Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Drumsticks (Legs)
Easy slow cooker BBQ chicken drumsticks, homemade with simple ingredients. Super tender, fall off the bone chicken legs are crispy on top and coated in sticky barbecue sauce.
This is one of those classic recipes that’s great to share at a potluck or family party. It truly is a crowd pleaser and fills bellies better than treats and snacks (though I do love those, too). If you aren’t a fan of BBQ sauce or just want to try something new, but equally delicious, check out this recipe for Slow Cooker Drumsticks (Asian).
How to make slow cooker bbq chicken drumsticks recipe from scratch?
- Coat drumsticks– With prepared spice rub.
- Add- To greased crockpot.
- Mix in- BBQ sauce and garlic.
- Cover- And cook.
- Remove drumsticks- And place on a baking tray.
- Brush on- Remaining BBQ sauce over drumsticks.
- Broil– Until tops are crisp.
- Remove– From oven and serve immediately. Enjoy!
What to serve with sticky bbq chicken legs?
There are many possibilities to add to this meal, such as potatoes, casseroles, vegetables and salads, soup, or pasta.
Potatoes- Add a nice starch to the meal.
- Slow Cooker Twice Baked Potatoes
- Slow Cooker Ranch Potatoes
- Slow Cooker Baked Potatoes (In Foil)
- Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes
Casseroles- I suggest a nice, hearty vegetable casserole.
- Slow Cooker Yellow Squash Casserole
- Slow Cooker Cauliflower Casserole
- Slow Cooker Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole
- Slow Cooker Green Bean Casserole
Vegetables- You can use various green salads or baked vegetables to add a healthy side.
- Slow Cooker Creamy Brussels Sprouts
- Slow Cooker Creamed Corn
- Green salads
- Slow Cooker Garlic Mushrooms
- Slow Cooker Glazed Carrots
Soup- A nice warm veggie soup will compliment this chicken nicely.
- Slow Cooker Cream Of Broccoli Soup
- Slow Cooker Broccoli Cheddar Soup
- Slow Cooker Cabbage Soup
- Slow Cooker Carrot Soup
Pasta- Chicken and pasta are always a nice combo.
Are chicken legs and drumsticks the same?
No, although it’s used interchangeably these days. The difference is that a chicken leg includes the drumstick (lower part of leg) and the thigh, whereas drumsticks refer only to one part, the lower half of the leg, excluding the thigh.
Homemade BBQ spice rub
Combine all ingredients in a sealed container. You can save it add use it for another recipe!
- 1/4 cup Brown sugar
- 1/4 cup Paprika
- 1/2 tbsp Garlic powder
- 1/2 tbspChili powder
- 1/2 tbsp Onion powder
- 1/2 tbsp Salt
- 1/2 tbsp Pepper
- 1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper, optional
Homemade BBQ sauce
Mix all ingredients together in your crockpot and thicken with a cornstarch slurry.
- 1 cup BBQ sauce
- 2 tbsp Buffalo sauce
- 1 tsp Garlic powder
- 1 tsp Onion powder
- 1/2-1 tsp Liquid smoke, Adjust according to your preference
- 1 tsp Paprika
- Salt, To taste
- Pepper, To taste
Chicken drumsticks marinade
Simply place all the ingredients into a ziplock bag for 1 hour to a max of overnight.
- 2 tbsp BBQ spice rub
- 2.5 cups BBQ sauce, Divided
- 1 clove Garlic, Finely minced
- 3 pounds Chicken legs/ drumsticks, Skin intact
Variations for crispy baked/ grilled chicken drumsticks
Add other spices and herbs– Such as chili powder, Rosemary, Paprika, Sage, or Cumin for different flavors.
Make it spicy- Add or increase cayenne pepper to the spice rub, add in some hot sauce, or use some red chili flakes.
Dip it- These can be dipped in more BBQ sauce, some Ranch dressing, or your favorite dipping sauce.
Garnish tops- Add some flavor and eye appeal with some fresh Parsley, Cilantro, lemon zest, green onions, fennel seeds, or sautéed onions or garlic.
Fried drumsticks- Instead of using a crockpot or slow cooker, you can also fry them in vegetable oil or in your air fryer to cook. You won’t have to broil them, either.
Tips and techniques
Broiling step at end shouldn’t be skipped– Because it adds a lovely color, crispy top, and also makes the sauce sticky and caramelized. You can also crisp them up in the air fryer.
Make sure pan is heavily greased– To prevents chicken from sticking to the crockpot. It can be a real mess to clean otherwise!
Keep a close eye during broiling– You just want a light crisp to the chicken, but be careful, because it is easy to burn!
Don’t use skinless chicken– Because you will get dry chicken. The skin helps to keep in that moisture and make great tasting drumsticks.
Cut down prep time– By using pre-made or store-bought BBQ sauce and BBQ rub. Talk about easy!
Serve immediately- These are best served with a bit of crisp to them, otherwise they become a bit soggy.
Adjust amounts of spice/sauce- According to your personal preference.
Fridge- Tastes best when served immediately but leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 days and reheated in the microwave.
Freezer- Store in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Thaw, then reheat in the microwave.
More slow cooker chicken recipes-
- Slow Cooker Honey BBQ Wings
- Slow Cooker Garlic Parmesan Wings
- Slow Cooker Tandoori Chicken
- Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken
- Slow Cooker Asian Chicken (Shredded)
Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Drumsticks (Legs)
- Rub spice rub all over the drumsticks and until coated.
- Spread them in a greased crockpot (6.5 quart or larger).
- Add 2 cups of BBQ sauce and garlic into the slow cooker.
- Mix until chicken is fully coated.
- Cover and cook on Low heat for for about 5 hours or on High heat or 3-4 hours.
- Transfer chicken legs from crockpot to a baking tray, lined with foil and greased properly.
- Brush remaining BBQ sauce over the drumsticks.
- Broil in oven for about 5 minutes or until tops are starting to crisp slightly and sauce is looking sticky.
- Remove from oven and serve immediately with some more BBQ sauce, if you like. Enjoy!
- Read all my tips above.
- Tastes best when served immediately but leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 days and reheated in the microwave.