Try these Air Fryer Chicken Legs for a delicious alternative to traditional fried chicken. They are crispy, crunchy, and oh-so juicy without all the hassle of frying. These chicken drumsticks get a delicious crust with a bit of oil, baking powder, and seasonings. This easy dinner recipe is a delightful meal that both kids and adults can agree on.
Turn to this easy-to-make air fryer drumstick recipe when you need a quick and easy meal that never fails to delight.
You get flavorful, juicy chicken with crispy skin with less than ten minutes of hands-on time.
Air fry chicken legs once, and you will turn to this low-carb dinner again and again.
Simple Ingredients for Making Air Fryer Drumsticks
- Pickle Brine: Pickle juice imparts flavor and keeps the chicken moist and juicy. Brining the chicken is optional but recommended.
- Chicken Drumsticks: Dry them with a paper towel before coating them with the baking powder and the seasoning mix to make sure your air fried chicken legs are nice and crispy.
- Baking Powder: Use fresh aluminum-free baking powder to avoid the chicken having a metallic taste.
- Seasonings: I use a blend of smoked paprika, garlic powder, and rosemary, plus salt and black pepper. Feel free to add other spices as desired - onion powder and ground mustard are good options. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste. (I typically use 1 teaspoon of salt per pound of meat, but because the pickle brine is salty, I only use a teaspoon of salt in this recipe.)
- Oil: Us olive oil or avocado oil. I don't recommend extra virgin olive oil in this air fryer recipe because of its smoke point.
Air Fryer Benefits
- It is easy! You are going to love the ease of air fryer cooking. Except for the occasional flip, food can mostly be left alone. The temperatures are well regulated, and many models have an automatic shut-off when the cooking time is done. No more babysitting oil to ensure it maintains the proper temperature or standing over a hot stove.
- It is fast. Thanks to convection fans, foods cook in less time than they do in the oven. Generally speaking, you can reduce cooking time by about 20% to 25%.
- Clean-up is a breeze. If you like easy cleanup, your air fryer will become your new best friend. You can say goodbye to oil splattered all over the kitchen, as well as having pots and pans strewn everywhere. And bonus: most air fryers have baskets that are dishwasher safe.
Tips & Tricks
As an Amazon Associate I Earn From Qualifying Sales.
- Air fryers vary in intensity, so take the recommended time as a guideline. I recommend using an instant-read thermometer. The chicken drumsticks should reach an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees.
- For crispy chicken, make sure that you don't overcrowd it! This means cooking in batches if necessary.
- Don't skip patting the chicken dry when you remove it from the brine. Excess moisture can prevent the chicken from crisping up.
- Use this coating to make air fryer chicken thighs and chicken wings!
- In place of the pickle brine, try this Rosemary Buttermilk Brine. Proceed with the rest of the recipe as normal.
- For an extra kick, add ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper to the seasonings.
- Add ½ cup grated parmesan to the flour mixture.
- After the chicken has cooked, toss it in bbq sauce or buffalo sauce.
This recipe is so versatile - most any side dish will do!
Some fun options include healthy zucchini fries, no mayo coleslaw, keto coleslaw, Instant Pot black-eyed peas, or slow cooker collard greens.
I like to serve this air fryer chicken drumsticks recipe with a side of Greek yogurt ranch or honey mustard
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I Need to Use Oil with My Air Fryer?
While you don't need to use a lot of oil, most foods do best with a thin layer of oil. With this, you can expect your results to come close to the crispiness of fried foods.
Can I Stack Chicken Legs in the Air Fryer? Can You Stand Chicken Legs Up in An Air Fryer?
No! If you stack chicken in the air fryer, it will not crisp-up. I recommend that you do not stand the chicken legs up or stack them.
For best results, cook them in a single layer being sure not to overcrowd them.
Do I Need to Flip Chicken in the Air Fryer?
Yes - I recommend flipping your chicken for best results.
What Temperature Do You Cook Chicken Drumsticks in the Air Fryer?
For crispy air fried chicken legs, I recommend cooking at 400° F.
Can I Use this Method For Other Cuts of Chicken?
Absolutely! Just adjust the cooking time accordingly and use your instant-read thermometer to make sure the chicken reaches the proper temperature.
Recommended Equipment to Make This Recipe
As an amazon associate, I earn from qualifying sales.
- Mixing Bowl
- Air Fryer (I have had MANY air fryers and this is my favorite.)
- Breading Trays or Shallow Dishes
- Oil Mister or Silicone Brush
- Instant Read Meat Thermometer
Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to four days.
You may freeze the cooked air fryer chicken drumsticks for up to three months. I prefer to pull the meat off the bone when freezing, but this is a matter of personal preference.
How to Cook Chicken Legs in the Air Fryer (or Air Crisp Function of the Ninja Foodi Grill)
First, start by pouring the pickle brine into a bowl and adding the drumsticks.
Toss to coat and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can refrigerate for up to 2 hours.
Preheat your air fryer and remove the chicken from the brine. Pat dry with paper towels.
Combine the baking powder and seasonings.
Using a brush or your hands, coat the chicken with the oil.
Next, coat the chicken with the seasoning mix. (I like to place the seasonings in a shallow dish and use tongs to coat. You could also use a large bowl.)
Place in the preheated air fryer basket in a single layer.
To make sure this air fryer chicken legs recipe stays crisp, it is important not to overcrowd, so you may need to cook in batches.
Cook for 10 minutes and then flip. Cook for another 8 to 12 minutes, until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160° F.
Allow the chicken to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Oven Baked Chicken Legs
Don't have an air fryer? Preheat oven to 350. Bake for 1 hour, flipping after 30 minutes
More Air Fryer Recipes to Try
- Air Fryer Empanadas are surprisingly easy to make and always a hit. Serve them with salsa or Homemade Queso.
- Turkey isn't just for the holidays! Enjoy this Air Fryer Turkey Breast throughout the year - it is perfect for meal prep!
- This Air Fryer Burger never fails to delight! This is one you will turn to again and again.
- Crispy chicken in a flash? Sign me up. These Air Fryer Chicken Cutlets are perfect!
- Your family will beg you to make this Air Fryer Chicken Breast again and again!
Air Fryer Chicken Legs
- Air Fryer
- 1 cup pickle juice optional
- 2 pounds chicken drumsticks
- 1 tablespoon baking powder gluten free
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- Optional: Place the pickle brine in a bowl and add the drumsticks. Allow to marinade at room temperature for 30 minutes, or up to 2 hours in the refrigerator.
- Preheat the Air Fryer to 400 degrees.
- Remove the chicken from the pickle brine and pat dry.
- In a small bowl combine the baking powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and dried rosemary. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (I used 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper.)
- Coat the chicken with the oil and then with the seasoning mixture.
- Cook in a single layer for 10 minutes. Flip and cook for another 8 to 12 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165° F. (Keep in mind that air fryers vary greatly, so use an instant read thermometer to make sure your chicken is done.)
I have never used an air fryer before but all of my friends tell me how fantastic it is. And now, here you are with this delicious chicken recipe - I gotta get on that!
I have been thinking of the air fryer for quite sometime now. These chicken legs look incredible thank you for the overview!
Looks delicious! Recently we switch to air frying coz it is more healthier and the cooking is more convenient for us.
Oh, this is awesome, I've never heard of one of these. I don't eat fried foods, but with this, I can certainly try some great recipes that will taste just as good as fried. thanks!
I love air fried chicken very much..I will surely try this out.
I might have to ask for an air fryer for Valentine's Day (romantic, huh?). The chicken looks so delicious and I love the idea of fried food with less fat.
Leigh Anne Borders
Wow! These look and sound delicious. I actually got an air fryer for Christmas and this would be perfect to make in it.
I've always wanted to try the air fryer. One of my friends swears by it.
These look so good. I have been wanting to get an air fryer!
Looks delicious, yummy and healthy. Thanks for sharing the recipe.
Oh wow! That looks so crispy. My mom got an air fryer recently. I'll have to have her make me some.
I keep hearing about these air fryers I am going to have to get myself one thats for sure with all they can do and not as much cleanup and healthier as well I must gt one.
I would love to have air fryer because it's healthier. This looks so delicious!
I have been hearing so much about air fryers! Looking forward to when I eventually have a bigger kitchen and have space for more appliances like that!
Fried chicken is a favorite here. But it is not healthy to eat every day. I should get an air fryer soon!
Monica | Nourish & Fete
These look amazing - so incredibly crunchy! I am so intrigued by the air fryer - it seems too good to be true!
I think you just made me put an air fryer on my wish list. 🙂
Yum! I’ve been hearing that an air fryer is a must have. I also love this recipe because chicken legs are so cheap!
I made minus the brine step, no pickle juice available. They were great! I can’t imagine how much better they will be with the brine!
So glad that you enjoyed them! I do love the brine, but I've made these many times without because I was short on time or we didn't have pickle juice.
Well, it looks like I need an air fryer!
Do you leave the skin on?
Yes, I did! I personally don't like chicken skin but my boys love it.
I made these last night!! So delicious!! I’ve only had my air fryer a few weeks!! They were so good my hubby requested them again tonight! However, I was thinking of making them tender style. Is there any tips or things I should change to make compatible?
So glad you enjoyed them as much as we do! I am definitely Air Fryer obsessed. You could use the coating from the Chicken Legs and the time from this recipe: https://wendypolisi.com/air-fryer-chicken-breast/
Be on the look out for lots more Air Fryer recipes in the near future.
Found this recipe while I was thawing out chicken legs in the microwave and I just knew I had to try out the pickle brine. My husband compared it to "if chik-fil-a made regular fried chicken". I dunno if it was because the brine we had was from homemade too salty refrigerated pickles, but they got a lot of the flavor for only 45 minutes of brine. Juicy and crispy, awesome! Thanks for posting.
This really was so good!!!! I thoroughly enjoyed it. My hubby wants me to make it again tonight and I just made it last night. Only thing I did was cook it a tad bit longer but otherwise I followed the recipe as is.
So glad that you enjoyed it! This is one of our favorites too.
Is it possible to brown chicken in the air fryer prior to finishing in the oven? I have several
recipes that require browning for 3 or 4 minutes per side before placing in oven to finish with
I don't see why not! I use my air fryer for everything - I can't remember the last time I reheated food any other way. I would spray it with oil before putting it in so you get a nice crispy brown.
What brand and model number is the best airfryer to cook lots of chicken legs? Please text me at 405-931-1949
I like the Phillips XXL!
The brine is just pickle juice?
Yes, sorry if my wording was confusing.
I have a Bkack and Decker toaster oven air fryer would this recipe work in it just got it for Christmas?
Yes, it should work just fine. I don’t have that toaster air fryer, but I do have two others and the recipe has been tested in both. (I have six air fryers from writing an air fryer cookbook.) Just keep in mind every air fryer is slightly different so you may need to adjust the time slightly. In general, toaster oven styles could take a bit longer than basket.
Hi, what other liquid can you use in stead of the pickle juice .
You could use buttermilk.
My name is Myron and I did your chicken leg recipe and how wonderful it came out. I had to make subs for the pickle juice with white vinger, sesame oil for avacado oil, and sage powder for rosemary. Still and all me and my hubby ate 6 piece's and I ended up making more. I actually made them in my Ninja Foodi grill on air crisp. This will be my go too doing the week!!!
I am so glad that you enjoyed them! They are a favorite here too. I love making them in my Ninja Foodi Grill!