skip the burgers at your next BBQ and try this super-easy recipe instead? You won’t want to sleep on the sauce, which is a classic BBQ jazzed up with honey and lime. It's so flavorful, the chicken really doesn't need a marinade—which means you get to eat it way sooner.

Get the BBQ Grilled Chicken recipe.

sticky grilled chicken
Ethan calabrese
7 of 15
Sticky Grilled Chicken

This sticky sauce is the perfect balance to sweet, salty, and tangy, and it caramelizes beautifully. It's the perfect thing to serve along fresh grilled veggies too!

Get the Sticky Grilled Chicken recipe.

chicken adobo
Parker feierbach
8 of 15
Chicken Adobo

This classic Filipino dish is one of our favorite weeknight meals. It's juicy, savory, and a bit bright from tangy vinegar, and goes great with fried rice.

Get the Chicken Adobo recipe.

khao soi
Joel Goldberg
9 of 15
Khao Soi

Thai khao soi is a delicious (traditionally yellow egg) noodle soup made with chicken. Chiang Mai is one of the cities that celebrates this dish from every corner; everyone there says they make the best khao soi. Their style was created when Chinese Muslims migrated to the north and introduced khao soi with coconut milk and spices.

Get the Khao Soi recipe.

jerk chicken
Ethan calabrese
10 of 15
Jerk Chicken

No time to make it to the Caribbean? We've got you covered. This recipe gets its sweetness from cinnamon and allspice and its spiciness from jalapeño and a whole bunch of green onions. Two hours of marinating in this special blend makes for a perfect bite of tender grilled chicken.

Get the Jerk Chicken recipe.

maple mustard chicken legs
Parker feirbach
11 of 15
Maple-Mustard Chicken Legs

A roasted chicken is one of our most perfect meals, but most of the time, we don't have the solid 2 hours it takes to roast one. These baked chicken leg quarters are the perfect compromise and mean you get both the chicken thigh and drumsticks. Glazed with mustard, maple syrup, and herbs and then roasted on top of potatoes and carrots, this dish makes for an award-winning dinner.

Get the Maple-Mustard Chicken Legs recipe.

everything is optional chicken noodle soup
June xie
12 of 15
Everything Is Optional Chicken Noodle Soup

Anything goes in this "Everything Is Optional" chicken noodle soup recipe! All you need is to fill in the blanks of this formula (broth, vegetables, chicken, and aromatics) with your favorite ingredients, or simply with whatever you currently have on hand—no additional shopping trip required!

Get the Everything Is Optional Chicken Noodle Soup recipe.

five spice roast chicken
June xie
13 of 15
Five-Spice Roast Chicken

Cinnamon is the true star in this dish and a classic in Chinese-style five-spice mixes (and in our braised pork belly recipe!). Paired with spiced rice and roast veggies that absorb all of that flavorful pan juice, this roast chicken makes for a pretty hearty dinner.

Get the Five-Spice Roast Chicken recipe.

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Dr Pepper Chicken

Call the doctor because we are in love with these sweet and savory chicken drumsticks. Take these to your next party and watch them magically disappear.

Get the Dr Pepper Chicken recipe.

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BBQ Bacon Chicken Drumsticks

This one is for the people who can't resist a savory-sweet combination. (AKA everyone.) Bacon + brown sugar = a match made in flavor heaven.

Get the BBQ Bacon Chicken Drumsticks recipe.

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