Overhead shot of a plate of slow cooker bbq chicken legs, accompanied by a lettuce salad and spinach leaves with cherry tomatoes
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Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Legs

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These slow cooker chicken legs (drumsticks) are tender, fall of the bone good and don't require any hands on cooking! Just drop in the crock pot and let it do the work!

Let me introduce you guys to my secret weapon for busy weeknights: Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Legs! They’re not just easy and budget-friendly but also a hit with everyone at the table – including the picky eaters. I’m talking chicken drumsticks seasoned with smoked paprika, bathed in your favorite BBQ sauce, and cooked to juicy, tender perfection. One of the simplest, most delicious BBQ chicken leg recipes out there!

Overhead shot of a plate of slow cooker bbq chicken legs, accompanied by a lettuce salad and spinach leaves with cherry tomatoes, next to wooden spatula

If you’re anything like me, finding a recipe that gets the kiddos excited for dinner is like striking gold. But this easy slow cooker chicken drumsticks recipe? They love it! They can’t get enough of the smoky, meaty flavors – and that’s exactly why it’s become a regular in our meal rotation. Plus, it’s like having all the finger-licking goodness of grilled chicken legs without ever having to fire up the grill. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Legs Overview

Cuisine Inspiration: American
Number of Ingredients: 5 (excluding salt and pepper)
Total Cook Time: 8 hours, 20 minutes
Primary Cooking Method: Slow Cooking
Dietary Info: Gluten-Free (check your BBQ sauce)
Key Flavor: Meaty, smoky BBQ
Skill Level: Beginner

Notable mentions

  • Set It and Forget It: Toss everything in the slow cooker, hit the switch, and go about your day. By dinnertime, a delicious BBQ meal awaits with zero babysitting required!
  • Juiciness Overload: These chicken legs turn out so juicy and tender, that your guests will think you marinate them for several days. Just tender, fall-off-the-bone meat.
  • BBQ Season All Year Round: Who says BBQ is just for summer? With this recipe, get those smoky, savory vibes any time of the year – no grill needed, just your trusty slow cooker.
  • Kid’s New Favorite: It’s no secret that BBQ sauce has some kind of magical power over kids. They’ll eat pretty much anything if it’s smothered in it – including these slow cooker BBQ chicken drumsticks!
  • Kind to Your Wallet: Chicken drumsticks are easy on the pocket, making this dish a wallet-friendly wonder. Delicious, economical, and perfect for feeding a crowd without breaking the bank.

Ingredients to make Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Legs

  • Skin-On Chicken Legs: Why skin-on? Because it keeps the chicken super juicy and flavorful. Plus, they’re usually cheaper, which is always a bonus if you’re looking to cut costs.
  • BBQ Sauce: When it comes to smoky sauces, I always opt for Jim Beam’s Smoky Barrel BBQ. However, you can use your favorite or even better – a homemade one!
  • Apple Juice: Adds moisture, a little sweetness, and a hint of fruitiness.
  • Golden Brown Sugar: It brings a lovely caramel-like sweetness that complements the smokiness of the BBQ sauce.
  • Smoked Paprika: For that irresistible smoky depth.
  • Salt & Ground Black Pepper: The classic dynamic duo of seasoning.
Overhead shot of ingredients for making slow cooker bbq chicken legs on the table before mixing

How to make Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Legs

Step 1: Mix The BBQ Sauce

  1. Add BBQ sauce, apple juice, brown sugar, smoked paprika, salt, and black pepper to a small bowl.
  2. Mix until well combined. Set aside.
A step by step image collage on how to make slow cooker bbq chicken legs with bbq sauce before mixing with spices and bbq sauce after mixing

Step 2: Season And Cook The Chicken

  1. Place the chicken legs in the slow cooker.
  2. Season them well with smoked paprika, salt, and black pepper.
  3. Pour the sauce mixture over the chicken in the slow cooker, ensuring all pieces are coated.
  4. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 4 hours.
A step by step image collage on how to make slow cooker bbq chicken legs with raw chicken, raw chicken seasoned, chicken covered with bbq sauce, and chicken cooked drenched in bbq sauce
  • BBQ Sauce Varieties: Play around with different BBQ styles! Try a Carolina style for a tangy, vinegar-based twist, or go for a Texas-style if you’re all about that bold, spicy kick.
  • Get Creative with Your Add-Ins: Sliced jalapeños will give a spicy punch for those who truly love heat. Or, for a sweet and unexpected twist, throw in some drained crushed pineapple. It sounds unusual, but trust me, it’s SO good!
  • Vegetable Boost: Want to sneak in some veggies? Toss in some sliced bell peppers or onions in the last hour of cooking. They’ll soak up the BBQ sauce and add a lovely sweetness to the crock pot BBQ chicken legs.
  • Experiment with Spices: Add a touch of garlic powder or onion powder for an extra flavor layer. Or, if you’re a fan of herbs, a sprinkle of dried thyme or rosemary can bring a nice aromatic touch.
  • Use a different part of the chicken: If you want, you can switch it up and make BBQ chicken breasts, thighs, and even wings in the slow cooker.

Tips for making the best slow cooker bBQ chicken drumsticks

  1. Place It Under the Broiler: If you’re a fan of crispy skin (who isn’t?), give the chicken legs a quick broil after slow cooking. Just a few minutes under the broiler will crisp up the skin while keeping the inside juicy.
  2. Don’t Overcrowd the Slow Cooker: There should be enough space for the sauce to circulate around each chicken leg. This ensures every piece gets fully coated and infused with flavor.
  3. Layer the Sauce: Start with a layer of sauce at the bottom of the slow cooker before adding your chicken. This trick helps in cooking the chicken evenly and prevents it from sticking to the bottom.
  4. Don’t Lift the Lid: It’s tempting to peek, but every time you lift the lid, heat escapes. This can significantly extend the cooking time of your slow cooker chicken drumsticks. So trust the process and let the slow cooker work its magic!
Close up of a plate of slow cooker bbq chicken legs, accompanied by a lettuce salad and spinach leaves with cherry tomatoes, next to a small wooden cup of BBQ sauce

How to store & reheat Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Legs

Once you’ve enjoyed your meal, let any leftover chicken cool to room temperature. Then, place it in an airtight container, pour any leftover sauce over the top (this keeps the chicken moist and flavorful!), and pop it in the fridge.

To reheat, transfer the chicken to a microwave-safe dish or place it back in the slow cooker on a low setting. If you’re using the microwave, cover the dish and heat it in short intervals, stirring the sauce to avoid hot spots.

How long will Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Legs last in the fridge?

Your delicious garlic chicken will stay fresh and tasty in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. Just make sure it’s stored properly in an airtight container.

Can i freeze crock pot bBQ chicken legs?

These easy slow cooker chicken drumsticks freeze well! Simply pack the cooled chicken legs and sauce in freezer bags, squeezing out as much air as possible before sealing. Label them with the date, and they’ll keep for up to 4 months. When you’re ready to enjoy, thaw the chicken in the fridge overnight and then reheat using your preferred method.

What to serve with Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Legs

  • Hashbrown Casserole: My creamy, cheesy Hashbrown Casserole with a crispy top is a side that brings its own spotlight to the BBQ meal. I mean, chicken + cheese + potato? Heaven on earth!
  • Corn on the Cob: Grilled or boiled corn on the cob is a classic. Rub it with a bit of butter, sprinkle some salt, and you’ve got a sweet and savory treat that’s always a hit.
  • Creamy Coleslaw: A crunchy, creamy coleslaw on the side adds a refreshing crunch and is great for cutting through the richness of the BBQ sauce.
  • Baked Beans: A bowl of hearty baked beans alongside your chicken? Yes, please! With their rich and savory flavor, they’re the ultimate comfort side for these slow cooker BBQ chicken legs
  • Cornbread: Use a slice of warm, buttery cornbread to mop up that delicious BBQ sauce.

Frequently asked questions

Can I Use Frozen Chicken Legs?

Absolutely! Just add 1-2 hours to the cooking time if you’re starting from frozen chicken legs to ensure they cook through completely. Also, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature reaches at least 165°F.

How Can I Thicken the Sauce After Cooking?

If you find the sauce too thin after cooking, simply mix a tablespoon of cornstarch with two tablespoons of water and stir it into the sauce. Cook on high for an additional 15-20 minutes, and it should thicken up nicely.

Can I Double the Recipe?

You sure can (and it’s great for meal prep), as long as your slow cooker has enough space. Remember to not overcrowd it!

Overhead shot of a plate of slow cooker bbq chicken legs, accompanied by a lettuce salad and spinach leaves with cherry tomatoes, next to a small wooden cup of BBQ sauce and wooden utensils

If you’re on the hunt for a recipe that’ll please the crowd, win over the picky eaters, and not break the bank, you’ve hit the jackpot with these Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Legs! It’s a simple mix of a homemade dry rub and BBQ sauce, creating one of the yummiest, no-fuss chicken leg recipes you’ll ever try.

More Slow Cooker Chicken recipes:

I want to hear from you! If you try this easy Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Legs recipe or any other of my 5 ingredient or less recipes on Dinner in 5, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! I read all the comments and respond!

Overhead shot of a plate of slow cooker bbq chicken legs, accompanied by a lettuce salad and spinach leaves with cherry tomatoes
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Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken Legs

These slow cooker chicken legs (drumsticks) are tender, fall of the bone good and don't require any hands on cooking! Just drop in the crock pot and let it do the work!
No ratings yet
Author Jackie
Servings 8 servings
Course Main Course
Calories 158
Prep Time 20 minutes
0 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 20 minutes

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • 8 skin-on chicken legs
  • 2 cups smoky BBQ sauce
  • ½ cup apple juice
  • ¼ cup golden brown sugar
  • ½ tablespoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, mix together the BBQ sauce, apple juice, brown sugar, smoked paprika, salt, and black pepper until well combined. Set aside.
  • Place the chicken legs in the slow cooker and season them well with smoked paprika, salt, and black pepper.
  • Pour the sauce mixture over the chicken in the slow cooker, ensuring all pieces are coated.
  • Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 4 hours.

Notes

  1. Place It Under the Broiler: If you’re a fan of crispy skin (who isn’t?), give the chicken legs a quick broil after slow cooking. Just a few minutes under the broiler will crisp up the skin while keeping the inside juicy.
  2. Don’t Overcrowd the Slow Cooker: There should be enough space for the sauce to circulate around each chicken leg. This ensures every piece gets fully coated and infused with flavor.
  3. Layer the Sauce: Start with a layer of sauce at the bottom of the slow cooker before adding your chicken. This trick helps in cooking the chicken evenly and prevents it from sticking to the bottom.
  4. Don’t Lift the Lid: It’s tempting to peek, but every time you lift the lid, heat escapes. This can significantly extend the cooking time of your slow cooker chicken drumsticks. So trust the process and let the slow cooker work its magic!

Nutrition

Serving: 1 drumstick, Calories: 158kcal, Carbohydrates: 38g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 0.05g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g, Sodium: 885mg, Potassium: 202mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 32g, Vitamin A: 376IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 32mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American

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