Slow-Cooker Honey-Orange Chicken Drumsticks

Slow-Cooker Honey-Orange Chicken Drumsticks

17 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine, May/June 2014

This slow-cooker chicken recipe makes a perfect alternative to standard tomato-based barbecued chicken. Both kids and adults will devour these drumsticks, doused in a honey-sweetened sauce spiked with orange, ginger and garlic.

Ingredients 6 servings

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Original recipe yields 6 servings
Nutrition per serving may change if servings are adjusted.
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1½ tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 12 medium chicken drumsticks (3-3½ pounds), skin removed (see Tip)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds


  • Active

  • Ready In

  1. Combine honey, orange zest, orange juice, soy sauce (or tamari), garlic, ginger, vinegar and crushed red pepper in a small bowl.
  2. Coat a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Add drumsticks, pour in the sauce and mix to coat. Cover and cook until an instant-read thermometer registers 165°F when inserted into the thickest part of the meat without touching bone, 2 to 3 hours on High or 4 hours on Low.
  3. Transfer the drumsticks to a bowl. Very carefully pour the liquid from the slow cooker into a medium skillet. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil until reduced and syrupy, 10 to 15 minutes. Pour the sauce over the drumsticks and stir to coat. Serve sprinkled with cilantro and sesame seeds.
  • Equipment: 5- to 6-quart slow cooker
  • To remove the skin from chicken drumsticks, grip the skin from the meaty end of the drumstick with a paper towel and pull down toward the exposed bone until it comes off completely.
  • For easy cleanup, try a slow-cooker liner. These heat-resistant, disposable liners fit neatly inside the insert and help prevent food from sticking to the bottom and sides of your slow cooker.
  • People with celiac disease or gluten-sensitivity should use soy sauces that are labeled "gluten-free," as soy sauce may contain wheat or other gluten-containing sweeteners and flavors.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: 2 drumsticks
  • Per serving: 252 calories; 7 g fat(2 g sat); 0 g fiber; 18 g carbohydrates; 29 g protein; 8 mcg folate; 150 mg cholesterol; 16 g sugars; 15 g added sugars; 91 IU vitamin A; 4 mg vitamin C; 30 mg calcium; 2 mg iron; 416 mg sodium; 352 mg potassium
  • Carbohydrate Servings: 1
  • Exchanges: 1 other carbohydrate, 6 lean meat

Reviews 17

April 10, 2017
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By: Teresa Tuttle Kuhn
Maryannne do you have your measurements for the increase in OJ and soy sauce?
March 27, 2017
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By: MaryAnn Morsette
Great recipe! I increased the orange juice and soy sauce to bulk up the sauce and made this in my Instant Pot with 1 cup water (15 minutes on Manual for frozen chicken legs, 10 minutes for fresh). Very delicious, I did reduce the sauce down because of the extra water needed to pressure cook, and then thickened with a cornstarch slurry. I served over Jasmine rice with sesame seeds and sliced green onions and it was a hit. Another time I will serve it over coconut rice. This is also great to freeze, remove the chicken skin and mix the sauce up, add to a couple gallon sized ziplock bags (arrange legs in a single layer) and freeze. Worked perfectly to divide the batch into 2 meals for my small household and cooked wonderfully from fozen in my Instant Pot.
January 24, 2017
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By: rlocati1
I make this frequently and it is one of my favorite recipes. I usually use less honey, I have a good dark honey and it doesn't take as much to impart wonderful flavor. I have olive and vinegars that are orange infused and often use them in this too. Favorite and easy to do after you take the skin off the drumsticks.
January 02, 2017
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By: Julie Javier
I cooked it in slow cooker on high for 3 hours broiled it for 15 minutes and added salt corn starch to the sauce.
October 25, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
Easy and Decent The picture looks more like roasted or deep-fried Asian chicken drumsticks. That's not what my final result was. Chicken was decent, tender, delicately flavored, but not in the bowl you over kind of way. Wonder if cornstarch in the sauce would have made it thicker without reducing the amount of sauce, which was very tasty. Pros: Easy, quite tasty sauce, tender chicken Cons: Sauce not thick enough, copious enough
September 30, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
This was a tasty recipe but was lacking in seasoning. The soy sauce was not sufficient. I added extra salt so that the flavors would surely shine.
September 26, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
Excellent and easy Made this tonight...easy and so tasty. I put 3 drumsticks and 2 breasts in pot because my husband is a little fussy. He loved it! Such great flavor! I definitely will make again. Pros: Easy to make and so flavorful Cons: None
January 13, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
Awesome So, So, So, good. My fiance was impressed. VERY hard to believe this is healthy. Absolutely great :) Pros: Comes out fantastic. Restaurant Quality! Cons: Takes awhile to make the sauce and prep
January 08, 2015
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By: EatingWell User
slow coker honey orange chicken drumbsticks Loved the sauce on the drumsticks. Easy to do Pros: easy to do and so good Cons: NULL