Slow-Cooker Honey-Orange Chicken Drumsticks

Slow-Cooker Honey-Orange Chicken Drumsticks

23 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 23

November 04, 2019
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By: Rosanne Kleint
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.
January 11, 2018
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By: valerie.webber
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!
November 13, 2017
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By: Yum - Rocky Mtn
Loved it! Simple, simple, simple & delicious!
September 29, 2017
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By: K Lee
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.
July 15, 2017
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By: Myrnalee
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.
May 09, 2017
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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.
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.
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