How to Make BBQ Chicken Drumsticks On The Stove


Chicken drumsticks get their name from their shape, resembling drum sticks. A top rounded plump portion of meat tapering down to form a perfect handle to hold. It is as if they had been made to be held and eaten by hand. You will know what I mean when you try this barbecue chicken drumstick recipe on the stove top. It is sticky and luscious and there is no other way to enjoy them other than by hand! I also love this tactile approach to cooking drumsticks on the stove in a pan.


How to Cook Chicken Drumsticks on Stove Top

If you’ve found your way to this recipe, you may have asked the question, ‘Can you cook chicken drumsticks on the stove top?’. The answer is yes! not only can you cook drumsticks on the stove top but you can make them more succulent than in the oven.


This easy drumsticks recipe simply involves no or minimal use of oil, and has three key stages of cooking:

1.     Browning the chicken on an open hot pan.
2.    Covering with a lid to release moisture, making succulent drumsticks.
3.    Simmering in an open pan with barbecue sauce until sticky.


This is my tried and trusted method for stove top drumsticks. By browning, it locks in flavor and creates a crispy outer layer. In this recipe I did not use any oil to brown the drumsticks. This may vary depending on the quality and size of chicken you use. The ones I used were quite large. If it does not brown easily, then add a tablespoon of oil to assist the process. Brown for 5 minutes on the first side then turn. Keep turning until they are evenly browned. Once you are satisfied with the colour, lower the heat and close the lid.

By closing the lid, the chicken cooks within its own moisture, the drumsticks then shrink in size. This also ensures that the drumsticks are properly cooked. There is no need to add any additional water. Simply allow to cook in own juices. While the lid is closed, avoid turning the drumsticks, simply leave them be for 15 minutes or so.


The last step gives them their flavour and texture. After 15 minutes, coat the drumsticks with barbecue sauce. Spread evenly with a spoon or brush. Turn and repeat until the drumsticks are bathed in sauce. Allow to simmer on medium heat until the water evaporates and the drumsticks are sticky. Remove from heat, serve warm or cold.

Tools for Making Stovetop Drumsticks

Tools needed for this recipe are:

  1.  A non stick pan or pot large enough to fit all drumsticks to allow even cooking. I used a 28cm non stick frying pan and fitted 8 drumsticks.
  2. Tongs are helpful as they provide an easy grip when turning the drumsticks.
  3. A lid for the frying pan

Barbecue Sauce for Chicken Drumsticks

This recipe does not use a marinade as such but rather precooks the drumsticks then simmers them in a homemade barbecue sauce to add flavour. To make the homemade bbq sauce, simply combine all ingredients listed in the recipe below to form your very own homemade sauce.



Recipe for BBQ Chicken Drumsticks on Stove

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BBQ Chicken Drumsticks On Stove

BBQ Chicken Drumsticks On Stove



Prep time

10 Min

Cook time

45 Min

Total time

55 Min

These succulent, flavoursome chicken drumsticks cooked on the stove top match any oven baked version.


  • 8 chicken drumsticks
  • salt
  • BBQ Sauce
  • 4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  •  2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1.5 teaspoons honey
  • ½ teaspoon paprika


  1. Prepare the barbecue sauce, set aside.
  2. Place a non stick pan on the stove on high heat.
  3. Add drumsticks.
  4. Sear for 3-5 minutes then turn. Turn again after 3-5 minutes until evenly brown.
  5. Cover the pan with a lid, allow to cook for 15 minutes on moderate heat
  6. Remove lid.
  7. Spread barbecue sauce evenly over the drumsticks.
  8. Simmer the drumsticks in bbq sauce for 10 minutes or so or until all liquid has evaporated and teh drumsticks are sticky.
  9. Remove from stove. Serve warm with slap chips or a salad or veggies of choice.



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What to Serve With Drumsticks

South African Slap Chips and Chicken



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  1. Amazing to discover how easy it is to make drumsticks on the stove! Game changer, thank you 😊

  2. This was a great recipe and right on about tender juicy chicken. Much better than anything I’ve done in the oven. Thanks for the keeper!

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