These air fryer chicken drumsticks are juicy, full of flavor, and tender. They're ready in under 30 minutes and are perfect for a quick lunch or dinner!
These crispy air fryer chicken drumsticks are so quick and easy to make. With a spicy seasoning mix that crisps up the skin, these air fryer chicken legs make the perfect quick and easy dinner. You'll also be surprised at how tender and juicy they are!
Serve these air fryer chicken drumsticks with more air fryer sides, like air fryer sweet potato wedges, air fryer broccoli, or my 20-minute Air Fryer Corn on the Cob in Foil. You can also make mashed potatoes in 25 minutes in your Instant Pot to serve as a quick side.
If you want more chicken recipes in the air fryer, you have to try my Chicken Thighs and Potatoes recipe. Perfect crispy chicken and potatoes ready in half an hour!
If you have any leftover chicken after making this recipe, why not shred it and use it in my Air Fryer Chicken Taquitos recipe? It's the best recipe for using leftover chicken!
You'll need only a handful of ingredients and some seasonings to make this tasty lunch or dinner. You probably have most of them on hand already!
You can also easily substitute a couple of these ingredients to suit what you have in your pantry.
To make these chicken drumsticks in the air fryer, you'll need:
- Chicken drumsticks
- Olive oil
- Dried oregano
- Sweet paprika
- Brown sugar
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- Cayenne pepper (optional)
See the recipe card for precise quantities and instructions.
It takes only 5 minutes to prepare the chicken drumsticks for cooking and then they get cooked in the air fryer for another 17 - 19 minutes.
Step 1: Brush the chicken drumsticks with olive oil, using the brush to smooth out the skin as you brush. Brush the chicken drumsticks all over with the oil.
Hint: Use the brush and your fingers to smooth out the chicken skin as it can slide down the drumstick. With the skin smoothed over, with oil and seasonings, you will have a chicken drumstick that is crispier and more flavorful all around.
Step 2: Whisk together all the herbs and seasonings for the chicken drumsticks in a small dish. Sprinkle half of the spice mixture over the tops of the chicken drumsticks and rub in with your fingers.
Flip the chicken drumsticks over and repeat with the rest of the seasoning mixture.
Step 3: Place the drumsticks in the air fryer so they have some space and air around them. Spray the chicken drumsticks with a bit of oil.
Step 4: Air fry the chicken drumsticks for 10 minutes at 380 °F (180 °C). Then flip and air fry for another 7 - 9 minutes until cooked through! The chicken should be 165 °F on a meat thermometer. Allow the chicken to rest under foil for 3 - 5 minutes before serving.
⏰ How long to cook chicken legs in air fryer?
I cooked these chicken legs for a total of 17 - 19 minutes at 380 °F (180 °C) in the air fryer until they registered 165 °F using a meat thermometer. Flipping the chicken drumsticks halfway through ensures even cooking (and crispy skin!).
Test the chicken for doneness with a meat thermometer for the most accurate way to tell if your chicken is properly cooked. You can also take the largest drumstick and cut into the meat to check for doneness. The chicken should be completely white and cooked through, but juicy and tender too.
Here are some suggestions for substitutions based on what you have in your pantry:
- Low-sodium - you can make this recipe low-sodium by reducing the salt by half or omitting it entirely. You can then add another tablespoon of seasonings to bring up the flavor. You can also add a squeeze of lemon juice to the chicken legs after air frying for extra flavor. Lemon juice will also brighten the other flavors.
- Oils - you can use any neutral oil for this recipe. Olive oil, canola oil and avocado oil all work well in the air fryer.
Herbs & spices - you can easily swap out some of the herbs and spices in this recipe to make it your own! I try and keep an even mixture of dried green herbs, ground spices, and spicy seasonings when I am making substitutions for this recipe.
Dried green herbs you can use are:
Ground spices you can try are:
- paprika (smoked or sweet)
Spicy seasonings you can try and substitute are:
- cayenne pepper
- chili powder
- red chili pepper flakes
This recipe has been developed and tested using a Cosori Max XL Large Cooker. It has a capacity of 5.8 quarts.
I love making quick lunch and dinner recipes in the air fryer - it uses so little oil and all the food comes out crispy and delicious every time! Cleaning up is a breeze, and I can stick it in the dishwasher too!
Store any leftover chicken legs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Allow the leftovers to fully cool before storing them in the refrigerator.
These ingredients don't stand up well to freezing.
Use leftover chicken in my Air Fryer Chicken Taquitos recipe or make chicken mayo sandwiches. These leftover chicken legs are perfect for them!
❗️ Top tip
Cook the chicken legs skin side down for the first bit of the cooking to get a nice crispy skin on the legs. The sugar and spices create a crunchy layer on the skin and then once you flip the drumsticks over, they crisp up even further with the air fryer.
Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks
- 8 chicken drumsticks
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. sweet paprika
- 1 tsp. brown sugar
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
- Preheat your air fryer to 380 °F (180 °C).
- Brush the chicken drumsticks with olive oil, using the brush to smooth out the skin as you brush. Brush the chicken drumsticks all over with the oil.8 chicken drumsticks, 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- Whisk together all the herbs and seasonings for the chicken drumsticks in a small dish. Sprinkle half of the spice mixture over the tops of the chicken drumsticks and rub in with your fingers. Flip the chicken drumsticks over and repeat with the rest of the seasoning mixture.1 tsp. dried oregano, 1 tsp. sweet paprika, 1 tsp. brown sugar, 1 tsp. sea salt, 1 tsp. black pepper, ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
- Place the drumsticks in the air fryer so they have some space and air around them. Spray the chicken drumsticks with a bit of oil.
- Air fry the chicken drumsticks for 10 minutes at 380 °F (180 °C). Then flip and air fry for another 7 - 9 minutes until cooked through! The chicken should read 165 °F on a meat thermometer. Allow the chicken to rest under foil for 3 - 5 minutes before serving.
This recipe was tested with these air fryers:
🍳 Related Recipes
- Air Fryer Chicken Thighs and Potatoes
- Air Fryer Chicken Taquitos
- Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes with Skin
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with a high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds