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Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks

This recipe for air fryer chicken drumsticks is a great way to get a delicious meal on the table when you’re short on time. Not only are these chicken legs delicious, but they are also quick and easy to prepare and cook, and can be customized to your taste.

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Air fryer chicken drumsticks on a cream-colored plate.
Air fryer chicken drumsticks.

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • These air fryer chicken drumsticks are quick and easy to make, and a great way to get a delicious meal on the table when you’re short on time.
  • Air frying gives them a golden crispy skin, while keeping them succulent and juicy on the inside.
  • You can customize the recipe to season the drumsticks however you like, whether you want to use a rub, a marinade, or a sauce.

Air frying chicken legs, or drumsticks, is the perfect way to cook them. Because air frying times are quicker than most other cooking methods, the chicken gets crispy on the outside fast, and the chicken stays succulent on the inside.

Once you have tried cooking chicken legs in your air fryer you will never bake or broil them again!

Here are some other great air fryer chicken recipes you might like to try: air fryer chicken breast and potatoes, air fryer chicken wings, air fryer chicken thighs, or air fryer chicken tenders.

Scroll down for the printable card for this air fryer chicken drumstick recipe, or read on for all the details!

Ingredients

Quantities for all ingredients are given in the recipe card below.

Chicken legs

Use skin-on drumsticks as this will give you crispier results, and plan for around 2 chicken legs per serving.

The recipe below uses fresh (thawed) chicken drumsticks. You can also use frozen drumsticks, though the cook time will be longer, and be sure to confirm that the internal temperature has reached the safe temperature of 165°F/74°C or higher before consuming.

Oil

I normally use light olive oil, but any cooking oil with a high smoke point will work. Try avocado oil or vegetable oil.

You can vary the amount of oil according to your preference. Just use a light spritz of oil for a healthier version, or add a little extra if you want extra crispy chicken drumsticks.

Tip

When air frying, choose a cooking oil with a high smoke point to reduce the chance of your air fryer smoking.

Seasoning

The recipe below uses a simple homemade seasoning mix of smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dried basil, salt, and pepper.

You can also use a store-bought seasoning mix, a dry rub, a marinade, or just some sauce (see more details in the Variations section below).

Some spices we like to use for this recipe include:

  • Cajun seasoning
  • A simple marinade made from sweet chili sauce, lime juice and soy sauce
  • Teriyaki sauce
  • BBQ sauce
  • Honey and soy sauce
  • Paprika and cayenne pepper

How to cook chicken drumsticks in an air fryer

This recipe is very straightforward to make, there are just a few simple steps to getting it just right:

  1. Pat the chicken legs dry with a paper towel. If you want to get the chicken really crispy it is important to pat it dry before you add the oil – an essential step if you want really crispy skin.
  2. Season the chicken legs. Mix the seasoning ingredients and oil in a large bowl, then add the drumsticks and toss to ensure that each chicken leg is thoroughly coated. Alternatively, you can add the ingredients to a large ziplock bag as it is easier to ensure each drumstick is well covered in the oil and seasoning.
  3. Arrange chicken drumsticks in air fryer: Place the drumsticks in a single layer in your air fryer basket, ensure they are not touching. If your air fryer is prone to sticking, try giving the basket a quick spritz with olive oil before adding the food.
  4. Air fry chicken drumsticks for 20-25 minutes. When the cooking time is up, check the temperature with a digital meat thermometer – insert it into the thickest part of the largest drumstick. The internal temperature should read at least 165°F / 74°C.

Tip

Some air fryers require food to be flipped over halfway through the cooking time. Check your manual if you are unsure whether this applies to your air fryer.

Variations

Marinade Option

To use a marinade for this recipe, prepare the marinade in a ziplock bag, add the drumsticks, and then place them in the refrigerator to marinate.

Most marinades work best if you leave the chicken to marinate overnight or at least for a few hours.

When the drumsticks have finished marinating, drain them, and air fry as above.

Sauce Option

Adding sauce to your chicken legs during cooking creates a flavorful crust on the outside, and can be used in place of or as well as other seasonings.

After 10 minutes of cooking time, stop the air fryer, open the drawer and brush each chicken leg with your sauce of choice. Air fry for 5 minutes, then open the air fryer, flip the drumsticks, and brush the other side with sauce. Air fry for 5-10 minutes until cooked through.

Air fried chicken drumsticks on a cream plate.
Crispy air fried chicken legs

Serving

Serve drumsticks with fries and a salad for a popular family dinner, or as an appetizer with your favorite dipping sauce. Try:

  • buffalo sauce
  • hot sauce
  • BBQ sauce
  • Ranch dressing

Storage and reheating

Store any leftover air fryer drumsticks in an air-tight container in the refrigerator, and use within 3 days.

You can reheat the drumsticks in the air fryer. Place the leftover chicken drumsticks in the air fryer basket and air fry for 5-10 minutes until least 165°F / 74°C in the center.

Air fryer chicken drumsticks on a cream-colored plate.
Yield: 2 servings

Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

How to cook chicken drumsticks in an air fryer.

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken drumsticks (2 per serving)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil (or Italian herbs)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat air fryer to 360°F/ 180°C.
  2. Pat the chicken legs dry with a paper towel.
  3. Mix the seasoning ingredients and oil in a large bowl, then add the drumsticks and toss to ensure that each chicken leg is thoroughly coated [Note 1].
  4. Arrange drumsticks in a single layer in your air fryer basket, and ensure they are not touching [Note 2].
  5. Air fry chicken drumsticks for 20-25 minutes [Note 3] until the internal temperature reaches 165°F / 74°C in the center of the thickest drumstick.
  6. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. Alternatively, you can add the ingredients to a large ziplock bag as it is easier to ensure each drumstick is well covered in the oil and seasoning.
  2. If your air fryer is prone to sticking then try giving the basket a quick spritz with olive oil.
  3. Some air fryers require food to be flipped over half way through the cooking time (check your manual if you are unsure whether this applies to your air fryer).

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

2

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 408Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 231mgSodium: 338mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 44g

Nutrition information is an estimate and provided for informational purposes only.

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Welcome to Love Food Not Cooking!

I’m Eliza, busy mom, home cook, and blogger. My goal is to help everyone cook good food. Whether you are short on time, skills, or motivation, there is something here for you! We have dozens of quick and easy recipes for dinner, lunch, side dishes, and more. Our recipes use everyday ingredients, for quick delicious meals your family will love! Read more…

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