Air Fryer Drumsticks (Chicken Legs) Juicy + DELICIOUS!

These Air Fryer Drumsticks are crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. No breading needed! Turn to this easy recipe when you need a quick dinner or protein for meal prep.

Cooking chicken drumsticks in the air fryer is a foolproof cooking method that always produces juicy on the inside, crispy on the outside chicken! No complicated steps included – just season the chicken, air fry for about 30 minutes, then serve and enjoy.

You can pair Air Fryer Drumsticks with practically anything, making them the ultimate quick protein to enjoy for weeknight dinners, meal prep, holidays, and more. Prepare a side of sweet potatoes, delicata squash, broccoli, or brussels sprouts as you wait for the air fryer to do its thing. In no time, you’ll have a well-balanced meal everyone will love.

🛒 Ingredients needed

  • Chicken drumsticks – Keep the skin on and the bones in! I used 2 pounds worth of drumsticks for this recipe, which should be enough to feed a family of four.
  • Dry seasonings – You can keep it simple and stick to a mix of kosher salt, oregano, paprika, black pepper, and garlic powder. Or, if you want to kick up the spice level, head to the Customizing tips below for more seasoning ideas. 
  • Olive oil – Just a little gets mixed with the spices to create a paste, which helps the seasonings stick to the skin.

📋 How to make air fryer drumsticks

Cooking chicken drumsticks in the air fryer is a quick and easy alternative to oven roasting and produces crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside chicken every time:

Preheat the air fryer

Set the air fryer to 380ºF and preheat while you prep the chicken. Preheating always helps the chicken cook evenly. 

Season the drumsticks

Combine the salt and spices with olive oil to create a paste. Rub the paste onto the skin, coating each piece evenly.

Uncooked drumsticks in air fryer basket.

Air fry the drumsticks

Spray the air fryer basket with cooking oil, then arrange the drumsticks in a single layer. Cook for 20 minutes, then turn up the heat to 400ºF for 5 minutes to help the skin crisp. 

Once the chicken is looking golden brown and deliciously crispy, take them out of the air fryer and enjoy!

Fully cooked drumsticks in air fryer basket sprinkled with parsley.

🌟 Recipe tips

  • Take the drumsticks out of the fridge 10 to 15 minutes before cooking. Tempering the meat helps it cook quicker and more evenly. 
  • Before applying the seasoning paste, pat the legs completely dry with a paper towel. This not only helps the seasonings stick to the outside of the chicken but also prevents steaming (which stops the skin from crisping).
  • Do not overcrowd the air fryer basket. The hot air must fully circulate around each drumstick to achieve crispy skin. Work in batches if you need to.
  • Let the drumsticks rest for 5 minutes after cooking. This helps every bit of juice and flavor soak into the meat. 

🍽 Serving suggestions

Chicken drumsticks for dinner pair so well with all of the side dishes below, as well as these 50 Best Sides For Chicken or BBQ Chicken:

Air fried drumsticks on serving tray.

👩‍🍳 Customize it

As an alternative to the suggested seasonings in the recipe card, use any of these seasoning blends instead: 

The right sauces can make your chicken drumsticks feel just like your favorite chicken wings. Try tossing the cooked legs in one of these fun flavors or serving it on the side: 

ℹ️ FAQs

How long do drumsticks take in the air fryer?

This exact time will depend on the size of the drumsticks. They typically don’t take longer than 30 minutes when cooked in a 380ºF air fryer.

How do you know when chicken legs are done?

The best way to tell that the chicken is done cooking is with a meat thermometer. Insert the probe into the thicker part of the leg and check that the internal temperature has reached a safe 165ºF before serving.
If the meat is cooked through but the skin isn’t crisped to your liking, continue cooking the legs up to 190ºF. The skin will crisp without sacrificing any juiciness inside. 

Can you cook frozen chicken legs in the air fryer?

Yes, but keep in mind that chicken cooked from frozen tends to be less juicy. To air fry frozen chicken drumsticks, cook them at 350ºF until the meat is thawed. From there, follow the recipe as written. 

Crispy chicken air fryer drumsticks on white plate.

🕕 Storing and reheating

Let the chicken legs cool completely before refrigerating them in a shallow, airtight container for 3 to 4 days. They also freeze well for up to 4 months.

To reheat, return the legs to the air fryer and heat at 360ºF for 5 to 10 minutes or until the skin is re-crisped and the meat is warmed through. 

🍷 Wine pairings for drumsticks

  • Crisp and aromatic Sauvignon Blanc or an unoaked Chardonnay are both wonderful choices with chicken.
  • As for reds, the bright acidity and smooth finish of a Pinot Noir will pair well with the lightly seasoned chicken.

​​Did you make these crispy chicken legs in the air fryer?

If you loved this air fryer chicken drumsticks recipe, I would appreciate it if you gave it a star review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.

For more great Platings and Pairings recipes, be sure to follow me on Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, and Facebook.

Note: Don’t have an air fryer? You can bake these chicken legs in the oven too!

Crispy chicken air fryer drumsticks on white plate.

Air Fryer Drumsticks Recipe

These Air Fryer Drumsticks are crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. No breading needed! Turn to this foolproof cooking method when you need a quick dinner or protein for meal prep.
3 from 1 vote
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 chicken drumsticks (about 2 ½ pounds)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder

Instructions

  • In a small bowl combine the salt and spices with oil to create a paste. Coat chicken drumsticks with the paste.
  • Preheat the air fryer to 380-degrees.
  • Spray basket with cooking oil and place a single layer of chicken legs in the air fryer basket and cook for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through. (You will need to work in batches)
  • Increase the temperature to 400-degrees and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • Take the drumsticks out of the fridge 10 to 15 minutes before cooking. Tempering the meat helps it cook quicker and more evenly. 
  • Before applying the seasoning paste, pat the legs completely dry with a paper towel. This not only helps the seasonings stick to the outside of the chicken but also prevents steaming (which stops the skin from crisping).
  • Do not overcrowd the air fryer basket. The hot air must fully circulate around each drumstick to achieve crispy skin. Work in batches if you need to.
  • Let the drumsticks rest for 5 minutes after cooking. This helps every bit of juice and flavor soak into the meat.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!

Equipment

Nutrition

Calories: 316kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 139mg | Sodium: 1322mg | Potassium: 405mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 0.2g | Vitamin A: 585IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 2mg

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