Spicy Masala Chicken Drumsticks

This is honestly one of the BEST chicken I’ve ever had & I’m very excited to share it with you all. It’s perfect for a simple dinner at home, but would also be an amazing making dish for a dinner party. Whether you’re looking to upgrade from roasted turkey on thanksgiving or introduce something new to your meal rotation, this is for you!

Why we love this recipe

Do you have a super low-maintenance meal that you’re guaranteed to love and can make quickly after a long day of work? No? Let’s change that! These Spicy Masala Chicken Drumsticks are super easy to make and will only take you a few minutes to throw together and pop into the oven. Despite being so simple to make, this recipe packs a flavorful punch. It’s loaded with a unique masala (spices) of varying flavors and intensities, that come together to form a delicious harmony.

My personal favorite part about this recipe is how versatile it is. If you want to eat it on its own, it’s a perfect meal. If you have leftover rice or naan that you want to pair it with, you can do that too! You can even add some fresh or roasted vegetables to the meal to make it more balanced. The main point is that you can do whatever you want with it! It’s the perfect addition to your weeknight meal rotation.

What You’ll Need for The Marinade

Marinating chicken before cooking is non-negotiable in my books. Most of my marinades follow a simple formula: acid, yogurt, and spices. Aside from making sure flavor gets into every crevice of the chicken, marinating also improves the overall texture and flavor of the chicken! Here are some key components of the marinade and why I like to include them.

  • Lemon Juice: Marinating chicken in an acidic component is key for tenderizing the meat and making the texture more pleasant. It doesn’t need to be that long – 10 minutes is enough! I love to add some lemon juice and salt to the chicken and let it sit while I grab the spices for the marinade.
  • Greek Yogurt or Curd: You’ll often see many Indian and South Asian chicken recipes call for yogurt in the marinades and there’s a good reason. Yogurt is a gentler tenderizer and therefore protects your chicken from getting too tough while cooking. It also makes it so that meat that is easy to break apart but still retain it’s shape.
  • Good Spices: For this recipe, you’ll need ground coriander, paprika, red chili powder, ground cumin, garam masala, salt, and turmeric. Whenever possible, you want to use high quality spices and fresh spices because the flavor just shines so much more!

What can I use instead of drumsticks?

I’m honestly a fan of dark meat for most chicken recipes because the higher fat content helps keep the chicken tender and juicy. So if you can’t find drumsticks, the next best option is skinless thighs.

How to Make These Drumsticks : Step by Step

Don’t be intimidated by the title of the recipe or the ingredients list, it’s truly very simple to make! Here are the steps:

  1. Remove the skin from the chicken and cut some slits into it.
  2. Soak the chicken pieces in yogurt, lemon juice, and spice marinade to allow them to soak in flavor and tenderize.
  3. Bake or air-fry the chicken at 400 F for about 18-20 minutes.

That’s it! It’s as simple as 1,2,3…

Tips for First Timers

Even a simple recipe can be elevated using a few simple tips and tricks! Here are a few simple things to keep in mind when you try this recipe, especially if you’re a beginner:

  1. Pat the chicken legs dry to avoid having extra liquids in the marinade.
  2. Marinate for a minimum of 1 hour or up to overnight.
  3. If you’re making it for meal prep, just cook the whole thing at once and jut reheat it throughout the week. It’s just easier and tastes the same.
  4. If you have nay extra marinade, you can just brush it onto the chicken halfway through cooking to add an extra layer of flavor!
  5. Use a kashmiri red chili powder if you prefer spice. If you are more of a mild-preferring person, you can use something milder!
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Spicy Indian Masala Baked Chicken Drumsticks

  • Total Time: 30
  • Yield: 5 Drumsticks 1x


These baked masala chicken drumsticks are so delicious. It’s perfect for a simple dinner at home, to replace your turkey at thanksgiving or meal prep!



For the Chicken

  • 5 Chicken Drumsticks
  • Juice of 1/2 Lemon
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 heaped tbsp Garam Masala
  • 1 tbsp Kashmiri Red Chili Powder (I use 2 cause I like it spicy)
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 tbsp greek yogurt or curd
  • 1 tbsp oil

For the Yellow Rice (optional but I love to pair with drumsticks)

  • 1 cup long grain basmati rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric


Chicken Drumsticks

  1. Remove the skin off the chicken drumsticks using a knife and then cut slits to allow the marinade to reach the inside evenly. Pour the lemon juice and salt over the drumsticks and mix well with your hands. Let it sit for 5 minutes while preparing the marinade.
  2. To make the marinade, mix together the garam masala, kashmiri red chili powder, coriander, paprika, cumin, minced garlic, greek yogurt and oil. Massage the marinade into the chicken drumsticks. Make sure to get it into all the crevices. Let this sit for at least 1 hour.
  3. Preheat your oven or airfryer to 400 F. Bake/Airfry for 18-20 minutes or until completely cooked (reaches internal temperature of 165F).

Yellow Rice (optional but I love to pair with drumsticks)

  1. Melt the butter in a pot. Add the garam masala and turmeric. Toast for 15 seconds. Add in the rice, mix and toast for 30 seconds to a minute. Add the water to the pot, bring to a boil and lower to the lowest heat setting. Cook for about 25 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.

Make sure to take a picture and tag me on Instagram @eatsbyramya or DM it to get featured!

  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Indian

Leave a Review

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe rating

The maximum upload file size: 256 MB. You can upload: image, document. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here

Join the Conversation

  1. Do you wash the rice before roasting??

    1. *toasting

    2. eatsbyramya Author says:

      I usually don’t for this recipe but you can wash it and pat dry before toasting!

    3. I don’t. I roasted it a bit on stove first… can’t do if it’s wet

  2. I couldn’t believe how amazing this dish was! My family enjoyed it as much as I did, the moisture of the chicken drumstick, the flavor and spices are my obsession with the super easy yellow rice garnished with cilantro made it taste even fresher than expected. I am in love with this recipe and I am thankful for stumbling upon Ramya’s blog. This will be a weekly staple from now on along with every other recipe’s listed 🥰

  3. The chicken and rice were a nice combination. The chicken masala had a good combination of spices. It was very simple to make too, so I’ll be saving this recipe for the next time I need a quick meal 😊

  4. I love this recipe! The prep is so incredibly simple and the end result is amazing. I didn’t need to make any adjustments to the recipe, the spice level was just right! I especially love the addition of coriander seeds like this instead of just using powder, it gives a special kick to the flavor! I cooked half the chicken after marinating for two hours, and the rest after leaving overnight; both times the chicken came out succulent and delicious! Used brown rice and that came out great as well. Will definitely be making this again and again!

  5. This recipe is AMAZING. I have made a few times. The first time I made with drumsticks and the second with chicken thighs. The flavor of the chicken with the crispness from the air fryer. 🤤

    I highly recommend.
    It’s easy and great for meal prepping.

  6. Good. I cooked it on the grill for half an hour at 400°F until the internal temperature was 165°F. It was spicy and that’s what I was after. Next time, I’ll make some cucumber raita to pair with it.