Baked BBQ Chicken Drumsticks

By Polly Conner
June 9, 2021

An easy-peasy, flavorful baked chicken drumstick recipe. You can have Baked BBQ Chicken Drumsticks without grilling or frying. Simply bake, baste, broil and enjoy! We even teach you how to turn this into a make-ahead freezer meal.

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Welcome to your new best-weeknight-meal-friend. Here are a few reasons way:

  • The ingredients are super simple and affordable.
  • This drumstick recipe is freezer friendly! Save your future self time by making them a freezer meal.
  • By using a little broil action at the end, you can replicate grilled flavor without taking a step outside!
  • This recipe is dairy-free and gluten-free!

INGREDIENTS YOU’LL NEED

To make sure your drumsticks are extra flavorful, we have created a delicious rub for them. Here is everything you’ll need:

Ingredients for Baked BBQ Chicken Drumsticks on a cutting board

STEP 1: Season the Drumsticks

You’ll take those lovely seasonings and mix them up in a small bowl. Pat your drumsticks dry and give them a swim around in the seasonings until they are covered. It’s kinda fun!

Seasoning for baked drumsticks

If you plan to double your recipe and freeze one for later, you’ll place your seasoned drumsticks into a freezer bag at this point. If not, carry on!

Seasoned drumsticks in a freezer bag

STEP 2: Bake Your Drumsticks

Line a baking sheet with foil for easier clean up.

One of the most important parts of baking these is placing them on a baking/cooling rack on top of the foil-lined sheet pan. This allows the hot air to get to all sides of the drumsticks to help create a crispy exterior.

Seasoned drumsticks on a baking sheet

Put them in the preheated oven and kick back and relax for a bit.

Seasoned drumsticks in the oven.

STEP 3: Baste Your Chicken Drumsticks with BBQ Sauce

After the chicken has cooked for a bit (details below), you’ll start basting the chicken with BBQ Sauce. This basting step is what differentiates these Baked BBQ Chicken Drumsticks from our Slow Cooker BBQ Drumsticks or Instant Pot Drumsticks.

When you add a layer of BBQ sauce and give it a bit of time to cook, it starts to caramelize and get that stick-sweet taste you crave.

Basting baked drumsticks

See how the layers of BBQ sauce are building up?

Basting drumsticks with BBQ sauce

STEP 4: Crisp Up the Drumsticks

If you were grilling these drumsticks, they’d have a little extra char on them which adds delicious flavor and texture. To get that in the oven, crank the heat up at the end to 425°F and let them cook for a few more minutes.

If you don’t see some browning by then, give them a quick broil.

Baked Chicken Drumsticks on a plate

Can You Freeze BBQ Drumsticks?

You bet! Here’s how:

Freeze For Later: Season the drumsticks and place the seasoned chicken in a freezer bag. Try not to stack the drumsticks in the bag; instead, place them flat, side by side. Use parchment paper to divide layers, if needed. Seal and freeze flat. If you want, you can pour BBQ sauce into a small freezer bag or container, seal, and freeze alongside the chicken. 

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw the chicken using one of these safe methods. Follow the cooking instructions in the recipe below. 

Drumsticks in a freezer bag.

What to Serve with BBQ Drumsticks

Serve with extra BBQ sauce on the side and try one of these side dish ideas:

Print

Baked BBQ Chicken Drumsticks

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 56 servings (2 drumsticks per serving) 1x
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

An easy-peasy, flavorful baked chicken drumstick recipe. You can have BBQ Chicken Drumsticks without grilling or frying. Just bake, baste, broil and enjoy! We even teach you how to turn this into a make-ahead freezer meal.


Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • About 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken drumsticks (we get ours from ButcherBox)
  • 1.5 cups BBQ Sauce, store-bought or 1 batch of our Homemade Sauce

Instructions

Make It Now

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with foil and place an oven-safe baking/cooling rack on top.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.
  3. Pat dry the drumsticks and then coat the drumsticks evenly with the mixture.
  4. Place the drumsticks on the baking rack.
  5. Bake drumsticks for 25 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven and baste with the BBQ sauce on all sides. 
  6. Bake for another 7-8 minutes and repeat the basting step. 
  7. Bake another 7-8 minutes. Remove pan and baste with sauce once more. 
  8. Turn the heat up to 425°F. Cook the chicken 5-7 more minutes or until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165°F or are no longer pink inside at all. (Optional: Broil at the end to caramelize the drumsticks even more, if you want it.)
  9. Let cool for 10 minutes before eating.

Freeze For Later: Season the drumsticks and place the seasoned chicken in a freezer bag. Try not to stack the drumsticks in the bag; instead, place them flat, side by side. Use parchment paper to divide layers, if needed. Seal and freeze flat. If you want, you can pour BBQ sauce into a small freezer bag or container, seal, and freeze alongside the chicken. 

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw the chicken using one of these safe methods. Follow the cooking instructions in the recipe above. 

Want More Chicken Recipes That Are Freezer Friendly?

Be sure to check out our 15+ Best Chicken Freezer Meals on the Internet!

Chicken freezer meals

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3 replies
  1. Morgan says:

    Another one for the rotation! I didn’t realize I’ve been doing basting all wrong until I cooked these this way! I doubled the recipe and froze three pounds at the same time.

    Reply