Let me show you how to boil chicken drumsticks. Because boiled chicken legs are tender, flavoursome and juicy and you can use them in so many different ways.
Boiled chicken drumsticks
Chicken legs are my favorite parts of the chicken and I use them in my cooking a lot. They are delicious, kid-friendly and much cheaper than chicken thighs or chicken breast.
You can enjoy the boiled drumsticks freshly cooked or use them in many other recipes. Let’s have a look at what we will need to make them.
Ingredients for boiled chicken legs
Chicken drumsticks. Always opt for a free-range, or if you can afford, organic chicken. Chicken legs are usually very cheap, so that shouldn’t break the budget.
Onion. I prefer a simple brown onion. Do not cut it, just take off the first layer of skin and put it in a pot.
Carrot. I always add a carrot when cooking chicken. It adds a little sweetness to the chicken stock.
Bay leaves. Bay leaves are very flavoursome so only one or two small leaves will be enough.
Peppercorns. 3-4 black peppercorns are a great way to add those immune-boosting compounds and level up the flavour.
Garlic. If you are a fan of garlic, add one or two garlic cloves. This is however totally optional.
Herbs (optional). You can add fresh herbs such as parsley or rosemary if you like the flavour.
How to boil chicken legs
Cooking chicken drumsticks is easy and very straightforward.
- Place clean chicken legs in a saucepan.
- Add onion, carrot, peppercorn, bay leaves and salt.
- Add enough cold water so that the chicken and vegetables are covered, about 2-3 cm (1 inch) above the meat.
- Bring liquid to a boil over medium-high heat and immediately lower the heat to very low. If you cook chicken on high heat, it will become tough and rubbery. It is no need to rush when boiling chicken.
- Let the chicken simmer for about 20 to 30 minutes. The cooking time will depend on the size of the chicken legs. Smaller legs will need less time to cook than large ones.
How do you know when drumsticks are done boiling?
How long to boil chicken legs will vary depending on the size of the drumsticks and whether you are using fresh or frozen drumsticks.
- Fresh drumsticks will take about 20-30 minutes to cook.
- Frozen drumsticks will need 30-40 minutes.
There are a couple of ways you can tell if the chicken legs are done boiling.
- Once the cooking time is over, using a fork or a sharp knife, poke the chicken. If the meat comes from the bone easily, the legs are cooked.
- Or use an instant meat thermometer to check if the chicken is cooked. Chicken is done cooking when its internal temperature reaches 165ºF (75ºC).
How To Store Cooked Chicken Drumsticks
I like to store cooked chicken legs in the stock they were cooked in. Put the drumsticks in an airtight container, and add enough stock to cover the meat. This way you can keep the chicken in the fridge for up to three days and the meat will stay tender and juicy and won’t dry out.
If you want to freeze the cooked legs, put them in freezer-safe containers or bags, and freeze them for up to 3 months.
How to defrost cooked chicken legs
The best way to defrost the cooked chicken meat is to let it defrost naturally in the fridge overnight. Reheat on the stovetop and enjoy.
More chicken recipes
What to do with the liquid the chicken legs were cooked in?
Do not through it away! This is perfect chicken broth and you can use it in many recipes. A chicken soup cooked with this broth will be delicious. It is also much cheaper and healthier than the store-bought variety. My kids like to have a cup of chicken stock with a teaspoon of soy sauce.
How to serve boiled chicken legs
Cooked chicken leg meat is very versatile and can be used in many different ways. Try my chinese chicken salad or use shredded chicken for tacos and sandwiches. I like adding cooked chicken to soups for some extra protein.
You cooked it at a too-high temperature. The secret to juicy, tender chicken is a gentle boil. The liquid should only bubble a little while is cooking.
Yes, you can, it will take a little longer to cook than fresh chicken. But always check if the chicken is fully cooked, the cooking time varies.
Poke the chicken with a fork or knife and see if the juice coming out is clear. If the liquid is red or pinkish, the chicken is raw and needs to be cooked longer.
It is safe to keep the raw chicken in the fridge for a day or two. If you are not planning on cooking it today or tomorrow, simply freeze it until needed.
How to boil chicken legs (drumsticks)
- 6 chicken drumsticks preferably free-range or organic.
- 1 brown onion. Only peel off the first outer layer.
- 1 medium-size carrot, washed and peeled.
- 2 small bay leaves.
- 3-4 peppercorns.
- 1-2 garlic cloves. Optional
- Fresh herbs such as parsley or rosemary optional
- Place the chicken legs in a medium-size saucepan, so that all pieces are in one layer.
- Add the onion, carrot, bay leaves, peppercorns, salt, and garlic (if using).
- Add just enough water to cover the chicken and vegetables.
- Bring water to a boil and lower the heat down to low immediately.
- Let the chicken simmer for 20-30 minutes until the chicken is thoroughly cooked. Do not let it boil, it will make the chicken meat dry and rubbery.
- Let the chicken legs cool down a little before handling.
Check out this Mandarin Chicken Recipe using chicken legs.