Did you know you can make juicy and tender – but still crispy – chicken drumsticks in the crockpot? This well-tested recipe for slow cooker chicken drumsticks (chicken legs) is a super easy chicken dinner that’s made with just a few simple ingredients, and features a sweet and tangy homemade honey mustard sauce.
Serve these with your favorite sides for a delicious meal that’s perfect for any occasion – whether it’s a weeknight dinner or a fancier event. My official taste tester, my husband Matt, LOVES this recipe – it’s a staple in our house for sure.
Crockpot Drumsticks with Honey Mustard Sauce
As a registered dietitian and busy mom, I am all about crockpot chicken meals (as you can probably tell by all the slow cooker chicken recipes on my blog)!
In fact, using a slow cooker is one of my favorite ways to cook chicken, because it’s so simple and delicious. Some of my favorite easy slow cooker meal ideas include this slow cooker chicken cacciatore, crockpot honey lemon chicken, or these slow cooker BBQ chicken thighs.
I wanted to share a recipe featuring chicken drumsticks specifically, because they’re slightly different to cook than chicken breasts or thighs – but they can be just as tasty.
This slow cooker chicken drumstick recipe yields the most tender, fall-off of the bone chicken. It pairs deliciously with the subtly sweet honey mustard sauce!
The skin gets nice and crispy from a quick broil at the end, too (or you can skip that step for simplicity – you do you).
The whole family will love this chicken drumstick dinner recipe – I know ours does! Plus, it makes the whole house smell amazing. Serve over a bed of brown rice or steamed potatoes, alongside your favorite roasted vegetables or side salad.
Don’t forget to top off these slow cooker chicken legs with an extra drizzle of the honey mustard sauce for a drool-worthy flavor boost!
For another easy slow cooker chicken meal, try these crockpot chicken enchiladas!
Here’s what you’ll need to make these easy chicken drumsticks:
- chicken drumsticks (Also known as chicken legs. If you prefer, you can use chicken thighs – skin-on with bones – instead of drumsticks. In general, chicken with bones yields juicer, more flavorful results, and the skin is essential for crisping up under the broiler.)
- butter (or coconut oil if dairy free)
- dijon mustard
- whole grain mustard
- fresh thyme (optional, but a yummy flavor addition)
- salt & pepper
And of course, any sides you want to serve with it! I love brown rice and roasted broccolini, but any sides would taste delicious here.
Equipment-wise, all you need is a slow cooker and a meat thermometer for checking when the drumsticks are done!
You might also enjoy this cozy slow cooker chicken noodle soup!
How to Make Chicken Drumsticks in a Slow Cooker
You can find the full recipe (with all the measurements) at the end of this post, but here’s a quick overview.
To make these honey mustard chicken drumsticks, start by melting butter in a microwave-safe bowl.
Whisk in your honey, dijon mustard, whole grain mustard, salt, and pepper until well-combined. (If you only have dried thyme – as opposed to fresh thyme – add that here.)
Then, place raw chicken drumsticks in a single layer along the bottom of your slow cooker insert. To fit them better, alternate which way the meaty end (versus the bone end) faces with each drumstick.
Pour the honey mustard sauce over the drumsticks to coat. Add fresh thyme on top.
Next, cover the slow cooker. Cook on high for 3-4 hours, or low for 5-6 hours, until chicken is cooked through and tender.
Right before serving, transfer the cooked drumsticks into a baking dish. Pour the sauce on top.
Then, broil for 5 minutes, until the drumstick skins are golden brown and crispy. Serve right away! You can skip this step if you’re tight on time, but it does add a lovely crispiness to the drumsticks.
If using frozen drumsticks, I recommend buying/using drumsticks that are frozen in a single layer (rather than a large clump), or they may not cook evenly. You’ll also need to cook them for 4 hours (rather than 3) on high to make sure they cook through all the way.
How to Know When Chicken Drumsticks Are Done
Chicken drumsticks are done cooking when a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest area of meat reads at least 175 degrees Fahrenheit. (Be sure not to touch the bone when taking the thermometer reading, as this will skew the temperature results.)
Yes, the temperature should be slightly hotter than you’d typically look for with chicken. Bringing the drumsticks to a temperature of 175-185 degrees F will help it get more tender.
If you poke the meat, the juices should run clear (not red or pink). This also indicates that the chicken is fully cooked.
Store this chicken in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
I recommend keeping the leftover sauce in a separate container, so you can easily reheat the chicken and the sauce separately before combining again.
Tips for Buying Chicken Drumsticks at the Grocery Store
When shopping for drumsticks at the store, look for ones on the larger side. Most importantly, choose drumsticks that are all similar in size for even cooking.
If buying frozen drumsticks, try to find ones that are frozen in a single layer (as opposed to one big clump). I tested this recipe with frozen drumsticks and it worked really well, so that’s a great option if you aren’t sure how soon you’ll make this recipe!
What to Serve With Crockpot Chicken Legs
Need some ideas for side dishes to serve with these slow cooker drumsticks? Here are some tasty options:
- Crispy Roasted Mini Potatoes
- Lemony Quinoa Salad with Spinach
- Crunchy Broccoli Cauliflower Salad
- Baked Portobello Mushrooms with Feta
- Baked Sweet Potato Fries
- Instant Pot Farro Risotto with Mushrooms
- Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad
For a super convenient dinner, you can also roast some frozen vegetables as a side!
Can you freeze cooked chicken drumsticks?
Yes! To freeze this chicken, remove the bones, shred the chicken, and store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Is honey mustard sauce gluten free?
Yes, all the honey mustard ingredients should be gluten free! It can depend on the brand you use though, so be sure to double check each ingredient before using if needed.
This is a simple yet fabulous chicken leg recipe for dinner. Keep it on hand for busy weeknights! It’s got tons of flavor and comes together with just a few minutes of prep time (seriously, it was SO quick and easy). Enjoy!
You’ll find the full slow cooker chicken drumsticks recipe at the end of this post.
What’s your favorite way to prepare chicken? Let me know in the comments!
Looking for more chicken recipes to try? Check these out:
- Instant Pot Chicken Thighs with Maple Mustard Sauce
- Crockpot Balsamic Chicken
- Pan Seared Chicken Thighs with Pomegranate Glaze
- Crockpot Mexican Chicken
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1⁄4 cup honey
- 1⁄4 cup dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
- 1.5 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 pounds chicken drumsticks (about 8 drumsticks)
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried) - optional
- Place the butter in a microwave-safe glass liquid measuring cup or bowl and microwave for 30 seconds or until melted. Add the honey, dijon mustard, whole grain mustard, salt, and pepper and stir to combine. (If you're using dried thyme, add it here.)
- Arrange the drumsticks in a single layer on the bottom of the slow cooker insert. (It works well to alternate the direction each one faces so they all fit nicely together.)
- Pour the sauce over the drumsticks. Top with the fresh thyme.
- Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours, or low for 5-6 hours.
- Just before serving, preheat the oven to broil. Transfer the drumsticks to a baking dish and pour the sauce over the top. Broil for about 5 minutes, or until the tops are golden
brown and the skin begins to crisp up. Serve immediately.
- If using frozen drumsticks: Make sure to buy drumsticks that are frozen in a single layer (not a big clump). Cook at least 4 hours on high.
- When shopping for drumsticks, look for ones on the larger side. Choose drumsticks that are all close to the same size for even cooking.
- Chicken thighs can be used in place of drumsticks. The chicken should have skin and bones for maximum flavor and best results (especially for broiling at the end, which is a key part of the recipe!).
- Cooking the drumsticks on high in the slow cooker yields the best, most tender results, but you can cook on low for a longer time if needed.