Moist Drumsticks Recipe photo by Taste of Home

How to Make Crockpot Chicken Legs Like a Pro

Total Time
Prep: 10 min. Cook: 5 hours 10 min.
Craving drumsticks? Our recipe for Crockpot chicken legs is easy, saucy and sure to impress.

Updated: Feb. 21, 2024

Traditional chicken legs can take a long time to prep, season, cook, fry and coat in sauce, but slow cookers have completely changed the chicken legs game. Now we’re able to throw drumsticks into the crock for a few hours without needing to watch the chicken every step of the way.

We prepare our Crockpot chicken legs low and slow, with quick stint under the broiler to crisp them up at the end. Slathered in a sweet and savory sauce, they’re sure to impress even the biggest of drumstick fans.

Crockpot Chicken Legs Ingredients

  • Chicken drumsticks
  • Canned tomato sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • Packed brown sugar
  • Minced garlic
  • Cornstarch
  • Water
  • Thinly sliced green onions, optional


Step 1: Slow-cook the chicken

chicken legs in the slow cooker gifTMB Studio

Place drumsticks in a 5-quart slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine tomato sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar and minced garlic. Mix thoroughly.

Once combined, pour over the chicken. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low until a thermometer reads 170 to 175°F. This will take roughly five to six hours. Alternatively, the recipe can be cooked on high for two to three hours to save time.

Step 2: Broil the chicken legs

drumsticks spread out on a panTMB Studio

Preheat the broiler. Remove the drumsticks from the slow cooker, reserving the cooking juices. Arrange the chicken legs in a single layer on a 15x10x1-inch pan. This will ensure that each piece of chicken crisps up evenly.

Broil the chicken 3 to 4 inches from heat until lightly browned, about two to three minutes.

Step 3: Make a roux

close up of roux cooking in a saucepanTMB Studio

Skim the fat from the cooking juices, then transfer the liquid to a small saucepan. Bring it to a boil.

In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water until smooth. This slurry will be the base for a roux, which will thicken up the cooking liquids into a sauce for the drumsticks.

Gradually stir the slurry into the cooking juices, then bring it to a boil again. Cook and stir until the sauce is thickened, about two minutes.

Editor’s Tip: To see if your sauce has thickened enough, dip a spoon into it. The sauce should easily coat the back of the spoon without being too runny.

Step 4: Brush on the sauce

coating the drumsticks with the rouxTMB Studio

Brush the drumsticks with the sauce before serving. If desired, sprinkle with green onions to finish.

Editor’s Tip: For maximum coverage, coat the drumsticks multiple times in the sauce until the whole pan has been used. Wait a minute or two in between applications to ensure the sauce dries enough for another application.

How long will leftovers of Crockpot chicken legs last?

To properly store leftovers, let the chicken legs rest until they are cool to the touch. Secure them in an airtight container and refrigerate immediately. Be sure to eat within two to three days.

Crockpot Chicken Legs Tips

Slow Cooker Chicken Legs served with saladTMB Studio

What can you serve with Crockpot chicken legs?

Great news! Chicken legs are such a versatile dish that basically anything can be served with them to make a well-rounded, delicious meal.

Depending on the sauce and seasoning you use on the drumsticks, different flavors will work better. For example, barbecue chicken legs traditionally work well with a mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, creamy coleslaw or cornbread.

For the simple drumsticks we cooked up for this recipe, the tomato sauce, soy sauce, sugar and garlic create a nice balance of sweet and savory. You could pair these slow-cooker chicken legs with a white rice and roasted vegetables, or baked beans and french fries.

Can you use other cuts of chicken in this recipe?

Yes, you can. This is one of those recipes for every cut of chicken. Breasts and thighs are commonly cooked in slow cookers and would work well in this recipe.

The time it takes to cook might vary depending on the thickness of the cut of chicken, but an easy way to make sure your time remains even is to slice each piece of meat to an even thickness before you put it in the slow cooker.

Can you use frozen chicken in this recipe?

You can also use frozen chicken, although the flavor may vary depending on how long the meat has been frozen. If you are using frozen chicken, be sure to add extra prep time to defrost the chicken prior to putting it inside the slow cooker. Otherwise, the chicken may heat unevenly and result in tougher chicken legs.

How can you make slow-cooker chicken legs crispy?

To make your chicken legs crispy, broil them in the oven to finish. The direct heat from the broiler in the oven will cause the chicken skin to cook faster, resulting in a crispy outer skin.

Slow-Cooker Chicken Legs

Prep Time 10 min
Cook Time 10 min
Yield 6 servings.


  • 3 pounds chicken drumsticks, skin removed
  • 1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • Thinly sliced green onions, optional


  1. Place drumsticks in a 5-qt. slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine tomato sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar and garlic; pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low until a thermometer reads 170°-175°, 5-6 hours.
  2. To serve, remove drumsticks to a 15x10x1-in. pan; arrange in a single layer. Preheat broiler.
  3. Skim fat from cooking juices; transfer juices to a small saucepan. Bring liquid to a boil. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth. Gradually stir into the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil; cook and stir until thickened, about 2 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, broil chicken 3-4 in. from heat until lightly browned, 2-3 minutes. Brush with sauce before serving. If desired, sprinkle with green onions.

Nutrition Facts

4 ounces cooked chicken with sauce: 305 calories, 12g fat (3g saturated fat), 94mg cholesterol, 1489mg sodium, 15g carbohydrate (10g sugars, 1g fiber), 32g protein.

I found this treasure in my mom’s recipe box years ago. It is quick to prepare and makes the house smell wonderful while it’s cooking. My daughter Molly just loves it! —Lianne Felton, Riverside, California