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.