Photo of Crunchy oven-fried drumsticks by WW

Crunchy oven-fried drumsticks

Total Time
1 hr 22 min
12 min
35 min
Crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, no one will ever guess these drumsticks were oven baked instead of fried. Buttermilk is the secret to the chicken’s tender texture and zippy flavor. For the best results, we recommend marinating the chicken at least overnight if not the full 24 hours. The long soak will be worth the wait. To take this oven-fried chicken on the road, let it cool, then layer between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container. It is safe to keep at cool room temperature up to 2 hours. For longer storage, pack the chicken in a cooler surrounded by ice packs.


Cooking spray

3 spray(s)

Fat free buttermilk

1 cup(s)


2 medium clove(s), crushed through a press

Table salt

1 tsp

Uncooked, chicken drumstick(s), skinless with bone

1½ pound(s), 6 (1/4-pound drumsticks)

Whole wheat Panko breadcrumbs

½ cup(s)

Grated Parmesan cheese

2 Tbsp

Fresh thyme

2 tsp, chopped, or 3/4 tsp dried

Cayenne pepper

1 pinch(es)


  1. Combine buttermilk, garlic, and salt in large zip-close plastic bag; add chicken. Squeeze out air and seal bag; turn to coat chicken. Refrigerate, turning bag occasionally, at least 20 minutes or up to 1 day.
  2. Place rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 400°F. Line baking sheet with foil; spray with nonstick spray.
  3. Mix together panko, Parmesan, thyme, and cayenne on sheet of wax paper. Remove chicken from marinade; discard marinade. Coat drumsticks, one at a time, in panko mixture, pressing gently so it adheres. Lightly spray drumsticks with nonstick spray and place on prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake until browned and instant-read thermometer inserted into drumstick (not touching bone) registers 165°F, about 35 minutes.
  5. Per serving: 1 drumstick