Easy Sweet and Sour Chicken Drumsticks

Servings: 8-10 serving(s)

Prep time: 15 minutes

Total time: 90 minutes

Cooking time: 75 minutes

Take me to the recipe

An easy chicken recipe that’s a favourite with my kids. It can be made ahead of time and reheated. 

sweet and sour chicken drumsticks

No more boring chicken

When I tell my kids we’re having chicken for supper they groan, except when I tell them we’re having Sweet and Sour Chicken Drumsticks.

In their minds it’s the next best thing to having wings for supper. And there is a little something about this recipe that reminds me of wings, especially if you bake the drumsticks longer and they get a little sticky.
sweet and sour chicken drumsticks

This recipe is extra easy to put together.

The flavourful sauce – made with orange juice, molasses and chili sauce – comes together in two minutes and then you put everything in the oven. All you need to do is baste the chicken a few times as it cooks

The sliced lemon adds a little zing to the sauce and the lemons caramelize nicely so can be eaten along with the chicken.

This method of cooking is ideal for chicken drumsticks since braising them in the flavourful sauce makes the meat extra tender. The recipe works well with chicken thighs too.

If you have made our Oven Baked Spareribs recipe you’ll see that I have used the same delicious sauce recipe.

Quick tips:

  • This recipe can be baked ahead of time (like the night before), refrigerated (sauce and all) and then reheated.
  • You can finish this recipe on the barbecue for a bit of smoky flavour (5-10 minutes on the grill).
  • Make a double batch of the sauce so you have it on hand for next time.
  • Look for thin-skinned lemons and slice them as thinly as possible.

Sweet and Sour Chicken Drumsticks Recipe

Serves 4-6


  • 3 lbs. chicken drumsticks
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • A few grinds of black pepper
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced, seeds removed
  • ¾ cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup chili sauce (choose gluten-free if necessary)
  • 2 Tbsp. dry mustard (powder)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup Crosby’s Fancy Molasses
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Remove skin from chicken and place in a covered roasting pan or Dutch oven. (Make sure the pan is large enough to accommodate the chicken in a single layer.)
  3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and dress with lemon slices and sprinkle over the onions.
  4. In a medium bowl whisk the chili sauce, mustard powder, brown sugar, molasses, orange juice and lemon juice.
  5. Pour half of the mixture over the chicken, cover and bake for 30 minutes, basting once with another spoonful of the sauce.
  6. Remove lid and continue to bake for another 30-45 minutes, or until meat is tender. Baste them a few times with remaining sauce and pan sauces. (Bake them longer if you want them a little sticky).

One more thing…
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