This air fryer chicken legs recipe is a delicious way to make healthy drumsticks. The simple marinade, along with the help of the air fryer, makes the chicken skin incredibly crispy while keeping the meat moist and juicy.
The best thing about this recipe is how quickly you can make it. There are mere minutes of hands-on time involved, making it perfect for busy weeknights.
If you’re looking for an easy dinner recipe that the whole family will love, this one may make it into your regular rotation.
Common Questions about Air Fryer Chicken Legs
Do you have to flip drumsticks in an air fryer?
Yes, in order for them to cook evenly and to crisp perfectly, they do need to be flipped halfway through cooking process.
At what temperature are drumsticks done in the air fryer?
You’ll want to cook the drumsticks until they reach the internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Can you put raw drumsticks in an air fryer?
Absolutely! In the case of this recipe, you’ll transfer them straight from the refrigerator to the air fryer. Please do not try making these from frozen.
You can keep these drumsticks in the fridge or freezer. They’re perfect for weekly meal prepping.
Refrigerator: After leftover chicken drumsticks cool to room temperature, store them in a ziploc bag or airtight container for 3-4 days.
Freezing: Freeze drumsticks in a freezer-safe container or freezer bag for up to 3 months.
Tips For Making The Best Crispy Drumsticks
We have just a few suggestions for getting the best results when you make these chicken legs.
- Leave plenty of room between each chicken leg to allow the hot air to reach all sides of the chicken so that the skin becomes crispy.
- Avoid stacking the chicken in the basket. If necessary, cook the chicken legs in batches.
- Keep the marinated chicken legs in the refrigerator for as long as possible (up to 2 hours) in order for the marinade to do its work.
- Spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray before adding the chicken.
Besides the chicken, you’ll only need a few other simple ingredients you may have or can easily grab at the grocery store.
Chicken legs drumsticks (or sub with chicken wings or chicken thighs)
- Olive oil
- Garlic cloves
- Lemon juice
- Lemon zest
- Brown sugar (or muscovado sugar)
- Black pepper
Kitchen Supplies You’ll Need to Make Air Fryer Drumsticks
There’s not much that you need to make these easy drumsticks
How to Make Air Fryer Chicken Legs
It only takes a few minutes to prep these chicken legs. The air fryer does most of the work.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the marinade ingredients.
- Place the chicken legs and marinade in a large bowl.
- Using your hands, make sure that all of the chicken is fully covered with the sauce before refrigerating.
- Place the chicken in a single layer in the basket of the air fryer that has been preheated.
- Halfway through cooking, flip the chicken in the air fryer basket.
- Cook the chicken until it reaches the desired temperature on a meat thermometer and the skin is brown and crisp.
- Garnish as desired and serve with your favorite sauces.
What to Serve With Air Fryer Chicken Legs
Any of your favorite sides will pair perfectly with the air fryer chicken legs.
- Potatoes – These chicken legs are great with mashed potatoes, french fries, or roasted potatoes.
- Macaroni and cheese – Make a baked macaroni, smoked macaroni, or Instant Pot macaroni and cheese.
- Salads – Try a simple green salad, or cold salads like potato salad, cucumber tomato feta, grilled corn salad, or pesto pasta salad.
Why You Should Make This Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks Recipe
If you love drumsticks with crispy skin, you’ll want to make this easy recipe for chicken legs regularly.
- Easy – With just a few minutes of hands-on prep time, and ingredients you may already have handy, this recipe is so simple.
- Delicious – The sweet marinade helps the skin to crisp up perfectly and the meat stays incredibly moist.
- Healthy – Cooking chicken legs in the air fryer instead of frying them with unhealthy oils means you can feel good about eating these tasty drumsticks.
Variations and Add-ins
These crispy chicken legs are perfectly moist and slightly sweet but you can switch up the flavor profile, too.
- Sweetness – Switch out the brown sugar for honey or your own favorite sweetener.
- Heat – Kick up the flavor by adding some heat with crushed red pepper flakes, chili powder, hot sauce, or cayenne pepper.
- Umami – Add depth to the sauce with Worcestershire or soy sauce.
- Garlic – Instead of minced garlic, use garlic powder.
- Marinade – Use your own marinade or another variety that you like. Consider BBQ sauce or Buffalo sauce.
- Onion – If you want to add onion flavor, try adding a bit of onion powder to the marinade.
- Oil – Instead of olive oil, try using another neutral oil like avocado oil or canola.
If you love this recipe – You might also love my air frying cookbook too!
The Essential Air Fryer Cookbook for Two also makes everything fast and easy. Most recipes take 30 minutes or less and they’re designed with simple prep and minimal clean-up in mind. Nutritional information, serving size descriptions, and recipes for vegetarians, vegans, and gluten-free are also included. There’s so much to savor.
The Essential Air Fryer Cookbook for Two
Perfectly Portioned Recipes for Healthier Fried Favorites
If you love this easy chicken dinner recipe, you’re going to love these other air fryer chicken recipes too. Please click each link below to find the easy, printable recipe!
Other Air Fryer Recipes
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Air Fryer Chicken Legs
- 4 chicken legs drumsticks or sub with 6-7 chicken wings, or 4 thighs
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 garlic clove large – if garlic is not strong enough, use 3 or even 4 cloves – I used 2 large
- 1 lemon juiced – large
- lemon zest from one larger lemon
- 3 teaspoon brown sugar regular brown sugar or muscovado sugar for more intense caramel sweet flavor
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Mix the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, brown sugar, oregano, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
- In a large bowl (or you can use a zip lock bag for this) massage the chicken legs with the marinade and leave it in the fridge for 30 minutes or 1-2 hours if you have more time.
- Preheat the air fryer to 375 F for 5 minutes.
- Once the air fryer is preheated, transfer the chicken into the basket and air fry for 10 minutes, flip the chicken and cook for another 10 minutes. Total air frying time 20 minutes.
- Chicken should be darkened, browned and very crisp on the outside.
- Discard the leftover marinade.
- You can garnish the chicken with extra lemon zest, lemon slices/wedges, and fresh oregano or parsley.
- Enjoy with dipping sauces.
- If you have air fryer basket liners, use them so your air fryer basket can serve you longer.
- Fried food generally doesn’t reheat well. But with an air fryer, you can reheat the chicken once (on the same day of making it). Reheat in a preheated air fryer at 375 F for 5 minutes.
- Oregano – best combination with lemon and garlic but other alternatives would be rosemary, basil, and thyme. Dried or fresh.
Nutritional information for the recipe is provided as a courtesy and is approximate. Please double-check with your own dietary calculator for the best accuracy. We at Taste of the Frontier cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts as it has been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.
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