How Long to Fry Drumsticks

A 4- to 6-ounce chicken drumstick takes 12 to 14 minutes of deep-frying or 20 to 25 minutes of shallow frying, plus two minutes of rest time, to fully cook. Breading doesn't affect cooking time. Allow five to seven minutes of additional cooking time when frying frozen drumsticks.

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Pan Selection and Oil Temperature

A quality pan is a must. Lightweight or aluminum pans do not conduct heat evenly and cause the oil temperature to fluctuate. Only use a Dutch oven or cast-iron pan for deep-frying. When deep-frying, the depth of the pan must be twice that of the oil level to prevent the splatter that can start grease fires. Shallow frying also requires a heavy-bottomed pan; stainless steel and cast-iron work best.

The frying oil must reach between 350 and 375 degrees Fahrenheit before adding the chicken. You need a deep-frying thermometer or a high temperature instant-read thermometer to measure the temperature of the cooking oil.

Preparation and Determining Doneness

  • Let the chicken warm up before frying it. Thirty minutes at room temperature warms up the surface of the drumsticks just enough to minimize the decrease in oil temperature that occurs when adding cold food to hot oil. If the oil temperature drops too low, the drumsticks take longer to cook and won't crisp properly.
  • Determine drumstick doneness with an instant-read thermometer. After 11 minutes of deep-frying or 22 minutes of shallow frying, insert an instant-read thermometer in the thickest portion of meat without touching the bone. It should measure about 160 F. Then, take the drumsticks out of the oil and set them on a wire rack set over a sheet pan to drain.  
  • Let the chicken rest for two minutes to finish cooking, during which time it will reach the safe-serving temperature of 165 F.

Efficiency Option

Panfry drumsticks until golden brown and roast them in a 425-F oven for 20 minutes. Check the doneness with an instant-read thermometer. Finishing the drumsticks in the oven frees stove space so that you can work on side dishes or get a jump on clean up.


  • Avoid laying the drumsticks on paper towels. Laying chicken on paper towels creates steam and causes the skin to lose its crispness.


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