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
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- 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!
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
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- 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
- 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.)