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Best Grilled Chicken Drumsticks Recipe

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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. Serve them up with napa cabbage slaw and some grilled potatoes in foil. My grilled chicken thighs use the same simple marinade and they are also delicious.

If you love grilling, be sure to try my grilled tilapia in foil, grilled salmon in foil, or grilled trout next time. And when grilling season is over, break out the slow cooker for crock pot chicken thighs and potatoes, crock pot salsa chicken, and slow cooker brats.

Plate of grilled chicken drumsticks on a plate.

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Can You Grill Chicken Drumsticks?

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

What You’ll Love About Grilled Chicken Drumsticks

  • Simple and easy
  • Fun to eat (food on a stick!)
  • Family-friendly
  • Just 5 minutes prep time
  • Just 25 minutes cook time
  • Made with just 5 simple ingredients
  • Budget-considerate

Grilled Drumsticks VIDEO

Grilled Chicken Drumsticks Ingredients

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

  • Garlic – Use fresh for best flavor or frozen garlic cubes for a convenient shortcut. If you need to use garlic powder, use 1/4 teaspoon powder to each clove.
  • Soy sauce – Use high quality for best flavor. Because the soy has salt, we don’t need to add extra salt.
  • Olive oil – Use high quality for best flavor. You can also use any vegetable oil.
  • Red pepper flakes – Use more or less red pepper flakes according to your spice preferences.
  • Chicken drumsticks – Look for skin-on drumsticks. Buy the highest-quality you can afford, it really makes a difference with meat.
Ingredients to make grilled chicken drumstick recipe.

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.
Chicken drumsticks marinating in plastic bag.
  • 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 375-450 degrees F. Place chicken legs over direct heat and cook for 15 minutes. Flip over with tongs and cook another 10 minutes, or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 185 degrees F.
Chicken legs on a grill cooking.
  • 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 grate.

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 185 degrees F. (See more on this below, it’s interesting!) If your chicken is getting too dark, you can always move it to indirect heat (unlit side or top rack of grill).

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

Plate with grilled drumsticks and napa cabbage slaw.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

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 and be sure you are starting with clean grates.

And as for the internal temperature for drumsticks, this is interesting and something I learned while researching for my grilled chicken thighs. While most chicken recipes are cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, we’re actually cooking legs and dark meat to 185 degrees F. This allows the higher fat and collagen content in legs to get a chance to “baste” the white meat, which makes it super juicy, flavorful, and really tender. I’m a convert and you will be too!

Plate of grilled drumsticks.

Storage Instructions

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!

How to Serve Grilled Chicken to the Whole Family

I get it, feeding kids can be tough! But following the Division of Responsibility and knowing your job and your child’s job makes it SO much more enjoyable. You’ll be able to feed your kids any meal, which will help ensure that they are eating a variety of nutritious foods – with plenty of play food sprinkled in. 😉

I’ve always thought drumsticks are a great food for kids, because you can pick it up and eat it with your hands! Our family loves these so much that we’ve served them at birthday parties.

If you aren’t sure, simply serve a bite of the chicken to them first to let them sample.

All of my articles on feeding kids can be found here and if you want a FULL list of all of the videos I have with hacks, tips, scripts, and ideas for feeding kids, check out my instagram or tiktok page.

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 and 2.3 grams carbohydrates. 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.

What to Serve with Grilled Drumsticks

I think the drumsticks are great on their own, but you can also serve them with your favorite bbq sauce. And 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:

More Grilling Recipes

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

It’s 5pm. Are you still wondering what’s for dinner?

Menu Plans by My Everyday Table can help you out.

The plan addresses three major issues when it comes to weeknight dinners: having a plan, time, and one family meal

You’ll save time, save money, waste less food, and feel calm when 5pm hits because your dinner is already planned.

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.

5 Grilling Secrets You Need to Know!

Get the quick-start guide so you can grill like a pro without going to culinary school.

Print
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Plate of grilled chicken drumsticks on a plate.

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 20 minutes, flip over and cook for another 10-15 minutes or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 185 degrees. (See note below.)
  5. Let rest for at least 5-10 minutes and dig in!

Notes

  • While most chicken recipes are cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, we’re actually cooking legs and dark meat to 185 degrees F. This allows the higher fat and collagen content in legs to get a chance to “baste” the white meat, which makes it super juicy, flavorful, and really tender. 

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

Photo Credit: All photos in this post were take by Loren at Sweet Rustic Bakes

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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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