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.

Carolyn Malcoun
Source: EatingWell Magazine, May/June 2014


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Combine honey, orange zest, orange juice, soy sauce (or tamari), garlic, ginger, vinegar and crushed red pepper in a small bowl.

  • 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 degrees F when inserted into the thickest part of the meat without touching bone, 2 to 3 hours on High or 4 hours on Low.

  • 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 Facts

251.9 calories; protein 28.8g 58% DV; carbohydrates 17.7g 6% DV; exchange other carbs 1; dietary fiber 0.4g 2% DV; sugars 15.7g; fat 7.1g 11% DV; saturated fat 1.8g 9% DV; cholesterol 150.1mg 50% DV; vitamin a iu 91.3IU 2% DV; vitamin c 4.3mg 7% DV; folate 8.2mcg 2% DV; calcium 29.9mg 3% DV; iron 1.8mg 10% DV; magnesium 33.9mg 12% DV; potassium 351.6mg 10% DV; sodium 416mg 17% DV; thiamin 0.1mg 13% DV; added sugar 15g.

Reviews (23)

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23 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 9
  • 4 star values: 12
  • 3 star values: 2
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 4 stars
I halved the recipe but did add extra orange juice but there wasn't enough sauce I would have made the complete sauce recipe with my six drumsticks. Tastes good but again not enough sauce. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I had a big pack of chicken drumsticks and wanted to do something different from my norm and am so glad I found this recipe! I worked with what I had on hand so I made some alterations (used some powdered ginger & garlic because I didn't have fresh) But it was still delicious! It took about 5 min to put it in the crock before I ran my evening errands and it was fall-off-the-bone awesome by the time we were ready to eat. I served it with some rice noodles cooked with broccoli slaw in a vegetable broth/soy sauce/sriracha mix. Would definitely make it again! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Loved it! Simple simple simple & delicious! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Minor quibble: I could only fit 9 drumsticks in my 6 qt slow cooker not 12 as the recipe states. 12 small drumsticks would fit if your supermarket has those. The supermarkets in my area only have medium to large drumsticks. It was a bit annoying to pull the skin off the drumsticks. I needed to use kitchen shears to get the skin off. The recipe was easy to make and came out well. Next time I will rotate the drumsticks about halfway through the cooking time so all side get coated in the sauce and get a nice brown color. I will also add a little more crushed red pepper. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
This is excellent the only problem I see is that the recipe says it is GF but that is only true if you use GF soy sauce. Otherwise very good as is. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
This was so easy to prepare and so delicious! I would recommend doubling the addictive sauce because I just want to flavor the rice with it. There was no problem with the sauce thickening when I simmered it aggressively for the length of time recommended in the recipe. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Maryannne do you have your measurements for the increase in OJ and soy sauce? Read More
Rating: 5 stars
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. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
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. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
I cooked it in slow cooker on high for 3 hours broiled it for 15 minutes and added salt corn starch to the sauce. Read More
Rating: 3 stars
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 Read More
Rating: 3 stars
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. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
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 Read More
Rating: 4 stars
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 Read More
Rating: 5 stars
slow coker honey orange chicken drumbsticks Loved the sauce on the drumsticks. Easy to do Pros: easy to do and so good Cons: NULL Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Great flavor! This was easy to make and tasted great but I made the sauce as directed with only 5 drumsticks and there was barely enough sauce. I can't imagine that amount of sauce with 12 drumsticks. Pros: Easy to make and tasted very good Cons: Could use more sauce Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Very good Very good and very easy to make. I did make it in the crock pot but I think it would come out just as we'll if it was baked. It tasted 100% better the next day. I added some corn starch to the sauce at the end while it was reducing so it thickened up a bit more. Next time I'll try it with thighs Pros: Easy to make kid friendly Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Orange chicken is one of my husbands favorites so finding a healthier option that he still loved was a challenge. This recipe is a winner. My 9 year old daughter made the sauce and while I got the chicken and slow cooker ready. We will be having this again! Read More
Rating: 4 stars
would this work if you don't have a slow-cooker? Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Very sweet and sticky I added some ginger to the mix as well just to add further flavour and take away some of the sweetness - really nice with rice and salad. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Best Orange Sauce Ever Saw this recipe today and happened to have everything in my stock except drums -- but I had some frozen breasts instead. The sauce is outstanding; I'm not Asian but I would bet this came out of a wonderful Asian kitchen. Full of flavor I added just an extra t. of rice vinegar thickened over the stove with some cornstarch heated up left-over rice with fresh broccoli and aminos and we had an outstanding Memorial Day meal that made my former Navy Seal/Diver very happy. Good job you got 'er done! Pros: Super Easy Tasty x 1 000 Yum Cons: None Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Delicious! Love this..super easy recipe! I did add a little extra liquid to the slow cooker to make sure I had enough of this deliciously sticky sauce though. Will definitely make it again. Pros: sweet tangy savory and just the right kick. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Delicious! Really easy to prepare then you forget it for a while. Great flavor. My wife who doesn't eat much meat went back for seconds. All three kids picked theirs clean. I made it just as the recipe said and wouldn't change a thing. FYI...It took a little over 15 minutes to cook down the sauce/glaze. We will be eating this again soon! Pros: Easy Delicious Cons: None Read More