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sweet ‘n’ sticky chicken drumsticks

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Sweet 'n' Sticky Chicken Drumsticks

I don’t understand the concept of chicken wings.

I mean, you go out, get a basket of wings and get like, what? 0.009 ounces of meat total? It’s a total rip-off. And the work involved to get to the tiny morsel of meat is so not worth it.

I, for one, am a chicken leg kinda gal. Why don’t people go out for chicken legs? Now that’s where it’s really at! Perfectly portable, lots of flavorful meat. It’s messy finger food just like wings, but with a much better (and meatier) payoff. Gimme a leg or two and cold beer and I’m a happy girl.

So, I hereby nominate going out for legs as a “thing.” Let’s have 99 cent leg nights. Let’s serve legs at next year’s Super Bowl party. C’mon friends, support the legvolution! And you can get started with this sticky, sweet and incredibly delicious drumstick recipe. It totes puts your average bar wings to shame.


One thing that makes or breaks these legs is the quality of the chicken. Not only is local, responsibly-raised meat better for you and environment, but I also personally believe it tastes a heck of a lot better than the value packs you find on store shelves. Part of what made these drumsticks so amazing was that the meat under the sweet and sticky skin was so flavorful and juicy. Yum!

Sweet 'N' Sticky Chicken Drumsticks

Sweet 'N' Sticky Chicken Drumsticks

Yield: 8 drumsticks
Prep Time: 4 hours
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes

Part of what made these drumsticks so amazing was that the meat under the sweet and sticky skin was so flavorful and juicy.


  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 8 chicken drumsticks
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro


  1. In a large zip-top bag, combine vinegars, honey, brown sugar, chili sauce, garlic, soy sauce, marmalade, salt and pepper. Add in drumsticks, seal bag and toss to coat. Stash bag in fridge for 2-3 hours (or overnight) to marinate. Rotating bag occasionally.
  2. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 375°. Cover a baking sheet in aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Remove drumsticks from bag and lay on baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until juices run clear.
  3. Meanwhile, pour remaining marinade into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5-10 minutes or until marinade is thick.
  4. When drumsticks are finished cooking, preheat broiler. Using a pastry brush, coat drumsticks in reduced marinade. Broil for 3-5 minutes or until browned and sticky. Flip and repeat with other side.
  5. Before serving, sprinkle drumsticks with sesame seeds and cilantro.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 2 drumsticks
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 539Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 231mgSodium: 709mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 1gSugar: 45gProtein: 45g

At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.


Are you a wing or a leg person?

Cassie is the founder and CEO of Wholefully. She's a home cook and wellness junkie with a love of all things healthy living. She lives on a small hobby farm in Southern Indiana with her husband, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and 15 chickens.

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17 Responses
  1. When I ate meat, I was a HUGE HUGE wing person. Wings and sushi are the things I miss the most as a vegetarian!

    I’ve tried making fake wings before out of tempeh and tofu, but I can’t nail it. I get excellent tofu buffalo ‘wings’ at this awesome restaurant in Portland, ME, and I had awesome fake meat ‘wings’ at a vegan restaurant in Raleigh, NC. Unfortunately, nothing here :(.

    Yeah. I miss wings!

  2. Moober

    I’m a drummette person! I hate eating the giant legs and definitely won’t eat them out. Wings gross me out. I like the tiny drumsticks, they are easier to eat. 🙂

  3. Julie

    I’ve just started eating meat again after six years, and I’ve been eating chicken a few times a week. So I’m pretty excited to find this recipe! I’d have to say, the leg definitely is easiest to eat. And there’s nothing better than sitting at the head of a table gnawing on a turkey leg on Thanksgiving…You feel like the king of the Renaissance fair when you do 😉

  4. I’m definitely a leg person! I haven’t had a chicken leg in so long…I miss them. I only buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts now….mostly because I know cooking bone-in chicken takes longer and I like being able to speed up the cooking process by pre-cutting my chicken breasts–and because white meat is less fatty than dark meat…but dark meat is so good…aye…I think I may be stopping by the grocery store to pick some up so I can make this recipe. It looks so darn good–and oh I miss chicken skin…mmMmmmm…

  5. I totally agree with you about chicken wings. They are SO not worth it! Unless you go for boneless wings, in which case you might as well just order chicken fingers/ tenders/ nuggets because they’re essentially the same thing!

    (Funny side story, I once drunkenly debated that point for at least 30 minutes with a random stranger at a bar!)

  6. I have to say, these look delicious! As for wings v. legs, I’m on the fence. I think part of the fun of chicken wings is deboning them all, which takes me about an hour and then eating them. I enjoy it for some reason and other people find me insane!

Meet Cassie
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Hello. My name is Cassie, and I’m a healthy home cooking expert.

I'm a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, and I've been developing healthy recipes professionally for over 15 years. Food is my love language, and my kitchen tips and nourishing recipes are my love letter to you!

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