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A four ingredient chicken recipe that results in a sweet and sticky main for tonight’s dinner.  Easy to prepare, no fuss, and very little clean up.  A perfect set-it-and-bake-it recipe!

When it comes to a sweet, tomatoey, chicken recipe, my mother was the queen.  A sweet and sticky chicken is the ultimate comfort food for me.  I grew up eating chicken baked this way.  Fried chicken was not something my mother regularly prepared, but this type of recipe is certainly more than familiar, it’s ceremonial! 

As I have mentioned before, I love recipes which deliver a big bang for your buck as well as a flavour profile that has all of the elements a good dish needs with as few ingredients as possible.  So, allow me to introduce you to my mom’s Sweet & Sticky Four-Ingredient Chicken Drumsticks recipe!

As previously mentioned, as a child, my mom would make chicken like this all the time.  She would pair it with homemade French fries, or rice.  Remember that fried rice that came in a can with a seasoning pouch and it was all packed for sale in a square box?  Dainty was the brand name.  That stuff was worth its weight in gold!  I used to love it!!  I wonder if I still do?  It’s been many, many years since I’ve eaten it!  As a working mom, my mother took a lot of shortcuts.  This rice was one of them!

Before my mom passed away, she would come to visit us in Toronto at least two or three times each year and she would always stay for a week or so.  Every time she came to visit, without fail, she would provide me with a menu of what she wanted to eat while she was visiting.  Provide is probably the wrong word to use.  It was more like demand!

It’s funny now to look back on it and it makes me smile.  One of the last times she came to visit, I spent about $400 dollars on groceries in four or five days.  Let me explain.  We don’t usually buy any meat, because both John.e and McKenna are vegetarians.  My mom was one to believe that you needed to have some type of meat with every meal, so I’d have to buy enough meat to get her through three meals a day for those four or five days. 

But, in addition to meat, sides were just as important.  I’d have to buy oil to make fries, because baked fries were not an option for her.  Brown, basmati, jasmine rice, etc., were out of the question.  So even though I had those on hand, I had to buy plain white instant rice for her.  Vegetables in fresh or frozen form were also not acceptable.  If vegetables were not from a can, they just didn’t taste right to her.

My mother grew up, and spent most of her life in a small out port fishing village in Newfoundland where fresh produce was not always readily available.  She became accustomed to canned and boxed grocery items and those tastes became familiar to her.  And even later in life, she never did get the appeal to fresh produce.

Even my regular stash of Diet Coke had to be changed to Diet Pepsi, because that’s what she demanded.  I remember one of her visits (my dad came too) when she wanted homemade pizza for dinner.  McKenna was living with her mom at that time, so there would have been me, John.e, my mom and my dad at the dinner table that night.  To satisfy everyone’s personal tastes, I had to make four different pizzas.  Usually, it’s one vegetarian pizza and another pizza with pepperoni and bacon.  Well, that night, there had to be four!

I’m certainly not complaining – although you can bet I wasn’t too happy at the time!  If she could only visit one more time, I would put all of my frustrations aside and gladly make those four pizzas, buy the copious amounts of pork, chicken, bacon, and beef, and I’d gladly stink up my kitchen with the smell of hot oil. 

This recipe for Sweet and Sticky Four Ingredient Chicken Drumsticks is an exact replica of my mom’s famous chicken recipe.  Enjoy!

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4.26 from 31 votes

Sweet and Sticky Four Ingredient Chicken Drumsticks

Course Main Course
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings 4
Author Lord Byron's Kitchen


  • 8 chicken drumsticks
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup yellow mustard
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  • In an oven-proof baking dish, which has been very lightly greased, place the chicken drumsticks in a single layer and season with salt and pepper.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
  • In the meantime, whisk together the four ingredients. Set aside.
  • After the 45 minutes has passed, remove the chicken drumsticks from the oven, remove the foil, and spoon the sauce over the top of the chicken. Be sure to completely cover each drumstick.
  • Place the foil back on the baking dish and return to the oven for 30 minutes.
  • Remove the drumsticks from the oven, uncover, and return to baking for an additional 15 minutes.
  • Allow to set for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

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This Post Has 17 Comments

  1. Once we're done being "flued" to death here in Hamilton we'll need a good solid meal or two. I'll be trying this recipe subbing in President's Choice veggie 'chicken' breasts for the real thing because well.. poor little legless chickens hobbling around the pen on crutches ... it's all very sad. Anyhow, everything I've tried of yours so far has turned out delicious so I'm sure this won't be the exception to the rule, even with my substituion.
    1. Hello again, HMSfan! :) We love the PC 'chicken' breast too, but I'd worry about using them for this recipe. I'm not sure the fake chicken can withstand being baked for so long. I would offer the following suggestion - place all of the ingredients in a sauce pan and simmer them together until the sauce has slightly thickened. Poor the sauce over the 'chicken' and bake for 20-30 minutes (read the packaging, I don't have one here at the moment) and enjoy! I'm sure you'll get the same taste and have a 'chicken' breast that's still intact and not overcooked.
      1. Wow Lord Byron you expertise in vegetarian was helped along by family, but I never dreamed you could answer so many questions. I try to sprinkle vegetarian soups for dinner and a playing card size of meat once every 2 weeks, or eggs, no bacon (No gall bladder) or beans and maceral because it tastes better than tuna! I rinse the salt out because it is as tradition would have it stored in brine. I appreciate you so very much!
      2. I was hoping to have you share these other recipes with me on Pinterest so I don't fell as though I'm stealing them!
    1. I hear that! I went to Costco recently. They have Babybel in super large format. Of course I had to buy it. #noregrets :)
  2. LOVING your new recipes with meat -- I'm always down for a new wing recipe, and these are surprisingly easy! Not to mention, they look absolutely mouthwatering.
  3. This is almost a throwback recipe for me too! My mom didn't work until I was a bit older, but she did have 3 kids and would make a baked chicken dish very similar to this one.
  4. I used dijon instead of yellow mustard, and it was delicious. I used it for meal prep - looking forward to lunches this week!
  5. I think I did something wrong. My sauce came out very liquidy. Should I have poured off the fat after the first bake time before I put the sauce on. It smells wonderful though. Still waiting for them to cool.

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