Honey Balsamic Drumsticks

CATEGORIES: Oven Baked, Poultry

Honey Balsamic Drumstick IntroI buy a lot of rotisserie chickens from Costco.  Like, I never have them on my list, and I never really need them for anything, I purely just like to buy them to eat like a carnivorous madman.  Clearly I’ve rubbed off on my children who ravage though the groceries the moment I get home and upon discovering the chicken, immediately start fighting over who gets the drumstick.  Because we all want the drumsticks.  I remember as a kid always fighting with my siblings over who got the coveted drumstick from the bucket of fried chicken so it’s not surprising to me that my kids have somehow discovered the value of the prized piece.  One night after a particularly heated chicken battle, I decided to just make a whole stinking pan of drumsticks for dinner.  You should have seen the looks on my kids’ faces when they saw that they were ALL DRUMSTICKS.  It’s now their favorite meal so I’ve come up with about 402 ways to prepare them.  This is one of our favorites lately!

Now, there are different sizes of drumsticks.  This recipe is for about 2 – 2 1/2 pounds, and for best results, look for the ones that are about 3-4 inches long and give you 5-6 drumsticks per pound or so.  They’re on the smaller side, but not tiny like chicken-wing-size.  I don’t really like the giant, meaty ones here.  You could also use boneless, skinless chicken thighs.  Don’t use boneless skinless breasts or tenderloins.  It will hurt my recipe’s feelings.

Chicken Drumsticks

Start by rinsing the chicken in cold water and patting dry with paper towels.  If there is any excess fat hanging off, use a pair of sharp kitchen shears to snip it off, but don’t remove all of the skin. That layer is what holds everything to the bone and they’ll fall apart without it.  I trim it down about 1/3 of the way from the top, if it needs trimming.  I didn’t trim these ones in the photo at all because they were very well trimmed.

Whisk up a quick spice rub of kosher salt, black pepper, onion powder and paprika.

Honey Balsamic Seasoning Mix

Give the drumsticks a little drizzle of olive oil and then sprinkle with the spice mix.

Seasoned Drumsticks

Use your hands (c’mon, be brave) to rub it all in and coat all of the pieces.  While you’re doing this, have a large dutch oven heating up on the stove.

Seasoned Drumsticks prebaked

Drizzle in a little more oil and place your chicken in to sear for a few minutes on each side.

Browning Drumsticks

While chicken is searing, mix up the quick sauce.  The chicken will cook in this sauce and soak up a lot of the flavor, and then we’ll thicken it up for the glaze at the end.  Start with a big drizzle of honey,


Add a splash of balsamic vinegar,

Balsamic in Honey

a squeeze of ketchup, and several cloves of fresh garlic.

Honey Balsamic Sauce

Whisk it up and pour it over the chicken.  Use a rubber spatula, or a good set of tongs, to toss the chicken around in the sauce, making sure each piece gets coated.  Place a lid on the pan and pop it in a 350 degree oven.

Browning drumsticks with sauce

The chicken will cook in that sauce and stay super moist and flavorful.  When it’s done, carefully remove the drumsticks (they might be falling off the bone) and cover them with foil to keep warm.

Broiled Drumbstics

Put your pan on the stove top and bring that sauce to a simmer.  You just want to reduce it to a nice glaze-y consistency.  It only takes about 5 minutes and you’ll see it thicken up so you can scrape the bottom of the pan like this and it almost has the consistency of a thin BBQ sauce:

Simmering Sauce

Toss that chicken back in and get it all coated in the sweet, sticky glaze.

Glazed Drumsticks

You can put them on a platter and drizzle all of the extra glaze right over the top or serve them right out of the pan.

Honey Balsamic Glazed Chicken

We love it with rice so it can sop up the sauce, but it’s great as a lean meal just over veggies.  It’s a terrific week night dinner and nice enough to serve to guests (if they’re the kind of guests that don’t mind getting their hands dirty.)

Honey Balsamic Drumsticks

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Honey Balsamic Drumsticks


These Honey Balsamic Drumsticks are a fantastic quick-and-easy dinner idea that everyone will love!


For the drumsticks

  • 22 1/2 lbs chicken drumsticks (1012 drumsticks)
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon onion powder

For the sauce

  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 2 tablespoons water


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Rinse chicken, pat dry. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil, toss to coat. Add seasoning mixture and use hands to massage into all pieces.
  3. Heat large dutch oven (or heavy oven-proof skillet with an oven proof lid) to medium heat. When hot add 2 teaspoons olive oil and use a brush to make sure it’s distributed over the entire surface of pan. Brown chicken 2 minutes per side (in batches if necessary.)
  4. While chicken is searing, whisk sauce ingredients together and add to pan. Gently toss chicken to coat. Cover pan and bake for 20 minutes, flip chicken pieces and baste with sauce and return to oven for 20 minutes more. Remove chicken from pot and cover to keep warm.
  5. Bring sauce to a boil and simmer for 4-5 minutes until thick and glaz-y. Return chicken to pan and gently toss in glaze. Let sit for a few minutes before serving, so glaze will thicken and chicken won’t burn your mouth!


*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.




  1. This may sound super weird and may be just a crazy phenomenon whenever I make drumsticks, but when I sear them on the stove or put them in the oven, the top part always “bleeds”, you know what I mean? Then there’s like creepy red congealy stuff coming out of the bony end of my drumsticks. Is that normal? How do yours not do that?

    ….Are my drumsticks haunted?

  2. I was so excited that I already had all of the ingredients for these at home! I made them today and we LOVED them! You were right, the chicken was so moist it was practically falling off the bone. Loved the little extra sauce over rice, too.

    1. I always rinse my meat. Drumbsticks and thighs in particular tend to have a sticky (sometimes stinky) residue straight out of the package. Rinsing removes that, and also preps them well for their drizzle of oil and sprinkle of seasoning.

  3. FYI: You forgot to include the oven temperature in this recipe printable. I only noticed because I wanted to print it and try it out. It looks and sounds amazing!

  4. I don’t have a dutch oven, and it seems like a good one is pretty pricey. What size would you recommend getting that would be the most versatile? Do you think the ceramic glazed ones are the way to go?

    This looks delicious, btw 🙂 I might just pop it in the slow cooker!

    1. Honestly, you can find great quality ones for $50-$75 (which I know, is still pricey, but really reasonable compared to the name-brand ones.) Check Amazon, or Costco- I’ve bought them there before! As for size, I’d go for at least 6 quarts.

  5. This glaze looks really yummy and my family loves drumsticks! How did you get char marks on your chicken after just pan searing and baking in a covered pot? Did you broil or grill the chicken at some point?

    1. Oh I was going to mention that! Totally unnecessary (I just think they look prettier, and are more photogenic that way, and I love a little char 😉 So when the sauce was thickening, I just popped them under the broiler for a minute.

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