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Best Grilled Chicken Drumsticks Recipe (+ Easiest Marinade)

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EASY grilled chicken drumsticks recipe (aka grilled drumsticks) takes just 4 ingredients and 5 minutes of prep time! These grilled chicken legs are a favorite all grilling season as they are simple, but FULL of flavor. I’ll show you how to make them and answer ALL the questions, like how long to grill chicken legs, plus other common ones. If you have any other questions, leave it in the comments and I’ll answer!

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

easy grilled chicken drumsticks on the grill

I think this is the best recipe for grilled chicken drumsticks for a few reasons:

  • Simple – I mentioned this already, but when I say this grilled drumstick recipe is simple, I mean it! Just four ingredients are needed for the marinade and you probably have them already.
  • Kid-Friendly – Everyone likes food on a stick, and cooking chicken legs on the grill has quickly become a favorite at our house. Who doesn’t love a good chicken leg?!
  • Affordable – Chicken legs/drumsticks are an incredibly inexpensive cut of meat, which makes it perfect for weeknight meals or whenever you need to feed a crowd!

This grilled drumsticks recipe was originally published in June 2018 and updated in May 2021 to include helpful tips, FAQs, and a video to show you exactly how to make them.

If you’re anything like me, grilling has always been a bit intimidating. Mostly because I’ve never really done it myself. We haven’t had our own grill in many, many years but even when we did, I always just sent Richie outside to grill whatever was on the menu.

And I get it! You might want some help with dinner. (Don’t we all?!) But can I let you in on a little grilling secret? You get to go outside (maybe/probably/hopefully by yourself) and sip a beverage while dinner cooks. WHAT?! That literally sounds like vacation. So I decided to jump into the grilling world with one of my favorite cuts of meat – chicken drumsticks! I’ve found that when you buy high-quality meat, you can keep things really simple, which truly is my favorite way to cook – and eat. So buy the highest-quality you can afford, it really makes a difference.

Can You Grill Chicken Drumsticks?

YES! You can grill chicken drumsticks and it’s a great way to make them.

Grilled Drumsticks Ingredients

You need just 5 basic ingredients to make this recipe for grilled chicken drumsticks:

  • Garlic
  • Soy sauce
  • Olive oil
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Chicken drumsticks

How to Make Grilled Chicken Legs

I told you this grilled drumstick recipe easy, let me show you juuuuuuuust how easy.

  • Mix up marinade for grilled chicken drumsticks. In a small bowl (or right in the ziploc or stasher bags) stir together garlic, olive oil, soy sauce, red pepper flakes.
  • Marinate chicken legs. Pour marinade into a plastic bag or stasher bags and then add your chicken legs to the bag. Mix the chicken legs in the bag a bit so they are all covered with the marinade. Let the drumsticks marinate for at least 20 minutes, or overnight.
  • Grill drumsticks. Take the meat of the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before grilling. This will help it cook evenly on the grill. Preheat grill to medium high or about 375 degrees F. Place chicken legs on hot grill and cook for 15 minutes. Flip over and cook another 10 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
  • Rest chicken. Rest chicken for 5-10 minutes and dig in.

TIP: This marinade for chicken drumsticks is great because it’s super-easy to make, and while the addition of soy sauce might make you think that it’s going in an Asian chicken direction, it really just imparts a salty, umami flavor and gives the skin great color. The oil helps ensure that your meat won’t stick to the grill.

Marinade for grilled drumsticks

How Long to Grill Chicken Legs?

Are you wondering how long to grill chicken drumsticks? This is a really common question! If you’re looking for chicken drumstick grill times, know that they will vary a bit depending on grill temperature and drumstick size.

A general guideline is to cook them for about 25-30 minutes in a grill that’s between 300-400 degrees F. I always recommend using a meat thermometer to get it just right. Grill the drumsticks to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

Don’t forget to let your grilled drumsticks rest for at least 5 minutes.

Three Tips for the BEST Grilled Chicken Legs

  1. Let the meat come to temperature. Remove meat from the fridge about a half-hour before you plan on grilling. This ensures that it cooks at the proper rate.
  2. Don’t futz with the food! (Futz may not be a technical term, but…)You don’t want to be constantly flipping and turning, put the meat on the grill, and flip it when it’s about half-way done. This will also help make sure the meat doesn’t stick to the grill.
  3. Use an instant read meat thermometer. Seriously, it’s hard to know when food on the grill is done, and often times we over-cook because we don’t want foods to be under-cooked. Using a meat thermometer will ensure your grilled meats and fish are done, but not OVER done. (By the way, Moink sends a digital one your way with your first order. Just sayin!)
grilled chicken legs in pan with bread

Grilled Chicken Legs FAQs

Do I need to boil chicken legs before grilling?

No, you don’t need to boil chicken legs before grilling.

Can you cook chicken drumsticks from frozen?

It’s not a good idea to cook meat from frozen, unless you are using an instant pot or pressure cooker. Cooking meat from frozen results in uneven cooking so some sections will be raw and some will be overcooked.

Are drumsticks healthy?

Yes, unless you’re vegetarian or vegan, chicken drumsticks are a great source of protein.

How many calories in grilled chicken drumsticks?

These grilled chicken drumsticks have 204 calories per serving, but will vary slightly based on size of drumstick. The full nutrition stats can be found below the recipe card.

What temperature to grill chicken drumsticks?

Preheat your grill to medium high heat, about 375 degrees F.

How to Store Leftover Grilled Drumsticks

Store any leftover crispy grilled chicken drumsticks in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Can cooked chicken drumsticks be frozen?

Yes, you can freeze grilled drumsticks for 2-3 months. Let them thaw slightly before reheating.

How to reheat grilled chicken drumsticks?

Reheat the chicken drumsticks in the microwave or a 350 degrees F oven. Or, eat them at room temperature!

Grilled Chicken Legs Nutrition + Substitutes:

How many calories are in a grilled chicken drumstick?

The number of calories in grilled chicken drumsticks will vary a bit, but an average, 4 oz. drumstick with this marinade has 204 calories. The full nutrition stats can be found below in the recipe card.

Can I make this grilled chicken drumsticks recipe gluten-free?

Yes, this is a super easy swap! Simply swap the soy sauce for a gluten-free tamari.

chicken drumstick on a white plate

What to Serve with Grilled Drumsticks

With an easy grilled chicken drumsticks recipe like this one, I like to keep the sides just as easy! Grilled veggies and grilled bread are our other favorites along with the recipes below:

  • Everyday Side Salad – This side salad recipe has all of the flavors you want and need for a satisfying side and is the perfect side to any dinner.
  • Greek Chickpea Salad – If you’re looking for a salad that can be made ahead, this one is it.
  • Napa Cabbage Slaw – Crunchy cabbage, creamy blue cheese, and an easy vinaigrette. We make this slaw ALL the time.
  • Summer Quinoa Salad – Full of summer produce and flavors, this quinoa salad is always a hit.
  • Cherry Chicken Pasta Salad – If you’re from the Twin Cities, you probably know this popular pasta salad!

More Grilling Recipes

If you like this marinated chicken drumsticks recipe, you might also like some of these other grilled recipes:

  • Grilled Lake Trout – The BEST way to make grilled trout. (With a few different seasoning options.)
  • Grilled Turkey Tenderloin Fajitas – Switch up the chicken fajitas to these juicy turkey ones.
  • Grilled Steak Salad – This salad comes together in less than 20 minutes and has all of the flavor components of a good salad. Each bite has savory steak, bitter escarole, crunchy lettuce, sweet red peppers, and balsamic vinaigrette.
  • Grilled Fish Foil Tilapia – Everything cooks right in the fish foil packet and it’s bursting with flavor.

Helpful Tools to Make Grilled Drumsticks

  • Instant Read Meat Thermometer – The best way to tell when your grilled drumsticks are perfectly cooked. And it’s less than $15!
  • Stasher Bags – If you’re trying to reduce single-use plastic, you’ve got to get stasher bags. They are the best and last for years without showing wear-and-tear.
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chicken drumsticks on the grill

Easy Grilled Chicken Drumsticks Recipe

  • Author: Emily Dingmann of myeverydaytable.com
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 6 drumsticks 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Grill
  • Cuisine: American
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Description

Do you know the tips for the BEST grilled drumsticks? This grilled chicken drumsticks recipe is prepped in 5 min + made with pantry staples.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 6 chicken drumsticks (about 1 1/2 lbs.)

Instructions

  1. Mince garlic and add all ingredients except for chicken to a plastic zip-topped bag.
  2. Add chicken to bag and marinate for at least 20 minutes, or overnight. Flip bag to distribute marinade occasionally.
  3. Remove chicken from refrigerator and preheat grill to medium high, about 375 degrees.
  4. Place chicken legs on hot grill and cook for 15 minutes, flip over and cook for another 10 minutes or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees.
  5. Let rest for at least 5-10 minutes and dig in!

Notes

See serving suggestions above. 

Keywords: grilled chicken drumsticks, grilled drumsticks, grilled chicken legs, grilled chicken drumsticks recipe

Pin this grilled chicken drumsticks recipe for later!

Best Grilled Chicken Drumsticks Recipe (+ Easiest Marinade) | Do you know the tips for the BEST grilled drumsticks? This grilled chicken drumsticks recipe is prepped in 5 min + made with pantry staples.

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Comments

  1. MarioEvans

    These look really yummy! Thank you for your Grilled chicken recipe! Worth all the work!! It was yummy and a huge hit! I even added a couple twists of my own! Thanks for your hard work and making the recipe public! Happy day tasty day!

  2. Angie

    This recipe is super easy to make and tastes delicious! We usually make our wings in the oven but my entire family has now decided the BBQ is the way to go thanks to this recipe! Thank you for sharing this super easy recipe with us! We loved it!

  3. Angie Steen

    This recipe was super easy to make, the flavors were delicious! We marinated the wings ahead of time and they cooked up super quick on the BBQ. We will be using this recipe again, super tasty! Thanks for sharing this recipe with us!

  4. Dan

    These drumsticks were so easy to make and they were so flavorful that I’ve had them a couple of times this past summer.

  5. Emily Niesen

    Turned out great! We roasted in oven so didnt get crispy like a grill would make them, still delicious and 2 thumbs up from the 4 yr old.

  6. Pat

    I use this marinade ALL the time! Always have the ingredients and it gives the chicken so much flavor.

  7. Tut

    We really like this marinade~ tried it last night on boneless chicken thighs and it was delicious. So easy to pull together, and yet so distinctive, and yet not overwhelming despite the extra garlic.

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