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The Best Crispy Air Fryer Drumsticks

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The ultimate juicy Chicken Drumsticks in the Air Fryer recipe is right here! Absolutely packed with flavor, this crispy and juicy chicken drumsticks recipe takes just minutes to throw together and is so simple. This easy dinner recipe will quickly become a family favorite. With such simple ingredients, it’s perfect for Whole30, Paleo, Keto, and Gluten-Free diets.

chicken drumsticks (air fryer cooked) on parchment paper and metal tray with beer in background.

❤️ Why you will love Air Fryer Drumsticks

  • They’re easy! For this easy chicken recipe, all you have to do is mix the ingredients in a mixing bowl and then stick ’em in the air fryer! That’s it! From frozen it’s a little different. You put them straight in the air fryer, and then toss them in seasoning halfway through. Still…this has to be one of the easiest air fryer recipes!
  • So quick! From fresh, this easy recipe is ready in just 25 minutes, including 5 minutes of prep time and pre-heating of the air fryer. Add just 10 more minutes if you’re cooking them from frozen. Just 35 minutes!
  • They taste SO good! Salty, smoky, and spicy, not to mention the crispy skin on the outside and so juicy inside. The juice literally exploded when I bit into them: amazing. They are the best of all flavors!
  • You can make them for meal prep: These air fryer drumsticks taste great the next day, even cold, making them perfect to take to work for lunch. You can also reheat them in the air fryer if you’d prefer them hot again.
  • Great for the whole family! Kids love chicken drumsticks. There’s something so fun about picking up your food and taking a bite off of it. You can pretend to be a dinosaur. Or a tiger. =]
  • Fresh or Frozen: You can use either fresh or frozen drumsticks – I’ve included instructions for both! No need to worry about thawing (or forgetting to thaw out) chicken for this chicken drumsticks air fryer recipe.

🗝️ Key ingredients for this delicious recipe

  • Chicken: Chicken drumsticks, of course, which are also called chicken legs! You can use fresh or frozen. The cooking times and method will differ a little between the two (I’ll list them both in the recipe below) but the time difference is about 10 minutes. If using fresh drumsticks, you’ll also want to make sure the raw drumsticks are as dry as possible before cooking to get the skin extra crispy, so drain them in a strainer and pat them down with a paper towel to get rid of the excess moisture. The frozen ones will dry a little more as they have extra cooking time, so no need to pat the chicken dry. You could also substitute bone-in skin-on chicken breasts or chicken thighs.
  • Spice mixture: Ground black pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and chili powder make these smoky, spicy, and addictively garlicky. I kept the seasoning mix really simple using a dry rub as I think it has the best flavor for these crispy drumsticks. You can substitute chili powder for cayenne pepper powder if desired.
  • Salt: I found 1 teaspoon too salty for me but my other half thought it was perfect for him. I think 3/4 teaspoon or even half is perfect for me. I also use pink Himalayan salt. It’s just a little more flavourful than sea salt or kosher salt.
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🥣 How to make Air Fryer Chicken Legs

1. Prep the air fryer: Preheat the Air Fryer to 200°C/392 degrees F, and set the time to 25 minutes, allowing it to heat for 5 minutes.

2. Prep the chicken: Strain the drumsticks in a strainer and pat them dry with a paper towel.

3. Add seasoning: Place the drumsticks in a large bowl along with the spices and mix them well together.

Raw chicken drumsticks with seasoning.

4. Cook! After the air fryer has heated for 5 minutes, place drumsticks in the air fryer basket and cook for 10 minutes. There’s no need to add olive oil this time! They cook perfectly without it. Place them in as much of a single layer as possible, however, it’s okay if the chicken parts overlap a little.

Chicken drumsticks in the air fryer.

5. Turn: After 10 minutes, remove the air fryer basket from the air fryer and turn the drumsticks with tongs.

Tongs turning Chicken drumsticks in the air fryer.

6. Cook: Close the basket and air fry for another 10 minutes.

6. Check the chicken: Make sure the chicken is cooked through by checking it with a meat thermometer. The internal temperature of the drumsticks should read 75°C/165°F. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, just make sure the meat is no longer pink and the juices run clear.

Chicken drumsticks in the air fryer.

🫙 Storage & Reheating Instructions

  • Store any leftover crispy air fryer chicken drumsticks in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
  • Reheat in the air fryer until piping hot. The hot air helps to crisp up the crispy chicken skin.

🍗 Can you put raw drumsticks in an air fryer?

Yes! These crispy chicken legs are seasoned and then placed in the air fryer raw. The air fryer does all the cooking leaving the drumsticks both crispy and juicy.

⏰ How long do drumsticks take in an air fryer?

From fresh, the cook time is just 20 minutes, and the air fryer frozen chicken drumsticks take closer to 30 minutes.

🤔 How many drumsticks fit in an air fryer?

I put 10 chicken drumsticks in the air fryer, and that seemed like just the right amount. They all cooked perfectly, even though they overlapped slightly.

🍽️ What can I serve with Crispy Chicken Drumsticks?

There are so many options! Here are a few of my favorite dipping sauce recipes and favorite side dish recipes for this Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks recipe:

Sides for drumsticks:

Dips for drumsticks:

chicken drumsticks (air fryer cooked) on parchment paper and metal tray with beer in background.

😋 More of my favorite chicken recipes

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📖 Air Fryer Drumsticks Recipe (Fresh or Frozen)

📖 Air Fryer Drumsticks Recipe (Fresh or Frozen)

Yield: about 10 drumsticks
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

The ultimate juicy Chicken Drumsticks Air Fryer recipe is right here! Absolutely packed with flavour, this easy chicken drumsticks recipe takes just minutes to throw together and is so simple. Perfect for Whole30, Paleo, Keto and Gluten-Free diets.

Ingredients

  • 1.1kg chicken drumsticks (about 2.5 lbs)
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2-1 tsp salt

Instructions

Fresh or thawed drumsticks:

  1. Preheat the Air Fryer to 200°C/392°F, and set the time to 25 minutes, allowing it to heat for 5 minutes.
  2. Strain the drumsticks in a strainer and pat them dry with a paper towel.
  3. Place the drumsticks in a mixing bowl along with the spices and mix them well together.
  4. After the air fryer has heated for 5 minutes, place the drumsticks in the air fryer and cook for 10 minutes.
  5. After 10 minutes, remove the air fryer basket from the air fryer and turn the drumsticks with tongs.
  6. Close the basket and air fry for another 10 minutes.
  7. Make sure the chicken is cooked through by checking it with a meat thermometer. It should read 75°C/165°F.

Frozen drumsticks:

  1. Preheat the Air Fryer to 200°C/392°F, and set the time to 35 minutes, allowing it to heat for 5 minutes.
  2. After the air fryer has heated for 5 minutes, place the drumsticks in the air fryer and cook for 15 minutes.
  3. After 15 minutes, remove the air fryer basket from the air fryer, and using tongs place the drumsticks in a mixing bowl along with the spices. Mix them well together with a wooden spoon.
  4. Place the drumsticks back in the basket with tongs and air fry for another 15 minutes.
  5. Make sure the chicken is cooked through by checking it with a meat thermometer. It should read 75°C/165°F.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 204Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 140mgSodium: 226mgCarbohydrates: 0gNet Carbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gSugar Alcohols: 0gProtein: 27g

Nutrition information and calculations will vary with the use of different brands or ingredients. These figures are estimates. Please get in touch if you have questions!

Did you make this recipe?

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