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How do you cook a drumstick in the oven?

Drumsticks are a delicious and inexpensive chicken cut that can be cooked in a variety of ways. One of the easiest and most popular methods is baking drumsticks in the oven. When properly cooked, oven-baked drumsticks come out juicy, tender and full of flavor. This cooking method allows the seasonings to really penetrate the meat while the skin becomes crispy and browned. Follow the steps below to learn how to bake drumsticks to crispy, juicy perfection.


To bake drumsticks in the oven, you will need:

  • Chicken drumsticks – Plan on 1-2 drumsticks per person depending on their size and your appetites. Buy them fresh or thawed if previously frozen.
  • Olive oil or vegetable oil – For coating the drumsticks.
  • Seasonings – Choose spice blends, herbs, salt, pepper, garlic powder, etc. Examples include Italian seasoning, paprika, rosemary, thyme, curry powder, chili powder, etc.

Prep and Season the Drumsticks

Start by taking the drumsticks out of the refrigerator and allowing them to come closer to room temperature. This helps them cook more evenly later. Pat the drumsticks dry with paper towels. If there was excess water on them, it can inhibit the seasoning and browning. Place the drumsticks on a rimmed baking sheet or in a baking dish.

Next, drizzle the drumsticks lightly with olive oil or vegetable oil on all sides. Use your hands to rub the oil evenly over the skin. The oil helps the seasoning stick and promotes browning and crisping of the skin when baked.

Now season the drumsticks all over with your chosen spices and herbs. Feel free to get creative with the seasoning blends based on what flavors you enjoy. Some examples include:

  • Italian Seasoning – oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, garlic powder
  • BBQ rub – brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper
  • Moroccan spice – cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, coriander
  • Jerk seasoning – allspice, thyme, garlic, onion, salt

Apply the seasoning generously over the drumsticks so they are fully coated. The seasoning will give great flavor while the drumsticks bake. You can use freshly ground spices, dried herbs, spice blends or homemade rubs. Make sure to season under the skin as well for even more flavor.

Baking Temperatures and Times

Baking drumsticks in the oven is really straightforward. Simply place your seasoned drumsticks on a baking sheet and pop them in the hot oven. Here are oven temperatures and baking times to aim for to get perfectly cooked drumsticks:

Oven Temperature Baking Time
400??F 30-40 minutes
375??F 35-45 minutes
350??F 45-60 minutes

The lower oven temperatures result in slower cooking which keeps the drumsticks extra moist and tender. Higher temperatures help crisp the skin faster. Check for doneness after 30 minutes and continue baking until the juices run clear and the drumsticks reach an internal temperature of 165-175??F.

For easy cleanup, you can line your baking sheet with foil or parchment paper before adding the drumsticks.

Flavor Variations

There are endless possibilities when it comes to seasoning baked drumsticks. Consider these flavor ideas:

  • Mediterranean – Use a mix of olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, garlic and salt. Lovely Greek-inspired flavors.
  • Jamaican Jerk – Traditional jamaican jerk flavors like allspice, thyme, brown sugar and habanero peppers.
  • Thai – Coat drumsticks in a blend of lime juice, curry powder, brown sugar, garlic and cilantro.
  • Indian Tandoori – Apply a rub of garlic, curry powder, cumin, yogurt, ginger and garam masala.
  • Tex Mex – Sprinkle on chili powder, cumin, oregano, garlic and lime juice. Serve with avocado.
  • Italian – Use dried basil, oregano, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper for a classic Italian flavor.

You can also use store-bought seasoning mixes like garlic herb, lemon pepper, cajun, jerk or tandoori masala rubs.

Cooking Methods

In addition to oven baking, drumsticks can be prepared using these cooking methods:

  • Grilled – Get great charred flavor by grilling over medium heat, about 15-20 minutes.
  • Air Fried – Cook seasoned drumsticks in an air fryer at 400??F for 20-25 minutes until crispy.
  • Stovetop – Pan fry drumsticks in a skillet with oil for 25-35 minutes turning occasionally.
  • Slow Cooker – Add seasoning and cook on Low setting for 4-6 hours until tender.
  • Instant Pot – Pressure cook seasoned drumsticks for 15-20 minutes until fully cooked.

Serving Suggestions

Baked drumsticks pair well with various sides and sauces. Consider serving them:

  • On top of salad greens for extra protein.
  • With roasted veggies like potatoes, Brussels sprouts, carrots or broccoli.
  • With rice, quinoa, couscous or pasta salad.
  • With dipping sauces like BBQ, honey mustard or ranch.
  • In sandwiches or wraps for a filling lunch option.

Leftover baked drumsticks can be stored covered in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave to desired temperature before serving again.

Tips for Perfectly Baked Drumsticks

Follow these tips for the best oven baked drumsticks:

  • Pat drumsticks dry before seasoning so flavors stick better.
  • Use an oil with high smoke point like avocado or grapeseed oil to avoid smoking.
  • Season under the skin for extra flavor infusion.
  • Bake at a lower temp (350??F) for tender, juicy meat.
  • Bake at a higher temp (400??F) for crisper, browned skin.
  • Allow cooked drumsticks to rest 5 minutes before serving.
  • Check internal temperature with meat thermometer for doneness.

Common FAQs

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about baking drumsticks:

How long does it take to bake drumsticks at 400??F?

At a 400??F oven temperature, drumsticks take around 30-40 minutes to fully bake. Larger drumsticks may take closer to 40 minutes.

Should you flip drumsticks when baking?

It’s not necessary to flip the drumsticks while they bake. Placing them on a wire rack elevated above a baking sheet allows air circulation for even cooking.

What is the minimum internal temperature for baked chicken?

Chicken should reach an internal temperature of at least 165??F to be safe to eat. The ideal temperature for juicy, tender meat is between 165-175??F.

Can you leave the skin on baked drumsticks?

Yes, leaving the skin on helps keep the drumstick meat moist and adds great flavor. Be sure to season under and over the skin before baking.

What seasoning goes best with baked drumsticks?

Any combination of spices and herbs works well. Great options include garlic powder, paprika, Italian seasoning, jerk spices, lemon pepper or a homemade dry rub.


Baking drumsticks in the oven is one of the easiest ways to cook this chicken cut. Allowing the seasoned meat to cook low and slow results in incredibly tender and juicy drumsticks with crispy skin. While baking at 350-400??F works for basic oven-baked drumsticks, you can experiment with endless seasoning blends for global flavor. Serve these baked chicken drumsticks as an entree, over salads or in sandwiches for a hearty, protein-packed meal the whole family will love.