Crock Pot Cranberry BBQ Drumsticks
Chicken drumsticks slow cooked in a cranberry bbq sauce make for an easy weeknight dinner or serving a crowd on game day. It’s pure fall comfort food!
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Table of Contents
- About Crock Pot Cranberry BBQ Drumsticks
- What type of BBQ sauce should you use?
- What type of cranberry sauce should you use?
- Can you use frozen drumsticks?
- How long are crock pot drumsticks good for?
- Can you freeze these drumsticks?
- Notes & tips for these drumsticks with cranberry bbq sauce
- More great crock pot recipes
- How to make cranberry bbq drumsticks
- Recipe Details
About Crock Pot Cranberry BBQ Drumsticks
Fall and its trademark flavors are wonderful and all, but sometimes you want to have the best of both worlds – and these crock pot cranberry BBQ drumsticks are just one of the few meals that really does it all.
It embraces the ease of summer but also all the best comfort foods of colder weather. It’s like summer and winter decided to put aside their differences and worked together for an awesome dinner solution.
And, yes, the flavor is as amazing as it sounds. The drumsticks are fall-off-the-bone tender, the sauce is eat-every-bite delicious, and the method is set-it-and-forget-it easy.
This easy meal is bound to be a hit for anything from a weeknight dinner to your new main dish for the holidays.
What type of BBQ sauce should you use?
This recipe calls for using BBQ sauce, and overall, you can use any type that you’d like, whether that be mild, spicy, storebought, or homemade. I’d recommend sticking to more classic sauces over ones with a lot of added flavor.
However, a little flavor isn’t a bad thing – but since this sauce also has a strong dose of cranberry, you want to make sure any additional flavors are complementary to it. BBQ sauces with hints of sweet, earthy, or citrus flavors would be a good match for cranberry.
What type of cranberry sauce should you use?
For the cranberry sauce, you can choose between jellied cranberry sauce or whole berry cranberry sauce. Pick whichever one you think you’d like the most.
To give you an idea, I used jellied cranberry sauce for the images on this page; I thought it created a nice, smooth sauce and made for good presentation. I’ve also used a homemade whole berry cranberry sauce and thought the visible berries (and their bursts of flavor) were a delicious addition to the tender meat of the chicken.
Can you use frozen drumsticks?
The answer here may be a surprise, and it might go against everything you thought you knew about (or have done with) slow cookers for years.
Because, technically, according to the USDA, you’re not supposed to put frozen chicken in a crock pot. I know. I know. And if you’re anything like me, you’re now feeling like a rebel, because you’ve done this before and lived to tell about it, probably because an instruction booklet that came with your Crockpot said it was okay.
And there’s the rub: The USDA does not recommend it, and it’s probably safer to not do it, but Crockpot has been advising its customers that it’s okay to do for years, and there’s likely many (possibly even yourself) who have done it and everything turned out fine.
I personally cannot recommend going against the USDA (and now that I know better, I no longer put frozen chicken in Crockpots for my own personal use) so my suggestion would be to take the time to safety thaw the drumsticks before making this recipe.
How long are crock pot drumsticks good for?
Once cooked, these cranberry bbq drumsticks can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to two to four days.
Can you freeze these drumsticks?
Yes, you totally can!
Once prepared and cooled, cranberry bbq drumsticks can be stored in a sealed container or freezer bag for up to three months.
Notes & tips for these drumsticks with cranberry bbq sauce
- If you’re in the market for a new crock pot, I recently discovered this one and I’m seriously impressed. It has three sizes in one!
More great crock pot recipes
How to make cranberry bbq drumsticks
This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.
Step 1 – Prepare the chicken by placing the drumsticks on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Season with salt and pepper, then broil the drumsticks until they’re a light golden color.
Step 2 – While the chicken cooks, whisk together the BBQ sauce, cranberry sauce, orange marmalade, quick-cooking tapioca, and mustard.
Step 3 – Transfer the broiled drumsticks to a crock pot, then pour the cranberry BBQ sauce on top. Gently toss the drumsticks to ensure they’re all coated.
Step 4 – Cook!
Step 5 – Serve and enjoy!
Crock Pot Cranberry BBQ Drumsticks
- 3 pound chicken drumsticks, skin on or off, your choice
- 1 pinch salt, to taste
- 1 pinch black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
- 3/4 cup cranberry sauce
- 3/4 cup orange marmalade
- 2 tablespoon quick-cooking tapioca
- 1 tablespoon mustard
- 2 teaspoon sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)
- Check your oven to make sure there's a rack positioned 4-5 inches from the top, then preheat oven to broil. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Place drumsticks on prepared baking sheet and season with salt and pepper, then place baking sheet on top oven rack. Broil drumsticks for 12 minutes, turning half way through. Drumsticks will be a light golden color when ready.
- While drumsticks cook, whisk together BBQ sauce, cranberry sauce, orange marmalade, quick-cooking tapioca, and mustard in a medium bowl.
- Add drumsticks to a 6 quart crock pot and pour cranberry BBQ sauce on top. Gently toss drumsticks to coat.
- Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours.
- Serve immediately with sesame seeds as garnish (optional).
I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I’m not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.