Slow Cooker Sweet Chili Chicken Drumsticks are tender, sticky drumsticks cooked in an easy sweet and spicy sauce. They’re made with only 5 ingredients are sure to be hit!
I own two slow cookers and am not ashamed to admit it. In fact, I had to loan one out for a basketball team function and told the person in charge that there was no rush getting it back to me. One day I was using my second one to make steel cut oats, and I went to grab the other one to start dinner and realized it was still on loan. I threw a mini fit and had to make dinner the old fashioned way. I got my other slow cooker back this week, so life is good again. 🙂
I’m being a little dramatic here, but my slow cookers are something I rely on more and more. These Slow Cooker Sweet Chili Chicken Drumsticks are a dish that’s so easy it will amaze you, and they’re also amazingly delicious! They’re tender, sticky, sweet, and spicy, and I’ll bet you can’t eat just one.
I can’t take the credit for this sticky-spicy-sweet recipe, however — it’s straight from my friend Kelly Kwok’s new cookbook The Asian Slow Cooker, which will be released on November 8!
You may have visited Kelly’s blog Life Made Sweeter, where she shares family friendly meals and desserts, and many of her recipes involve her slow cooker. Kelly and I “met” through our blogs years ago, then I had the privilege of meeting her in person at a food conference this year. She’s even better in person, and I’m so excited that she’s become a cookbook author. Congrats, Kelly!
The Asian Slow Cooker is quite a special cookbook — I’ve never seen anything like it. Kelly’s recipes are a healthier, tastier version of takeout that you can make with the press of a button. Some recipes have 5 ingredients or less like these Slow Cooker Sweet Chili Chicken Drumsticks, and some are 30 minute one pot/skillet recipes that are perfect to whip up after a long day. There’s a recipe you’re going to love for every day of the week.
It was hard for me to choose which recipe to create, but I chose this recipe because I was dying to try cooking drumsticks in the slow cooker, and the flavors sounded off the charts. It took all of about 5 minutes to whip up the sauce, and I marinated the chicken overnight. I popped everything into the slow cooker the next day and cranked it up to high. 3 hours later, the chicken was falling off the bone tender….it was like magic.
Kelly’s trick to get the chicken skin crispy is to place it under a broiler for about 3 minutes per side, and it worked like a charm. This dish was so easy and beyond flavorful — I was incredibly happy with it and can’t wait to make it again.
Just in case you’re wondering, this meal is kid friendly even though there’s a large amount of chili sauce in the recipe. If you frequent my blog, you’ve probably heard me whine about not getting to make myself spicy food because my family can’t hack it very well. I knew they could handle this sauce because it has a very mild chili flavor and it’s nice and sweet too. Nobody can resist heat when it’s sweet. 🙂
What really made this sauce irresistible for me was a good amount of minced fresh ginger, which added some sweet heat of its own. I always have fresh ginger root in my freezer because when it’s frozen you can grate it right into your dishes without peeling it. That’s one life saving hack right there for ginger lovers!
These Slow Cooker Sweet Chili Chicken Drumsticks are great for a hands-off weeknight meal and would be incredible to serve for Game Day. You’ll just love these spicy, sweet, and savory drumsticks — they’re finger-licking good. 🙂
- ⅔ cup low sodium soy sauce
- ⅔ cup Thai sweet chili sauce
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce
- 2" piece fresh ginger, minced*
- 4-5 lbs. chicken drumsticks (I used 4 lbs.)
- Freshly chopped cilantro, for garnish (optional)
- Lime wedges, for serving (optional)
- Sesame seeds, for serving (optional)
- Place the chicken in a large baking dish or resealable bag.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, chili sauce, fish sauce, and minced ginger until combined. Pour over the chicken and toss well to coat. Cover with plastic wrap or seal the bag and marinate for a minimum of 3 hours or overnight.
- When you're ready to cook the chicken, place it in a 6-quart slow cooker with the marinade and cook it on low for 5-6 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
- Preheat the broiler and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place the drumsticks on the baking sheet and brush well with the marinade. Broil for 3 minutes per side, flipping once and coating with more sauce. Remove from the oven and place on a serving dish with cilantro, lime, and sesame seeds, if desired. Enjoy!
I cooked my drumsticks on high and they were done in 3 hours flat.
Broiling helps to add crispiness to the drumsticks and seal in the flavors, but you can skip this step if desired.
Recipe adapted from The Asian Slow Cooker cookbook by Kelly Kwok.