Sweet ‘n Sticky Baked Chicken Drumsticks

sweet sticky chicken drumsticks

Crispy on the outside, tender and moist on the inside, these chicken drumsticks were deeee-licious and ready for devouring in under an hour.

First, I marinated the chicken in a mixture of balsamic vinegar, honey, brown sugar, soy sauce and minced garlic, which gave a nice balance of sweetness and saltiness. Then, onto a cooling rack they went, which went on top of a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil for easy clean-up.

The leftover marinade was then simmered in a small pot, slathered over the drumsticks, and baked for 10 more minutes at 450° until the chicken was fully cooked.

Though I can’t say I’ll be firing up my oven to such scorching temps this summer, I will be experimenting with our grill plenty!

Hopefully then, I can come up with a recipe as finger lickin’ good as these tasty and tender chicken drumsticks.

Sweet ‘n Sticky Baked Chicken Drumsticks

Sweet ‘n Sticky Baked Chicken Drumsticks

Yield: 12 chicken drumsticks


  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 12 chicken drumsticks
  • 2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


  1. Combine the balsamic vinegar, honey, brown sugar, soy sauce and garlic cloves in a large resealable bag. Add the chicken to the bag and seal. Marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
  2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Top with a cooling rack. Remove the chicken from the bag, reserving the marinade, and arrange the drumsticks on the cooling rack. Bake until the skin is caramelized and dark in spots, about 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, place the leftover marinade in a small saucepan, uncovered. Bring the marinade to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook over low heat until thick, about 15 minutes. Use a pastry brush to brush the cooked marinade on the chicken.  Return to the oven for 10 more minutes.
  4. Place the chicken on a serving platter and sprinkle with the sesame seeds and the chopped parsley.
  5. Enjoy!

Did you make this recipe?

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Join the Conversation

  1. Love this! And I totally understand the problem of an old apartment oven! But thankfully I live in Florida where we can grill year round! They look delicious though! Love the photo as always!

  2. I’m making some of these for my drumstick lovin’ daughter. And I’ll make some wings for me!

  3. I shouldn’t have looked at this post on an empty stomach, yummmm!

  4. Wow, thanks for stopping by my site so i could find yours. Fabulous! Let’s keep in touch!

  5. They look fabulous! Beautiful colours and now my mouth is watering…

  6. Hey Georgia! I was just thinking about how I hadn’t seen a post of yours in a while so I came directly to your site. … I don’t think it’s showing up in my google reader anymore. Do you know if anyone else is having that problem or am I just really dense?

  7. Those chicken thighs look gorgeous with that beautifully shiny golden brown and crispy look!

  8. I’m definitely making these…probably replacing the thighs with breasts, but I still think they’ll be fabulous!!! THANKS!

  9. WOW! I was looking for something to go with the chicken wings for the super bowl. I bookmark this recipe. Thanks!

  10. Roxan – Re-subscribe to the reader through this link: http://feeds.feedburner.com/thecomfortofcooking/FWvg. I’ve mentioned this on the Facebook fan page a few times, but I have been thinking about putting up a notification here. Sorry for the inconvenience! This change had to be made once I switched over to a domain name from Blogger. Let me know if you have any problems. Thanks!

  11. Looks delicious. This would be a fun take on a game day favorite.

  12. Wow – they look so delicious! I am sure I would eat way too many of them.

  13. These look amazing!! Makes me think of summer :)

  14. Wow, you totally read my mind with this dish – I was thinking of making something very similar on Sunday. Thank you! :)

  15. Delish and gorgeous, you are really excelling at your photgraphy these days…I am in love with the honey shot…are you like me taking the picture while also doing the action! ha

    Lovely recipe, really tasty I bet.

  16. Oh they look delightful and sticky and sinful. My kids would gobble these up. I’ll definitely have to make these for the superbowl!

    Lots of yummy love,
    Alex aka Ma What’s For Dinner

  17. you have SUCH a beautiful blog. We’re launching a new design soon ourselves so I’m extra attuned to style right now. I’m adding you to our link list. Stunning!

  18. Thank you so much, Mary Anne and Mariel!

  19. They look amazing! My husband doesn’t like drumsticks but the kids and I do. I think I could change his mind with this recipe.

  20. Oh Georgia these sound fabulous! I love drumsticks and the marinade looks absolutely like the perfect amount! I can’t wait to try these!

  21. My mom used to make the best sticky drumbsticks! These look so similar!

  22. Great football food!

  23. Mmmm…finger licking good! These look fantastic Georgia! I love chicken legs and so do the kids. I will have to try your recipe. Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

  24. wow such a yummmy recipe, i must try it

  25. Perfection! Thank you for a wonderful recipe. I have just printed it and will be making it for dinner this evening. I will however replace the legs with thighs.
    :-) Mandy

  26. Oh, Georgia…you have done it once again! That chicken looks incredible. I know the flavors are amazing and the crispy skin…I can almost taste it!!

  27. I have been meaning to try something like this for months! I love balsamic vinegar in my marinades. My stove is an apartment clunker too…so frustrating! The temps are all out of whack and it slopes inward, so I tilt my burners to compensate…lol. I will have to give this a try!

  28. Three words: om nom nom

  29. Way to go, oven! haha. These look fabulous!

  30. Crispy outside, tender and moist inside… U are talking my language! This look delicious and the pics are scrumptious!

  31. All these amazing chicken recipes you are posting are bursting with vibrant flavor I am sure! Georgia, you make chicken look unbelievable in all your photos. Glad to hear your oven cooperated ;)

  32. I hate to introduce myself with a cliche – but, a picture really does say a thousand words and this sticky chicken is just begging to be eaten. My gosh, absolutely gorgeous! I have subscribed, and will be getting your posts in my mail box and look forward to getting to know you and your food, better! My daughter is living in Palo Alto – so not so far away from you!

  33. Oh Wow, these sweet ‘n sticky drumsticks look so delicious! I’m going to try your recipe, my kids will love it! :)
    Beautiful blog you have and thank you so much for visiting my blog and leaving a sweet comment! :)

  34. These look so good- drumsticks are my favorite part! That marinade sounds delicious, and a hot oven is welcome in this cold weather! :)

  35. these look amazing and delicious!
    totally making these for dinner!

  36. I absolutely love sweet and sticky things! Just as much as I love Sweet and sour things! Definately trying :)

  37. These look so good! So glad your oven pulled through! I’m definitely going to be trying this out soon!

  38. this is one of my favorite !! yummy

  39. These look absolutely amazing, Georgia. If I could eat them off my screen, I would in a heartbeat. And the way you described them literally made my mouth water. I can’t wait to give this recipe a shot!

  40. They look so delicious! I’m planning to make them someday… :)

  41. Me and my boyfriend made this last night… THEY ARE BEYOND DELICIOUS! Thnaks for the recipe. I’m having the left overs for lunch while he’s gone.. :)

  42. you had me at sweet and sticky. awesome!!!!

  43. I have some lovely drummies in the fridge for dinner tonight and came across this recipe on Foodgawker….sounds delicious! Thank you for sharing :)

  44. Amazing! Turned out perfect. Extremely juicy and flavorful. My girlfriend and I both love a little spice in our food so we added 2 tablespoons of Sriracha to the marinade. The spice really complimented the delicious sweetness of this dish. 5 stars!

  45. can I use a broil pan instead?

  46. You can use whatever pan you like, but I would recommend lining it with aluminum foil first and not broiling the drumsticks at a higher temperature than called for.

  47. Nothing can beat Chicken Pahadi , google this dish its amazing….

  48. Looks delicious! I will definitely try to make these!

  49. 5 stars
    Trying these out tonight! Looks amazing!

  50. 5 stars
    I made these tonight and they were a big hit! Everyone loved them and wanted more. Thanks for the great recipe!

  51. Is it recommended to let it marinate the night before? Or should it only be two hours as indicated?

  52. Sure, you can marinate it overnight. Two hours is just the minimum time I recommend to marinade, for best results.

  53. 5 stars
    Yum yum yum… These are really really good. I did almost set off the smoke detectors though with the burning sugar. Maybe my 450 degrees oven is too hot. I just kept turning it down until the smoke bomb decreased. Thankfully it was a beautiful day (one of the firsts in this part of Canada) so I opened all the windows :) I will make these drumsticks again!!

  54. Can these be made on the grill

  55. 5 stars
    Because of the high sugar content in the marinade, these drumsticks would likely become very burnt if grilled. I would recommend baking as directed. However, I have many other grilled chicken recipes that you might be interested in!

  56. 5 stars
    These are now my favorite new Superbowl food. My family likes them more than any other chicken I have made before. Really delicious!!! I made these in my Nuwave fan bake oven. Much easier than in the oven. Sauce took a long time to simmer down to sticky, so I added some corn starch to speed it up. I baked them just like you said, but for the addition of the sticky sauce, I did it in two stages and turned the legs to get both sides brushed. Sticky sauce was amazing. Way better than chicken wings!!!!! Thanks so much for the recipe!

  57. 5 stars
    Family loved it!

  58. 5 stars
    Making these for dinner. Just by looking at the ingredients I know they are going to be so yummy sticky good. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  59. 5 stars
    One word..Delicious!!! My family loved it. Have anyone tried to use chicken thighs?

  60. Justin Morehouse says:

    5 stars
    I added 2 tablespoons of sriracha sauce for my own twist and holy cheese and crackers that was the tastiest chicken drumsticks I’ve ever made! Thanks for the recipe – I’ll deffinitly make it again! =)

  61. 5 stars
    This is such a perfect recipe! Easily thrown together on a weekday with ingredients every kitchen should have!! The final glaze takes these drumsticks to absolute flavor town. YES!!

  62. I followed these directions to a T and my sauce didn’t even think about thickening. Any ideas?

  63. Sorry for the trouble! I believe that you followed the recipe exactly, so the sauce should have thickened fine. But if it doesn’t, I like to whisk in a slurry (1 tsp. cornstarch + 1 tsp. water, mixed) to the stovetop sauce. I hope they still turned out delicious for you.

  64. Steve davis says:

    5 stars
    Made these for us tonight,..super sticky fun stuff and yummy.

  65. 5 stars
    I’m starting the marinade right now for tonight. I can hardly wait to try them! Thank you

  66. I don’t have any balsamic vinegar can I use or substitute for anything else? Or leave out all together?

  67. Hi Lili – I would suggest using balsamic vinegar, but you can also use a 1:1 combination of red wine vinegar and maple syrup.

  68. 5 stars
    These were so tasty and I used the extra reduction on the Brussel sprout side. It was a big hit.

  69. OOOOO My! The only issue I have is that the sauce cooked down in the oven too much because I put it in the oven with frozen drumsticks and periodically rotated them with tongs as they cooked, at least too much to have as much of it as I wanted. I’ll have to make sure I double it at least next time. We had them with rice and sautéed peppers and onions. The sauce was amazing drizzled over the top. I would imagine this sauce is amazing on pork or meatballs, and many other things. Yum! Totally saving this. Thanks so much. :)

  70. Great! I boiled the marinade (full rolling boil for 30 minutes ) and scraped the foam off the top. It was nice and thick like pancake syrup. Instead of garnishing with parsley , I used fresh limes to round out the flavors. Thank you for the fantastic recipe!

  71. Totally love these but just can’t quite get the marinade to thicken

  72. I made these last night for dinner. They were incredible. They tasted as good as they looked. I don’t usually post comments but I had to on this one.

  73. As so many have attested to this recipe before me, I must wholeheartedly agree, O. M. G! So good, so easy, so tasty!! I’m really glad I made a huge batch because we LOVE the flavor on these chicken legs. Yes, I made drums and thighs. Thank you for sharing this recipe with plenty of details to make if completely foolproof. After 20 years of making dinner for us, he said to be sure to keep this recipe in rotation. That’s a rave!

  74. First time I cooked this. Came out very tasty and tender.
    Cooked marinade more than 15 minutes but never got thick??

  75. Is it safe to use the marinade the chicken was in? Normally recipes days to throw out marinade used with meat…

  76. Hi! Is it ok to just use the honey and other ingredients and leave out the sugar?

  77. I definitely think this recipe has potential. Followed it exactly as written. The only change I made was marinating overnight. The taste of the vinegar in the marinade was really overpowering for me despite all the honey and sugar. I think next time I will have to add more sweetness just to make it a bit more balanced. Or maybe less vinegar? Also the sauce did not thicken after 30 minutes on the stove-top, had to add corn starch to thicken. The taste was a bit off for me. I’ll try again and adjust the vinegar and honey/sugar ratio. Maybe even add an extra garlic clove.

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