Cooking instant pot frozen chicken legs or drumsticks is easy and convenient. With just a few simple steps, you can have a tasty meal on the table in no time.
Learn how to cook instant pot frozen chicken legs. You'll have tender, juicy chicken legs ready to enjoy in just minutes. It's a hassle-free solution for busy weeknight dinners for the whole family or last-minute guests.
This one-step recipe features just a single main ingredient, requires minimal effort, and is done in approximately 30 minutes. These delicious drumsticks cooked from frozen are ideal for immediate serving or convenient meal prep.
Jump to recipe
- Why should you cook drumsticks in the instant pot?
- Recipe ingredients
- How to cook instant pot frozen chicken legs?
- How do you stack the chicken legs in the instant pot?
- Expert Tips
- Recipe FAQ
- How to store and reheat?
- What to serve with drumsticks?
- More delicious recipes for frozen chicken
- Instant Pot Frozen Chicken Legs or Drumsticks
Why should you cook drumsticks in the instant pot?
- Time-saving: This kitchen gadget significantly reduces cooking time compared to a traditional cooking method. It can cook frozen chicken legs in a fraction of the time it would take in an oven or on the stovetop.
- Convenience: No need to defrost the chicken legs in advance. You can cook them straight from the freezer, which makes it a convenient option for busy individuals or last-minute meal preparations.
- Consistency: Pressure cooking ensures even and thorough cooking, so you don't end up with partially undercooked or overcooked chicken.
- Retains moisture: Pressure cooking helps lock in the chicken's juices, producing tender and juicy meat.
- Frozen chicken legs, also known as chicken drumsticks, with the skin on (of course, you can remove the skin if preferred).
- You can cook 2-3 lbs/ 1-1.3 kg chicken legs in one batch.
- Chicken broth or stock: Homemade or store-bought are both fine. A cup of water and some salt and pepper should also do it.
- Use vegetable oil to help the seasoning adhere to the meat and for extra flavor, of course. Alternatively, you can choose canola, sunflower, olive, or avocado oil.
- Seasoning: Choose your preferred spices or dry rub for seasoning. A store-bought chicken seasoning works well, but adjust the salt if your seasoning already contains it.
- You can also season the meat with a mixture of salt, black pepper, paprika powder, garlic powder, and onion powder.
- You could also use our homemade dry rub for wings or other exciting combinations like Cajun, taco, Italian seasoning, etc.
- I needed about 3 teaspoons of seasoning for 6 large legs. If you are cooking more than that, use seasoning as required.
- Glaze: Add your favorite sauce, like BBQ, hot, or teriyaki, for glazing the legs during broiling (optional).
How to cook instant pot frozen chicken legs?
- Prepare: Rub the drumsticks with the oil and then with the seasoning. Pour the stock into the pot. Place the trivet into the inner pot and arrange the seasoned chicken on top of the trivet (1). It’s ok if the drumsticks don’t lie in a single layer.
- Cook: Close the lid securely and ensure the steam valve is in the close position. Press the pressure cook button and select a cooking time of 12 minutes.
- Natural release: After the cooking cycle is complete, allow the pot to naturally release steam for 5 minutes. This helps to cook the ingredients further while retaining moisture.
- Make a quick release of any remaining pressure by carefully moving the steam valve to the venting position.
- Broil: In the meantime, preheat the broiler. Place the legs on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil (2). If desired, glaze them with BBQ sauce, teriyaki, or any other sauce you like. Broil for 4-6 minutes, flipping halfway. Monitor the food to prevent it from burning under the broiler.
- Rest the instant pot chicken legs for about 5 minutes before serving.
How do you stack the chicken legs in the instant pot?
- Circular pattern: Start by placing the chicken legs in a circular pattern on the trivet.
- Overlap slightly: As you position the chicken parts, allow the meaty part of one drumstick to lay on the bone of the previous one. This overlapping creates a layered effect.
- Continue the circle: Keep adding chicken legs in this manner, building a circular stack. The idea is to maintain a compact arrangement that allows air to circulate between and around each leg.
- Even spacing: Ensure enough space between each leg to allow hot air to reach all sides for thorough cooking.
- Season well: Since the meat is frozen, it can handle a bit more seasoning to enhance its taste.
- Natural release: After cooking, allow natural pressure release for a few minutes. This helps keep the chicken moist and prevents it from becoming overly tender.
- Broil for crispiness: For crispy skin, transfer the cooked drumsticks to an oven or air fryer for a quick broil, just a few minutes on each side until they're nicely browned.
- Thicken the sauce: If you want some sauce, use the Saute mode after cooking to reduce and thicken the cooking liquid. You can also thicken the gravy with a mixture of 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and 2-3 tablespoons of cold water. Once you whisk in the slurry, it will take less than a minute for the gravy to thicken.
- Check internal temperature: To guarantee food safety, check the internal temperature of the instant pot drumsticks with an instant-read thermometer (the Amazon link opens in a new tab); it should reach at least 165°F/74°C.
- For cooking fresh chicken, check out Instant Pot Chicken Drumsticks.
Yes, you can cook them directly in the instant pot without thawing.
Cooking time can vary depending on the size and quantity of drumsticks. As a general guideline, it typically takes 12-15 minutes on high pressure, plus the time to build pressure and release naturally.
Using a trivet can help prevent sticking.
How to store and reheat?
- Refrigerate the cooked chicken in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
- Freeze in an airtight container or a freezer bag for about 3 months. Defrost in the fridge.
- Reheat in the preheated oven at 350°F/175°C. Place them on a baking sheet and cover them with foil to prevent drying. Heat for about 10-15 minutes or until heated through.
- Microwave: Place them on a microwave-safe plate, cover them loosely with a microwave-safe cover, and heat in 30-second intervals until heated to your desired temperature.
- Reheat in an air fryer at 350°F/175°C for 4-5 minutes or until they reach the desired temperature and crispiness.
What to serve with drumsticks?
More delicious recipes for frozen chicken
- How to Cook Frozen Chicken Wings
- How to Cook Frozen Chicken Thighs
- How to Boil Frozen Chicken Breast
- How to Bake Frozen Chicken Breast
- Frozen Chicken Breast in the Air Fryer
- Air Fryer Frozen Chicken Wings
- Frozen Chicken Legs in the Air Fryer
- Frozen Chicken Thighs in the Air Fryer
- Cooking Frozen Chicken Breast - The Ultimate Guide
Instant Pot Frozen Chicken Legs or Drumsticks
- Instant pot
- Baking sheet
- Aluminum foil
- 6 chicken legs drumsticks, large, Note 1
- 1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 teaspoons seasoning Note 2
- 1 cup chicken broth chicken stock or water, 250 ml, Note 3
- 2-3 tablespoons BBQ sauce optional, Note 4
- Season: Rub the drumsticks with the oil and then with the seasoning, ensuring they are coated all over. 6 chicken legs + 1-2 tablespoon oil + 3 teaspoon seasoning
- Arrange: Pour the stock into the pot. Place the trivet inside the pressure cooker and arrange the drumsticks on top. It’s OK if the drumsticks don’t lie in a single layer (Note 1). 1 cup/ 250 ml broth
- Cook: Close the lid and ensure the steam valve is in the closed position. Set the pot to high pressure and select a cooking time of 12 minutes.
- Allow natural release for 5 minutes. Quickly release any remaining steam by carefully moving the steam valve to the venting position.
- Broil: In the meantime, preheat the broiler. Place the chicken drumsticks on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Glaze them with sauce. Broil for 4-6 minutes, flipping halfway. Keep an eye on the legs to prevent them from burning. 2-3 tablespoon sauce
- Rest for about 5 minutes before serving.
- Chicken legs: You can cook 2-3 ½ lbs/ 1-1 ½ kg drumsticks in one batch. It’s ok if you stack them a little. Check out the blog post for detailed instructions on stacking chicken legs in the instant pot.
- Seasoning: Feel free to go with your preferred store-bought chicken seasoning or dry rub. Alternatively, you can choose a simple blend of salt and pepper, all-purpose seasoning, our homemade chicken wing dry rub, or any other spices you like. When preparing a larger batch of drumsticks, adjust the seasoning quantity as needed to ensure all pieces are well-seasoned.
- Chicken broth: Homemade or store-bought.
- Sauce: Brush the legs with your favorite sauce before broiling to increase the flavor. You can use your favorite BBQ sauce, teriyaki, hot or sweet chili sauce, or another sauce you like.