Sticky Wings but with Baked Chicken Drumsticks are finger-licking good.
I am so thrilled to share this recipe because it's in our top ten, maybe even five, favorites here at my household. It all came to be because of how expensive chicken wings have become over the last few years. Now, instead of spending $16 for a pack of 12 wings, we pay $4 for a pack of 12 drumsticks. If you haven't tried it, now is your chance.
Chicken drumsticks that are coated in flour, baked in the oven until lightly golden and crisp, tossed in my Homemade Sticky Finger Sauce, and then broiled until perfectly glazed. The sauce has an Asian flair to it, all while being neutral enough to dip into ranch and eat along with celery.Jump to Recipe
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What Makes Homemade Sticky Finger Sauce So Good?
This sauce is sweet, sticky, and has a slight hint of heat to it (you control the amount). While it is made with primarily Asian-inspired ingredients, it turns out neutral enough to be able to still dip your drumsticks in the ranch. The ingredients all meld together perfectly, and you don't notice the soy sauce. This sauce is truly a home run, and the best way I can describe it is a sweet sticky finger sauce. You will want to put it on everything. See the Notes section for more ideas of what to use this sauce for.
I don't recommend leaving out any ingredient in this sauce or replacing any, because they all meld together harmoniously.
- Honey. This is the base of the sauce that makes it both sweet and sticky.
- Soy Sauce or tamari. Creates depth of flavor and umami, balances out the sweetness a touch, and darkens the color. If making GF, be sure to use gluten-free soy sauce. I use the brand San-J Tamari. I get a big bottle of it from Thrive Market (Get 40% off your first order + sometimes a gift.) for half the price of what my local grocery store sells it for.
- Minced Garlic. This adds a savory component to the sauce and helps make it addicting. I prefer to use jarred minced garlic to eliminate any bitterness coming from fresh, but that's just me.
- Ground Ginger. Adds depth of flavor. Ground ginger is mild, but it further intensifies the sweetness and hint of heat in this recipe.
- Light Brown Sugar. Adds sweetness, a touch of molasses flavor, and helps the sauce get thick and sticky.
- Crushed Red Pepper Chili Flakes. This is where the slight heat comes from in this recipe. I prefer to do just a few dashes and keep it very mild, but you can add in what you know you like to make it hotter.
- Organic Cornstarch + Water. This is essential for the sauce to thicken and become sticky enough to coat the chicken. I always use organic corn products because corn is often a GMO plant that is also sprayed with the herbicide glyphosate, which I personally believe negatively affects my Celiac Disease.
How to Make Homemade Sticky Finger Sauce For Sticky Wings:
- Combine all ingredients listed above in a small mixing bowl. Whisk until well-incorporated, especially the honey.
- Pour mixture into a medium-sized saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir frequently while waiting for the mixture to begin to steam. Once it turns into a simmer, stir constantly. The mixture will become thick before your eyes. Allow to simmer for 1-3 minutes, making sure the heat isn't set too high, or else the honey could crystallize.
- Remove from heat and set aside until it's time to coat the wings.
How to Make Sticky Wings but with Baked Chicken Drumsticks:
In this recipe, I choose to "lazy fry" my chicken drumsticks by coating them in flour, laying them on a cookie sheet with oil, and baking them. That's because I prefer more of a wet wing for this recipe. Just note that they will not get hardly as golden brown or crispy as in traditional frying.
If you would like crispy and golden fried drumsticks for this recipe; coat them in seasoned flour, then fry in a pan or fryer on both sides until golden and the internal temperature of the chicken is at least 155-160. From there, you can toss the chicken in the sauce and then broil on Low in the oven for 5-8 minutes until the sauce is glazed and the chicken reads 165 F.
I also use Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour, but you can sub for regular flour.
- Preheat oven to 425 F.
- Roll chicken drumsticks in flour until evenly coated on all sides. I season my flour with salt and pepper. Just keep in mind you won't need too much salt because of the soy sauce in the sticky finger sauce.
- Pour 2 tbsp. of canola oil onto a non-stick cookie sheet. Move the pan around to spread out the oil.
- Lay floured chicken drumsticks on the pan. I alternate the direction of the chicken legs so that more will fit. Roll the drumsticks around until the oil coats the flour on every side. While I use 6 drumsticks here, this recipe is for 12.
- Bake for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through. Additionally, you may need to use the Broiler on Low for 3-5 minutes on each side to encourage further browning. Once the chicken's internal temperature reads at-least 160 F, remove from oven.
- Use tongs to transfer chicken drumsticks into a large mixing bowl. Pour half or ¾ of the sauce overtop of the chicken. Shake the bowl or use the tongs to toss the chicken, rolling them each around several times to be well-coated. The sauce will be thick at this point, but not as sticky as it will become.
- Lay the chicken drumsticks back out on the cookie sheet. If you had some sticking occur, you may want to use a clean cookie sheet. If any drumsticks are light on the sauce, baste with some extra. Then, set back in the oven under Low Broil for 5-8 minutes, until glazed and sticky and the chicken reads 165 F.
- Serve with celery, ranch, a baked potato, or your choice of typical wing sides. Serve any extra unused sticky sauce along with the wings, or refrigerate and use it within 3 days.
Sticky Wings Notes:
- You can use my Homemade Sticky Finger Sauce for so many things. Use it on all forms of chicken and pork, or even on tofu. You could make boneless chicken bites and serve it with rice. This sauce would be so good with rice! Think similar to Orange Chicken.
- Serve this at Super Bowl parties, football or sports gatherings, or any family gathering really. This recipe is meant to be an inexpensive replacement for wings, but it's really become its entirely own craveable thing too.
Sticky Wings But With Baked Chicken Drumsticks
For the Baked Chicken Drumsticks/"Lazy Fried":
- 12 chicken drumsticks patted dry
- ½ cup high quality gluten-free all purpose flour you can sub for regular flour if not GF
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2-3 tablespoon canola oil for lazy frying in the oven
Homemade Sticky Finger Sauce:
- 1 cup honey
- ½ cup reduced sodium soy sauce or tamari I use San-J Brand because it's gluten-free and organic
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- a couple of dashes of crushed red pepper chili flakes
- ¾ cup filtered water
- 3 tablespoon organic cornstarch
To Bake/"Lazy Fry" the Chicken:
- Preheat oven to 425 F.
- Place flour in a sealable container and season with salt and pepper to taste. Roll chicken drumsticks in flour until evenly coated on all sides. You can also close the lid of the container to shake the chicken until coated.
- Pour canola oil onto a nonstick cookie sheet. Move the pan around to spread out the oil.
- Lay floured drumsticks on pan, alternating their direction to fit more. Roll the drumsticks around in the oil until coated on every side.
- Bake for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through. Additionally, you may need to use the Broiler on Low for 3-5 minutes per side to encourage further browning. Meanwhile, make the Homemade Sticky Finger Sauce.
To Make the Homemade Sticky Finger Sauce:
- Combine all ingredients for the sauce in a small mixing bowl. Whisk until well-incorporated, especially the honey.
- Pour mixture into a medium-sized saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir frequently while waiting for the mixture to steam.
- Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly for 1-3 minutes. It will thicken before your eyes. Be sure the burner isn't set too high or else the honey could crystallize.
- Remove from heat and set aside until ready to use.
To Coat the Chicken in the Sauce:
- Once the chicken's internal temperature reads at least 160 F, remove from oven.
- Use tongs to transfer drumsticks into a large mixing bowl. Pour half or ¾ of the sauce overtop of the chicken. Shake the bowl or use the tongs to toss the chicken, rolling them each around several times until well-coated. The sauce will be thick at this point, but not as sticky as it will become.
- Lay the chicken drumsticks back out on the cookie sheet. If you had some sticking occur, you may want to use a clean cookie sheet. If any drumsticks are light on sauce, baste with some extra. Then, set back in the oven under Low Broil for 5-8 minutes, until glazed and sticky and the chicken reads 165 F.
- Serve with celery, ranch, a baked potato or your choice of typical wing sides. Serve any extra unused sticky sauce along with the wings, or refrigerate and use within 3 days.