Best Skinless Chicken Drumsticks

Skinless Chicken Drumsticks

Skinless Chicken Drumsticks

Poultry skin is not your friend and removing it is easy. Just loosen it a bit at the thick end, grab it with a paper towel and pull towards the bone. I usually marinade just until the oven heats up. - Jenny Jones

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Makes: 12

Skinless Chicken Drumsticks


  • 12 skinless chicken drumsticks
  • Original Marinade:
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Juice of one small orange and one lime
  • 1 Tablespoon horseradish mustard
  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (not powdered chili)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Simpler Marinade:
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Juice of one small orange and one lemon
  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Combine marinade ingredients in a large zip top plastic bag. Add chicken and marinate 30 minutes or longer.
  2. Preheat oven to 425° F.
  3. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with extra-wide foil (this is only to save cleanup) and place a baking/cooling rack on top. Or set two 8 x 11" disposable foil broiler pans on your baking sheet.
  4. Remove drumsticks from marinade and place on rack.
  5. Bake for 45 minutes, turning once after 35 minutes. (internal temperature should be 165° F.)

Notes: Due to its popularity I have re-posted the original marinade above with the 2nd option of a simpler one. For more on this recipe in my blog click here.

56 Comments on "Skinless Chicken Drumsticks"

  1. Jennifer V

    Very good. Made exactly as printed but did it in the air fryer. Exceptional flavor and spice marinade was perfect

  2. Roro

    Parchment paper is the best, find that meat can stick to the foil. Easy, least. I don’t have a rack, but laying them directly on is fine, so much better skinless!! Less fatty and more flavour to the meat.

    • Maria

      Roro. like the parchment paper also. Liked your recipe.

  3. Sara

    Thanks for sharing . I was looking for baking instructions as my air fryer broke. I like the marinade recipe. A suggested variation is to use plain yogurt as the base for the marinade. I typically add salt, paprika, roasted and ground cumin, ground coriander, garlic powder or crushed fresh, freshly cracked black pepper, mustard powder, chilli flakes…. I am basically giving you tandoori chicken recipe. If you have have garam masala , I add in a pinch hit it’s very optional. Some times I skip chili flakes and add sumac instead for the tanginess and color.

    • Maria

      Sara. I also use plain yogurt as a a base for lots of recipes. I like the flavor the yogurt gives and yogurt tends to tenderize the meat.

  4. Carol

    Jenny, we never eat drumsticks but they looked so good that I bought some and made the original recipe for my husband and myself. I must say, we both thought they were delicious! Made them again last night, and delicious again! Thank you for your wonderful recipes.

  5. Lauri S

    what does chili powder (not powdered chili) mean? the chili powder you use to make Chili? what’s the difference please?

    • Bob

      Chili powder is a dry mixture or Chile pepper, salt, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, and paprika.

      Powdered chile is is made of pure ground dried chile peppers. They vary in heat from mild to insane.

  6. Spatjack

    Love how you have the two options for the marinade! Trying that today!

  7. Ann Marie

    I made these with thighs tonight because I didn’t have legs. I baked them for 45 minutes and they were awesome! Tasty, tender and juicy. Yum.

    I was disappointed though that they didn’t brown the way they look in the picture. I used sugar in the original marinade in case that was needed to get the browning. I altered the marinade recipe slightly because I didn’t have horseradish mustard. I used dijon and added a little jarred horseradish. I also read in one of the comments that you should add water to the pan under the rack. It wasn’t in the recipe though so could that be why they didn’t brown? Too much moisture? I will definitely be making this again so would love to hear feadback on the browning issue.

    • Travis

      I’m pretty sure u wont to use the pan of water wen ur doing indirect heat grilling. Sear them on the hot side to get good grill Mark’s before u cook them indirectly.

  8. Johnny D

    Jenny, I’m in love with you! I did the apple pie for a super bowl party “big hit”. Also did the brownies, awesome! Meat loaf tonight, chicken drummies tomorrow. I love your down to earth approach to cooking. I do 95% cooking in our house. You are an inspiration!

  9. Kelly

    Temp for dums should be at least 180 or so. There is a lot more to cook than breasts. A temp of 165 will guarantee your drums are not cooked all the way.

    • Mary Ann

      Actually, Jenny is correct. 165 F is the minimum internal temperature for all parts of any poultry to be safe and considered “done”. Go to if you have questions about internal cooking temperatures. They update their info regularly. If you’d like a harder texture then that’s your personal preference but not a safety issue. I like the softer texture of the lower temperature myself.

      • Tom

        I know that 165 is the recommended temperature but my experience is that a little extra time up to 170-175 makes the meat fall from the bone and it is still soft and delicious

  10. Daniella

    Do you cover the chicken with foil or without foil

    • Jenny Can Cook

      The chicken is not covered for baking. I only cover the baking sheet with foil for easier cleanup.

  11. Suman

    I tried these and they turned out absolutely delicious. My husband and son loved them. Thank you!

  12. Denise

    We grill these and they turn out beautifully. Nobody misses the skin and skinless makes it a little healthier. Thank you!

  13. Rabbitbear

    I have your Best Meat Loaf Ever and Cabbage Rolls recipes. My question is can I substitute ground turkey or ground chicken breast for the ground meat in each of your recipes?

    • Jenny

      I never have but please look through the comments because I think other people have.

  14. Dee

    I made this chicken tonight, buy I had boneless skinless chicken breass on hand so I used those—- yummy!! Thank you so much for this recipe! !

  15. Mia

    Love your recipes.
    Do you have a cook book? If so, please let me know where I can buy a copy.

    • Jenny

      My cookbook is not available any more but all the best recipes from the book are on this site (& improved). Also, the book is a free pdf download in the “About Me” link.

      • Mia

        Thank you Jenny.
        I baked the whole wheat bread and my family loved every bite of it.
        I sent the recipe for my sister in Trinidad and again her family loves it too.
        I have made beef stew for dinner and I am certain that will be a hit also.
        Once again thank you.

  16. Jeanne

    I don’t care for dark meat but these Chicken Legs look sooo good. Next time they are on sale I am going to fix them.

    I think I will take your advice and make them on the weekend for snacking. I really like the idea of removing the skin and no breading.

    Simple easy ingredients are one of the things I just love about your recipes.

    Thank you Jenny.

  17. Michael

    Hi Jenny, I’m wondering if you have a dressing recipe for Thanksgiving?

  18. Jenny

    Good news! I found a way to have no cleanup at all. Instead of using a cooling rack so heat can circulate under the chicken, I used two disposable 8 x 11-inch foil broiler pans and they worked great. And there was no cleanup!

    They fit perfectly into my 11 x 16-inch rimmed baking sheet but you can place two foil broiler pans on any metal baking sheet, which you’ll need for easy lifting. I just wanted to share that option. I added it to the recipe as well.

    p.s. I learned a hard lesson when I tried roasting a turkey breast in a foil pan with no sheet underneath and when I picked it up, the foil pan buckled and the turkey landed on the floor!!!

  19. Michele

    Made the original recipe and it was great–everyone loved it! Will try the new recipe next as I am always looking for new ways to prepare drumsticks (local store always has them on sale crazy cheap). Thanks for sharing!

  20. Ewa

    I have already done them so many times,but I use the old recipe (but without sugar). They are perfect. Thanks for recipe.

  21. mswifey2u

    I’m making these tonight for the seond time. First time I made them, they were scrumptious! Very delicious! My husband also enjoyed eating them – even what was left over the next night. Thanks for such a simple and delicious recipe. 🙂

  22. Tom Gerber

    Well, I am a bachelor that likes to cook so and use quick and simple recipes.
    Instead of a marinade, I prefer and “egg wash” and seasoned bread crumbs. Specifically, I beat one egg well at a bit of milk, and “coat” each drumstick well in the mixture. Then shake them in a plastic bag until they are well crumb coated, and bake per your instructions.

    The plastic bag contains ample bread crumbs seasoned with garlic powder, dried basil, powered thyme, some dried oregano, a small amount of cayenne powder.

    An “egg wash” is faster, more effective, and the end product tastes better than a marinade I think. In fact an egg wash can be used in many baking applications including fish.

    • Lisa

      That’s a very simple way of cooking chicken. At times you want a more diverse flavor. Everyone does that, this recipe is simple yet has many flavors. I never use the recipe verbatim, I usually add a few kicks here and there but it’s a good choice. What you do, every one does for a quick easy dinner when you’ve come home late from work.

  23. Carla

    Is there a link to the original recipe anywhere? Or if not, could you please email it to me? My family loves these drumsticks & I was so disappointed that the recipe changed!

    • Jenny

      I’m so sorry – it looked like not many people were making this recipe so thanks for letting me know. Click here to see the old recipe.

      • helvetian

        old recipe way better except for the sugar
        why does everything have to be sweet ?

  24. Chantal

    made them tonite!! they were a hit!!!! not one left

  25. Jenny

    After some confusion about the spices in my marinade, I have simplified the marinade ingredients and I like the new recipe even better. Of course anyone can use their own favorite marinade but as simple as this one is, the drumsticks are very tasty – and not spicy!

  26. Tunisia

    Is it OK to use regular orange juice with these drumsticks?

    • Jenny

      To me fresh is always better but you could use bottled juice too.

  27. Adrian Stasiuk

    Can I use paprika instead of the spicy mustard?

    • Jenny

      I think that would work just fine. Just so you know, this recipe does not produce spicy drumsticks because horseradish mustard is not nearly as spicy as pure horseradish.

  28. Dave

    This chicken recipe came out really good! I’m used to leaving the skin on and cooking it,but i didn’t miss the skin at all. The flavor was really good and also tender too.I’ll be making more chicken drum sticks like this more often.

    I love the hint of South-West (Not Spicy Hot) flavor it has and next time i might try a little bit of cayenne powder for a little heat.

    Great Job Jenny !!! Thanks For Sharing your Secret recipes.

  29. peanut

    hey jenny

    can you do chicken thigh the same way as you do the drum sticks ?

    • Jenny

      That’s a good question. I have never done it but it seems to me that you could. If you try it please report back.

  30. Hannah F

    Hi Jenny,

    Please can you tell me if this recipe is suitable for children? Is it spicy because of the chilli and mustard? My children can take a little heat but not too much!


    • Jenny

      It’s not spicy at all. Chili powder is not the same as ground chili pepper, which is very spicy. Chili powder is a blend of spices popular here in the U.S. and is not considered hot and spicy. And horseradish mustard does not make it spicy either but you can use any kind of mustard. My partner does not like spicy foods and he enjoys these drumsticks very much. If you have all the ingredients I use, I think you will find it very flavorful but not hot and spicy.

  31. Keiotta

    Hello Jenny can the chicken be overnight instead of 30 minutes to marinade will that mess of the chicken?

  32. Jeff

    alright.. so I’m a guy and confused.. what is with the pan of water.. do you put that under the baking sheet? the chicken is on the baking sheet and the pan is somewhere in the oven… arrggghhh!!!!

    Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil, shiny side up, and place a baking rack on top.
    Pour 2 cups of water in pan.

    • Jenny

      I hope this helps clarify… First you line your baking pan with foil. The only reason for the foil is it helps with cleanup. You can eliminate the foil if you like. Next you put a metal wire mesh cooling rack on the foil-lined baking sheet and put the chicken on the metal rack. This is so the chicken won’t sit on the pan but is raised above and more heat circulates under the chicken. Then you carefully pour the water into the pan, through the wire rack and the water fills the entire bottom of the pan. The reason for the water is first, it helps keep the chicken moist but also the chicken will drip onto the pan and without any water there, it will burn, making a mess to clean up and also it gets the inside of the oven dirty. Naturally, the baking pan needs to have a rim to hold the water. By the end of the cooking, the water is usually all gone. I know it’s a bit of work but you won’t miss the skin on these drumsticks. If that isn’t clear, please let me know and I will try explain further. If you make them, please let me know how they turn out. Every kitchen and every cook is different and it helps to know my recipes work for everyone. Thanks.

      • Jeff

        thanks for clearing that up… I have made your Mac n Cheese and it was a hit with the family… going to try these next.. thanks again.. I will let you know 🙂 I will not miss the skin 🙂

  33. Liz

    I so loved this flavor that I used the marinade to make chicken fingers, I marinated the chicker strips and then breaded and fried in a little canola.
    I know, this is a “no fry zone”……had to do it.

  34. Liz

    I made this dish last night using boneless skinless breasts that I had flattened out. Not pounded, just flattened.This marinade is amazing. The breasts had a great flavour and color that made it even better. I followed the recipe to a T, but didn’t have mustard/horse radish combined so I mixed what I had. It’s the first time in ages there was not a piece of meat left.
    Jenny done good!!!!!!

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