Are you looking for a healthy and tasty way to cook chicken drumsticks? Look no further! We’ve compiled some of the best healthy chicken drumstick recipes to satisfy your cravings without compromising your diet. Whether you prefer sweet and spicy flavors or classic herbs and seasonings, we’ve got something for everyone. These recipes not only taste great, but they also provide your body with essential nutrients to keep you feeling energized and satisfied. So, grab your apron and get ready to whip up some delicious and healthy chicken drumsticks!
What Makes Chicken Drumsticks Healthy
Chicken drumsticks are a staple in most households. It is relatively easy to cook and is a crowd favorite. However, what most people don’t realize is that chicken drumsticks are loaded with nutrients that our body needs. Here are some reasons why chicken drumsticks are healthy and why you should include it in your diet:
High in Protein
Protein is an essential nutrient that our body needs for growth and repair. Chicken drumsticks are an excellent source of protein. A single drumstick can contain up to 26 grams of protein, which is roughly half of the recommended daily intake of protein for an adult. Protein helps build muscle, and it is essential in maintaining healthy skin, hair, and nails.
Low in Fat
Chicken drumsticks are a great source of protein without the added fat. It is a healthier option compared to other parts of the chicken, such as thighs and wings. A single drumstick contains only 4 grams of fat compared to 19 grams of fat in a chicken thigh. Consuming too much fat can lead to weight gain and other health problems. So, if you are looking to reduce your calorie and fat intake, chicken drumsticks are a great option.
High in Iron
Iron is a mineral that our body needs to produce red blood cells. A lack of iron can lead to anemia, making us feel tired and weak. Chicken drumsticks are a great source of iron. A single drumstick can contain up to 1mg of iron, which is roughly 6% of the recommended daily intake for an adult. Consuming chicken drumsticks regularly can help prevent iron deficiency anemia.
Chicken drumsticks are also a great source of calcium and phosphorus, which are essential nutrients that help to build strong bones. Calcium is important in maintaining bone health, while phosphorus works together with calcium to strengthen bones and teeth. Consuming chicken drumsticks regularly can help prevent bone diseases such as osteoporosis.
Top 3 Healthy Chicken Drumstick Recipes
Chicken drumsticks are affordable and easy to prepare. With its meaty, tender, and juicy texture, they are perfect for any healthy and delicious meal. Here are the top 3 healthy chicken drumstick recipes that you can try at home.
1. Grilled Cajun Chicken Drumsticks with Avocado-Corn Salsa
If you are looking for a different twist to your chicken drumsticks, then this grilled Cajun chicken recipe is for you. The combination of spices that Cajun cuisine is known for gives this dish a delicious and mildly spicy flavor. Paired with an avocado-corn salsa, it’s a perfect summer meal. Here is the recipe:
- 8 chicken drumsticks
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
- 1/4 cup red onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat the grill to high heat.
- In a small bowl, mix together the paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, dried thyme, salt, and black pepper. Mix in the olive oil to form a paste.
- Pat the chicken drumsticks dry with a paper towel and rub the Cajun spice paste onto the drumsticks.
- Grill the chicken drumsticks for 25-30 minutes, turning every 5-7 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
- Meanwhile, make the salsa: In a medium bowl, combine the diced avocado, thawed corn, red onion, lime juice, salt, and black pepper. Mix well.
- Once the chicken is done, top the chicken drumsticks with the avocado-corn salsa, and serve.
2. Baked Garlic-Parmesan Chicken Drumsticks with Roasted Vegetables
With only a few ingredients and a sheet pan, you can easily make a delicious and healthy meal. The garlic-Parmesan chicken drumsticks paired with roasted vegetables is a flavorful and colorful dish that will surely impress your family and friends.
- 8 chicken drumsticks
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 4 cups mixed vegetables (such as broccoli florets, sliced zucchini, and bell pepper)
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and black pepper.
- Rub the garlic-oil mixture onto the chicken drumsticks, and sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese over them.
- Arrange the chicken drumsticks on one side of the prepared baking sheet.
- In a separate bowl, toss the mixed vegetables with a tablespoon of olive oil, salt, and black pepper.
- Arrange the vegetables on the other side of the baking sheet.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through with an internal temperature of 165°F, and the vegetables are tender and golden brown.
This dish serves 4 people and there might be some leftovers for the next day!
3. Slow Cooker Honey-Soy Chicken Drumsticks with Broccoli and Rice
This slow cooker chicken drumstick recipe is perfect for busy weeknights. Just toss everything into the slow cooker, and let it do its magic. The combination of honey and soy sauce makes the chicken drumsticks sweet and savory, while the broccoli and rice complete the healthy meal.
- 8 chicken drumsticks
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 4 cups broccoli florets
- 2 cups cooked rice
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the honey, soy sauce, tomato paste, minced garlic, grated ginger, and red pepper flakes.
- Place the chicken drumsticks in a slow cooker, and pour the honey-soy sauce over them. Mix well to coat the chicken drumsticks.
- Add the broccoli florets on top of the chicken drumsticks.
- Cover the slow cooker, and cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours until the chicken is cooked through.
- Serve the chicken drumsticks and broccoli on top of a bed of cooked rice.
This recipe is perfect for meal prepping or for feeding a family of four a healthy and delicious dinner.
How to Prep Chicken Drumsticks for Cooking
Chicken drumsticks are a classic and delicious protein option for any meal. However, preparing them incorrectly can lead to dry, flavorless meat. Follow these steps to properly prep chicken drumsticks for cooking.
Rinse and Pat Dry
Before doing anything else, rinse your chicken drumsticks with cold water and pat them dry with paper towels. This helps remove any excess juices or debris that may be present on the surface of the chicken.
Remove Excess Fat
Next, use a sharp knife or kitchen shears to remove any excess fat from the drumsticks. Fat can make the chicken greasy and unhealthy, and removing it will allow the flavors of your seasonings to shine through.
Season with Desired Spices or Marinade
One of the best things about chicken drumsticks is their versatility. Season them with any spices or marinade that you like and let them sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to absorb the flavors. Some popular options include garlic, paprika, and soy sauce.
- If you’re short on time, a simple seasoning of salt and pepper will still add flavor to your chicken.
- If you’re using a marinade, make sure to pat the drumsticks dry before cooking. Excess marinade left on the chicken can cause it to steam instead of brown.
Healthy Cooking Methods for Chicken Drumsticks
If you are looking for a healthy and delicious meal, then chicken drumsticks are an excellent choice. Not only are they affordable, but they are also a good source of protein, low in fat, and have plenty of vitamins and minerals. One of the most important things about cooking chicken drumsticks is to use healthy cooking methods that preserve their nutrients and flavor. Here are some healthy cooking methods for preparing chicken drumsticks:
Grilling is a simple and healthy way to prepare chicken drumsticks. Whether you are using a gas grill or a charcoal grill, make sure that the grill is preheated before placing the drumsticks on it. You can add some flavor to the chicken by marinating it with your favorite spices, herbs, and sauces. Grill the chicken drumsticks for about 15 to 20 minutes, turning them occasionally, until they are browned and cooked through.
Baking is another healthy way to prepare chicken drumsticks. Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the chicken drumsticks on the baking sheet and season them with your desired spices and herbs. You can also add some vegetables such as bell peppers, onions, and carrots for added flavor and nutrition. Bake the chicken drumsticks for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until they are golden brown and cooked through.
Broiling is a quick and healthy way to cook chicken drumsticks. Preheat your broiler and line a broiler pan with aluminum foil. Place the chicken drumsticks on the pan and season them with your favorite spices and herbs. Broil the chicken for about 10 to 15 minutes, turning them once, until they are nicely browned and cooked through. Broiling creates a crispy and caramelized skin, making the chicken drumsticks more flavorful and delicious.
Slow cooking is a convenient and healthy method for preparing chicken drumsticks. You can use a slow cooker or a pressure cooker to cook the chicken. Add the chicken drumsticks, vegetables, and seasonings to the slow cooker or pressure cooker, and set the timer according to the instructions. Slow cooking allows the chicken to absorb the flavors of the spices and vegetables, resulting in moist, tender, and flavorful meat. Slow cooking also breaks down the collagen in the chicken, making it easier to digest and absorb the nutrients.
It is important to avoid frying chicken drumsticks, as this cooking method can add unnecessary calories and fat. Frying also destroys some of the nutrients in the chicken, making it less healthy. Instead, try grilling, baking, broiling, or slow cooking chicken drumsticks for a healthy and delicious meal that you can enjoy guilt-free.
Healthy Side Dishes to Serve with Chicken Drumsticks
If you want to keep your meal healthy and exciting, then serving your chicken drumsticks with healthy side dishes can be a great option. Here are some fantastic options that you can try to ensure that you consume a balanced diet.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a great addition to any healthy meal. Not only are they delicious, but they are also loaded with essential vitamins and minerals. To add this to your meal, simply preheat your oven to 425°F and slice the sweet potatoes into small pieces. Toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and then place in the oven for 20-30 minutes until they are roasted to perfection. You can also add some garlic or honey for an extra kick of flavor.
Asparagus is a low-calorie vegetable that is rich in antioxidants and essential nutrients. To grill it, clean and trim the asparagus spears, and then coat them with olive oil and seasonings of your choice. Place on the grill for 3-5 minutes, turning occasionally until they are crisp and tender. You can also add some garlic or lemon juice to enhance the flavor.
Quinoa Salad with Fresh Vegetables
A salad is a perfect option for a healthy meal. To make this salad, boil the quinoa in a pot and set aside to cool. Combine with chopped vegetables of your choice such as bell peppers, cucumber, carrots, cherry tomatoes, and onions. Drizzle the salad with a light vinaigrette dressing and toss well. It’s better to refrigerate the salad for a few minutes before serving to allow the flavors to blend.
Steamed Green Beans
Green beans are a great source of vitamins and fiber. They are also easy to prepare. To steam, clean and trim the beans and put them in a steaming pot or a basket over boiling water. Cook the beans for 3-5 minutes depending on your preference. Add some herbs or a light dressing for an extra burst of flavor.
Baked Brussels Sprouts with Parmesan
Brussels sprouts are a cruciferous vegetable that is rich in vitamins and fiber. To bake, preheat your oven to 400°F and toss the washed Brussels sprouts in olive oil, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Bake for 15-20 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to ensure that they are evenly cooked. You can also add some garlic to enhance the flavor.
FAQs about Healthy Chicken Drumstick Recipes
Chicken drumsticks are an excellent source of protein and nutrients such as vitamin B6 and iron. They are also an affordable and versatile ingredient that can be prepared in various ways to create delicious and healthy meals. Here are some common questions about healthy chicken drumstick recipes:
1. Can I use chicken thighs instead of drumsticks?
Yes, you can substitute chicken thighs for drumsticks in most recipes. Chicken thighs are also rich in protein and flavor, but they have more fat and calories than drumsticks. To make your healthy chicken thigh recipes, choose skinless and boneless thighs, and cook them using the same methods as you would for drumsticks. You can also marinate the chicken thighs for extra flavor and tenderness.
2. Can I freeze leftover chicken drumsticks?
Yes, you can freeze leftover chicken drumsticks for up to three months. To freeze the chicken, let it cool down to room temperature, then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Place the wrapped chicken in a freezer bag or container and label it with the date and contents. When you’re ready to eat the leftover chicken, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and reheat it in the oven or microwave.
3. How can I add more flavor to my healthy chicken drumstick recipes?
There are many ways to add flavor to your healthy chicken drumstick recipes. You can marinate the chicken in a mixture of herbs, spices, and acid such as lemon juice or vinegar. You can also rub the chicken with a dry spice blend or sauce before cooking. Another way to boost the flavor is to cook the chicken on a grill or use a smoker. These methods create a smoky and charred taste that adds depth to the chicken. Experiment with different seasonings and aromatics to find your favorite flavor combinations.
4. Is it safe to eat chicken drumsticks that are slightly pink on the inside?
No, it is not safe to eat chicken drumsticks that are still pink or have any traces of blood inside. The pink color indicates that the chicken is not fully cooked, and it may contain harmful bacteria such as salmonella or E. coli. To ensure that your chicken drumsticks are safe to eat, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. The chicken should reach a minimum temperature of 165°F (74°C) in the thickest part of the meat. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, cut into the chicken to check if it’s white and opaque all the way through.
5. How do I know if chicken drumsticks are cooked all the way through?
There are several ways to check if your chicken drumsticks are fully cooked:
- Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature, which should be at least 165°F (74°C).
- Make a small cut into the thickest part of the chicken and check if the juices run clear and the meat is white and opaque. Don’t cut into the bone, as it can give a false reading.
- Wiggle the bone in the chicken drumstick. If it moves easily and the meat is tender, it’s fully cooked.
It’s important to cook the chicken drumsticks thoroughly to avoid any risk of foodborne illness. Undercooked chicken can contain harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning.
Thanks for Reading our Healthy Chicken Drumstick Recipes!
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our article about healthy food and our delicious drumstick recipes. Don’t forget to try these recipes at home to keep your diet well-balanced and healthy. We’ll be back soon with more mouth-watering recipes and tips for all the foodies out there! So, make sure to bookmark our page and visit us again. Bon appétit!