Baked Watermelon Barbecue Chicken Drumsticks

I’m tossing back-to-back watermelon recipes in your face. I hope you don’t mind!

But honestly, they couldn’t be more different from one another. On Friday we had these super refreshing and hydrating Watermelon Cucumber Coolers. And today I’m bringing you some sticky, sweet, smoky Baked Watermelon Barbecue Chicken Drumsticks. Amen to that. Get ready to bust out the extra napkins!

So yes, I used watermelon to make a barbecue sauce. Are you skeptical? I hope not. I think we’ve developed enough of a trust here over the past couple of years that you probably know I wouldn’t let you guys eat anything too weird.


The watermelon adds a little sweetness and freshness to an otherwise simple, homemade marinade made entirely from pantry staples. And it’s summer and we’re approaching 4th of July weekend, so we should just put watermelon in ALL THE THINGS. Am I right?

And since you can’t have chicken drumsticks without a dipping sauce, I made a blue cheese and cilantro sauce using Greek yogurt as the base. Which makes it totally healthy! Um…OK healthier. So go ahead and double dip these suckers! You have my full permission!



Baked Watermelon Barbecue Chicken Drumsticks

Serves 6-8

Baked Watermelon Barbecue Chicken Drumsticks


  • For the Chicken
  • 2 cups cubed watermelon
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 lbs chicken drumsticks

  • For the Dipping Sauce
  • 1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup blue cheese crumbles
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1/4 tsp. salt


  1. Make the watermelon barbecue sauce. Add the watermelon, ketchup, honey, chipotle peppers and salt to your blender. Blend on high until smooth.
  2. Marinate the chicken. Add the chicken to a large re-sealable bag. Pour the marinade over the chicken. Transfer the chicken to your refrigerator and let it marinate for 1-2 hours. Give the bag a shake once or twice during this time to make sure all the chicken is coated.
  3. Meanwhile, make the blue cheese dipping sauce. Add all of the ingredients to the bowl of your food processor with the blade attachment. Process until well combined. Transfer the dipping sauce to a small bowl and refrigerate it until you’re ready to use it.
  4. Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil and place wire racks on top of the foil. Remove the chicken from the marinade and place on the wire racks, making sure the pieces are about 1-inch apart. Transfer to your pre-heated oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, flipping the chicken drumsticks over with a pair of tongs once half way through baking.
  5. Meanwhile, bring about 1 cup of the marinade to a boil in a small saucepan. Then turn down the heat to maintain a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  6. After the chicken has finished baking, remove it from the oven and pre-heat your broiler. Brush the chicken with the cooked marinade. Place the chicken under your broiler for 1-2 minutes, or until the marinade bubbles and has started to darken in some places. Remove the chicken from the oven.
  7. Serve the chicken drumsticks with the blue cheese dipping sauce.

66 comments on “Baked Watermelon Barbecue Chicken Drumsticks”

  1. Wow watermelon barbecue sauce?! This sounds amazing, Liz! And so creative! I could definitely go for a few of these drumsticks for breakfast right now. Looks absolutely amazing!

  2. Those look delicious and you’re right – they will bring some freshness to the meal. I would add a cup of rose wine and it would be perfect.

  3. I am kind of skeptical, yes. BUT ALSO so intrigued! Spicy, sweet and permission to double dip? Totally obsessing. Pinned!

  4. This chicken looks sensational! I could eat this all day!

  5. #drumsticktwinksforthewin

  6. omg omg omg….you. are. brilliant. ! YUM!

  7. Give me all the watermelon recipes. You won’t hear me complain! I can’t get enough. These drumsticks are fantastic!

  8. Oh my gosh, I love how creative this is! Watermelon in bbq sauce – I’m gonna have to try it.

  9. I’m with Allie on this one- gimme ALL the Watermelon recipes! Especially when they look this dang delicious! Love these drumsticks! total drool-fest! ♡Cheers, Liz!

  10. Freaking genius!! I am loving all these watermelon recipes 🙂

  11. Beautiful chicken. I am so intrigued by this! I’m definitely wanting to try 🙂

  12. you used watermelon to make the barbecue sauce?! WOW!!! love the creativity!!!! and these drumsticks look amazing!

  13. Well color me happy! This is one of the most creative chicken (or watermelon?) recipes ever! Let’s put watermelon in everything!

  14. I trust you, I trust you! These look fabulous! Wish I thought of it myself!

  15. This is some unique flavor combo, lady! Looks absolutely gorgeous too… I could definitely use a new marinade for drumsticks, pinning this!

  16. Ok, I’m not even a meateater and my mouth is watering looking at these! That is such an awesome idea to put watermelon in the sauce and I bet they taste amazing with that bleu cheese dressing!!

  17. This looks so incredible! I’ve already had dinner and I want to make room for a second dinner for these! We just bought a huge watermelon to eat too, so this sounds perfect right about now 🙂

  18. I’ll be honest. I’ve seen this around facebook all day and I’ve been avoiding it because I’ve been craving drumsticks like no one’s business. I’d get a glimpse and my stomach would nearly throw itself at the computer. (FYI, I had some turkey which isn’t nearly the same, but it was enough to allow me to look at the post like a somewhat sane person). And I am so intrigued by this watermelon barbecue. It sounds weird, but you are so dead on, it adds that sweetness you’d normally get from sugar, but instead is natural and adds more layers of flavor and I’m guessing a slight tropical nod of the head. I am definitely going to try it. I know my mother would really get a kick out of it (she is a watermelon-holic)

    • Sorry for the extreme cravings! I hope you get that taken care of! And I hope you try this recipe out on your mom!

  19. The watermelon is pure genius, I would have never even thought about doing this! Sounds incredible!

  20. Bring on the watermelon! Love this, Liz, watermelon BBQ sauce? Genius! Looks delicious!

  21. OMGeee… the chipotle in adobo… and the watermelon in the sauce… and the dipping sauce?! Gah, Liz!! You’re killin me over here!!

  22. Using watermelon for marinade sounds so interesting! Must try recipe!

  23. This is so creative and I bet it tastes amazing! I’m a huge watermelon fan so I know I would love this!

  24. Oh I love this. We’re BBQ’ing when I visit right? 🙂

  25. Obsessed with these! I bet the flavor is amazing. Love the pretty color too. Yum!

  26. I LOOOVE that you sweetened the BBQ sauce with watermelon! I’ll need to experiment with sweetening sauces with watermelon when I’m on the Whole30! These drumsticks are beautiful!

  27. Oh, friend, bring ON the watermelon recipes! I saw these on your Instagram and drooled pretty embarrassingly in public (#notsorry :). These look fab!

  28. How awesome! I’ve never seen a bbq sauce made with watermelon before. What a great way to sneak in some extra goodness! 🙂

  29. This is so original, Liz, and just look at that gorgeous red color! I’ll bet the flavor is unbelievable on that! 🙂

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  34. You are a genius, I seriously can’t wait to make this!

  35. This recipe sounds amazingly delicious! But, I was wonder if it would taste as good just using basic bottle bbq sauce.

    • If you used bottled sauce, then they’d just be regular chicken drumsticks (and not watermelon drumsticks), but I’m sure they’d be delicious still!

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