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How to Make Crispy Lemon Pepper Chicken Drumsticks (Recipe)

By September 2, 2020Recipes
Reading Time: 3 minutes
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Crispy lemon pepper chicken drumsticks are the highlight of my Sundays. Borne of the need for a game-time snack (and the realization that nachos and beer don’t fit my lifestyle), they’re satisfying, tasty, and they tick all the right boxes: a little bit of heat, crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, and a great citrus finish.

Lemon Pepper Chicken Drumsticks

They taste like you’re cheating on your diet (even though you’re not).

Here’s how you make them.

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Crispy Lemon Pepper Chicken Drumsticks

These are satisfying, tasty, and tick all the right boxes: a little bit of heat, crispy on the outside, and juicy on the inside.

Category Dinner, Paleo
Compliance Level Kickstart, Lifestyle, Performance
Prep Time 12 hours
Cook Time 29 minutes
Total Time 12 hours 29 minutes
Servings 6
Author Jon Gilson


  • 12 chicken drumsticks approximately 3 pounds
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 egg
  • 1 additional lemon not for the marinade


Step 1: Make the Marinade

  1. Combine the olive oil, spices, lemon juice, and egg in a bowl.
  2. Whisk until smooth. Avoid over-whisking — too much, and you'll turn your marinade into mayonnaise. You'll know you're done when the marinade looks slightly creamy with an even texture throughout. It only takes a few seconds.

Step 2: Marinate the Drumsticks Overnight

  1. Perforate the drumsticks using a fork.
  2. Put the drumsticks in a one-gallon Ziploc bag with the marinade (you can use multiple bags if you only have smaller ones).
  3. Shake well so all drumsticks are evenly coated.
  4. Lay the bag flat and leave in the refrigerator overnight.

Step 3: Pan Fry on Your Stove-top

  1. Before you start frying, preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (we're going to use it when we're done frying). Also, grab a baking sheet, line it with aluminum foil, and set it aside.

  2. Take the marinated drumsticks out of the refrigerator.
  3. Put a large saute pan on high heat on the stove-top (a 5-quart pan fits 12 large drumsticks perfectly).

  4. Pour the drumsticks and the marinade into the saute pan, using tongs to make sure each drumstick is in contact with the bottom of the pan.

  5. Fry the drumsticks for five minutes and then flip, frying them on the other side for five minutes, creating a golden crust on each side.
  6. While the drumsticks are frying, cut a lemon into six slices (we'll use it during the next step).

Step 4: Bake

  1. Move the drumsticks from the saute pan directly to the baking sheet (do not discard the contents of the saute pan — we're going to fry the drumsticks one more time after the baking is done).

  2. Lay the drumsticks on the baking sheet so they're close together.

  3. Place a lemon slice over every pair of drumsticks.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees.
  5. Remove the drumsticks from the oven and set the baked lemon slices aside.

Step 5: Fry One More Time and Serve

  1. Put your saute pan back on high heat.

  2. Fry the drumsticks for 2 minutes per side.
  3. Move the drumsticks to your serving platter.
  4. Squeeze the juice from the baked lemon slices over the drumsticks.

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Jon Gilson
Jon Gilson is a coach and writer, and the former CEO of the Whole Life Challenge.

Previously, he founded Again Faster Equipment, a functional fitness equipment company created to serve the CrossFit community. Established in 2006, Jon took the Company global in 2012, twice landing on the Inc. 500/5000 list of America’s fastest growing private companies.

From 2007 to 2013, he served as a Senior Lecturer for CrossFit, Inc., training aspiring CrossFit trainers at over 100 seminars, including engagements in Iceland, Afghanistan, Moscow, Holland, the United States, and Canada. Jon also served on the CrossFit L1 Advisory Board, helping establish policy for the organization’s training efforts from 2011 to 2013.

He’s also done stints in state government, gym management, and consulting — and currently teaches classes at CrossFit City Line.

Jon graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2003, summa cum laude, with a B.A. in Psychology. He also holds a Graduate Certificate in Finance and Control from the Harvard Extension School, 2006, and has completed coursework in data analytics.