sweet and spicy chicken drumsticks

Sweet And Spicy Chicken Drumsticks

These sweet and spicy chicken drumsticks are a go-to recipe in my house — ball games, picnics, pig-outs…

sweet and spicy chicken drumsticks

Buffalo wings used to be one of my favorite foods. When I was in college it was a thing to see how hot you could stand your wings. I remember ordering atomic and nuclear level sauces from the takeout menus. It’s hard for me to believe that I ever did that. But… even though I am so far from that way of eating now, I still do hold a happy place in my stomach for spicy chicken. These sweet and spicy chicken drumsticks take me back to those carefree days…

I know everyone’s favorite food while watching football is wings. I remember the lightbulb going on above my head one year as I sat there grilling and baking tons of chicken wings. As I stood there flipping all of these little pieces of chicken, it occurred to me that it would be so much easier if the pieces were bigger and we didn’t need like… ummmm…. about a dozen per person….

A dozen wings per person is not out of the question. But you only need a few drumsticks per person… it was an aha moment for me.

The next Sunday when everyone came over for the Giants game, I made these perfectly sweet and spicy chicken drumsticks. This made everyone happy. Once we tried these meaty drumsticks, there was no way we would ever go back to those skinny wings!

A chicken wing doesn’t have much meat on it. I mean, let’s be real. They really are mostly a vehicle for crispy skin and deliciously messy sauces. BUT, a drumstick, well, that has some meat on it. If I’m going to eat chicken, I want to actually eat chicken and not just skin. And, yeah, I know the skin is the tastiest part… but I want both.

Since I realized that drumsticks could replace wings in almost any recipe, it’s been a game-changer.

I don’t fry my wings/drumsticks because there’s no need to. With the right coating, wings can be baked and still come out crispy.

These sweet and spicy chicken drumsticks have the feel and taste of sticky, drippy, messy, delicious chicken wings. They are coated with a grain-free flour mixture, baked in the oven, and then rolled in the awesome sauce that can be made as spicy or as mild as you like.

For another similar recipe using boneless chicken thighs, try my Spicy Crispy Chicken.

sweet and spicy chicken drumsticks

sweet and spicy chicken drumsticks

Here are some of the healing ingredients in these sweet and spicy chicken drumsticks:

Chicken is something I always buy organic. Organic chicken is a great, healthy protein to give you energy, lessen the pain of some types of arthritis, and boost your system when you are particularly weak — like after surgery, childbirth, or illness. Chicken is good for nourishing the blood and it’s a healthy source of protein and vitamin B6.

Hot peppers contain more vitamin C than any other vegetable and they are good at fighting off the common cold. Whenever I have a cold I eat lots of hot sauce. So, if you like spice, as I do, use a generous amount of whatever hot sauce you like. Read the ingredients on the label (as with any pre-made food) to make sure it meets your dietary requirements — there are so many hot sauces, wing sauces, and barbecue sauces out there that are gluten-free, paleo, etc. The main component of hot peppers is capsaicin. Capsaicin actually works with your body and mind to make you feel happy. It’s also good for reducing swelling and can relieve arthritic joint pain. If you have high blood pressure, check with your doctor before eating too many hot peppers because they can actually raise the blood pressure in some people. I used spicy sriracha in the sauce for this chicken.

Tapioca is a starch that comes from the cassava plant. It’s not really a flour in the traditional sense; it’s grain and gluten free. It’s good for your circulation and your digestion. Oftentimes I will make recipes with tapioca flour — it seems to crisp things up well — it certainly works well on this chicken.

Strawberries are good for your heart and they are great at reducing plaque in your mouth. They will make you feel better if you have an annoying dry cough or if you feel bloated from eating too much. I use strawberry preserves for this recipe.

If you know me, you know I almost always add raw Chinese herbs to my sauces while they are cooking. This time I added some Bai Zhu. Bai Zhu can be good if you are feeling run down and bloated.

Buckwheat is great to eat if you have diarrhea. It also helps lower blood pressure, stops some types of sweating, and has a good amount of vitamin E. It also contains antioxidants that can help fight cancer and heart disease. Buckwheat is a seed, not a grain, so no inflammation here! I used some buckwheat flour in this chicken coating.

sweet and spicy chicken drumsticks

Hey guys, if you plan on making this recipe, let me know in the comments below! And, after you make it let me know how you liked it!  I can’t wait to hear from you!

Sweet And Spicy Chicken Drumsticks
Recipe type: chicken, appetizers, main course, finger food
Cuisine: American, spicy, sweet
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4-6
If you like Buffalo wings, you will love these sweet and spicy chicken drumsticks. And, they are baked not fried -- so much healthier! Oh, and did I mention that the sauce is incredible?
  • 12 chicken drumsticks
  • 1 Tbs sea salt
  • 2 Tbs sriracha
  • ¼ cup raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbs pomegranate molasses
  • 1 cup strawberry preserves (make sure it's fruit sweetened)
  • ¾ cup tapioca flour
  • ¼ cup buckwheat flour
  1. Place the drumsticks in a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt.
  2. Place the bowl in the refrigerator for at least 40 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  4. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Combine the tapioca starch and buckwheat flour in a shallow dish.
  6. Roll the chicken in the flour mixture so that it is evenly coated and arrange the coated chicken on the baking sheet so that the pieces are not touching each other.
  7. Place the chicken in the oven and bake for 45 mins.
  8. Meanwhile, make the sauce: combine the sriracha, vinegar, molasses, and preserves in a small pot and bring to a boil.
  9. Reduce the heat to low, and let simmer 20 mins, stirring occasionally.
  10. When the chicken is cooked through, put it in a large bowl. Pour the sauce into the bowl and toss it all around so that the chicken is completely coated.
  11. Enjoy!

sweet and spicy chicken drumsticks

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