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BBQ chicken drumsticks lined up with bowls of ranch and BBQ sauce on the baking sheet too.

BBQ Instant Pot Chicken Drumsticks

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.

Yield: 6 servings (2 drumsticks per serving) 1x
Prep: 5Cook: 12 minTotal: 17 minutes


  • 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 cup low sodium chicken broth (or water)
  • 2 cups BBQ Sauce, store-bought or our homemade version

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  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 1/4 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 1/4 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. 


  • We use this same rub and BBQ sauce in our Crockpot BBQ Drumsticks and Baked BBQ Drumsticks.
  • You can also use this rub and our BBQ sauce on chicken breasts or chicken thighs. Cook in the slow cooker on Low for 2 1/2 – 3 1/2 hours or in the Instant Pot for 7 minutes with a quick release. Shred and serve on buns for easy BBQ chicken sandwiches.
  • We get our chicken from ButcherBox.
  • Make sure to not stack your chicken when cooking in the Instant Pot. 
© Author: Polly Conner
Cuisine: American Method: Instant Pot