Sticky Chicken Drumsticks in Chinese Plum Sauce - Just a handful of ingredients, 5 minutes prep and awesome stickiness!
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4.96 from 23 votes

Sticky Chicken Drumsticks in Chinese Plum Sauce

A fantastic one for midweek and a crowd pleaser! These sticky chicken drumsticks are baked in the oven until tender, and basted with an incredible Chinese plum sauce which is sweet with a touch of tang and the beautiful fragrance of plum. See notes for skipping the marinating time!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Asian-esque
Servings: 4
Calories: 568kcal
Author: Nagi | RecipeTin Eats


  • 1.2kg / 2.4lb large chicken drumsticks (8 drumsticks)

Plum Marinade / Glaze

  • 3/4 cup / 185ml Fountain Plum Sauce (Note 1)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (can reduce to 1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (all purpose or light, not dark soy sauce)
  • 2 tbsp Hoisin Sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ginger, minced
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese Five Spice Powder (Note 2)

Garnish (optional)

  • Sesame seeds
  • Finely chopped scallions


  • Place Marinade ingredients in a ziplock bag (or bowl) and mix. Add chicken and massage to coat in the Marinade. Refrigerate for 1 hour (see Note 3 for skipping this).
  • Preheat oven to 180C/350F (all types).
  • Line a tray with baking paper / parchment paper (or foil then spray with oil).
  • Transfer chicken to tray, shaking off excess marinade. RESERVE Marinade.

Baking & Basting (Total bake time: 50 min)

  • Bake chicken for 20 minutes.
  • Remove from oven. Spoon / slather / brush with reserve marinade (generously!) (Note 4). Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and TURN chicken. Baste again using tray juices and reserved marinade. Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and baste again (very generously!) using tray juices and reserved marinade. Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Remove chicken from oven and scrape/brush tray juices onto chicken (don't waste free flavour!).
  • Sprinkle with sesame seeds and shallots/scallions if using. I served it with rice and steamed broccolini.


1. I created this recipe especially for Fountain Plum Sauce which is sold at all major supermarkets in Australia (Woolies, Coles) for the bargain price of around $2.50. If you are in Australia, I urge you to use Fountain Plum Sauce because I can confidently guarantee that you will be in sticky Plum Sauce heaven and what you taste is how it is supposed to be. However, if you are unable to find it, then it can be substituted with other Plum Sauces.
2. Chinese Five Spice Powder is a mix of (5!) spices that can be found at supermarkets in the spice section. It costs the same as other standard spices. It's fabulous!
3. In all honesty, the glaze is so tasty that if you slather it on generously at the end when it has finished cooking using the tray juices, you can skip the marinating.
The alternative to infuse flavour into the flesh is to cut 2 shallow gashes on each side of each drumstick (i.e. 4 in total) then add to the marinade. Then proceed with the recipe. Make sure you baste well!
4. If using a brush, kind of DAB the marinade on, not brush it, that way you get more on the chicken. If using a spoon, spoon it down the centre of the drumstick then use the back of the spoon to spread it on the sides. Don't forget to use all those tray juices around and under the chicken - they are the BEST!
5. Make ahead /freezing: To prepare ahead, pop the marinade + chicken in a ziplock bag and freeze straightaway. Then as it thaws in the fridge, the chicken will marinate. The marinade will be more watery (from ice + salt extracting liquid from chicken due to longer time in marinade) so just be very generous with the basting so you end up with that nice sticky finish. 
Though I haven't tried it, I am sure the cooked drumsticks will be great for freezing and reheating because drumsticks are a juicy cut. Scrape any remaining juices on the tray into the container/bag with the chicken then freeze. To reheat, thaw then microwave. 
6. Nutrition per serving, 2 drumsticks per serving. The calories are higher than it should be because it doesn't take into account any of the chicken fat that is rendered out during baking.
Baked Drumsticks Chinese Plum Sauce nutrition


Serving: 320g | Calories: 568kcal