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Slow Cooker Chicken Legs (2 Ingredients)

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The best slow cooker chicken legs! An easy, 2-ingredient crockpot recipe for super tender, flavorful, and juicy chicken drumsticks.

many golden brown drumsticks piled on a silver platter.

These no-fuss slow cooker chicken legs or chicken drumsticks are perfect for a busy weeknight dinner, a delicious meal that your whole family will love. All you need is chicken legs, BBQ sauce, salt and pepper, and a slow cooker or crockpot. And a few minutes of prep time.

And all you have to do is toss the legs with the sauce, let the pot do its magic and then finish the meal under the broiler – an optional but, at least for me, an important step – I love it when the drumsticks are slightly charred and sticky.

And if you like drumsticks as much as we do, check out these easy recipes for Cast Iron Skillet Chicken Drumsticks, Baked Curry Chicken Drumsticks, Baked Chicken Drumsticks, learn How to Cook Chicken Drumsticks on the Stove, or make some Honey Soy Chicken Drumsticks.

Simple ingredients

raw chicken legs, bbq sauce, salt and pepper in separate bowl.
  • Chicken legs also known as chicken drumsticks. You will need 2 per person or cook as many as needed. Eight pieces will weigh about 3 lbs/ 1.4 kg.
  • BBQ sauce: Your favorite brand.
  • Spices: Fine sea salt or Kosher salt and ground black pepper. Alternatively, you can use another spice rub or BBQ mixture to season the meat. Or use a mix of your favorite spices; you can combine salt and pepper with garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, chili powder, curry, Cajun seasoning, Italian seasoning, or other dry herbs.

How to cook chicken legs in the slow cooker?

It only takes a few simple steps to make this slow-cooker chicken recipe!

  • Season: Dry the meat with kitchen towels. Place the drumsticks in the pot. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper and rub them well (1). Pour barbecue sauce on top and toss to coat the legs all over (2).
  • Slow cook the chicken drumsticks for 3 ¼ – 4 hours on HIGH or 5-6 hours on LOW or until they are very tender (3).
collage of two pictures of chicken drumsticks in a crockpot before and after slow cooking.
cooked chicken legs in the pot of a slow cooker.
  • Broil on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Transfer the crockpot chicken legs to the prepared baking tray using tongs.
  • Brush the with some of the reserved sauce (4).
  • Broil for 1-2 minutes until the skin is sticky and very lightly charred in places. Flip the parts and brush them with sauce on the other side. Broil them for another 1-2. Keep an eye on the drumsticks to ensure the skin doesn’t burn (5).
  • Garnish: You can sprinkle them with chopped parsley or cilantro, green onions, toasted sesame seeds, or red chili flakes before serving.
collage of two pictures of chicken legs on a baking tray before and after broiling.

Expert Tips

  • Never wash poultry. According to USDA, washing will spread bacteria into your sink and on the working surface. Bacteria that might be on the skin will only be destroyed during the cooking process.
  • There is no need to arrange the legs in the slow cooker in a perfect single layer, but you should not overcrowd the pot either. It’s ok if the portions overlap slightly.
  • Use the same recipe for cooking other parts like thighs, quarters, or wings. Depending on the cut you use, the cooking time might vary slightly.
  • Add 1-2 tablespoons of sriracha or some cayenne pepper to the BBQ sauce to make the legs spicy.
close up of a chicken leg with sticky and lightly charred skin.

Recipe FAQ

What is the difference between a slow cooker and a crockpot?

A slow cooker is a kitchen appliance, and a crockpot is a type of slow cooker, the name of a brand that came on the market in the 1970s. The slow cooker is typically a metal pot, while the crockpot has a stoneware pot surrounded by a heating element.
The recipe instructions apply to both gadgets.

Can I use frozen chicken legs?

It’s not recommended to cook frozen meat in a slow cooker or crockpot. The meat will take too long to reach a safe temperature, increasing the risk of food poisoning.
Thaw the meat in the refrigerator overnight.

Do I have to check the internal temperature?

You can if you want, the internal temperature measured with a meat thermometer should be 165°F/ 74°C (Amazon affiliate link). However, you should cook the meat until super tender, almost falling off the bone, which usually ensures that the meat is cooked through, so you don’t have to bother with the thermometer.

How to store and reheat leftover chicken legs?

Refrigerate the slow cooker drumsticks in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
Freeze in freezer bags or freezer containers for 2-3 months. Defrost in the fridge and reheat before serving.
Reheat: Let come at room temperature (about 30 minutes) and reheat in the preheated oven at 400°F/200°C for about 15 minutes or until heated through.

How to serve?

Almost anything goes well with this easy chicken dinner recipe. We love the crockpot chicken drumsticks with fries or Air Fryer Frozen Sweet Potatoes, a fresh green salad with Yogurt Dressing, and an Easy Yogurt Mint Dip.

They are also delicious with Roasted Garlic Parmesan Mashed Potatoes, Smashed Potatoes, Polenta Roast Potatoes, BBQ Rice, Carrot Rice, or Garlic Butter Noodles with Parmesan.

Cooked frozen corn, Fiesta Corn Salad, Buttered Vegetables, Roasted Carrots, and Buttered Peas are also great.

Use the leftovers for making salads, enchiladas, quesadillas, and so on. 

lightly charred drumsticks with sticky skin an a plate on a dark cloth.

More slow cooker recipes

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many golden brown drumsticks piled on a silver platter.

Slow Cooker Chicken Legs (2 Ingredients)

The best slow cooker chicken legs! An easy, 2-ingredient crockpot recipe for super tender and flavorful chicken drumsticks.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Main Course, Poultry
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Servings: 4
Calories: 490kcal
Author: Adina

Equipment

  • Slow cooker or crockpot

Ingredients 

  • 8 drumsticks about 3 lbs/ 1.4 kg
  • fine sea salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 cups BBQ sauce divided, Note 1

Instructions

Slow cook:

  • Pat the drumsticks dry with paper towels (Note 2).
  • Season them generously with salt and pepper and place them in the slow cooker.
  • Pour 1 ½ cups sauce on top and toss well to coat the chicken legs. Reserve the rest of the BBQ sauce for broiling.
  • Cook for 3 ¼ – 4 hours on HIGH or 5-6 hours on LOW or until the chicken legs are very tender.

Broil (optional but recommendable):

  • Preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  • Transfer the chicken legs to the prepared baking sheet using tongs. Brush them with some of the reserved BBQ sauce.
  • Broil for 1-2 minutes until the skin is sticky and very lightly charred in places. Flip the legs and brush them with sauce on the other side. Broil them for another 1-2. Keep an eye on the drumsticks to ensure the skin doesn’t burn.
  • Garnish as desired (toasted sesame seeds, parsley, cilantro, chopped green onions, red chili flakes, etc.) and serve immediately.

Notes

  1. Use your favorite BBQ sauce. You will need 1 ½ cups of sauce for slow-cooking the chicken legs and ½ cups for brushing them during broiling.
  2. Don’t wash chicken; according to USDA, that will only spread bacteria into your sink and the working surface. Bacteria that might be on the chicken will only be destroyed during the cooking process.

Nutrition

Serving: 2chicken legs | Calories: 490kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 139mg | Sodium: 2241mg | Potassium: 674mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 48g | Vitamin A: 395IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 63mg | Iron: 2mg
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