Maple Glazed Chicken Drumsticks are a simple, 6-ingredient sweet and spicy meal that’s perfect for summer grilling! An easy and flavorful way to make grilled chicken drumsticks!
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We are gearing up for summer over here and one of the things we love to do is cook and eat outside!
These grilled chicken drumsticks are one of our favorites because they are so easy to make.
I LOVE a sweet and sticky glaze, so decided on this combination of maple syrup and chili sauce because it has the perfect blend of sweet and spicy.
I also love the simple ingredient list: maple syrup, chili sauce, vinegar, garlic, salt, and chicken. I already had everything I needed in my pantry, so that was another win. Simple is where it’s at these days!
- Chicken: I used chicken drumsticks for this recipe. You can cook it with the skin or without, it’ll work and taste amazing either way. You could use chicken thighs too for similar results.
- Maple Syrup: a good quality, pure maple syrup will give you the best of the classic warm sweet flavor!
- Chili Sauce: chili sauce is a seasoned tomato sauce with extra kick! Do not mistake it for hot sauce.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: adds extra tang and makes the chicken super tender.
- Garlic: freshly minced garlic will give you the best flavor.
- Salt: use to enhance all the flavors.
How to Make Maple Glazed Chicken Drumsticks
This recipe is quick and easy to make! Full instructions are included in the recipe card below.
- Make marinade in bag. Combine maple syrup, chili sauce, apple cider vinegar, minced garlic, and salt in a large resealable plastic bag or a large Ziploc bag.
- Put chicken in bag. Add the chicken drumsticks to the bag with the sauce in it.
- Marinate chicken and make glaze. Seal the bag and turn to coat drumsticks. Place in the refrigerator to marinate. Make the thickened glaze.
- Grill and glaze. Cook the chicken, turning it every so often until done. Remove from the grill and brush the cooked chicken with the glaze before serving.
Maple Glazed Chicken Drumsticks FAQs
Yes! It’s very easy to overcook or burn chicken when cooking it, especially on the grill! Overcooked chicken has a dry and rubbery texture, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on it. It’s also worth noting that sugar burns easily too, so check out my tips on cooking these drumsticks on foil and on the grill directly for best results.
Store this dish in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Allow the chicken to cool to room temperature before putting it in the fridge. Refrigerate within 2 hours of cooking it.
Maple glazed chicken drumsticks can be frozen after cooking them very easily. I’d recommend removing the meat from the bone and shredding the chicken. Put the shredded chicken in a Ziploc bag, and store it in the freezer for up to 1 month. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator and reheat in the microwave or on top of foil on the grill.
Tips and Notes
- Paper towel to serve. Serve these sticky chicken drumsticks with a small bowl of water on the table with paper towels, or some kind of wet wipes, because they can get messy!
- Aluminum foil. You can cook the chicken on top of tin foil sprayed with non-stick on both sides, or directly on the grill. I actually found that the chicken didn’t stick to the grill either way. Chicken cooked directly on the grill will char much more quickly, but it will also get those great grill marks!
- Grilling on Foil. If you grill the drumsticks on foil, you can move them to cook directly on the grill to get a bit of caramelization on them.
- Grilling directly on the grill. If you grill directly onto the grill, you’ll want to move them to indirect heat once they are charred so they don’t burn. The sugary nature of the marinade makes it prone to burning, so be careful to watch your chicken as it cooks.
- Skin. You can cook drumsticks with the chicken on or off, this chicken recipe tastes amazing both ways. If you like a crispier outer with a bit of extra texture, then leave the skin on. If you prefer skinless pieces, then you can buy them skinless from the grocery store, or just pull the skin off before marinating them.
- Slice to marinate. You can make a long incision in the thickest part of the meat before marinating it to allow the marinade to seep into the chicken for a deeper flavor.
Maple Glazed Chicken Drumsticks Variations
- Mix up the seasoning. Use different seasonings depending on your flavor preferences. Cajun, paprika, turmeric, chili, and cumin are all great spices for chicken for this marinade to give a sweet and spicy flavor. You can also use a store-bought chicken spice mix if you like.
- Herbs. You can use dried herbs in the marinade as well if you like. Marjoram, oregano, cilantro, or parsley would work well.
- Garnish. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro or finely chopped green onions for an added burst of freshness.
Serve Maple Glazed Chicken Drumsticks with pretty much any BBQ side to make an amazing BBQ spread. Check out my list of The Best BBQ Sides for Summer for ideas.
More Easy Grilled Chicken Recipes
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Maple Glazed Chicken Drumsticks
- 8-12 chicken drumsticks
- ½ cup + ¼ cup maple syrup divided
- ½ cup + ¼ cup chili sauce divided
- ¼ cup + ⅛cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp + ½tsp minced garlic divided
- Add chicken drumsticks to a large resealable plastic bag (skin on or off as desired). Combine ½ cup maple syrup, ½ cup chili sauce, ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp minced garlic, and salt. Pour over drumsticks into a bag. You can also do this in a large bowl, and stir to coat, but it is easiest in a bag.
- Seal the bag and turn to coat drumsticks. Place in the refrigerator to marinate for 2-8 hours (I marinated mine for just a couple of hours).
- Preheat grill to about 400 degrees F (I had 2 sides on, and one side off so I could move them to indirect heat if need be). Either grease the grill with oil or non-stick or spray a piece of tin foil with non-stick spray and place it on the grill over the heat (*see post for additional explanation). Place drumsticks on the grill, and cook, turning every so often, for 20-25 minutes or until meat starts to fall away from the bone. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn! Move to indirect heat if need be.
- While drumsticks are cooking (or you can do this ahead of time if you need to), combine ¼ cup maple syrup, ¼ cup chili sauce, ⅛ cup apple cider vinegar, and ½ tsp minced garlic in a small pot. Bring to a low simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring often, until reduced and thickened (about 10-15 minutes). Turn off the heat and keep warm until the chicken is done.
- Brush drumsticks with thickened glaze before serving.
- Store: Store this dish in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Allow the chicken to cool to room temperature before putting it in the fridge. Refrigerate within 2 hours of cooking it.
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