These sweet and sticky Sriracha drumsticks are made with grilled chicken legs slathered with a mix of apricot jam, hot sauce, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and fish sauce. Slightly lip-tinglingly spicy. Thoroughly irresistible.
Slightly sweet. Slightly sticky. Slightly spicy. Thoroughly irresistible. That’s what we think of these sweet and sticky Sriracha drumsticks. We also think we can’t quite get enough of that sweetly sour glaze. So much so, in fact, that we’ve been making a double batch and also slathering it on bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and bone-in pork chops during the last few minutes of grilling every chance we get. We’ve not been disappointed.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Sweet and Sticky Sriracha Drumsticks
- 1 cup apricot jam
- 2 tablespoons store-bought or homemade Sriracha sauce or more to taste
- 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce (or tamari for gluten-free)
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 bunch scallions ends trimmed
- 2 pounds chicken drumsticks (about 8)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for the grill
- Freshly ground black pepper
- In a small bowl, stir together the jam, Sriracha, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and fish sauce. Thinly slice 1 scallion and stir it into the sauce. Set aside at room temperature.
- In a large bowl or roasting pan, drizzle the drumsticks with 1 tablespoon olive oil, season well with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.
- Arrange the drumsticks on the grill rack over direct heat and cook, turning every 6 to 8 minutes, until the chicken is golden on all sides and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the meatiest part of a leg away from the bone registers 165°F (74°C), 30 to 45 minutes total. After about 20 to 30 minutes, depending on how quickly your chicken is cooking, generously and repeatedly brush the chicken with the jam mixture and transfer the chicken to indirect heat. Plonk the drumsticks on a platter and let rest for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a roasting pan or on a baking sheet, toss the whole scallions with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place the onions on the grill rack (perpendicular to the rack, natch, so they don’t slip through) and cook until nicely grill-marked on the first side, 1 to 2 minutes. (You’ll have to use tongs to peek at the underside of one scallion.) Carefully turn the scallions and cook for 1 minute longer.
- Transfer the scallions to the platter with the chicken and serve right away.
How to Make Sweet and Sticky Sriracha Drumsticks in the OvenIf you don’t have a grill (or if you do but sliding a baking sheet in the oven is simply more your jam), we’ve got you covered. Slick a rimmed baking sheet with a little oil or line it with foil. In a large bowl, stir together the jam, Sriracha, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and fish sauce. Thinly slice 1 scallion and stir it into the sauce. Season the sauce well with salt and pepper, and toss the drumsticks in the sauce. Place the bowl, covered, in the fridge and let the drumsticks marinate for a couple hours (or as long as you can stand to wait). Place the drumsticks on the baking sheet in a single layer and bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes in an oven preheated to 375°F (190°C). Plonk the drumsticks on a platter. Omit the remaining scallions from the recipe or char them in a dry skillet on the stovetop over medium-high heat during the final moments the chicken is in the oven. Transfer to the platter with the chicken and serve right away.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
I wish I’d had this Sriracha drumsticks recipe for Super Bowl weekend! These drumsticks are delicious and the sweet-spicy combination of the sticky Sriracha sauce makes it delicious on wings and thighs as well as drumsticks. I’ve grilled lots of vegetables but never scallions. I’ve added these to my rotation—absolutely delicious.
How many servings? Hmmmm, let me think about this. 1? Just kidding. I would say 3 or maybe 4 if you have a lot of other food. These are delicious enough that if your serving size is 1 drumstick, your guests or family are going to look to you for the second batch. I’d add thighs and wings to the batch and double the sauce, it’s that good.
I spent about 10 minutes getting everything together and letting the grill warm up. Keep in mind that you don’t use the sauce immediately; you use only oil, salt, and pepper right away; otherwise, I’m certain that the apricot jam would burn. My drumsticks were done cooking at about the 22-minute mark, so I turned the heat way down and kept basting them with the sauce. I would suggest checking the internal temperature, though, as our drumsticks in Hawaii seemed to be much smaller than the ones I’ve seen elsewhere.
YUM! These Sriracha drumsticks were delicious! Sticky, spicy, subtly sweet. We were left licking our fingers and wanting more.
I had a mixture of smaller and larger drumsticks, and I found that the larger ones didn’t scorch as easily as the smaller ones once the sauce was added. I had the rear burners off, and I found that moving the smaller chicken pieces to the back after brushing them with the sauce, essentially finishing them with indirect heat, really helped to slow the burning.
I never knew how much I liked drumsticks until I tried this recipe. It’s very easy to make, and the basting sauce is a perfect balance of sweet, spicy, sour, and salty. The drumsticks took exactly 30 minutes on a gas grill set to medium-high to reach a temperature of 165°F. The basting sauce didn’t scorch but rather became a delicious, caramel-like coating on the drumsticks. I didn’t find the scallions to be absolutely necessary; they can be an optional accompaniment.
This Sriracha drumsticks recipe offers a slightly exotic variation on standard barbecued chicken. You need to be a somewhat attentive grill master, rotating the drumsticks and basting them with glaze as needed, but otherwise, it’s quite an easy recipe to throw together for a quick main dish. I thought the glaze would be too sweet given the amount of jam called for and too spicy given its kick when I taste-tested just the glaze, but it was neither.
In fact, I’d add up to twice as much Sriracha as suggested next time. I don’t think the glaze fell flat, but it’s simple enough that you could easily adjust the ingredients to your liking. I also wonder if a quick marinade or rub on the chicken beforehand would make the flavor a bit more potent. I served it with Asian-style broccoli, bulgur, and a yogurt sauce (in case the glaze was too spicy) but it could go with any number of Asian, Middle Eastern, or American sides. The scallions were a nice touch but not a must.
I think pork, tofu, or other cuts of chicken could be substituted, as long as a nice char is achieved on the protein. The drumsticks were a little hard to rotate to every “side” on the grill, but 25 minutes total with frequent rotation was sufficient (it depends on the size of the drumsticks and how hot the grill really is). The glaze didn’t really scorch—it made a nice char, though lots of jam chunks and scallions dripped off and burned below.
Originally published July 26, 2020