Easy Braised Tomatillo Chicken Drumsticks

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Braised Chicken Drumsticks in Tomatillo Sauce – an easy Mexican-inspired chicken dish made with just a few ingredients! Instant Pot, Slow Cooker or stove.

Easy Braised Chicken Drumsticks in Tomatillo Sauce – An easy Mexican-inspired chicken dish made with just a few ingredients!Braised Tomatillo Chicken Drumsticks

Some other chicken drumstick recipes you might like are Turmeric Braised Chicken with Golden Beets and Leeks, 5 Spice Roasted Chicken Legs, and Crockpot Maple Dijon Chicken Drumsticks.

Easy Braised Chicken Drumsticks in Tomatillo Sauce – An easy Mexican-inspired chicken dish made with just a few ingredients!

The chicken comes out so tender it literally falls off the bone! Serve this over rice with a salad on the side (pictured here is my spiralized carrot salad) and call it a meal.

I’ve been getting lots of requests for more Instant Pot recipes, now that I am done with cookbook testing I will be adding more recipes here. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, no worries! I’ve included slow cooker directions too, but this can also be simmered, covered on low on the stove until the chicken is tender, about 35 to 40 minutes (you may have to add a little water).

And since so many are asking, although I have and love my Instant Pot, I still love my slow cooker! I have the 6 Quart Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker (affil link). I love it because you can adjust the time you want it to cook, and it automatically turns to warm when it’s done. It also has a probe for meat that automatically shuts off when done. I hated my old crock pot, it burnt everything and my food had a weird taste. This slow cooker is so great, I actually own several!

Easy Braised Chicken Drumsticks in Tomatillo Sauce – An easy Mexican-inspired chicken dish made with just a few ingredients!

Easy Braised Chicken Drumsticks in Tomatillo Sauce – An easy Mexican-inspired chicken dish made with just a few ingredients!
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4.86 from 7 votes
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Easy Braised Chicken Drumsticks in Tomatillo Sauce (Instant Pot, Slow Cooker or Stove Top)

161 Cals 22 Protein 5 Carbs 5 Fats
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Yield: 6 drumsticks
COURSE: Dinner
CUISINE: Mexican
An easy Mexican-inspired chicken dish made with just a few ingredients!


  • 6 chicken drumsticks, on the bone, skin removed (24 oz)
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups jarred tomatillo sauce, I used Frontera
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, divided
  • 1 jalapeno, halved and seeded


  • Season chicken with vinegar, salt, pepper and oregano. Marinate a few hours if time permits.
  • Set the Instant Pot to saute, when hot add the oil and the chicken to brown on both sides, about 4 minutes on each side.
  • Add the tomatillo salsa, 2 tablespoons of the cilantro and jalapeno, cover and cook on high pressure 20 minutes, until the chicken is tender. When the pressure releases, garnish with cilantro and serve over rice if desired.

Slow Cooker Directions:

  • Place ingredients in the slow cooker and cook low 6 hours or high 3 hours.

Stove Top Directions:

  • Follow same directions, add a little water and cook covered on low until chicken is very tender, 30 to 40 minutes.


Serving: 1drumstick, Calories: 161kcal, Carbohydrates: 5g, Protein: 22g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 101mg, Sodium: 736mg, Sugar: 2g
WW Points Plus: 4
Keywords: chicken drumstick recipes, Chicken Drumsticks in Tomatillo Sauce, Chicken leg recipes, healthy chicken recipes, mexican chicken recipes

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  1. I’ve made this multiple times and we love it each time. The meat falls off the bones. It has a slight kick, which is nice. We serve it with brown rice. 

  2. This was spicy for us but super yummy.. also i forgot to marinate it but still turned out well. Next time I’ll marinate it and put less pepper. Thank you Gina. 90% of my meal plan is from your blog.

  3. I made this with cubed pork loin (did not have chicken drums on hand) and it is a winner! I added an onion, used the instant pot, same recipe ingredients (used Trader Joe’s Salsa Verde), and served with brown basmati rice. 45 minutes in Instapot. Yum!

  4. I made this for the first time tonight & it was so tender & tasty.  I used a frozen package of Trader Joe’s hatch chili purée instead of tomatillo sauce & added chopped onions, garlic, chipotle chili pepper flakes & cumin.  I left some of the seeds on the jalapeños and boy, was it spicy but so good!  I served it with the carrot salad that you recommended.  Perfect combo!  Thank you Gina!

  5. Is there a link for the crockpot directions?

  6. I am also tripling this recipe for guests so what would you think for serving per person then?

  7. Just wondering how many drumsticks per serving?

  8. I made these for dinner last night and I really enjoyed them! I used a mild pre-made tomatillo salsa and that worked wonderfully.

  9. Going to try this one soon. Looks really good. Like a couple of other people, will substitute for drumsticks and will leave out the jalapeno due to gum sensitivity.

  10. I don’t like chicken drumsticks so I used chicken breast in the instant pot and shredded it after cooking and served over rice. It was delicious and took no time at all. I used it as lunch for the entire week and it always tasted delicious. I will say that it did not smell good, it probably was the vinegar but it tastes much better than it smells!

  11. I don’t like chicken drumsticks so I used chicken breast in the instant pot and shredded it after cooking and served over rice. It was delicious and took no time at all. I used it as lunch for the entire week and it always tasted delicious. I will say that it did not smell good, it probably was the vinegar but it tastes much better than it smells!

  12. I have a question about marinating the chicken. You say to season with salt, pepper, oregano and vinegar and to let marinate. How do you marinate that much chicken in only 1 tbsp of vinegar? Also, how to I season that much chicken with that little vinegar?

  13. Is this dish spicy at all? I was thinking I was going to leave the jalapeno out since my 5 year old will be eating it. I’ve also been marinating it all day while I’ve been at work. Do you think it’s okay

  14. Made this in the Instant Pot tonight.  Fantastic!  My 5 year old said, “This chicken is to die for!” 🙂  I did not have time to marinate the chicken beforehand, so I worried that it wouldn’t be too flavorful, but it was delicious!  Served it over white rice with a side of sautéed spinach.

  15. Oh goodness this was good!!!! I put it all in the crockpot on Sunday and let it sot overnight. Cooked it on low for 6 hours monday and it was SO TASTY. Seriously the easiest and yummiest meal.

  16. This dish finds itself on my menu at least twice a month. I just love it 

  17. Made this recipe over the weekend and forgot to review! Another great one… followed recipe exactly as printed; except for before putting the drumsticks in the crockpot – I seared them for a few minutes. Really easy – nice flavors. The chicken fell off the bone and was delicious and moist. Will definitely make again!

  18. is this a cook and then freeze recipe?

  19. Another great recipe from Skinny taste! Super quick and easy and flavorful! Did it in the crockpot and served over rice. French jalepanos and cilantro for garnish. Great flavors. Wondering what to do with those drumsticks….try this recipe! 🙂

  20. Greetings and thanks for the recipe! It looks absolutely fantastic.. i was wondering, like another person commented on before, how would you double this recipe? Would you double everything and just add more cooking time? Thanks in advance, im glad i found your blog with all these great recipes!

  21. I make a dish similar to yours. I use the crock pot. I use 2 chicken breasts with bone ( cut up 3 pcs each ).
    This time I used 5-6 chicken thighs with bone ( cut in two each piece ). In crock pot, add 1 chop onion, 5 minced garlic, dried oregano, cumin, chili powder , salt, 16 oz bottle La Victoria or Herdez Green Sauce to crock pot. Then add raw chicken. Stir. Cook high 4-4 1/2 hrs. After 2 1/2 hrs, I add 4 zucchini ( cut in half lenghtwise, slice ) taste … cook 1 1/2 hr more .. I served it with Mexican Cauliflower- Rice ( your recipe ) and green salad.
    So tasty … and easy.

  22. Made this tonight…turned out great…couldn’t find jarred tomatillo so we used salsa verde like another posting.

    Only suggestion would be to add a roux so it thickens the sauce…a little too watery for us but flavors were great. We also used a little less tha half a Jalepeno so it was kid friendly.

  23. Is the Frontera jarred tomatillo sauce pretty spicy? If so, does anyone have any other recs to try?  I love spicy food but my daughter can only tolerate a tiny bit of spice. 

  24. Can you substitute chicken thighs? How will that change cooking time?

  25. When you say Cider Vinegar, do you mean apple cider vinegar?

  26. This dish was super delish! My little ones loved it and even asked for seconds ???? I made this recipe using boneless chicken thighs on the stovetop. Once cooked, I poured the chicken thighs over a rice w/ corn bed. The chicken was so tender, juicy, and spicy. Definitely will be making this again. Thank you for this awesome recipe, Gina! 

  27. I would like to bring this to a crowd (cooked in a crockpot) and I would need to triple it. Any suggestions or should I just triple everything? What about length of cooking time?

  28. Do you brown the chicken before putting it in the crockpot?

  29. Could I use fresh tomatillas instead? 

  30. Absolutely loved this recipe!! Couldn’t find jarred tomatillo sauce so I substituted it with Salsa Verde and doubled the recipe using a crock pot. It was so good! I’m using the leftover chicken for chicken enchiladas.

    Thanks for this wonderful recipe!

  31. Hi Gina! Making this tonight and its smelling amazing. I just wanted to double check the nutrition info….your recipes with drumsticks are usually for two-drumstick servings. Is this one 161 cal for one drumstick? Thanks! 

  32. Made this in the crockpot then served over rice. SO GOOD!

  33. Gina you’ve done it again! This is incredible and thankfully my husband had a late lunch because there wasn’t enough left for him once the kids and I were done! Would you keep the cooking time the same if adding in a couple of breasts with the drumsticks?

  34. Question? Is the nutritional information per drumstick or is it the entire meal? Ex,Calories per drumstick is 161?

  35. Do I need to brown the drumsticks prior to putting the in the crockpot?

  36. Made these last night……………….so so so so good!

  37. We made this for dinner last night (stovetop), and it was delicious. We made the carrot salad as well, which was incredibly flavorful and bright; so good, We left out the cilantro as I just  don’t care for it, and it did not taste as though the dish was missing anything. Thanks for another winner!

  38. This recipe was so easy and so yummy! Great change in flavors! 

  39. I made this recipe (stovetop version) for dinner tonight and it was super tasty and EASY! I served it with a side salad and Spanish rice. Is it bad that I’m already excited for lunch tomorrow so I can eat it again?! Thanks for another yummy recipe, Gina!! I’ve been following you for a couple years and your recipes are always the best.

  40. Making this as is today, but am curious about using regular salsa too- anybody tried it?

  41. Well you win some you lose some didn’t care for this one but Gina I love the site.

  42. My boyfriend made this last night (stovetop) and it was AMAZING! Will definitely make again. Thank you so much!

  43. Hi!

    I love your recipes! I have a question about the serving size. Previous recipes using drumsticks are two drumsticks per serving, were the ones used in the recipe a larger size? Just curious I guess. Keep up the wonderful work!

  44. Lovely recipe – you got a 5 stars feedback from me 🙂

  45. Can I substitute chicken thighs?

  46. Can you please share a link to the Instant Pot you use? I have the old fashioned pressure cooker and it is practically brand new because I am too scared to use it. Thank you and thank you for all your wonderful recipes and the time and effort you put into it.

  47. Thanks , Gina for adding Instant Pot  instructions! 

  48. This sounds delicious, but jarred salsa verde has too much sodium. Would love a good recipe. 

    • Check Bobby Flay or Rick Bayless. Both have good tomatillo salsas. 

    • Karin, there are scads of tomatilla salsa recipes on the internet. A quick google search comes up with many. This one would work, and you could leave the salt out. http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/tomatillo-salsa

  49. Thank you for the Instant Pot recipes! I love mine and have adapted many of your recipes to the IP. This looks great, I’ll definitely try it this week.

  50. What would the time be for boneless chicken breasts?

  51. Do you use the quick or slow release method to release the cooking pressure? It doesn’t specify. Thanks! Sounds Delicious ????

    • I just made it and compromised with the release method. I let it naturally release for about 5 minutes and then quick released it. SO GOOD!!!!! I used Trader Joe’s Green Dragon Hot Sauce (tomatillo based), and it was pretty spicy…how husband and I like it! DEFINITELY on the menu rotation! 

  52. Do you suggest any other herb than cilantro? I love it but my son cannot stand the taste of it.

  53. This looks absolutely amazing!! i love your recipes, they are all so quick and easy! Can you use boneless chicken too, or is the bone-in recommended?

  54. Loving this!