Marinated Chicken Drumsticks are easy to make with minimal prep time, made with tender chicken drumsticks marinated in a blend of olive oil, herbs, and spices, ready in only an hour!

Marinades are a great way to add a lot of flavor to meat. For a really quick and easy recipe, check out this Italian Dressing Chicken! This also goes great with my favorite side dishes, Instant Pot Green Beans and Garlic Parmesan Roasted Potatoes

A baking dish with cooked chicken drumsticks covered in marinade.

Marinated Chicken Drumsticks are the perfect weeknight dinner because they are really quick and easy, and only take about 30 minutes to make. Plus, a really flavorful marinade only takes a few simple ingredients you already have in your pantry!

You can get creative with this chicken marinade, too! Try using lime juice instead of lemon, or try adding a teaspoon oregano or thyme. You can also use a tablespoon of sweet honey or orange juice for sweetness, fresh ginger or red pepper flakes for some heat, or add chopped shallots or green onions for a savory flavor. 

Ingredients You’ll Need

Individual ingredients for chicken drumsticks marinade on a table.

Chicken. This recipe is for chicken drumsticks, but the marinade will really work with any cut of chicken, like baked chicken breast or thighs. It also works as a base for grilling. 

If you’re going to bake the drumsticks, pour the rest of the marinade into the baking dish over the chicken before baking. For grilling, discard the leftover marinade and let the chicken drip for a minute before placing it onto the grill. 

Olive Oil. I use extra virgin olive oil because it’s what I always have in my kitchen, and it’s considered a healthy fat. You need fat in the marinade to help with moisture, and also to keep the flavor on the meat. 

If you’re planning to grill your drumsticks instead of baking them, use vegetable oil, canola oil, or avocado oil instead of olive oil, because these oils have a higher smoke point. This will prevent any off-flavors. 

Lemon Juice. Marinades need a mix of fat and acid to work well, and we’re using lemon juice as our acid. The acid helps make the meat tender and juicy. 

Spices. Always start with salt and pepper. Then we’re adding some simple pantry spices, like onion powder, paprika, and garlic powder.

Herbs. I’m just adding some dried parsley for flavor. You can also add some oregano. For an even better flavor, try adding some fresh chopped parsley instead of dried. 

Dijon Mustard. Mustard adds more depth of flavor to the marinade. I use dijon because it’s a classic, and we almost always have some in the refrigerator. You could also use dried mustard powder instead. 

How to Make Marinated Chicken Drumsticks

Step by step photos for how to make marinated chicken drumsticks.
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the marinade ingredients until well combined. 
  2. Add the chicken drumsticks to a large ziplock bag, then pour the marinade over top. Seal the bag, then move the pieces of chicken around to completely coat. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. If you don’t have ziplock bags, you can also just mix everything together in a medium bowl, then top with plastic wrap and refrigerate. 
  3. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease a large baking dish, then transfer the chicken to the baking dish. Leave the chicken in a single layer, with a small amount of space between each one. Pour any leftover marinade over the chicken. 
  4. Bake for 15 minutes, then carefully use tongs to turn the drumsticks. Bake an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the drumsticks are golden brown and reach an internal temperature of 165°F. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How long can drumsticks be marinated?

I recommend marinating chicken drumsticks for at least 30 minutes, but up to a few hours before cooking (always refrigerated while marinating). I would not go past 24 hours, because the acid in the marinade can start to break down the meat.

Because the drumsticks are smaller, you can get away with less marinating time. If you use this for a larger cut, like chicken breast or thighs, I would recommend at least 1-2 hours of marinating time. 

How long do drumsticks take to cook?

At 400°F, chicken drumsticks will take about 30 minutes to fully cook. Depending on the size of your drumsticks, it might take slightly longer to finish cooking. If you use a lower oven temperature, increase the cook time. 

Make sure to check your chicken with a meat thermometer, to make sure it has reached an internal temperature of 165°F. 

Do you marinate chicken covered or uncovered?

Marinate your chicken in an airtight container, or completely covered. I prefer to use a ziplock bag, then I place the bag in a mixing bowl in the refrigerator, just in case the ziplock leaks (so it won’t make a mess in the refrigerator!)

It is also recommended to place the bowl on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. This is so if anything does leak, you don’t contaminate any produce or other items below the raw meat. 

Storage

Refrigerate leftover drumsticks for 2-3 days in an airtight container. 

Freeze drumsticks in an airtight container for 2-3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator the day before reheating. 

More Chicken Recipes

Recipe Variations

  • Make a spicy marinade for chicken drumsticks by adding red chili flakes, cayenne pepper, hot sauce, or sriracha to the marinade.
  • The lemon juice helps tenderize the chicken. You can swap this for white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or lime juice, depending on the flavor profile you’re going for.
  • Make this marinade sweeter with a tablespoon of granulated sugar or brown sugar. Granulated sugar adds sweetness, but brown sugar would give more molasses notes.
  • You can use this recipe for other chicken pieces, like chicken breast, chicken wings, chicken legs (a drumstick/thigh combo), or chicken thighs! Just adjust the cooking time for whatever cut you’re making. For a larger cut like breast or thigh, you may have to increase the baking time to 40-45 minutes (or until fully cooked). 
  • If you want a crispy skin, try making air fryer chicken drumsticks! Preheat the air fryer to 400°F, and air fry drumsticks for 10 minutes on each side, or until fully cooked with an internal temperature of 165°F. Use tongs to flip the drumsticks, because the air fryer basket will be hot! 
  • If you don’t have garlic powder, you can mince one or two garlic cloves for the chicken drumstick marinade. 

Cooking Tips

  • Never reuse a marinade that’s been used. Always discard any liquid that’s been used on raw meat, like uncooked chicken, as soon as the meat is removed.
  • Always refrigerate the chicken as it marinates. Raw chicken cannot sit in the “danger zone” temperature for more than 1-2 hours, or it will not be safe. Ready more about the danger zone here with the USDA. 
  • If you’re going to bake the marinated chicken drumsticks, you can just pour the extra marinade on top of the chicken before baking.
  • If you’re going to grill, then you should let as much of the marinade drip off as possible. This prevents flare-ups on the grill. You can also blot the drumsticks with a paper towel, to get any spots that might drip. 
  • If you don’t have a baking dish, you can also make these on a baking tray. I like to wrap the sheet with foil and lightly grease for easier cleanup. I don’t recommend lining the tray with parchment paper, because the marinade is oily and you’ll still have a lot to clean up. 
A baking dish with cooked chicken drumsticks covered in marinade with a hand picking up one drumstick.

If you loved this recipe, be sure to leave a 5 Star review below, and tag me with a photo of your finished recipe on Instagram @Jacqui_DishingDelish!

A baking dish with cooked chicken drumsticks covered in marinade.

Marinated Chicken Drumsticks

Marinated Chicken Drumsticks are easy to make with minimal prep time, made with tender chicken drumsticks marinated in a blend of olive oil, herbs, and spices, ready in only an hour!
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Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Marinating Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 5 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Author: Jacqui
Yield: 10 drumsticks

Ingredients
 
 

  • 10 medium chicken drumsticks, with skin
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Equipment

  • 1 baking dish

Instructions
 

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the marinade ingredients until well combined.
  • Add the chicken drumsticks to a large ziplock bag, then pour the marinade over top. Seal the bag, then move the pieces of chicken around to completely coat. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease a large baking dish, then transfer the chicken to the baking dish, leaving space between each one. Pour any leftover marinade over the chicken.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, then carefully use tongs to turn the drumsticks. Bake an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the drumsticks are golden brown and reach an internal temperature of 165°F.

Notes

Click on the time in the instructions to start a timer!
Storage
Refrigerate leftover drumsticks for 2-3 days in an airtight container. 
Freeze in an airtight container for 2-3 months. 
Cooking Tips
  • If you’re going to bake the marinated chicken drumsticks, you can just pour the extra marinade on top of the chicken before baking.
  • If you’re going to grill, then you should remove any dripping marinade to prevent flare-ups. You can blot the drumsticks with a paper towel, to get any spots that might drip. 
  • If you don’t have a baking dish, you can also make these on a baking sheet or in the air fryer. 
  • Always refrigerate meat while it’s marinating, and discard any leftover marinade.

Nutrition

Calories: 220kcal (11%)Carbohydrates: 1gProtein: 14g (28%)Fat: 18g (28%)Saturated Fat: 3g (19%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0.03gCholesterol: 70mg (23%)Sodium: 202mg (9%)Potassium: 190mg (5%)Fiber: 0.2g (1%)Sugar: 0.1gVitamin A: 138IU (3%)Vitamin C: 1mg (1%)Calcium: 12mg (1%)Iron: 1mg (6%)
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