10 Minute hands on prep tender marinated sweet heat chicken smothered in sticky honey jalapeno pineapple sauce that will leave you dreaming of the Islands – or just this chicken.

Several Honey Jalapeno Chicken wings on a white plate.


I apologize profusely that I have not posted any drumstick recipes on Carlsbad Cravings yet – or until today.   I have NO idea why!   Well, I kind of know why.  I buy huge bags of chicken breasts at Costco – they are lean, affordable and so versatile – they are my default.  But when you want to feature a sauce without breading chicken or making a stir fry and still want the chicken to taste Ah-mazing – I am learning that drumsticks or chicken thighs are the way to go (like in my Sticky Thai Orange Peanut Chicken).  They are so tender, and juicy and just so magical.

Side view of Honey Jalapeno Chicken wings on a white plate and pineapple in the background.

I actually got the idea for this Island sauce that demanded the use of drumsticks while I was in the tropics myself – reading cookbooks.  Some people read People Magazine, some people read the latest bestsellers, I read cookbooks.  I was going through an old family recipe book when a recipe for ribs with jalapeno jelly and steak sauce caught my eye.  I had never even heard of jalapeno jelly but when I actually looked for it, it was right with all the other jams just begging for its potential to be realized.

Close up of  Honey Jalapeno Chicken wings on a white plate with green onion on top.

I think its fulfilled its potential.  And then some.

Showing how to make Honey Jalapeno Chicken wings in a bowl pouting sauce over top.

The heat from the jalapeno jelly is balanced by sweet honey and brown sugar, swirled with pineapple juice, soy, ginger, garlic and a little island spices flair of cinnamon and all spice. Lip smacking, finger licking, bowl licking good.

Top view of several Honey Jalapeno Chicken wings on a white plate.

The chicken sauce doubles as the marinade (you separate the marinade/sauce when you make it), making this a super easy meal to prepare.  When you are ready to bake your chicken, simply rinse and pat your drumsticks dry (the more dry the crispier the skin), then pierce each drumstick with a fork a few times (also for crispy skin), spray with nonstick cooking spray and bake.  When the chicken is done, you can either leave the skin on or it is super easy to slip off once baked.  Simmer your reserved sauce, pour over the chicken and its tantalizing Sticky Honey Jalapeno Island Chicken Time.

Honey Jalapeno Chicken wings on a white plate with onion.

Caribbean time.

Let’s eat.

Sticky Honey Jalapeno Island Chicken

Servings: 5 -8
Total Time: 50 minutes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes

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  • 12-16 drumsticks (3-4 pounds)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

Sweet Heat Marinade/Sauce

  • 1 10 oz. jar jalapeno jelly*
  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp EACH salt, garlic pwdr, onion pwdr
  • 1/2 tsp EACH cinnamon, allspice, ground ginger
  • ¼ -1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • Add jalapeno jelly to a microwave safe bowl and microwave until jelly is slightly liquefied and stirable. Add jelly and remaining marinade ingredients to a large bowl and whisk to combine.
  • Add ½ cup marinade and chicken to a large freezer bag, seal and turn until all the chicken is evenly coated. Marinate in the fridge for for 12-24 hours, turning occasionally. Refrigerate the unused reserved marinade/sauce separately.
  • Line a large baking sheet with foil and top with a baking/cooling rack. Lightly spray rack with nonstick cooking spray. Remove chicken from marinade and discard. Squeeze each piece of chicken dry with paper towels (the more dry, the crispier the skin) and line chicken on the baking rack without pieces touching. Pierce each piece of chicken 3-4 times with a fork. Let set at room temperature for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • Spray chicken with nonstick cooking spray and bake for 35-40 minutes. If crispier skin is desired, broil to desired crispiness (I don’t find this is necessary if you bake for 40 minutes).
  • When chicken is done and cooling (you can remove skin at this point if desired), whisk 2 teaspoons cornstarch to the reserved marinade/sauce. Add to a large saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium high and let simmer (it will bubble a lot) for approximately 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until sauce has reduced and thickened. Let sit 3-5 minutes to cool slightly then pour over chicken in a large bowl. Toss to evenly combine. Dip chicken in any extra sauce or serve over rice.


*Jalapeno jelly should be located in the jam section of your local grocery store. I use Reese Hot Pepper Jelly made with red jalapenos.

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    • Jen says

      Thank you Kristen! I think the flavors are right up your alley 🙂

  1. annie says

    That looks absolutely awesome! It also makes me want to break out my grill. (Yeah, I haven’t done that yet.)

    • Jen says

      Hi Annie, thank you so much! I am so excited for grilling season – my fav part of the year! Your site is beautiful BTW!!

      • Annie says

        Aw! Thank you! Yours is pretty wonderful too 🙂

    • Jen says

      Thank you Suzy! They are definitely packed with flavor and might start screaming your name 🙂 Have a great weekend!

    • Jen says

      Why is sticky always so much better?! I hope you love it! Thanks Thalia!

  2. Nelly says

    This sounds absolutely amazing! Can’t wait to make it!!! Question though, after it’s in the fridge for 12-24 hours and you have to squeeze each piece of chicken dry, are you taking of the sauce by doing that? Also I don’t have a baking/cooling rack, could I use a glass baking tray instead?

    • Jen says

      Hi Nelly! The marinade will seep into the chicken so it soaks up the flavor internally so when you pat/squeeze them dry, you aren’t removing any flavor – also you cover them with sauce, so they have double the flavor 🙂 ! I would suggest using 2 9×13 pans or using a baking sheet but place a second baking sheet on the oven rack below the rack you are baking on in order to catch any grease. Hope this helps!

  3. Ashley Landry says

    I made these last week and they were DELICIOUS and really easy to make! Thank you so much for the recipe! I will be sharing this one 🙂

    • Jen says

      Awesome Ashley, I am so happy you loved them – yay! THank you SO much!!!

  4. Julie says

    I made this recipe last week and it was a HIT! I was very tempted to tweak the sauce and cut back/omit the cinnamon and allspice but didn’t. I’m so glad that I stuck with your recipe because it was delicious!

    • Jen says

      Awesome Julie! I’m thrilled this was such a hit – even with the cinnamon and allspice 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to comment, I hope you find some more recipes to love here!