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Crunchy Lemonade Drumsticks


Crunchy Lemonade Drumsticks are the sweet and savory, oven-crisped chicken drumstick recipe that your summer dreams are made of. Filled with the zesty flavors of fresh lemon and creamy buttermilk, this recipe will quickly become your favorite crispy chicken recipe. Serve this recipe at any summer shindig or game day extravaganza, just be sure to serve it with freshly squeezed lemonade.

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  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 12 skin-on chicken drumsticks, 3.5 to 4.25-pounds
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups Panko Japanese breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise


Servings 6
Preparation time 260mins
Cooking time 340mins
Adapted from


Step 1

Mix 1 tablespoon lemon zest and the lemon juice in a large bowl. Add 1 cup water and the sugar and whisk to dissolve, then whisk in the buttermilk. Pierce the drumsticks several times with a fork and season with salt and pepper. Toss in the marinade, cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Bring the chicken to room temperature. Put the Panko, thyme, the remaining 1 tablespoon lemon zest, the cayenne, 1 teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste in a large resealable plastic bag and shake to mix. Put the mayonnaise in a bowl. Set a rack on a baking sheet and spray with cooking spray.

Remove the drumsticks from the marinade, dip in the mayonnaise, then drop into the bag and shake to coat; transfer to the rack.

Mist the chicken with cooking spray. Bake until golden, about 35 minutes; flip and bake until browned and crisp, 35 to 40 more minutes. Cool completely, then pack in an airtight container.

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