Cutting down on the fat doesn't mean cutting out any flavor with this oven "fried" chicken, featuring a savory spice rub and a sweet, tangy peach barbecue sauce. Cooking your chicken at a high temperature in the oven means you won't need additional oil in order to get super-crispy skin. Alternatively, you could also do this with an air fryer. With high, dry heat, the chicken crisps and browns with just the fat naturally present in the skin, just as it would if you were to sear it in a pan of hot oil on the stove. The combination of bold ancho chili pepper and paprika spices adds a peppery heat and aids in developing a dark caramel color as the chicken cooks. The sweet peach barbecue sauce starts with ketchup as the base and makes a great match for the chicken as it sweet tanginess cuts dry rub's the spice. The use of a fresh peach and peach preserves gives the sauce intense peachy flavor and a substantial thickness once all the ingredients are blended together. We call for Mirin here, but if you have trouble finding it, you can use rice wine vinegar instead. The soy sauce provides the perfect kick of salinity, while the Worcestershire sauce adds another layer of acidic and umami flavors. And finally, the brown sugar rounds out the sauce for a well-balanced mix of sweet, savory, bright and bitter


Credit: Photographer: Gina DeSimone; Prop Stylist: Kashara Johnson; Food Stylist: Briana Riddock

Recipe Summary

1 hr
10 mins
Serves 4


Chicken Drumsticks
Peach Barbecue Sauce


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 400°. (If using an air fryer, preheat is not necessary.) 

  • Pat chicken dry using paper towels. Whisk together salt, chili powder, paprika, and black pepper; season chicken evenly with spice rub. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; place a baking rack on top of the parchment paper. Arrange the drumsticks on the baking rack. Bake at 400° for 35 minutes. If using an air fryer, layer the chicken in a "frying basket" and use preset for frying at 30 minutes. (You may have to make 2 batches.)  

  • To make the sauce, heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add garlic to pan; cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in all remaining ingredients. Simmer over low heat for 8 minutes. Transfer mixture to a blender and blend until smooth.

  • Brush sauce over chicken immediately after removing it from the oven or air fryer. Serve immediately.