In this delicious buffalo chicken recipe, juicy baked drumsticks are coated in a tasty sauce made from melted butter and hot pepper sauce.
Ready in about 50 minutes and with a prep time of just 10 minutes, this is a great recipe for weeknight dinners since the oven does most of the work!
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. We also adore these buffalo chicken lettuce wraps, made with shredded cooked chicken breast. 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 recipe regularly.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make these buffalo chicken drumsticks. 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 use three pounds of chicken in this recipe, which typically equals 10-12 drumsticks.
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.
To season: I use kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and smoked paprika. I prefer garlic powder to minced fresh garlic because I feel it better coats the chicken.
For the 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.
Making this buffalo chicken drumsticks recipe is easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here's an overview of the steps:
First, you coat the chicken pieces 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, quickly mix the sauce.
When the chicken pieces are fully baked, you coat them in the sauce. That's it! Easy!
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.
Frequently asked questions
This simple sauce is made from melted butter and hot pepper sauce. Sometimes I add garlic powder and smoked paprika. But the basic ingredients are just butter and hot sauce.
I like to leave the skin on 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 on.
Yes. Depending on their size, they'll likely need just 30 minutes in the oven, so check with an instant-read thermometer after 30 minutes and see if they're ready. Their internal temperature should reach 165°F.
The best way to vary this recips is with the seasonings you use. You can add a pinch of dried thyme to the chicken. You can also add a pinch of garlic and smoked paprika to the buffalo sauce.
Serve this dish just as you would serve 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 blue cheese dressing or homemade ranch. There's no need for other sides, although you can add additional raw veggies for dipping.
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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Buffalo Chicken Drumsticks
- 10 medium chicken drumsticks (about 3 lb. raw weight)
- Olive oil spray
- ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 4 tablespoons hot pepper sauce
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with high-heat-resistant parchment paper (or foil).
- Arrange the chicken drumsticks on the prepared pan. Spray them with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and smoked paprika. Lightly spray them again.
- Bake the chicken until golden brown and cooked through (its internal temperature should reach 165ºF), about 40 minutes.
- 10 minutes before the chicken is done, in a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and hot pepper sauce. Set aside until the chicken is done.
- Toss the cooked chicken pieces in the buffalo sauce until well coated. Serve immediately.
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