Easy One-Pot Braised Chicken Drumsticks

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Today let’s cook a very easy one-pot braised chicken drumsticks.

Two of the most popular braising techniques in Chinese cuisine are hong shao (“red cooking,” or “red braising”) and lu. While distinct, both involve simmering a usually rich, fatty meat low and slow in an aromatic liquid, seasoned with soy sauce, Shaoxing or rice wine, and a fragrant medley of whole spices. The meat cooks low and slow, until tender and intensely flavorful. This home-style family recipe for braised chicken combines the two techniques, as many Chinese home cooks like to do, for best-of-both-worlds results.

Easy One-Pot Braised Chicken Drumsticks Recipe

Serves: 4 people
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes

8 chicken drumsticks (2 pounds), bone-in, skin-on
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 slices ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine
3 cups water
1 cinnamon stick
1 whole black cardamom (tsaoko)
3 whole star anise
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon black peppercorns


Season the drumsticks with salt and white pepper on all sides.

In a large pan over high heat, add the vegetable oil and ginger. Lay the drumsticks in the pan in a single layer and cook, flipping them to brown each side, until all sides are golden-brown, about 4 minutes.

Push the drumsticks to the edges of the pan and add the sugar to the opening in the middle. Stir-fry until the sugar melts; this will give the chicken a beautiful red color. Then add the soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and rice wine. Stir and cook for 1 minute, flipping the drumsticks to coat all sides.

Pour in 3 cups water, or just enough to barely cover the chicken. Add the cinnamon, black cardamom, star anise, bay leaves, and black peppercorns and stir briefly. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Then, turn the heat to low and simmer for 40 minutes, adding water if needed to keep the chicken covered with the liquid.

Serve immediately, pouring some extra sauce over the drumsticks, with rice. Or, let the drumsticks soak in the braising liquid overnight for even more flavor.

Recipe Notes:

You can swap the chicken drumsticks for chicken wings, thighs, or any other protein that can withstand slow-cooking, such as pork belly, short ribs, oxtails, or bean curd. The process is the same; just adjust the cooking time as needed.

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