Baked Chicken Drumsticks Recipe

Baked chicken drumsticks are a timeless classic – a dish that effortlessly blends simplicity with succulence. This recipe transforms humble chicken drumsticks into a flavorful delight, showcasing a harmonious medley of herbs and spices. Whether you’re a seasoned home cook or just starting your culinary journey, this dish promises a satisfying crunch on the outside and juicy tenderness within.

The combination of paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, and rosemary in the seasoning mix adds layers of flavor that elevate the chicken to new heights. The touch of cayenne pepper provides a subtle kick, awakening the taste buds without overpowering the dish. Additionally, the method of baking on a wire rack ensures that each drumstick achieves a perfect crispiness while retaining its natural juiciness.

This recipe has been a staple in my kitchen, a go-to option when I want to whip up a satisfying meal without sacrificing quality. It’s a crowd-pleaser, perfect for family dinners, gatherings with friends, or even a delightful solo indulgence.


  • 2 lbs (about 900g) chicken drumsticks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, for extra heat)


Preheat the Oven:

  • Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C). Make sure the oven rack is in the middle position.

Prepare the Chicken:

  • Pat the chicken drumsticks dry with paper towels to remove excess moisture.
  • Place the drumsticks in a large mixing bowl.

Seasoning Mix:

  • In a small bowl, combine olive oil, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, rosemary, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper (if using).
  • Mix the ingredients well to form a paste.

Coat the Chicken:

  • Pour the seasoning mix over the chicken drumsticks.
  • Use your hands or tongs to ensure each drumstick is evenly coated with the seasoning.

Marinate (Optional):

  • For a deeper flavor, you can let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. However, you can proceed to the next step without marinating if you’re short on time.

Arrange on a Baking Sheet:

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil for easy cleanup.
  • Place a wire rack on the baking sheet and arrange the seasoned drumsticks on the rack. This allows air to circulate, ensuring crispy skin.


  • Bake in the preheated oven for about 35-40 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).


  1. Food Safety:
    • Ensure that the chicken drumsticks are properly thawed if using frozen ones. Thaw them in the refrigerator overnight to prevent bacterial growth.
  2. Internal Temperature:
    • Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. The internal temperature should reach 165°F (74°C) to ensure the chicken is thoroughly cooked and safe to eat.
  3. Avoid Overcrowding:
    • Arrange the drumsticks on the baking sheet without overcrowding. This allows for even cooking and ensures a crispy exterior on each piece.
  4. Oven Monitoring:
    • Keep a close eye on the chicken during the broiling step to prevent burning. Broil for only 2-3 minutes and watch carefully.
  5. Handling Spices:
    • Be cautious when handling cayenne pepper. Wash hands thoroughly after touching it and avoid touching your face or eyes.

Pro Tips:

  1. Marination Magic:
    • For enhanced flavor, consider marinating the drumsticks for at least 30 minutes, or even overnight in the refrigerator. This allows the spices to penetrate the meat.
  2. Room Temperature Drumsticks:
    • Take the drumsticks out of the refrigerator about 20-30 minutes before cooking. Allowing them to come to room temperature promotes more even cooking.
  3. Wire Rack Perfection:
    • Placing the drumsticks on a wire rack ensures that hot air circulates around them, resulting in a crispy skin. This method also prevents the chicken from sitting in its juices, maintaining the desired crispiness.
  4. Customize the Spice Level:
    • Adjust the amount of cayenne pepper based on your spice preference. If you’re sensitive to heat, reduce the amount or omit it entirely.
  5. Serve with Dipping Sauce:
    • Accompany the baked chicken drumsticks with a dipping sauce of your choice, such as barbecue sauce, ranch, or honey mustard, for an extra layer of flavor.
  6. Experiment with Herbs:
    • Feel free to experiment with additional herbs like oregano, thyme, or sage to tailor the recipe to your taste preferences.

Serving Suggestions:

  1. Mashed Potatoes:
    • Serve these baked chicken drumsticks alongside creamy mashed potatoes for a comforting and hearty meal.
  2. Roasted Vegetables:
    • Pair the drumsticks with a medley of roasted vegetables, such as carrots, broccoli, and bell peppers, for a colorful and nutritious side.
  3. Fresh Salad:
    • Balance the richness of the chicken with a crisp and refreshing side salad. Consider a mix of greens, cherry tomatoes, and a light vinaigrette.
  4. Coleslaw:
    • The zesty crunch of coleslaw complements the savory flavors of the drumsticks perfectly. It adds a refreshing element to the meal.
  5. Garlic Bread:
    • A side of garlic bread or dinner rolls is a classic choice to mop up any remaining delicious juices and complete the meal.

Storing Leftovers:

  1. Refrigeration:
    • Allow the leftover baked chicken drumsticks to cool to room temperature before refrigerating.
    • Store them in an airtight container or wrap them tightly with plastic wrap.
    • Place the container in the refrigerator within 2 hours of cooking.
  2. Labeling:
    • Label the container with the date to keep track of freshness.
    • Consume the leftovers within 3-4 days for the best quality.

Reheating Leftovers:

  1. Oven Method:
    • Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
    • Place the leftover drumsticks on a baking sheet.
    • Cover the chicken with aluminum foil to prevent drying.
    • Heat for about 15-20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).
  2. Air Fryer:
    • Preheat the air fryer to 375°F (190°C).
    • Arrange the drumsticks in the air fryer basket.
    • Reheat for 5-8 minutes, checking periodically for crispiness.
  3. Microwave (for Moisture, not Crispiness):
    • Place the drumsticks on a microwave-safe plate.
    • Cover with a damp paper towel to retain moisture.
    • Microwave in 30-second intervals until heated through.
  4. Combination Method (For Crispiness and Moisture):
    • Start by reheating in the microwave to warm the inside.
    • Finish in the oven or air fryer for a few minutes to restore crispiness.
  5. Check Temperature:
    • Regardless of the method used, always check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer to ensure it reaches 165°F (74°C) for safe consumption.
  6. Basting (Optional):
    • If the chicken appears dry, baste it with a bit of chicken broth, olive oil, or melted butter before reheating to restore moisture.
  7. Serve with Fresh Sides:
    • Pair the reheated drumsticks with fresh sides or sauces to enhance the overall dining experience.

I encourage you to embark on this culinary journey, discovering the joy of transforming a few simple ingredients into a delightful and flavorful dish. Whether you’re a novice in the kitchen or a seasoned chef, these baked chicken drumsticks are sure to become a cherished addition to your repertoire. So, preheat that oven, gather your ingredients, and let the aroma of herbs and spices fill your kitchen as you embark on a culinary adventure!

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