Sesame Soy Chicken Drumsticks

Sesame soy chicken drumsticks with sesame seeds and sliced scallions on a silver plate

5 from 1 reviews

Sticky sesame soy glaze with hints of ginger and five spice lacquered onto juicy chicken drumsticks is my idea of weeknight comfort food. Not feeling drumsticks? Chicken thighs would also be perfect here!



1/2 C soy sauce (low sodium)
1/3 C dark brown sugar
1/4 C rice wine vinegar (unseasoned)
1 T sriracha
1 T sesame oil
2 inches ginger root, sliced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp five spice (optional)
3 lbs chicken drumsticks
sesame seeds and sliced scallions to garnish


The night before you plan to cook, combine all ingredients except chicken, sesame seeds, and scallions in  two zip-top bags (or one large baking dish). Close the bags and shake all ingredients until the sugar and salt are both fully dissolved. Divide the chicken between the two bags and seal, trying to push out as much air as possible. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 24, turning the bags once or twice to make sure the marinade comes into contact with all the meat.

Preheat your oven to 400° F and spray two rimmed baking sheets with non-stick spray.

Remove chicken from the marinade, letting any excess drip back into the bag. Divide the chicken between the two baking sheets and transfer to the oven. Roast for 35 minutes.

Transfer the marinade to a small pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Let the marinade boil for at least 3 minutes to kill of any harmful bacteria and continue to cook until it has reduced by a third (it should be a little thicker than heavy cream at this point). Remove from heat.

When the chicken is halfway done, begin basting each drumstick with the thickened marinade repeating every five minutes, until the meat registers 170°F in the thickest part, and the chicken has taken on a dark, lacquered glaze.

Remove from oven, garnish with sesame seeds and scallions, and serve.


*If you marinate these in a baking dish, make sure to turn them occasionally so the marinade makes contact with all the meat.

*Chicken legs are VERY forgiving, so if you feel like you want to glaze them one more time but you’ve passed the 35 minute mark, that’s ok. Just don’t go too far beyond 40.

Keywords: sweet soy marinade, chicken legs, chicken drumsticks