Honey Habanero Chicken

Seems like a weird thing to be eating (and sharing) since I’ve been doing so much vegetarian or near-vegetarian cooking lately, and chicken drumsticks are definitely the exact opposite of that. But last week I saw a pack of organic fancy chicken drumsticks on sale for two dollars because they needed to be eaten, like, yesterday, so I came up with this lil honey habanero chicken marinade because I cannot resist a bargain, people!

Honey habanero baked chicken drumsticks! Honey, lime, garlic and habanero marinade for easy baked drumsticks

(This reminds me of one time my grandma called to invite us over for dinner because she had some pork chops that were “about to go off” and I’m telling you now that is no way to plan a dinner party.)

The marinade is easy (and sticky) for those of you who enjoy being lazy (and having ants crawl all over your body). It’s just lime juice, honey, butter, garlic, salt and a habanero chile. But it’s not very spicy, although you could mince the habanero to release more heat if you want. I’ll do that next time. If you aren’t a fan of sweet barbecue sauces and whatnot, you may want to reduce the honey to one tablespoon. It is a little sweet with two tablespoons but I think it’s balanced with the garlic and lime. But, hey, man, I don’t know you.

I served this with  spicy pickled beets (one of my favorite recipes) cauliflower rice and a green salad. Go ahead and copy my whole menu if you’re feeling beat and you just want to be done with it. Otherwise, this sweet-spicy chicken would also be good with a spicy broccoli salad and some good ol’ buttery white rice.

Honey habanero baked chicken drumsticks! Honey, lime, garlic and habanero marinade for easy baked drumsticks


Honey Habanero Chicken

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5 from 3 reviews

  • Author: Hilah



1.752 pounds chicken drumsticks

3 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons melted butter

2 tablespoons honey

1.5 teaspoons salt

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 habanero pepper, sliced or minced


Toss everything together in a tight-lidded container. Shake it around. Refrigerate 4-24 hours.

Set oven to 425ºF. Arrange drumsticks in a baking dish and pour the marinade over. Bake 30 minutes.

Flip drumsticks and baste with the pan drippings (Careful! Don’t burn yourself!)

Bake another 20 minutes or until the inside temperature of the biggest drumstick is 165ºF.

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  1. afracooking on June 15, 2019 at 7:04 am

    Super simple but so nice! I was looking for something to use up a pile of habaneros – this was perfect. I did recplace the butter with about half the amount of oil and I cooked them much briefer until they were just done and juices running clear. Loved the combination of the pepper and honey.

    • Hilah on June 15, 2019 at 6:53 pm

      So glad you liked this chicken recipe! Habaneros are tough to find many uses for 🙂

      • Melanie J Carney on July 26, 2023 at 4:30 pm

        Don’t try to substitute Scotch Bonnets. Too hot! Habaneros are at Asian markets, I see it all the time at H Mart.

  2. Tom Millott on December 6, 2019 at 11:36 am

    Hi Hilah,
    I’ve written before cuz I love to follow your vids. SO-WELCOME BACK.
    I live in New England and we’ve had an early cold snap. I’ m 71…. 72 in 2 days. A couple days back, I fell on my face on some black ice. No damage to the face but my arm. wrist, hand, and a couple of fingers are banged up pretty good. Worst part is, it’s my left side and I’m left-handed. So I can’t chop or write or cook for a while. I’m pecking this out on one finger of my right hand. Very frustrating, especially with the Holidays upcoming.
    Anyway, I’m glad your here again. I’ve missed you. This will give me something to watch while I’m recovering.
    Please stay for a while.
    Best to you and your family.

  3. Fernando Ibarra on May 10, 2020 at 8:54 am

    Will boneless, skinless chicken thighs work as well as the drumsticks?

    • Hilah on May 10, 2020 at 8:21 pm

      They should work fine – probably won’t take as long to cook but that kind of depends on how big they are, I guess.

  4. Trenton Oneal on August 13, 2020 at 1:31 pm

    I found the butter clumped back up upon shaking it I will prob try EVOO next time

    • Hilah on August 13, 2020 at 5:34 pm

      Yeah, EVOO will solidify in the fridge, too, though. You could use another oil like safflower or canola but the butter clumping up doesn’t affect the recipe

  5. Maria Pellerito on August 25, 2020 at 3:50 pm

    Can I use this receipt in the air fryer? If so how long should the chicken cook for?

    • Hilah on August 26, 2020 at 6:40 am

      I’ve never used an air fryer so I don’t know

  6. Jamie on February 25, 2021 at 5:37 pm

    Do you think I can do this with chicken breast?

  7. Laura on June 13, 2021 at 6:53 pm

    Omg these were so so so so good. The marinade was perfect. Can’t wait to make them again.

  8. Derp on September 11, 2021 at 8:09 pm

    We tweaked this recipe with more lime, more habanero-like peppers from the garden and some turmeric. My best bud just experienced a tragic and unexpected loss on the other side of the country so nobody felt like going to the store. This was the first recipe that popped up. We had everything we needed. 100% will use again.

    • Hilah on September 16, 2021 at 8:46 am

      I’m sorry about your friend’s loss, Derp. Thanks for trying this recipe and I love the idea of turmeric.

  9. Rob on September 20, 2021 at 7:16 am

    I love this recipe so much. I’ve made it many times and passed on the recipe more than once. It’s more than winning, it’s in our rotation.

    • Hilah on September 20, 2021 at 10:03 am

      So glad to hear that, Rob! 🙂

  10. Gg on April 19, 2022 at 10:56 am

    Just saw Rush on ABC. Looked like he pan fried the chicken!! Missed the prep but caught the host trying it & how delicious it was !! Just had to google! Will try for sure!! Habanero peppers sound HOT!

  11. Sylvia on May 27, 2022 at 8:31 am

    I love your grandma story! I too love bargains. I am looking forward to trying your receipt. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hilah on June 1, 2022 at 11:21 am

      Thank you!

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