Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Drumsticks are tender and juicy, and they’re practically hands-off. Add some BBQ sauce and crisp the skin under the broiler for the perfect finishing touch.
With this easy BBQ chicken drumsticks recipe, I know I’ve got a winning dinner that will please even my pickiest eaters. I love serving them with delicious comfort food like Creamy Scalloped Corn Casserole or Hasselback Potatoes. My favorite simple veggies round out the meal.
Ingredients and Substitutions
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.
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. 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.
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!
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.
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.
How to Reheat BBQ Chicken Drumsticks
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.
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!
- Bread is always a welcome side dish and helps to bulk up a lighter meal. Try Homemade Parker House Rolls, Cheesy Garlic Bread, or Beer Bread.
- Go the carb route with some Easy Baked Potato Wedges or Baked Macaroni and Cheese.
- Or do the opposite, and go low carb with my One Pan Cauliflower Mac and Cheese.
- Roasted vegetables are always a hit, like Easy Oven Roasted Vegetables or a Roasted Brussels Sprouts Salad.
- If your family is anything like mine, they are always asking for a salad. Try something different with a Panzanella Salad or a Fresh Corn Salad.
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.
More Delicious Chicken Recipes
Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Drumsticks
- 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
- 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.