BBQ Instant Pot Chicken Drumsticks

By Polly Conner
March 16, 2021

Sticky, sweet, and just a little spicy, these Instant Pot Chicken Drumsticks are economical, kid-friendly, and tasty. The secret to making these crispy is giving them a few minutes under the broiler at the end.

Drumsticks on a white plate with BBQ sauce

You’re going to love the simplicity of this recipe! In three simple steps, you’ll have perfectly cooked BBQ Chicken Drumsticks on the table.

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:

  • Brown sugar 
  • Paprika
  • Garlic powder 
  • Onion powder
  • Salt & pepper
  • Chicken drumsticks (we love the ones we get through ButcherBox)
  • Chicken broth (or water will work)
  • BBQ Sauce, store-bought or our homemade version
Ingredients for Instant Pot Chicken Drumsticks on a cutting board

Video: How to Make Instant Pot BBQ Drumsticks

BBQ chicken drumsticks in the Instant Pot

How to Cook Frozen Chicken Drumsticks in the Instant Pot

One of the beauties of the Instant Pot is you can cook food straight from frozen in it. In fact, we have an entire post of Instant Pot Freezer Meals designed just for this purpose! With a little prep ahead, you can plop your meal in, push a button, and dinner is done.

For this particular recipe, here is how to make BBQ Drumsticks a freezer meal for the Instant Pot:

Freeze For Later: Place the seasoned chicken and 1 cup of the BBQ sauce in a freezer bag. Seal, toss to coat, and freeze. Pour the remaining BBQ sauce into a small freezer bag or container, seal, and freeze alongside the chicken. 

Prepare From Frozen: Let the BBQ Sauce thaw. Add 1 cup of chicken broth or water to the bottom of the pot. Add the frozen drumsticks to the pot. Try not to pile them on top of each other, but place side-by-side or stack them on end. Follow steps 3 through 6 in the recipe below, but cook for 17 to 22 minutes. 

BBQ drumsticks in a freezer bag

Want a free cheat sheet to remember cooking times for Instant Pot meals?

Did you know we published an Instant Pot cookbook called From Freezer to Cooker? During our two years of research and testing, we learned EXACTLY how long to cook meals in the Instant Pot both from fresh OR from frozen. Be sure to download and print off our Cheat Sheet here. It’s so helpful to have inside your cabinet.

Can You Make Drumsticks in the Slow Cooker?

You bet! In fact, we’ve got a great article and recipe for you here: Crockpot BBQ Drumsticks.

What to Serve with BBQ Drumsticks

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

Cooked BBQ drumsticks on a white plate
Print

Instant Pot Chicken Drumsticks

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 12 min
  • Total Time: 17 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings (2 drumsticks per serving) 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Sticky, sweet, and just a little spicy, these Instant Pot Chicken Drumsticks are economical, kid-friendly, and tasty. The secret to making these crispy is giving them a few minutes under the broiler at the end.


Ingredients

  • 1 ½ tablespoons brown sugar 
  • 1 ½ teaspoons paprika
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder 
  • 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ¾ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • About 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken drumsticks (we get ours from ButcherBox)
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth (or water)
  • 2 cups BBQ Sauce, store-bought or our homemade version

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle the seasoning evenly over the drumsticks and rub it in to coat all sides. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  2. Add 1 cup of broth (or water) to the pot. Place seasoned drumsticks in the bottom. (Try not to pile them on top of each other, but place side-by-side or stack them on end). Top with 1 cup of BBQ sauce (feel free to use your hands to rub the sauce all over the drumsticks).
  3. Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 12 minutes, then quick release the pressure.
  4. Position the top oven rack about 6 inches below the broiler. Preheat the broiler. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. (Note: You can also use the grill for this step instead of the broiler, placing the drumsticks directly on the grill.)
  5. Use tongs to place the drumsticks on the prepared baking sheet; discard any liquid remaining in the cooker. Brush the chicken with ¼ cup of BBQ sauce and broil until the chicken starts to brown and look crispy, 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the chicken over, brush with another ¼ cup BBQ sauce, and broil until the skin begins to brown and look crispy, 2 to 3 minutes more. 
  6. Serve warm with remaining BBQ sauce on the side.

Freeze For Later: Follow Step 1. Place the seasoned chicken and 1 cup of the BBQ sauce in the 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, toss to coat, and freeze flat. Pour the remaining BBQ sauce into a small freezer bag or container, seal, and freeze alongside the chicken. 

Prepare From Frozen: You will need 1 cup of chicken broth or water to complete this meal.Let the BBQ Sauce thaw. Add 1 cup of chicken broth or water to the bottom of the pot. Break apart and add the frozen drumsticks to the pot. Try not to pile them on top of each other, but place side-by-side or stack them on end. Follow steps 3 through 6 in the recipe, but cook for 17 to 22 minutes. 


Notes

Try making these in the slow cooker with this recipe: Crockpot BBQ Chicken Drumsticks.

Use this same rub and our BBQ sauce on chicken breasts or chicken thighs. Cook in the slow cooker on Low for 2 ½-3 ½ hours or in the Instant Pot for 7 minutes with a quick release. Shred and serve on buns for easy BBQ chicken sandwiches.

Want More Freezer Meals for the Instant Pot?

We’ve got you covered. Hop over to this post highlighting 20+ Best of the Best Freezer Meals for the Instant Pot. It includes freezer meal instructions for EVERY recipe plus tons of pro tips and tricks we’ve learned over the years.

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