Skinny Teriyaki Drumsticks (Instant Pot or Cooktop)

An instant pot is all the rage these days. It’s a pressure cooker that speeds cooking time. My mom bought me one as a gift and I finally tried it.  For my first time using it, I purposely chose a simple recipe. This chicken dish might be simple, but it’s equally delicious. Even though you remove the skin, the chicken is amazingly tender. Once you taste it, I’m sure you’ll want to make it often. Each serving (2 drumsticks) has only 193 calories, 4 grams of fat and 4 Blue WW Freestyle SmartPoints, and 5 Green. 

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes for instant pot and 45 minutes for cooktop


¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce (Tamari for gluten-free)

3 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

2 teaspoons garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ginger, from a jar or fresh grated, see shopping tips

⅛ teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional

8 chicken drumsticks (28 oz), skin removed

Scallions, chopped, for garnish (optional)


1. For Instant Pot: Use saute button, when hot, add soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes. Cook 2 minutes, stirring. Add chicken, cover, and lock the lid. Cook on high pressure 15 to 20 minutes, until chicken is tender. When pressure releases, remove chicken and sauce from instant pot and plate. Garnish with scallions, if desired.

2. For Stove Top: Combine soy sauce, rice wine, honey, garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes in a large, nonstick pan.  Cook over medium-low heat. Stir and heat for about 2 minutes. Add chicken legs and cook for 5 minutes, Turn chicken, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Turn again, cover pan and cook for about 15 minutes more, until chicken is very tender. Remove chicken and sauce from pan and plate. Garnish chicken with scallions, if desired. 

3. Serve over brown rice, potatoes, steamed shredded cabbage, or my fav, cauliflower riceBe sure to spoon some sauce over.

4. These drumsticks freezes great.

Makes 4 Servings. Each serving, 2 drumsticks

Shopping Tips
You can buy an Instant Pot on Amazon. This is the one I have and I’m very happy with it: Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker, 6Qt/1000W

Rice vinegar can be found in most supermarkets in the Asian section. I bought mine at Trader Joe’s.

Chopped or crushed ginger, in a jar, can be found in the produce section near garlic, in a jar.

WW Freestyle SmartPoints
WW SmartPoints

WW Points Plus 5

SKINNY FACTS: for 2 chicken drumsticks with sauce
193 calories, 4g fat, 1g sat. fat, 96mg chol, 27g prot, 10g carbs, 0g fiber, 685mg sod, 9g sugar
FACTS: for Freestyle SmartPoints
180 calories, 1g sat. fat, 9g sugar, 26g protein


  1. This looks delicious, Nancy! Do you think it would work in a slow cooker? I don’t have an instant pot and prefer slow cooker to stove top because I hate to mess up my stove top.

  2. This should work in a crock-pot Bridget. Place chicken in the crock-pot. In a small bowl, mix together the sauce ingredients and pour over chicken. Cook, covered, on low 4-5 hours or until chicken is tender.

  3. Deborah, my sauce creates a homemade teriyaki sauce. You can easily use a bottled sauce instead. I suggest you use 1/2 cup to replace my sauce. Or add a little more, if desired.
    All the best,

  4. Love the looks of this but I have a quick question, does the recipe include rice wine or rice vinegar? They’re both mentioned but they’re two completely different things. Thanks 🙂

  5. Sorry Sara, it’s only rice vinegar. There’s no rice wine vinegar in this recipe.
    All the best,

  6. I would rate this recipe 5 stars. The teriyaki sauce is just awesome I used chicken breasts instead of drumsticks and I think they cook faster than the drumsticks so next time I’ll reduce the cooking time. I thickened the sauce at the end with a tsp of cornstarch and tbsp water.

  7. Sounds great Jacke! Thanks for sharing what you did. And yes, if you’re using chicken breasts you do need to cut down the cooking time a bit.
    All the best,

  8. Very versatile recipe. I’ve used chicken thighs and a slow cooker as well as stove top. All came out great! If you can please a 14 year old finicky eating teenage grandson, it gets an A in my book! Thanks for all your recipes.

  9. That is so true, Elaine. When your kids like it, mission accomplished! I am so glad this worked for you. Good to know chicken thighs work as well as drumsticks.
    All the best to you,

  10. I wanted to ask if you think this could be used with a thin breast? I am not a fan of the drumstick. Maybe tenders?

  11. I think you could use chicken tenders or thin breasts. The cook time will be quite less since using much smaller or thinner breasts. Set to HIGH pressure for 8 minutes. Once released, let sit for a few more minutes.
    All the best,

If you make this recipe, let me know how you liked it. Leave me a comment below or give it a rating. Thanks so much. Happy Skinny Cooking!