Fall-off-the-Bone Slow Cooker Chicken Drumsticks (Kiwi-Style!)

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There’s nothing quite like the ease and satisfaction of a slow cooker meal. Toss in your ingredients, set it and forget it, and come home to a delicious and fall-off-the-bone dinner – that’s the magic of slow cooking. This recipe for chicken drumsticks in the slow cooker is a Kiwi favourite, perfect for busy weeknights or relaxed weekend meals.

This recipe puts a delightful New Zealand spin on classic slow cooker chicken drumsticks by incorporating some local flavours. We’ll be using Manuka honey, a unique and prized New Zealand honey known for its antibacterial properties and subtle flavour profile. We’ll also add a touch of tangy tamarind paste, a common ingredient in Southeast Asian cuisine that’s becoming increasingly popular in New Zealand.

Slow Cooker Chicken Drumsticks Recipe With Soy and Ginger Chicken
Slow Cooker Chicken Drumsticks Recipe With Soy and Ginger Chicken

But don’t worry, if you can’t find Manuka honey or tamarind paste, this recipe is easily adaptable. We’ll provide some substitution suggestions throughout.

This recipe yields around 4-6 servings, depending on the size of your drumsticks and appetites.


1 kg chicken drumsticks (around 8-10)

  • ¼ cup Manuka honey (or regular honey)
  • ¼ cup soy sauce (low sodium preferred)
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 tbsp tamarind paste (or 1 tbsp brown sugar and 1 tsp lime juice)
  • 1 cup chicken stock (or water)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Chopped fresh herbs (optional, for garnish) – parsley, coriander, or thyme

  • Directions:

    1. Prep the Chicken: Pat the chicken drumsticks dry with paper towels. This will help ensure crispy skin later. Season the drumsticks generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
    2. Combine the Sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together the Manuka honey (or regular honey), soy sauce, brown sugar, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, ginger, garlic powder, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper (if using), tamarind paste (or brown sugar and lime juice), and chicken stock.
    3. Slow Cooker Magic: Place the chicken drumsticks in a slow cooker. Pour the prepared sauce over the chicken, ensuring all the drumsticks are evenly coated.
    4. Cook Low and Slow: Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 4-5 hours, until the chicken is cooked through and tender. The internal temperature of the thickest part of the drumstick should reach 165°F (74°C) when checked with a meat thermometer.
    5. Optional: Broil for Crisp Skin (Careful, it’s Hot!): If you prefer crispy skin, you can broil the chicken for a few minutes at the end. Preheat your oven to broil. Carefully remove the chicken drumsticks from the slow cooker and place them on a baking sheet lined with foil. Broil for 2-3 minutes per side, or until the skin is golden brown and crispy. Be careful not to overcook the chicken during this step.
    6. Serve and Enjoy: Once cooked, transfer the chicken drumsticks to a serving platter. Spoon some of the delicious slow cooker sauce over the chicken. Garnish with chopped fresh herbs (optional) and serve with your favourite sides, like mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, or rice.

    Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

    Please note that these nutrition facts are estimates and may vary depending on the specific ingredients you use.

    Calories: 450-500

  • Fat: 30-35g
  • Saturated Fat: 10-12g
  • Carbohydrates: 20-25g
  • Sugar: 15-20g
  • Protein: 35-40g
  • Sodium: 800-1000mg (depending on the sodium content of your soy sauce)

  • Conclusion

    This slow cooker chicken drumsticks recipe is a fuss-free and flavourful way to enjoy a comforting and satisfying meal. The Manuka honey adds a touch of sweetness, while the tamarind paste (or substitute) provides a subtle tang. Feel free to experiment with different herbs and spices to create your own flavour variations.

    This recipe is perfect for busy weeknights or relaxed weekends. Simply throw the ingredients in the slow cooker and come home to a delicious meal that’s ready to enjoy.