Sticky Lemon & Honey Chicken Drumsticks

These chicken pieces taste as good as they look.

Gordon Ramsay came up with this excellent recipe. The only thing I don’t agree with is using a whole, jointed chicken. The problem? The chicken portions have different degrees of thickness, i.e. different cooking times, which can cause some pieces to dry out and the others to remain somewhat raw. So! My best advice is to stick to one type of cut, for example wings, drumsticks, thighs or breasts, for best results. Enjoy!

Download and/or print the recipe! Click HERE.

Sticky Lemon & Honey Chicken Drumsticks
Serves 4
Preparation: 10 mins – Cooking Time: 30-50 mins
  • 8 large chicken drumsticks, or more if they are small
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 45ml (3 tbsp) olive oil
  • 1 head of garlic, halved horizontally
  • few thyme sprigs
  • splash of sherry vinegar
  • 30ml (2 tbsp) dark soy sauce
  • 45ml (3 tbsp) honey
  • 1 lemon, finely sliced
  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan. Brown the chicken pieces (in batches if necessary) over high heat with the garlic and thyme for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Return all the chicken to the pan, add the sherry vinegar and bubble until reduced by half. Drizzle over the soy sauce and honey and shake the pan to mix.
  2. Pour in a good splash of hot water and add the lemon slices. Let the liquid bubble and reduce down until syrupy, which will take about 10 minutes or so. By not the chicken should be cooked through.
  3. Transfer the chicken to a platter and serve immediately.
Serving Suggestion
  • Serve with mash and green beans or steamed sugar snap peas.
  • Drumsticks were used in this recipe to ensure even cooking. You are welcome to use chicken wings, thighs or breasts instead.

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  1. says

    Julia: One vinegar that immediately came to mind was balsamic vinegar. Malt vinegar will be a bit strong I think. Let me know how your experiment goes. 😉

  2. says

    Hi Michelle. This looks fabulous, thank you. I’m always looking for easy chicken recipes to throw together for dinner. This definitely fits the bill. Great photos!

  3. says

    That picture is just heaven… the depth of color is really something… great work! As for the recipe… you hit it out of the park too… a great one that I had forgotten about… great for the weekend… thanks for the great post!

  4. says

    These look amazing!! But I have a question. In the ingredients, you call for a head of garlic, halved horizontally. Is it to be broken into cloves and peeled? Or is it just used for flavouring and then discarded after?

  5. says

    I was looking at dumsticks the other day at the store and was thinking I love them, dark meat rocks. How can I make them so the hubby with enjoy them as much as me and kids… This is how!

  6. says

    Hey Michelle! I saw this photo/recipe being pushed by TasteSpotting on twitter (see, the goodness of twitter hehe) and was like OMG that looks delicious! When I clicked on the link it took me here which was like a sign from above because I was just about to come here anyway and say it was a true pleasure spending the afternoon with you today! I loved chatting with you and hope to see you again before the bubba comes along. Hope dinner at Mango Tree was good… look forward to seeing you again xxx

  7. says

    Adele: Thanks! :-) It’s an easy recipe to prepare. Just remember to be patient and wait for the chicken to be completely cooked through, because sometimes it’s a bit deceiving.

    Thanks, Deana!

    The Hungry Teacher: To answer your question, you simply slice the whole garlic bulb in half – like here It is used for flavouring the sauce. Afterwards you chuck out the two halves.

  8. says

    I was pretty sure that’s what you meant by garlic bulbs halved, but thanks for clarifying!! My husband was peeking over my shoulder while I was browsing and strongly encouraged me to try this recipe! They look delicious and I’m making them for a party this afternoon! Thanks!

  9. Findley says

    Hi–I was directed here via Tastespotting and I have to agree–these look amazing. One question-what is the green you have so nicely draped over the drumsticks? Thanks, Findley

  10. says

    Just closing my eyes to the delectable food here. Im on a mission…..

    I am busy inviting any food and wine bloggers I can find on the internet to the first ever South African food bloggers conference. You can find all the info here

    The cost is R430 all inclusive for the day. Sunday 21 March 9.30am at Giggling Gourmets Cooks Playground opposite the new Cape Quarter parking garage entrance, De Waterkant, Cape Town. There will be a buffet lunch & refreshments, great speakers and a big goodie bag stuffed with amazing foodie things. And fab give aways and prizes. Very exciting stuff.

    If you know of any food or wine bloggers that might be interested in attending please could you either let them know about it or let me know their blog addies and I will go invite them. Thank you so much. I need to get the word out urgently….

    Colleen (aka browniegirl) xx

  11. mary says

    hi tried your recipe tonight!!! it was easy and delicious. i made 2 mistakes, i splashed too much sherry and if you use dried thyme, do NOT use a lot :) but will make again, a little wiser. thanks for the recipe@!!!

  12. says

    Made it tonight and something went very wrong…All I could taste was bitter lemon peal, I end up throwing the whole batch out. Was I suppose to peal the lemon?

  13. says

    Sherry: First of all, I’m really sorry to hear about your mishap because I’d like everyone to enjoy recipes from this site!

    The sauce has a slightly bitter edge to it but if it is overwhelmingly so something is not right. I have thought about a few factors that might contribute. Firstly, it might be the type of lemon – some are more bitter than others. From experience I learnt that if you cook lemon (even the juice!) for too long or hard it will turn bitter, so shorten the cooking time or put them in at a later stage. Lastly, maybe try less lemon next time, maybe half or a quarter of lemon?

    I hope it helps!

  14. Jacky says

    Tried this recipe last night. Loved it, absolutely delicious! I substituted the sherry vinegar for balsamic with good results.

  15. Jody says

    Gorgeous recipe! Made it several times now using balsamic, my friend ended up licking the plate clean of the lovely sauce!

  16. says

    This looks absolutely mouth water! I am looking for a recipe for drumstick to feature on my foodblog. Do you mind if I use yours and I will hand you the credit?
    Thanks, I love your site! Full of mouth watering goodness!


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