Perfect Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks (Or legs!)

These air fryer chicken drumsticks works with chicken legs too, and take less than 14 minutes to cook! A secret ingredient guarantees the chicken is crispy on the outside and extra juicy every single time. 

air fryer chicken drumsticks

Using your air fryer to cook chicken guarantees perfection. I’ve tried it with all kinds, and I love how FAST it is! We’ve done chicken breast, chicken wings, and chicken thighs, and recently, we’ve added chicken drumsticks into the mix. 

Why you’ll love this recipe 

  • Quick and easy. The entire recipe takes less than 14 minutes to make.
  • Chicken drumsticks OR legs. You can use chicken drumsticks or chicken legs interchangeably. 
  • Tender and juicy. A secret ingredient guarantee that the chicken turns out crispy on the outside and extra juicy in the middle. 
  • Healthy. Unlike fried chicken drumsticks or legs, these use barely any oil and have a fraction of the calories.

What I love about these chicken legs is just how perfect they turn out every single time. If you have ever been worried about overcooking or drying them out, don’t be- These are super juicy and flavorful! 

Ingredients to make air fryer chicken legs

  • Chicken drumsticks- Also known as chicken legs, choose cuts of chicken with skin for that gorgeous crispy exterior. 
  • Oil- I used olive oil, but any oil will work. 
  • Seasonings- You’ll need smoked paprika, Italian seasonings, garlic powder, onion powder, and brown sugar (or a brown sugar substitute).
  • Baking powder– The secret ingredient which guarantees the crispy exterior and juicy middles. 

How to make air fryer chicken drumsticks 

Preheat the air fryer: Preheat the air fryer to 200C/400F. 

Season the chicken: Take a small bowl, add all the spices and mix them well. Pat dry the chicken drumsticks entirely before tossing them in the spice mixture. Drizzle with the oil.

Cook in the air fryer: Add a single layer of the chicken drumsticks to the air fryer basket and cook for 14 minutes, flipping halfway through. 

chicken drumsticks in air fryer

Can I bake this in the oven instead?

Easily bake the chicken drumsticks instead of the air fryer.

To make: Preheat the oven to 200C/400F and prepare the chicken as instructed. Line them on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Tips to make the best recipe 

  • Don’t overcrowd the air fryer by adding all the drumsticks together. Cook them in batches to make sure they cook evenly.
  • Don’t confuse baking powder with baking soda, as it can affect the flavor of air fryer chicken drumsticks. 
  • For extra juicy chicken, let them rest for five minutes in tin foil before serving. 

Dietary and flavor variations

  • Chicken legs/drumsticks. Use skinless drumsticks, bone-in chicken legs, or skinless and boneless chicken legs. 
  • Use different spices. Add some chili for a spicy kick or some taco seasoning for a Mexican twist. 
  • Sauce it up. Douse the chicken in some bbq sauce or teriyaki sauce for a flavor explosion. 
  • Add breading. Lightly dust the chicken in panko or keto bread crumbs.

What to serve with fried chicken drumsticks

Serve the drumsticks with some french fries, potato salad, or even scalloped potatoes.

For some greens, we love a simple garden salad, spinach salad, or creamed spinach.

Storing, freezing, and reheating instructions 

  • To store: Leftovers can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
  • To freeze: Air fryer chicken drumsticks can be frozen in a ziplock bag for up to 3 months.
  • Reheating: Either microwave them for 20-30 seconds or reheat in the air fryer until crispy. 
chicken drumsticks air fryer

More air fryer recipes to try

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I wash my chicken before cooking it?

It’s not recommended to wash chicken before cooking it because the bacteria in raw meat can transfer to utensils and other food items in the kitchen.  

How long do drumsticks take in the air fryer?

Drumsticks need 12-14 minutes to cook completely (and reach an internal temperature of 165F). 

Can you stand drumsticks up in the air fryer?

Yes, you can do this, but if you want the chicken skin to be crisper, it’s recommended to cook it in contact with the hot air fryer basket. 

Is it better to air fry or bake chicken?

Both work, but using the air fryer is a better option for convenience, ease, and time. It cooks the chicken quickly and makes it more crispy.

air fryer chicken drumsticks
  • 6 chicken drumsticks
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasonings
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Preheat the air fryer to 200C/400F.

  • In a small bowl, add the spices and mix well. 

  • Pat dry the chicken drumsticks. Toss the drumsticks through the spice mix then drizzle the oil all over.

  • Place the drumsticks in the air fryer basket and cook for 8 minutes, flip, and cook for a further 6-8 minutes, or until cooked and crispy.

  • Serve immediately with your favorite sides.

TO STORE: Leftovers can be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
TO FREEZE: Air fryer chicken drumsticks can be frozen in a ziplock bag for up to 3 months.
TO REHEAT: Either microwave them for 20-30 seconds or reheat in the air fryer until crispy.

Serving: 1drumstick | Calories: 168kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 12g | Sodium: 221mg | Potassium: 194mg | Fiber: 1g | Vitamin A: 210IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 99mg | Iron: 1mg | NET CARBS: 1g