Main Courses, Poultry

Coca Cola Chicken Drumsticks

Coca Cola chicken drumsticks are marinated in a combination of soda, brown sugar, ketchup, and fresh ginger for a sauce that’s sticky, sweet and yummy.

Coca Cola chicken drumsticks are marinated in a combination of soda, brown sugar, ketchup, and fresh ginger for a sauce that's sticky, sweet and yummy.

Coca Cola Chicken


“It’s not soda, it’s not pop–it’s Coke, no matter what brand or flavor.”
-Bon Appétit,
Mac ‘n’ Cheese Is a Vegetable … and 21 More Reasons Why We Love the Southland

A word of advice if you show up thirsty in Mississippi – don’t ask for a pop.  Don’t ask for a soda.  Ask for a Coke.  It doesn’t matter if you really want a Sprite or a Dr. Pepper.  We’ll get to that later.

Think of it like this way: How often do you ask for a tissue to wipe your nose?  Or lip balm for your chapped lips?  No, you ask for a Kleenex and some Chap-Stick.  In the South, Coke is more than just a brand.  It’s an all encompassing term used to describe any carbonated, syrup-sweetened beverage.

Last week, cookbook author Martha Hall Foose visited my local library to do a reading from her newest book, A Southerly Course, and a book signing.  Martha’s first cookbook, Screen Doors and Sweet Tea not only won a James Beard award, but it is one of my favorite cookbooks.


You may wonder how someone does a reading from a cookbook.  No, it did not involve reading recipes aloud.  Martha’s books are intertwined with lovely stories of the South.  Stories so descriptive, that if I didn’t already live here I would want to pack up my things and move here.  Something about her stories makes me want to kick off my shoes, wiggle my toes, and spend an afternoon in a hammock with a glass of lemonade.

I chose this recipe from A Southerly Course because it was marinated in Coke.  Or as Martha refers to it in her book, “Co-Cola.”  Either pronunciation is perfectly acceptable around here.


Coca Cola Chicken


Coca Cola Chicken
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Coca-Cola Chicken Drumsticks

Coca cola chicken drumsticks are marinated in a combination of soda, brown sugar, ketchup, and fresh ginger for a sauce that's sticky, sweet and yummy.
Prep Time 8 hours
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 8 hours 55 minutes
Servings 6 people
Author Lisa B.


  • 1 (8 ounce) bottle soda
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 pounds chicken drumsticks
  • 1 cup chicken broth


  • Mix together first 10 ingredients in a large bowl or resealable bag. Add chicken and toss to coat. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, preferably up to 8 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Remove chicken and reserve remaining marinade. Bring reserved marinade and chicken broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Continue to boil for 15-20 minutes.
  • Arrange drumsticks on a large baking sheet and bake for 45-55 minutes, occasionally basting with reserved marinade mixture, until the skin is brown and crisp and juices run clear.


  1. I love the idea of Coke as an institution. though I’ve become a coke zero girl in my old age. I bet it makes for an awesome glaze!

  2. I love the story about Coke! I’m a southern girl too and I was just recently explaining the whole “Coke” thing to my husband “the yankee”. He throught that was just DUMB. I guess it’s just a southern thing…I was born and raised in Texas. Just a quick question about the recipe. You boil the chicken legs and marinade on the stovetop before cooking them for almost an hour? Just seems like a long cooking time to me. I’ve got a daughter who loves chicken but has never had any carbonated beverages in her 10 1/2 years. We never gave her sips of our soda when she was growing up and now she refuses it and has become quite the snob when she sees her friends drinking it. I tell her to not blame her friends. Blame their parents! Ha! She only drinks milk, water, and a little juice every once in a while.

    Thanks for the laugh!

  3. What is the chicken broth for in this recipe?

  4. Cheryl Ann

    In order to make them self-basting use the same trick that is used to make a turkey juicy, place the chicken and marinade in a baking pan and make a tent of aluminum foil to catch and release the marinade onto the chicken (you can even use a whole chicken for this). Your chicken wikll be juicy and you won’t have to keep opening the oven (losing heat) until it’s done.

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