Thai-style stuffed chicken drumsticks

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Generously stuffed Thai-style chicken, coated in a sticky soy and honey glaze, these are great eaten for any occasion: my favourite is devouring them in front of the TV!

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This is a delicious way to use the economical drumsticks, which are stuffed with a selection of flavours that is very much in keeping with Thai cuisine: lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, chilli, Thai fish sauce…..

This stuffing is also excellent made into patties as an alternative to beef burgers, or shaped into small balls, fried off until cooked and then stirred in a glaze such as the one in the recipe or even a commerical hoisin sauce.

I like to get the most out of chicken drumsticks by stuffing them rather than cooking them as they are. This does require removing most of the bone inside but a butcher will often do this for you. However, it is not that difficult to remove the bone and there are many YouTube videos showing how to do this. Sadly my attempt at describing this is not much more helpful than:

  • cut around the exposed bone at the fleshy end
  • peel back the chicken flesh a little
  • scrape down the length of the bone to expose more of it
  • use a cleaver to cut throught the exposed bone

These also work very well with boneless chicken thighs (skin on ideally): you just open them up, spoon in the stuffing and roll them up: just cook them with the seal underneath to stop them unrolling.

Pan-fry or oven cook

The skin helps protect the meat from becoming too dry, so keep it on if possible. If using thighs, you can use the skin to help keep the bundles in shape.

I tend to start cooking the stuffed drumsticks (or thighs) in a large frying pan, turning them carefully and getting a lovely golden-brown skin. I then pop them in the oven to cook fully.

A sticky glaze

I love a sticky glaze and in the recipe is one of my go-to glazes, with the flavours of soy sauce, honey and lime.

You can simply brush or spoon the glaze the chicken once it has gone into the oven from time to time, but I find it easier to remove them from the oven (in the same pan) once cooked, add the glaze ingredients to the pan and gently heat until it bubbles and become stickier, spooning it over the chicken as I go.

Recipe: Thai-style stuffed chicken drumsticks – makes 4

  • 4 chicken drumsticks:  most of the bone removed but skin on (or boneless thighs)
  • 1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil for pan-frying
  • 150g good quality sausagemeat
  • 6-8 raw king prawns: peeled, deveined and roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Thai fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil (toasted or untoasted)
  • 4 large kaffir lime leaves: stem removed and finely chopped
  • 2 stalks lemongrass: finely chopped (outer layers discarded first)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic: peeled and either crushed or finely chopped
  • 1-2 chillies: finely chopped
  • 2-3″ piece ginger: peeled and finely chopped or grated
  • finely grated zest of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • juice of 1 lime
  • about 1″ piece ginger: peeled and finely chopped or grated
  • 2 cloves of garlic: peeled and finely chopped
To finish:
  • 1-2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • a little chopped chilli and spring onions, optional

You will also need a large oven-proof frying pan, for the chicken and glaze to cook in the one pan!

The oven should be pre-heated to about 180C

(1) Mix the stuffing ingredients in a bowl. Take a teaspoonful or so and pan-fry for a few minutes as a taster to decide if you want to add more of any of the flavours eg) chilli, kaffir lime….you could add a touch of salt if you think it needs it.

(2) Using a teaspoon and your fingers, push the stuffing into the cavity of the chicken drumsticks. I like to fill as tightly as I can: some might pop out later but that is no bad thing!

(3) Heat the oil in the frying pan over a medium heat and add the chicken drumsticks. Leave them for a minute or so before turning them over. Repeat for a few minutes until they are a lovely golden colour all over.

(4) Place in the oven for about 20 minutes, by which time they should be cooked. Keep cooking for up to 10 minutes or so if needed: to test, insert a temperature probe into the centre and you are aiming for 70-75C (it’s fine if it is higher).

(5) Remove the pan from the oven and place on the hob over a gentle heat. Pour over the glaze ingredients and gently swirl the pan to help the glaze ingredients mix. Let the glaze simmer for a few minutes and thicken a little, spooning this over the chicken.

(6) Remove from the heat and sprinkle over sesame seeds and the chilli/spring onion, if using.

Author: Philip

Finalist on Britain’s Best Home Cook (BBC Television 2018). Published recipe writer with a love of growing fruit & veg, cooking, teaching and eating good food.

5 thoughts on “Thai-style stuffed chicken drumsticks”

  1. this is just amazing! I doubt I would find a butcher to do that for me where we live, and I feel sorry for a drumstick that faces me trying to do that – but I am really thinking of the boneless route, and maybe using sous-vide, so that they get nicely “tight” during cooking

    will definitely keep that in my files!


  2. Wondering about boning chicken thighs; is it easier to get the bone out? And do you leave part of the bone in the drumstick, cutting out about half? Thanks! These look tasty, though a bit of work—and a nice challenge!


    1. It’s a bit fiddly initially but go around the bone from the narrow/less fleshy end with a sharp knife: scraping meat off the bone as you go. You can then cut off what you can of the bone. Some bone at the other end is absolutely fine.


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