What Do You Need to Make this Recipe?
For this air fryer chicken legs recipe, you’ll need chicken drumsticks, vegetable oil (olive oil or avocado oil are my favorites), paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, brown sugar (or coconut sugar), kosher salt, black pepper, and baking powder.
Seasoning Ideas for Drumsticks
There are countless delectable combinations to choose from when deciding how to season chicken drumsticks, from smoky and hot to herby and light.
Just a few tasty options include ground cumin, ground coriander, cayenne pepper, curry powder, Italian seasoning, dried oregano, thyme, and chili powder.
Baking Powder for Extra Crispy Drumsticks
Cooking air fryer chicken drumsticks in baking powder is the key to getting extra crispy chicken legs in the air fryer—every time! Baking powder helps dry out the chicken’s skin without breaking its proteins and assists the browning process.
Therefore, to get crispy drumsticks in the air fryer, I suggest adding some baking powder to your seasoning mixture. I learned this ‘secret ingredient/technique” from the folks over at Cook’s Illustrated when I made their Slow Baked Chicken Wings recipe.
How to Cook Chicken Drumsticks in Air Fryer
This air fryer drumstick recipe will astound you with how easy it is. Minimal preparation, little time, and very little oil are necessary to make these irresistibly crisp chicken legs.
- Prepare the drumsticks: Remove the raw chicken drumsticks from their packaging and set them on a plate. Use a paper towel to pat them as dry as possible, then rub each drumstick with oil. Set them aside.
- Mix the seasonings: In a large bowl or Ziploc bag, mix the paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, brown sugar, salt, black pepper, and baking powder.
- Season the chicken legs: Place the drumsticks in the bowl/bag of seasoning. Toss them around until each chicken leg has an even spice mixture coating.
- Preheat: Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees F.
- Cook the drumsticks: Arrange the chicken legs in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Make sure you evenly space each drumstick and alternate their ends. Next, air fry the chicken for 10 minutes. Once the 10 minutes are up, flip and rotate the drumsticks, and cook them for another 7-9 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees F. when inserted into one of the chicken legs.
- Rest: Transfer the air fried drumsticks to a serving platter and cover them loosely with aluminum foil. Let them rest for 5 minutes before serving or cutting.
You can make air fry chicken drumsticks in dozens of delicious ways. Whether you add flavorful breading or cook them straight from the freezer, you can’t go wrong with this versatile dish.
- Skinless Chicken Legs in Air Fryer: Do you want to cook your drumsticks without the skin? Though your chicken may not come out as crispy, this is the best way to cook chicken legs in an air fryer to eliminate extra fat and calories.
- Air Fryer Frozen Chicken Drumsticks: Though I don’t recommend this method, you can air fry frozen drumsticks to eliminate defrosting time. Simply cook them at 400 degrees F. for 45-50 minutes or until their internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
- Air Fryer Shake and Bake Chicken Drumsticks: To simplify your seasoning method, try what most people call “the shake-and-bake” method! To do so, place your drumsticks and vegetable oil into a Ziploc bag, seal it, and mix until the chicken is fully coated. Then, add the seasoning mixture to the bag, seal it again, and repeat the shaking process until each drumstick has an even layer of spice. Cook your chicken as usual.
Cooking drumsticks in an air fryer is a cinch when you have these pro tips to guide you. Use my foolproof method, and you’ll get perfectly crispy, evenly cooked, and tender chicken every time.
- Air fry in batches: To ensure proper, even cooking, make sure you don’t overcrowd your chicken legs when arranging them in the air fryer. If you have a smaller air fryer or want to make more drumsticks, I suggest cooking this air fryer chicken leg recipe in batches.
- Remove the meat from the fridge: Take your drumsticks out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking them. This step gives the meat time to loosen up and release extra moisture.
- Pat dry: Take the time to pat dry each of your chicken legs before coating them with the oil and drumstick seasoning. Drying out your chicken legs will give them crispy skin.
- Use a digital thermometer: When checking whether your airfryer drumsticks are done, I suggest using a digital meat thermometer. To Food Safety Guidelines, your chicken should reach 165 degrees F. before they’re safe to eat.
- Let the drumsticks rest: After you cook your chicken drumsticks in the air fryer, loosely cover them with aluminum foil. Then, let them rest for 4-5 minutes before cutting. This resting period will result in juicy chicken drumsticks by giving the meat time to reabsorb its liquid.
- Timing may vary depending on the brand or type of air fryer you are using. The best way to check doneness is to use a thermometer and check them halfway through the air frying process.
How to Make Ahead & Store
Make this delectable dish ahead of time for easy meal prep, or save it in the fridge for savory seconds. Once you make these air fryer fried chicken legs, you won’t let a single bite go to waste.
- To Make Ahead: When preparing this drumstick recipe in advance, dry off your chicken legs before evenly coating them with oil and seasoning. Then, store the seasoned drumsticks in a Ziploc bag in the fridge a day before. Transfer them to a plate and let them rest for a few minutes before air frying them.
- Storage: Bring your air fryer fried chicken drumsticks to room temperature, then store them in an airtight container in the fridge. Your chicken will stay fresh for up to 2 days. To reheat your drumsticks, place them in your air fryer at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 4-5 minutes.
Other Chicken Recipes You Might Also Like:
- Chicken Fricassee
- Chicken and Vegetable Soup
- Chicken Caprese Sandwich
- Baked Chicken Parm
- Slow Cooker Honey Mustard Drumsticks
If you try this Air Fried Chicken Legs recipe or any other air fryer recipes on Foolproof Living, please take a minute to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. It helps others who are thinking of making the recipe. And if you took some pictures, be sure to share them on Instagram using #foolproofeats so I can share them on my stories.
Air Fryer Chicken Legs Recipe
- 5 chicken drumsticks ~ 1 1/2 pounds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable oil (olive oil or avocado oil are my favorites)
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder optional
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar (or coconut sugar)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley optional
- Remove chicken legs from their packaging onto a plate and pat dry with paper towels as much as you can. Rub each drumstick with oil and set them aside.
- In a large bowl (or in a Ziploc bag), mix together paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, brown sugar, kosher salt, black pepper, and baking powder.
- Place the chicken legs in the bowl (or in the Ziploc bag) and make sure that they are coated with the spice mixture on all sides.
- Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees F.
- When ready, arrange drumsticks in the air fryer basket, spaced evenly apart, alternating ends. Air fry for 10 minutes, flip and rotate and then air fry for another 7-9 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into one of the drumsticks registers 165 degrees F.
- Transfer chicken to a serving platter, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
- Seasoning Ideas: A few other tasty seasoning options include ground cumin, ground coriander, cayenne pepper, curry powder, Italian seasoning, dried oregano, thyme, and chili powder.
- To Make Ahead: If you want to make it a day in advance, simply dry off your chicken legs before evenly coating them with oil and seasoning. Then, store the seasoned drumsticks in a Ziploc bag in the fridge. Transfer them to a plate and let them rest for a few minutes before air frying them.
- Storage: Bring the drumsticks to room temperature, then store them in an airtight container in the fridge. It should stay fresh for up to 2 days. To reheat your drumsticks, place them in your air fryer at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 4-5 minutes.