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This air fryer drumsticks recipe is perfect for the home cook who is just getting started with air frying. The ingredients are affordable and simple, and the prep time is quick.
Drumsticks, (a.k.a. chicken legs), are a very popular chicken dish that is typically cooked on the grill. But the next best, and most often used, method of cooking drumsticks is in a deep fryer or in a skillet with tons of oil. Not the healthiest way to eat chicken.
Air Fryer Drumsticks are an easy air fryer recipe that even air fryer beginners will enjoy. You only need two ingredients. The drumsticks and your favorite barbecue sauce.
Air Fryer Chicken Drumstick FAQ’s
People ask a lot of questions about air fryer drumsticks. Here are the answers to some of those questions.
Are Air Fried Chicken Wings Healthy?
As with most food, it all depends on how you prepare it. Drumsticks can only be as healthy as what you put on them. If you cook them in an air fryer, you are already ahead of the game by reducing the fat used to cook them. So for the recipe here, that just leaves the sauce. Pick a healthy one, and you have a perfectly healthy meal. Read on to learn about picking a healthy sauce and recommendations for the sauce we love best.
How Long Do Drumsticks Take In An Air Fryer?
The cooking time for raw drumsticks will take, on average, about 30-40 minutes. But this can vary a bit based on how big your air fryer is and how many drumsticks you cook at once.
Can You Put Raw Drumsticks In An Air Fryer?
Yes, in fact, it’s often required to ensure they cook properly. Frozen thighs can get a bit iffier and may take much longer to cook. Raw chicken legs are the best choice.
How Many Drumsticks Can You Fit In An Air Fryer?
This can vary a bit depending on how large your air fryer is. But in a medium-sized air fryer, you can get, on average, about 4-6 drumsticks into the air fryer.
Can You Stand Chicken Legs Up In An Air Fryer?
It’s not advised. Doing this will pack the air fryer basket too full to allow proper airflow. It’s best to cook them laying down with a little bit of space between each one.
Picking A Good Barbecue Sauce
When it comes to air frying, you typically want a thicker sauce that will actually stick to the meat. That being said, if you marinate the chicken first the way this recipe calls for, a thinner sauce will still work. You may just want to drizzle a little extra on after cooking to get the full barbecue sauce flavor.
Our favorite is and always has been Bone Suckin’ Sauce. They have both a hot and regular version. It’s honey-sweetened and uses all-natural ingredients. It’s a truly delicious sauce.
Variations For Chicken Drumsticks
You don’t have to use barbecue sauce to make easy, delicious drumsticks in an air fryer. If barbecue sauce isn’t your thing, all you need is a little bit of oil in a spray bottle, and any spice mix you like best. You can check out our recommendations for the best air fryer oil spray here. And here are a few suggestions for dry mixes we have used and loved that you can toss with the oil and chicken legs to coat them:
- Tuscan seasoning – The Gracious Pantry
- Ranch mix – The Gracious Pantry
- Jamaican Curry Powder – The Gracious Pantry
- Cajun Seasoning – The Gracious Pantry
And if you prefer singular spices, some good ones are:
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- black pepper
- chili powder
Good Oils To Try
While you may want to watch the smoke point on these oils, these are healthy oils that can work, depending on the temperature you cook at in your air fryer.
Smoke Points For Oils:
- Olive oil – 374–405°F
- Coconut oil – 350°F
- Avocado oil – 520°F
- Sunflower oil – 450°F
- Almond oil – 430°F
- Grapeseed oil – 420°F
How To Season Drumsticks For The Air Fryer
If you prefer dry spices such as the ones mentioned above, the process is simple.
- Put the chicken legs in a large mixing bowl.
- Give them a quick mist of oil with an oil sprayer.
- Add as much of the spices as you like to coat the drumsticks well.
- Air fry as usual, or according the to the recipe instructions below.
What Other Cuts Of Chicken Will Work With This Recipe?
If you don’t like drumsticks, you can use just about any other cut of chicken you prefer. Suggested cuts are:
- Chicken thighs
- Chicken breasts
- Chicken wings
What You Need For Air Fryer Chicken Legs
(Print the recipe from the recipe card below)
6 medium chicken legs – You can use one or two, more or less. Somewhere between 4 and 8 drumsticks can go in at one time, depending on the size of your air fryer.
Barbecue sauce – Pick your favorite bbq sauce. If you are looking for a healthier sauce, check out our recommendation above.
How To Make Air Fryer Drumsticks
Preheat your air fryer to 370°F. if it has a pre-heating function, and then put the chicken legs into a large mixing bowl. (Pat them dry with a paper towel first if they are particularly juicy).
Pour the barbecue sauce over the chicken and toss to coat the chicken. Let it sit and marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Spray the bottom of your fryer basket with non-stick cooking spray. I used parchment paper liners. (You can get cut parchment that fits your particular air fryer from Amazon.) Place the chicken on the parchment paper in a single layer, with a little room between each drumstick. Cook for 30-40 minutes. Flip them all at the halfway mark.
How To Make Sure Your Drumsticks Are Done Cooking
Always use a calibrated meat thermometer to ensure your meat is fully cooked on the inside. There are many different kinds. You can check out our suggestions for the best instant-read thermometers here. Your chicken is done when the thickest part reaches an internal temperature of 165 F. in the middle. For drumsticks, your best bet is to insert the thermometer from the top of the drumstick through the center along the bone, but not directly against the bone.
How To Store Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks
These should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. They can be kept for up to 3 days in the fridge.
Can You Freeze Air Fryer Chicken Legs?
Yes, you can! Pack them well and store them in the freezer for up to 4 months.
Can You Make These In An Oven?
If you prefer to bake these in the oven, you can do so for about 40-50 minutes at 375°F.
What To Serve With Air Fryer Drumsticks
- green salad
More Air Fryer Chicken Recipes
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Instant Pot Air Fried Chicken Drumsticks Recipe Card
Air Fryer Drumsticks
- 1 Air Fryer
- 6 medium chicken legs
- barbecue sauce
- Preheat your air fryer to 370° F. if it has a pre-heating function, and then put the chicken legs into a large mixing bowl.
- Pour the barbecue sauce over the chicken and toss to coat the chicken. Let it sit and marinate for at least 30 minutes.
- Spray the bottom of your fryer basket with non-stick cooking spray. I used parchment paper liners. (You can get cut parchment that fits your particular air fryer from Amazon.) Cook for 30-40 minutes. Flipping at the halfway mark.