Crunchy Oven-Fried Drumsticks

Crunchy Oven-Fried Drumsticks Recipe

We ‘fess up. This recipe isn’t exactly new. Or trendy. Yet in terms of novelty it’s every iota as nifty–not to mention practical–as it was decades ago. That’s when crumb-coated oven-baked drumsticks first began to make its rounds among American housewives (woah, did I really just type that word?) like my mom. Occasionally, on lazy or crazy desperation dinner nights, she’d indulge my brother and me with chicken drumsticks that she rolled first in melted butter, then in potato chip crumbs, then baked in a hot, hot oven until the skin was ridiculously, crazily crunchy and crisp, crisp, crisp. Boy, those were the (far too infrequent) days.

Woman’s Day smartly resurrected this tradition of oven fried-chicken in their recent cookbook, a compilation of timeless supper solutions. We’d venture to say that some of the drumstick coatings they suggest seem to reflect the recipe’s earliest era, which we’d guess is somewhere around when Shake-n-Bake came to be. But there’s no stopping you from dredging the drumsticks in whatever your whim. Pretty much anything that crumbles is an option. Just look in the back of  those cupboards for those wadded up bags of cracker and cereal crumbs. I can vouch for the fact that potato chips worked pretty darn well. Cap’n Crunch Peanut Butter Drumsticks, anyone?–Renee Schettler Rossi

LC No Crumb Left Behind Note

Another lesson that never goes out of style? Sharing. So let’s not be selfish and  keep your pantry-inspired genius to yourselves, not when you can share it with the rest of us in a comment below. Here, just to start the drumstick rolling, a few crumbs we’re toying with trying…

Potato chips. Any flavor. Crushed. (Who are we kidding? Just rip open a new bag and nosh on the nice, new, perfect chips while you rolling your drumsticks in the sad little crumbs found at the bottom of the bag. Heh heh.)

Wasabi-coated peas crushed into oblivion.

Tortilla Chip-y
No, we’re not suggesting any of Doritos’ dozens upon dozens of flavors. We mean tortilla chips. You know, the real deal, the kind that comes in yellow corn, white corn, or blue corn…ooh, we’re curious to try the blue corn chips!

Corn Flake-y
Crushed, natch. Minus the milk.

Japanese panko seasoned with sesame seeds or spice or dried herbs

Corn Bread-y
Day-old corn bread (yes, you can even use cornbread with cheese, fresh corn, and crumbled bacon)

Know those cheesy fish crackers? Uh huh. You can see where we’re going with this…especially if you have some homemade cheesy fish crackers on hand.

Hey, howzabout about those zesty little rice crackers that come in all those funky shapes?

Pita Chip-y
Finally, a proper use for pita crisps! (Any flavor you fancy or happen to have on hand…except maybe apple-cinnamon…)

Well, why not? (Wait, does anyone ever eat saltines any more? Or are they reserved only for those days when you need some flat ginger ale and something really really bland?)

Crunchy Oven-Fried Drumsticks Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 50 M
  • Serves 4


  • 8 chicken drumsticks (about 3 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 large egg
  • Any Crazy Crunchy Coating (see suggestions below and above)
  • Nonstick spray, mild olive or vegetable oil, melted butter, or egg white


  • 1. Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Line a jelly-roll pan or shallow roasting pan with foil coated with nonstick cooking spray, oil, or melted butter.
  • 2. Remove the skin from the chicken, if desired, by grasping it with paper towels and yanking.
  • 3. Lightly beat the egg in a pie plate or a shallow bowl.
  • 4. Place the desired Crazy Crunchy Coating in plastic food bag. If using tortilla chips, stuffing mix, French fried onions, cheese crackers or honey-mustard pretzels, close the bag and crush the contents into fine crumbs with a rolling pin.
  • 5. Coat one or two drumsticks at a time in the egg, then allow any excess to drop off before placing in the bag of crazy crunchy coatings. Shake to coat the chicken evenly.
  • 6. Place on prepared pan and lightly coat the drumsticks with cooking spray. Bake until the chicken is cooked through and the coating is browned, 30 to 35 minutes.

Women's Day Crazy Crunchy Coatings

  • Italian: 1 cup wheat germ, 1/3 cup grated parmesan, 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper
    Honey-mustard: 3 cups honey-mustard pretzel pieces, 1/4 teaspoon pepper
    Mexican: 3 cups tortilla chips, 2 teaspoons each chili powder and ground cumin
    Krispie ranch: 1 1/2 cups crisp rice cereal, 1 envelope ranch dressing mix
    Cheesy: 3 cups cheese crackers (goldfish-shaped are fine), 1/4 teaspoon pepper
    Herb: 1 1/2 cups herb stuffing mix
    Onion: 3 cups French fried onion rings
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:

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Recipe Testers Reviews

Recipe Testers Reviews
Testers Choice
Mackenzie Campbell

Sep 07, 2011

I had so much fun trying new coatings for the oven-baked chicken. This basic recipe was the door to endless flavor options. First we tried potato chip chicken using small bags of BBQ, plain, and cheddar/sour cream chips. We found it was best to crush the chips in the bag they came in and then drop the egg-coated chicken into the bag with the crushed chips and toss to coat. The chips get a little soggy from the egg, so larger boneless tenders and bone-in pieces of chicken end up working best for a crunchy coating due to the longer cooking time.

Next, I got more creative and made two versions that we loved — first, I mixed shredded Italian cheeses, crushed seasoned bread crumbs, and basil to coat the chicken. I drizzled minced roasted garlic butter over the chicken and baked — very good. My final attempt was tonight. I coated the chicken with a mixture of chopped bacon, shredded cheese and panko. I drizzled homemade honey mustard dressing and baked — we all loved this too. We did not try it, but had the idea to try a play on chicken and waffles — maybe using a maple flavored cereal? It was great to be pushed to play a little and bring the fun back to weeknight dinners — thanks.

Testers Choice
Joan Osborne

Sep 07, 2011

When I was growing up, my mom often baked chicken similar to this method. She would let my sister and me help by dipping the chicken pieces into melted butter, then we’d roll it in crushed saltine cracker crumbs and it would be baked in the oven. We loved it, and I’d almost forgotten about it until I saw this recipe. I also made it a few times when my kids were younger, as well as coating it with BBQ-flavored potato chips. I had my daughter and son-in-law helping me think up things we could coat the chicken in.

Unfortunately, hubby doesn’t eat chicken, so I waited until my daughter and her husband could come over to help me with my exciting experiment. We decided to try three ways our first time out. My daughter and I love wasabi peas, so we knew we’d have to try that, and we both agreed it was our favorite of the night. Son-in-law’s favorite was the one I coated with a mixture of Ritz wheat crackers and bacon bits. I didn’t try that, since I’d gotten full on the other two I ate but he devoured three of them and kept giving me the “two thumbs up” sign. The third thing we came up with is credited to my daughter, who picked corn nuts. I used the Ranch-flavored ones. It was good, but not as good as the wasabi peas. I just found out that corn nuts come in a flavor I hadn’t seen before, Chorizo Chipotle, so I’ll be looking for those to try next time. I did 12 drumsticks instead of eight, and used two beaten eggs for dipping. I used butter-flavored cooking spray, but next time, I may just try melted butter. I decided to leave the skin on and was rewarded with nice crunchy skin. We had some leftovers and I can’t wait to try them and give some to my son when he gets home. We’ll be looking for more things to try next time.

Testers Choice
Raye Tiedmann

Sep 07, 2011

This was so good. We all loved it. I made a panko bread crumb-crusted chicken breast for my husband, because he prefers the white meat, and the rest of us had drumsticks. I dipped two of the drumsticks in panko, and the rest in cornflakes. I think the chicken turned really crusty and brown, more so with the cornflakes. I put the cornflakes in the food processor to make the crumbs. I seasoned them with a Moroccan tan-tan seasoning. I will make this again. I put the crumbs in plastic bags and put the chicken on parchment paper sprayed with Pam, so cleanup was easy. This is a good family dinner—kid-friendly as well as adult-friendly.

Testers Choice
Sofia Reino

Sep 07, 2011

We love chicken drumsticks. As we had a chance to experiment, here is what I came up with: a mixture of wasabi peas (one cup), walnuts (one cup), 1 teaspoon garlic salt, one teaspoon onion salt, and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. The oven temperature and timing were absolutely perfect. We served this to a whole group of friends for a wine and cheese dinner we hosted. To my surprise, everyone absolutely loved them. They were nice and crunchy (we did leave the skin on) and amazingly juicy inside. I was expecting them to be pretty spicy due to the wasabi peas, but instead they just had enough of a kick to them, yet did not scare those afraid of spicy food. This is a fun and simple recipe to be repeated.

Testers Choice
Tamiko Lagerwaard

Sep 07, 2011

I took some liberties with this recipe. First, I used drumettes instead of drumsticks. Then, I coated them with egg and sea salt rice chips that I'd blitzed in the food processor. I baked this for about 25 minutes. I then used leftover homemade Japanese-style sauce (from the Grilled Chicken Yakitori) to toss the drumettes in, and then coated them again, this time in sesame seeds. I baked this about 15 minutes longer, and it all worked out quite nicely. Great little finger food adaptation to the larger drumstick meal.

  1. Ellen says:

    I use matza meal, which I always have and don’t use that much, mixed with salt and pepper and whatever other spices I feel like.

  2. Kristen says:

    I love all the variations for this recipe. Thanks so much for sharing. Adding it to my “must try” list!

    • David Leite says:

      Kristen, de nada. Please let us know which variations you try, and how they turned out.

      • Renee Schettler Rossi, LC Editor-in-Chief says:

        Yup, I second David’s request for your variations. And feel free to toss out a few new ones, we’re always curious to try something else….

  3. 4virtu says:

    Happy Tasty Tuesday! We love these ideas and they are featured on our 12 Days of Christmas Recipe round-up as Day 8 (Eight Drummers Drumming). Thanks for sharing

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      4virtu, we’re honored, thank you! (And very clever, the “drummers drumming” thing!)

  4. christina says:

    Absolutely love oven fried chicken! I leave the skin on and start with a light coating of flour and then a dip in egg that I mix with mustard. For the coating I use Doritos Cool Ranch or French’s French Fried Onions or sometimes I mix the two together. It’s really good. The initial flouring makes for an even crunchier skin. It’s delicious :)

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