Dress up your drumsticks with this Sticky Chicken recipe! This one-pan main dish is a family favorite with chicken drumsticks and a sweet and sticky sauce.
I’m all about easy recipes with loads of flavor and one of the best ones I know is this yummy recipe for Sticky Chicken. It makes a great addition to your dinner table and is ready to eat in about 30 minutes. Talk about an easy dinner recipe.
What’s great about Sticky Chicken is that it can be made with any cut of chicken. I wanted a cut with skin on it so I choose chicken drumsticks. They are budget-friendly and always turn out delicious.
You could also make this recipe with chicken wings or chicken thighs. Both would be equally yummy! Trust me, you’ll want to sop up all that sticky chicken sauce.
Why You’ll Love Sticky Chicken
- A family favorite recipe ready in 30 minutes
- Pairs with a wide variety of side dishes
- Easy to find ingredients at the grocery store
- Sweet and sticky glaze is the BEST
- Can be used with other cuts of chicken (dark meat or white meat)
- Can be doubled or tripled if you need to make more
- Perfect recipe for busy weeknights
- Chicken drumsticks
- Soy sauce – Use low sodium soy sauce if you are watching your salt intake.
- White vinegar
- Dry mustard powder
- Granulated sugar
- Vegetable oil
- Sesame seeds
How to Make Easy Sticky Chicken
- Step One: Add soy sauce, vinegar, paprika, dry mustard, sugar and oil to a large skillet and stir to combine. Place chicken drumsticks in pan. Pour water on top. Bring to a boil.
- Step Two: Boil until water has reduced by half. Reduce to medium heat. Continue to turn the chicken frequently until cooked through.
- Step Three: Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve hot.
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What Side Dishes to Serve with Sticky Chicken
- Rice. Try brown rice, white rice, jasmine rice, or even cauliflower rice. It’s the best way to soak up all that sweet sauce.
- Roasted veggies. Love these Roasted Root Vegetables. You could also try roasted broccoli, cauliflower, or sweet potatoes.
- Salad. Try a tossed salad loaded with fresh veggies, pasta salad like this Hawaiian Macaroni Salad or a potato salad like my Herb Potato Salad.
- Garlic bread. It goes with everything!
- Mashed potatoes. A classic! Love this Twice Baked Potato Casserole.
Variations and Substitutions
- Garnish with green onions in addition to sesame seeds for a pop of freshness and color.
- Use hoisin sauce, tamari sauce or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce.
- Add 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger and/or minced garlic to the sauce mixture. You can also add 1 teaspoon of garlic powder instead.
- Add 1 tablespoon of sweet chili sauce or chili garlic sauce to the sauce mixture for an extra kick.
- Try a different oil like olive oil, sesame oil, or canola oil.
- Use a different type of chicken. Try boneless skinless chicken thighs, boneless chicken thighs or boneless skinless chicken breasts. You can also use chicken breasts that you’ve cut into chicken strips or 1-inch cubes.
- For extra heat, add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper.
- Substitute the sugar with honey, maple syrup, agave nectar or light brown sugar.
- Instead of white vinegar, try rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
Store leftover sticky chicken pieces in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Can I Freeze?
Yes! You can freeze leftovers for later or make a bunch of sticky chicken in advance to freeze.
Let the chicken cool to room temperature first. Place in freezer bags or freezer safe containers. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
When you are ready to thaw the chicken, place in the refrigerator overnight to thaw. Heat in the oven, microwave or stovetop.
- Use bone-in, skin-on chicken. I love chicken drumsticks or chicken thighs. The higher fat content means juicy chicken that is incredibly moist and tender.
- Don’t overcook the chicken. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. It should have an internal temperature of 165°F. No one likes tough or dry chicken.
- Reduce the sauce if needed. If you find the sauce not reduced enough to your liking by the time the chicken is done, make a cornstarch slurry! Use 1 tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon of the sauce liquid (or water). Then add to the pot and stir frequently until the sauce thickens up.
Yes, you can make Sticky Chicken in a slow cooker! In a bowl, mix together soy sauce, white vinegar, dry mustard, sugar, paprika, vegetable oil and 2 tablespoons of water. You don’t need as much water for the slow cooker version.
Cook on low heat for 4 to 6 hours or high heat for 2 to 3 hours, or until the chicken is cooked through.
Remove the drumsticks and place on a baking sheet. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes, until the skin gets crispy.
Add the remaining liquid in the slow cooker to a saucepan and bring to a boil on medium-high heat. Stir in a cornstarch slurry (1 tablespoon cornstarch + 1 tablespoon water) and cook for 1 to 3 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Pour sauce over the cooked chicken.
Yes, you can air fry your meal instead.
Preheat the air fryer (if your model calls for preheating) to 375F. Whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, dry mustard, paprika, sugar, vegetable oil and 2 tablespoons of water in a small bowl.
Place the chicken in the air fryer basket. Brush the sauce over the chicken drumstick on all sides.
Air fry for 20 to 25 minutes or until the chicken’s internal temperature is 165F. Flip the chicken halfway through cooking.
Add the remaining sauce to a saucepan and bring to a boil on medium-high heat. Stir in a cornstarch slurry (1 tablespoon cornstarch + 1 tablespoon water) and cook for 1 to 3 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Pour sauce over the cooked chicken.
Yes, you can use either one! Whatever you have on hand or your personal preference.
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You’ll also love this Copycat Panda Express Mushroom Chicken, Hawaiian Chicken, Slow Cooker Lemon Herb Chicken, Peking Chicken, One-Pan Maple Dijon Chicken, Hurry Chicken or Pineapple Teriyaki Chicken.
- 10 chicken drumsticks
- 4 tbsp soy sauce
- 4 tbsp white vinegar
- 1 tsp dry mustard powder
- 2 tbsp sugar
- Pinch of paprika
- 2 ½ cups water
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- Sesame seeds for garnish
- Add soy sauce, vinegar, paprika, dry mustard, sugar and oil to a large pan and stir to combine. Place chicken drumsticks in pan. Pour water on top. Bring to a boil.
- Boil until water has reduced by half. Reduce heat to medium. Continue to turn the chicken frequently until cooked through.
- Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve hot.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.