Home ยป Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Drumsticks

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Drumsticks

Simple ingredients and quick cooking, this is a family-friendly, cost-effective meal! The chicken is cooked in the Instant Pot and finished under the oven broiler to create a perfectly crisp chicken drumsticks with tender, juicy dark meat on the inside.


It’s Variety Show week! You know, the elementary school event I swore off helping with after last year? That’s the one! I’m lured in again by my gal pal who runs it. Y’all these kids are exhausting! They have soooo much energy, it’s truly amazing! After my work day, I’m whipped. Totally whipped.

This week has been a wildly productive one coming off a vacation week (swoon), and this weekend we’re celebrating my mom’s AND my father-in-law’s birthday. They share an April 1st birthday and the girls have been decorating with homemade streamers and party hats. We’re doing cake and I’m not sure what else – but on Saturday, we’ll have a house full of 11! It will be fun! My father-in-law is actually the one who sent this recipe. He’s clever with his Instant Pot and my girls are lovers of chicken legs and drumsticks, I just knew it would be a winning recipe.


  • BBQ Lovers: Who says you need a grill for some BBQ fun?! Grab your favorite BBQ sauce and you’re bound to love this finger-lickin’ good recipe! BBQ drumsticks is one that the whole family will enjoy! Game day is another great time to enjoy this delicious meal!
  • Instant Pot Fans: Using pressure cooking reduces cooking time and is a nice, hands off way to make a lot of food! These are some JUICY chicken legs!
  • Kid-Friendly: This is a delicious recipe for the whole family, and kids are sure to love it!


  • Drumsticks: Any on-the-bone chicken pieces will work, however you will want to increase the time by 1-2 minutes for chicken thighs, and 3-5 minutes more for breasts. Conversely, for wings you will want to decrease the pressure cooking time by 2-3 minutes. Using an on-the-bone chicken cut offers much more moisture and flavor from anything boneless or chicken breasts.
  • Fresh vs Frozen: You can use frozen drumsticks, but be sure to add additional cook time and presume the Instant Pot pressure cooker will take additional time to pressurize. Fresh chicken legs are used in this recipe.
  • Broth: You can use a cup of water in place of the chicken broth – the key is simply to have moisture in the pressure cooker to create the moist heat pressure cooking.
  • Spice or Dry Rub: Any type of a spice rub or BBQ rub will work great on the chicken. This recipe uses a combination of smoked paprika, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper, however you can choose something with brown sugar for a bit of caramelization or something with red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper for some big heat.


  • Barbecue sauce has a wide variation in nutritional quality. Look for something that offers the flavor you enjoy while also being mindful of both sugar and sodium content as both can vary greatly from one BBQ sauce to the next. There are some great low carb BBQ sauce options out there!
  • You can remove the skin after cooking chicken drumsticks in the Instant Pot to greatly reduce the saturated fat content (and calories) of the meal. You can remove the skin and then brush with BBQ sauce before broiling of air frying to crisp up just a bit! Alternatively, you can skip the final step altogether and simply serve after the pressure cooking.


  • You can perform a quick release on this recipe. A natural pressure release is best when the contents of the pressure cooker will be full of liquid or foam that can be created when cooking grains in the pressure cooker – neither of which is the case with these Instant Pot BBQ chicken legs.
  • Reminder to clean the condensation cup on the pack of the Instant Pot as liquid can accumulate in there and easily be forgotten about!
  • The “additional time” accounted for in the recipe direction is for the pot to pressurize. This can take a varying amount of time, but plan on 10 minutes, at minimum, for the pot to pressurize. It can seem like forever (I know!) and will take longer when using frozen food or when the pot is more full. It’s not a BAD thing, it’s just something to be mindful of when accounting for the timing of your meals and preparation.
  • Ensure the cup of broth (or water) nearly covers the bottom of the pot to ensure the burn notice doesn’t fire.
  • If you do not have a trivet, ball up several large pieces of aluminum foil and place in the bottom of the Instant Pot to keep the chicken out of the broth and off the bottom of your Instant Pot.


  • Don’t skip the broil. The key is to be close enough to the heat source (top of oven) to create crispy skin but to be cautious of burning the chicken skin. In lieu of the broiler, you can crisp up the drumsticks in the air fryer, rotating half-way through. Fry time will vary, but 6-8 minutes at 400 degrees is a good place to start.
  • Using your favorite barbecue sauce or buffalo sauce is what will make this recipe what you want it to be!
  • The chicken will be layered in the Instant Pot, but when going under the broiler, ensure it is in a single layer.
  • Serve with your favorite sides, but traditional sides like broccoli and mashed potatoes worked really well! Any type of barbecue fare is great, too!
  • Use tongs to remove chicken drumsticks from the Instant Pot – the pressure cookers get quite hot and steam can easily burn your skin.
  • We used a honey sriracha sauce on some of our drumsticks for a bit of sweet heat and it was a delicious combination!

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Drumsticks

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Drumsticks

Yield: 20 drumsticks
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Simple ingredients and quick cooking, this is a family-friendly, cost-effective meal! The chicken is cooked in the Instant Pot and finished under the oven broiler to create a perfectly crisp chicken drumsticks with tender, juicy dark meat on the inside.


  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 /2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 5 lbs. chicken drumsticks
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups prepared BBQ sauce


  1. Combine paprika, chili powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl until well-combined.
  2. Sprinkle the seasoning mixture evenly over the drumsticks.
  3. Place a trivet in the Instant Pot and mist with nonstick cooking spray. Place chicken on top of trivet and pour broth over the drumsticks, accumulating in the bottom of the Instant Pot.
  4. Place the lid on the Instant Pot and twist to seal. Pressure cook on HIGH for 15 minutes.
  5. Release the pressure valve and perform a quick release.
  6. Preheat oven broiler to 550 degrees F. Line 2-3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  7. Remove chicken to the prepared baking sheets and brush chicken on all sides with your BBQ sauce of preference.
  8. Broil the chicken for 4-6 minutes, turning once. Watch closely for burning. Serve hot.


Recipe adapted from Easy Chicken Recipes

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1 drumstick
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 210Total Fat: 10.0gCholesterol: 105mgSodium: 391mgCarbohydrates: 6.7gFiber: 0.2gSugar: 5.5gProtein: 20.2g

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