This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Drumsticks are tender and juicy, and they’re practically hands-off. Slow cook in the crockpot, add some BBQ sauce and crisp the skin under the broiler for the perfect finishing touch.

bbq chicken drumsticks on a white platter with minced parsley

With this super easy BBQ chicken drumsticks recipe, I know I’ve got a winning crock pot dinner that will please even my pickiest eaters. I love serving them with delicious comfort food like Scalloped Corn Casserole or Hasselback Potatoes. My favorite simple veggies round out this kid friendly meal.

Ingredients and Substitutions

The ingredients for my crockpot chicken legs recipe are super simple, and you likely have all the spices in your pantry already. I use my simple Chicken Seasoning to add flavor to the chicken and skin, then drench them in BBQ sauce.

Seasoning: You can use any seasoning you like; you don’t have to use mine just because it’s my favorite. Sometimes just simple salt and pepper will do that trick. Whatever you use, make sure it compliments your sauce choice.

chicken drumsticks in a slow cooker with seasoning

BBQ Sauce: I definitely have my favorites here but you can choose any flavor you like. I prefer something that’s both sweet and spicy or sweet and smoky, like Sweet Baby Rays.

How to Make BBQ Chicken Drumsticks

Pat chicken dry. One of the most important things to remember when cooking chicken, whether in the slow cooker, oven or grill, is to make sure they are dry. You don’t want any added moisture or the skin will just be soggy. You should also trim any skin that’s hanging off or extra thick.

Season. Arrange the chicken legs in your crockpot, then rub the spice blend all over the drumsticks, even under the skin if you want.

BBQ sauce ’em. Brush your favorite sauce on the chicken drumsticks.

drumsticks in a slow cooker with bbq sauce

Slow cook the BBQ Chicken Drumsticks. Cover the crockpot and cook until the internal temperature reaches about at least 160-165 degrees. If you are planning to broil, you can transfer them when they reach 155 degrees.

Optional broiler step. Even though it’s optional, I highly recommend broiling your drumsticks. Line a sheet pan with foil and arrange the chicken on it. Place the pan under the broiler until the skin is nice and crispy, but watch closely do it doesn’t burn. The skin gets crispy, the insides stay juicy and the bbq sauce gets all caramelized and sticky – it’s so so delicious!

sheet pan with foil, chicken drumsticks with bbq sauce

Expert Tips and FAQs

  • Resist the urge to peek – keep the lid on so the heat stays inside the cooker.
  • You can choose to leave the skin off or remove it before cooking. Broiling the chicken skin side up will help it get crispy. If you remove the skin, you can skip the broiling.
How long do chicken drumsticks take in the slow cooker?

It takes about 3-4 hours on high heat and 5-6 hours on low heat for chicken drumsticks to cook in a slow cooker. Use an instant-read meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. It should read at least 160 degrees, or 155 if you’re going to broil them. Depending on your particular slow cooker, the time could vary slightly.

Can you use frozen chicken in the slow cooker?

For safety purposes, I don’t recommend cooking frozen drumsticks in a slow cooker. However, as long as the internal temperature reaches 165℉ during the cooking process, it is a safe practice.

How to Reheat BBQ Chicken Legs

The easiest way to reheat chicken drumsticks is in the microwave. You do have to be careful because the microwave heats from the inside out and the bone will be incredibly hot.

If time permits, turn on your oven to 400 degrees and place the drumsticks on a foil-lined sheet pan. Brush on just a little bit of BBQ sauce to keep them from drying out, and bake for 10 minutes, then broil for 2 minutes. This should return your chicken to its former glory.

slow cooker with bbq sauced chicken legs

Serving Suggestions

There are tons of side dish options that will go great with BBQ Chicken Drumsticks. Some are light and healthy, and some will definitely satisfy your comfort food cravings!

How to Store Leftovers

Place leftovers in a container and store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave or in the oven using the method described above. Or store them in a freezer bag for up to 3 months.

chicken legs with bbq sauce on a white plate

More Delicious Chicken Recipes


Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Drumsticks

4.78 from 40 votes
BBQ Chicken Drumsticks are tender and juicy and practically hands off in your slow cooker. Crisp under the broiler for the finishing touch.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 13 minutes
Servings 6 servings


  • 3 pounds chicken drumsticks skinless or skin-on
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups BBQ sauce divided
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
Save this recipe
Get this sent to your inbox, plus get new recipes from us every week!


  • Pat chicken drumsticks dry with paper towels. Trim excess skin (remove the skin if you like).
  • In a small bowl, combine seasoning mix.
  • Arrange chicken in a 6-quart slow cooker. Sprinkle seasoning over the drumsticks, tossing to coat. Brush 1 cup BBQ sauce onto the chicken.
  • Cover and cook on low heat for 5-6 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Chicken is cooked through when the internal temperature reaches 160-165 degrees F.
  • Optional step: Turn the broiler on in your oven and place the oven rack in the top third of your oven. Line a large baking sheet with nonstick foil and arrange chicken skin side up on the baking sheet. Brush with more BBQ sauce and broil until the skin begins to brown and crisp up; about 3-5 (5-8) minutes.
  • Garnish with green onion if desired just before serving.


Feel free to use your favorite bbq sauce. I am partial to Sweet Baby Rays.
Keyword bbq chicken drumsticks, slow cooker drumsticks


Calories: 410kcalCarbohydrates: 40gProtein: 28gFat: 15gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 140mgSodium: 1526mgPotassium: 581mgFiber: 1gSugar: 32gVitamin A: 449IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 51mgIron: 2mg

Nutritional Disclaimer Kristin Maxwell of “Yellow Bliss Road” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. For accurate calorie counts and other nutritional values, we recommend running the ingredients through your preferred online nutritional calculator. Calories and other nutritional values can vary depending on which brands were used.

Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

Free Email Series
5 Secrets to Dinnertime Sanity
Free email series with tested, tasted & terrific dinner recipes!

You Might Also Like

4.78 from 40 votes (38 ratings without comment)

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. Pam says:

    In the crockpot now.

  2. Marian says:

    I made this tonite & family loved it! Used Butt Rub & bbq sauce & cooked for 5-1/2 hours on low & served! Very quick , delicious & easy!

    1. Kristin says:

      Nice! Thanks for stopping by Marian.

  3. Mary Pidgeon says:

    Making these tonight for dinner. I’m going to 1/2 the seasoning since its just my husband and myself. I’ll come back and give a star rating and new comments. Thanks for sharing this recipe. 😁

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      Hi Mary, I hope you enjoyed them!

  4. Julie Zakahi says:

    Making these tonight! Sounds very good

    1. Kristin says:

      Nice! Thanks for stopping by Julie.

  5. Deborah says:

    Made these the other night. They were great. Loved the bbq sauce, so easy too. Will definitely make again! Thanks, Kristin.

    1. Kristin says:

      You are so welcome Deborah! Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Mauna Bradford says:

    I always thought that in order to cook in the crockpot, we needed a liquid. Im reading that is not the case here? I’m excited to try this recipe!

    1. Kristin says:

      Thanks for stopping by Mauna!