Try our juicy and tender instant pot chicken drumsticks. This simple recipe requires just a few simple ingredients, and you can enjoy a delicious dinner in under 30 minutes.
Learn a quick and tasty way to make instant pot chicken drumsticks. It's fast and straightforward, perfect for busy weeknights for the whole family or meal prep.
Just grab some chicken legs, season them with salt, pepper, and your favorite spices or seasoning mix, and you're good to go. Enjoy this delicious instant pot chicken drumsticks recipe in no time at all; no oven required!
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Why will you love this recipe?
This recipe’s versatility is its best feature. You can serve the legs as they are or broil them shortly to make the skin crispy.
You can turn the cooking liquid into a sauce or brush the legs with your favorite sauce before serving or broiling (barbecue sauce, buffalo sauce, hot or sweet sauce, etc.).
This delicious recipe is suitable for meal prep: After cooking the drumsticks, add them to your lunch box or a picnic basket. Or use the tender meat to make other complete meals like soups, stews, enchiladas, sandwiches, wraps, etc.
The instant pot is one of the most useful kitchen appliances, and using it for chicken drumsticks also has some great benefits. The cooking process is fast, making quick meals a breeze.
It's super easy to use - just set it and leave it be. Plus, you can do everything in one pot, so there's less to clean up. The texture of the meat is consistently tender, with no dry cuts of meat.
- Chicken drumsticks, also called chicken legs. Although the drumsticks are just a part of a whole leg, they are also called chicken legs. You need the drumsticks, so the lower part of the leg.
- Seasoning: Salt and ground black pepper are the basic seasoning; if that’s all you have, your recipe will still turn out delicious.
- For extra flavor, add more spices like garlic powder, onion powder, any paprika you like (sweet, hot, or smoked), cayenne pepper, red chili flakes, dried herbs like oregano, thyme, Italian seasoning, or herbs de Provence.
- Other seasoning ideas: Standard store-bought chicken dry rub or all-purpose, rotisserie seasoning, Cajun seasoning, curry powder, and so on.
- You will need a total of 3-4 teaspoons of seasoning, whether it is a mixture of those mentioned above or a store-bought seasoning mix. If using a store-bought combination, check the salt content; if it already contains salt, adjust the amount of salt you use accordingly.
- A cup of chicken broth, stock, or water. If you plan to use the cooking liquid to make a sauce, choosing low-sodium broth is preferable to avoid the sauce being too salty. Or you can add a bit more water after cooking the drumsticks and then reduce and season the sauce again.
- Vegetable or olive oil for extra flavor and to help the spices stick to the meat.
- Barbecue sauce: Optional. Add it before broiling the pieces to get a crispy chicken skin.
How to cook instant pot drumsticks?
- Season: Dry the meat with a paper towel. Rub it with oil and the spice rub or seasoning of your choice (1).
- Add stock, broth, or a cup of water to the bottom of the pot.
- Arrange the legs on top of the trivet (2); they can overlap slightly, but the pot should not be too crowded (See Expert Tips).
- Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes.
- Natural pressure release for about 5 minutes. Quick release the remaining pressure.
- You can make an optional sauce thickened on the "Sauté" mode.
- You can broil the chicken legs for 4-6 minutes, flipping halfway and keeping an eye on them to prevent them from scorching.
- Check out our recipe for Instant Pot Frozen Chicken Legs to cook the legs from frozen.
- Stacking in the pot: Arrange the pieces in a circle on the trivet, overlapping them slightly for a layered effect. Continue adding more legs in a circular pattern, maintaining even spacing to allow thorough cooking with proper air circulation. As you position the chicken parts, allow the meaty part of one drumstick to lay on the bone of the previous one.
- Leave the skin on or remove it if you prefer a healthier option. I only remove the skin when I intend to use the meat for another dish, like enchiladas or soup. Otherwise, I leave the skin on and use the broiler to make it crispy.
Yes, but adjust the cooking time as they cook faster than the drumsticks.
Sure. In this case, increase the cooking time; they will need about 14 minutes.
It depends on your pot, but generally, it takes about 10-15 minutes.
You can put the instant pot back on pressure cook mode for a few more minutes until it reaches the desired doneness. Check doneness with an instant-read thermometer (the Amazon link opens in a new tab); the internal temperature should be 165°F/ 74°C.
How to store and reheat?
- Refrigerate in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
- Freeze the cooked chicken in an airtight container or ziploc bags for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator.
- Reheat in the preheated oven (350°F/175°C) for 10-15 minutes or until heated through. Place the pieces on a baking sheet and cover them with foil to prevent them from drying.
- Reheat in the microwave on a microwave-safe plate. Cover it loosely with a microwave-safe lid or cover. Reheat in 30-second intervals until it reaches your desired temperature.
- Reheat in the air fryer (350°F/175°C) for 4-5 minutes or until it reaches your desired temperature and crispiness.
What to serve with them?
- The Best Roasted Pumpkin Wedges
- Spinach Potato Mash
- Cucumber Salad with Dill
- Cast-Iron Skillet Potatoes
- Garlic Bread Baguette
- Lecso - Hungarian Pepper Stew
Use the drumsticks for other meals
More instant pot recipes
Instant Pot Chicken Drumsticks
- Instant pot
- 8 chicken drumsticks Note 1
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3-4 teaspoons chicken seasoning Notes 2, 3
- 1 teaspoon salt Note 4 - important
- 1 cup chicken broth 250 ml, Note 5
- Prepare the chicken: Pat the pieces dry with paper towels. Rub the with the oil. Add the mixed spices and rub the drumsticks to coat them all over. 8 chicken drumsticks + 2 tablespoons olive oil + 3-4 teaspoons chicken seasoning + 1 teaspoon salt if required
- Place the trivet into the pot and add the liquid. Arrange the legs on top of the trivet. It’s okay if they overlap slightly (Note 6).1 cup chicken broth / 250 ml
- Cook: Close the lid and ensure the steam valve is closed. Set the pot to high pressure and select a cooking time of 10 minutes.
- Allow natural release for 5 minutes, then press the button to release the remaining pressure. Remove the meat from the pot and broil it if desired.
- Optional sauce: Choose the "Sauté" mode and let the sauce simmer, occasionally stirring, for a few minutes until slightly thickened.
- Broil: Preheat the broiler. Place the drumsticks on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Broil them for 4-6 minutes, flipping halfway and ensuring they don’t burn under the broiler. You can brush them with 3-4 tablespoon BBQ sauce or another sauce of choice before broiling (Note 7).
- Chicken: Fresh or frozen legs with or without skin. For frozen ones, increase the cooking time to 12 minutes and allow a natural release of 5 minutes. For whole chicken legs (fresh), increase the cooking time to 14 minutes.
- Seasoning: Salt and ground black pepper are the basic seasoning, and you can stick to that. Add more spices like garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and dried herbs for extra flavor. Other seasoning ideas: Standard store-bought chicken dry rub or all-purpose, rotisserie seasoning, Cajun seasoning, curry powder, and so on. Try our Wing Seasoning.
- Amount of seasoning: You'll require a combined total of 3-4 teaspoons of seasoning, whether a blend of the mentioned seasonings or a store-bought seasoning mix.
- Salt: The amount you need depends on whether the seasoning mix you are using contains salt or not. When using a store-bought seasoning mix, be sure to check the salt content and adjust the amount of salt accordingly if it's already included.
- Cooking liquid: Chicken broth, stock, or water. If you want to use the cooking liquid to make a sauce, it’s better to use low-sodium broth or stock to prevent the sauce from being overly salty.
- Stacking in the pot: Arrange the drumsticks in a circle on the trivet, overlapping them slightly for a layered effect. Continue adding more legs in a circular pattern, maintaining even spacing to allow thorough cooking with proper air circulation. As you position the chicken parts, allow the meaty part of one drumstick to lay on the bone of the previous one.
- Sauce: Use your favorite, such as barbecue sauce, buffalo, hot or sweet sauce, etc.