Make tender and juicy chicken drumsticks in the crockpot! Simply toss all of the ingredients into your slow cooker for an easy weeknight dinner recipe. Just before serving, throw them under the broiler for crispy delicious skin.
There are quite a few ingredients that can really shine in a slow cooker, and I think chicken is one of them. Chicken is an ingredient that can be really easy to overcook, but cooking chicken legs or chicken breasts low and slow means you’ll end up with tender and juicy chicken every single time.
Why this recipe works
The drumsticks cook in a delicious mixture of chicken broth, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic and dried thyme. This not only adds savory and spicy notes, but it also creates a delicious jus to serve over top!
Don’t skip the crispy skin! Simply throw them under the broiler for a few minutes before serving.
Ingredients you’ll need
- This recipe uses bone-in, skin-on chicken drumsticks. You could also try it with chicken thighs. This is an inexpensive, budget-friendly cut that is easy to find in most grocery stores.
- The liquid that cooks the chicken is a combination of chicken broth, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, minced garlic, jalapeno and salt. If you don’t have chicken broth, you could also use water, you just may need to add more salt.
- The jalapeno doesn’t add much heat, but does add a ton of flavor! If you want something spicier, add a serano chili in addition to the jalapeno.
- Make sure to have enough liquid in the slow cooker to avoid the chicken sticking to the bottom and burning, plus the extra juices can be served overtop as a delicious jus! They are great over rice and veggies, too.
- While many recipes will tell you to brown the chicken before adding it to the crockpot, I’ve found it’s equally as successful to brown the chicken legs afterwards. Simply remove them from the liquid, add them to a baking sheet and brown for 2-4 minutes.
- If you want to make this more of a meal, you can add some sliced carrots or potatoes along with the chicken.
Step by step instructions
- This recipe couldn’t be easier! Simply arrange the chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker. Whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce in a measuring cup and pour evenly over top. If the jalapeno end up in a bunch, just rearrange and scatter the slices evenly overtop.
- Cook on high for 4 hours or low for six hours.
- Once the chicken is done cooking, it will be very tender but not browned at all. Remove from the slow cooker, being sure to leave any slices of jalapeno behind in the sauce, and arrange on a baking sheet. Broil for 2-4 minutes until skin is browned and bubbling. Serve with extra sauce overtop.
Frequently asked questions
Absolutely! Raw chicken is totally fine. It will cook with the heat of the slow cooker. I have never tried cooking frozen chicken, I would be careful as it could reach a not food-safe temperature while it cooks.
I always add a bit of a sauce or liquid so that you don’t end up with burnt garlic or any other scorched ingredients.
Drumsticks are higher in fat than leaner chicken breast, so they are very successfully cooked on both high and low heat settings.
More recipe ideas
- Use your instant pot for juicy drumsticks, this recipe is a little bit more hands on than those made in the slow cooker, but they are equally delicious!
- If you love crispy chicken skin, you can’t go wrong with oven-roasted crispy chicken legs.
Serve these with
- An easy salad like burrata Caprese, which comes together in minutes and just uses a few simple ingredients.
- A Greek orzo salad is also an easy, make-ahead side to serve.
This recipe was originally published on January 15, 2015 and updated on January 13, 2023.