In this delicious buffalo chicken recipe, juicy baked drumsticks are coated in a tasty sauce made from melted butter and hot pepper sauce.
You’re in for a treat! This is one of my most reliably loved chicken recipes. As long as I don’t make it too spicy, everyone loves it – adults and kids.
My family loves homemade buffalo wings, and I make them often. But the first time I made this recipe, all I had in the fridge were chicken drumsticks. So I decided to use them. We all loved it so much, that I now make this buffalo chicken recipe regularly.
The ingredients you’ll need
You’ll only need a few simple ingredients to make this tasty recipe. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here’s an overview of what you’ll need:
For the chicken:
Chicken drumsticks: I like to leave the skin on when making buffalo chicken since it’s so flavorful. but you can remove it if you wish. I tried both options and both were very good, although personally, I do prefer the one with the skin.
Olive oil spray: I love using this very flavorful oil. But you can use avocado oil spray if you prefer an oil with a higher smoke point.
Kosher salt and black pepper: You should probably reduce the amount of salt you use if using fine salt, or the dish could end up too salty.
Garlic powder: Please make sure it’s fresh. A stale spice can easily ruin a dish. I prefer garlic powder to minced fresh garlic because I feel it better coats the chicken.
For the buffalo sauce:
Melted unsalted butter: I love using creamy European butter, but any butter will be delicious.
Hot pepper sauce: I use a hot habanero chipotle sauce. You can use your favorite hot sauce and go as hot or as mild as you like.
Garlic powder: Not mandatory, but certainly adds an extra layer of flavor to the yummy sauce.
How to make buffalo chicken
It’s a truly easy recipe! Scroll down to the recipe card for the detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
First, you coat the chicken drumsticks in oil, season them, then bake them in a hot (400F) oven until they are wonderfully crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside.
While the chicken is baking, you quickly mix the sauce. It’s good to mix the sauce ahead of time and allow it to slightly thicken while the chicken finishes baking.
When the chicken pieces are fully baked, you coat them with the sauce. That’s it! Easy!
What’s in buffalo sauce?
Buffalo sauce is a simple sauce made from melted butter and hot pepper sauce. I also like to add garlic powder. Sometimes I add smoked paprika as well.
As mentioned above, it’s a good idea to make the sauce in advance, while the chicken is cooking. This allows the sauce to slightly thicken, which helps it better adhere to the chicken. If you make the sauce at the last minute it is thinner, and then it tends to just slide off the chicken pieces.
How to serve buffalo chicken?
Serve it as you would buffalo wings, with celery sticks and a dipping sauce – either ranch or blue cheese.
I usually serve 2 drumsticks per person for dinner, with celery and homemade ranch. There’s no need for other sides, although you can add additional raw veggies for dipping.
What about leftovers?
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. To avoid overcooked leftovers, reheat them covered in the microwave, on 50% power. They’re also good cold!
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- 10 medium bone-in skin-on chicken drumsticks (about 3 lb. raw weight)
- Olive oil spray
- 1/2 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 4 tablespoons hot pepper sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Arrange the chicken drumsticks on the prepared pan. Spray them with olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, black pepper and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder.
- Bake the chicken drumsticks until golden brown and cooked through, about 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, hot pepper sauce and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder. Set aside until chicken is done.
- Toss the cooked chicken in the buffalo sauce until well coated. Serve the buffalo chicken immediately.