Crunchy Oven-Fried Drumsticks

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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