Now you can easily make every kids’ favorite dinner twice as crispy and there’s no extra oil required! Air Fryer Chicken Legs with crispy, golden skin and juicy, dark meat chicken are both healthy and delicious!
This simple chicken dinner takes about 5 minutes to prep and it’s guaranteed to deliver maximum flavor in exchange for a minimal amount of effort!
These Air Fryer Drumsticks are an amazing, quick-fix weeknight dinner both the kids and the grown-ups will love. Serve them with homemade shells and cheese and steamed broccoli for a well-rounded meal everyone will love!
Need more air fryer delicious recipes to try out? Be sure to bookmark our crunchy Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets for next time!
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
Air Fryers are essentially countertop convection ovens. Convection ovens are prized for their “even-cooking” abilities thanks to built-in fans that circulate air all around within the oven. Your air fryer is equipped with a similar setup, in which a fan blows, circulating hot air quickly all around your food. The perforated air fryer basket also helps, allowing for air to come into direct contact with the bottom of the food, and not just the top and sides!
So what does this mean for Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks? It means they’ll be able to develop extra, extra crispy skin. And, not only that, because of the size of your air fryer, that crispy skin will develop faster and the chicken legs will cook through in almost half the time.
For example, oven-baked chicken legs might take anywhere from 35 to 40 minutes to cook through. Chicken legs in the air fryer, on the other hand, will take only 16 to 20 minutes. When you’re in a weeknight dinner time-crunch, the air fryer is your best friend!
CAN I STACK CHICKEN LEGS IN THE AIR FRYER?
Typically, around these parts, I would advise against stacking ingredients in the air fryer. But, since most air fryers will only fit 3 to 4 chicken legs in a single layer per batch (which would have led to a serious increase in the overall, total cook time), I stacked…and waited to see what happened.
The good news? Everything worked out just fine. The exterior of the chicken was golden and crispy and the inside — perfectly juicy!
Because of their odd shape, those chicken legs don’t exactly stack flat on top of one another. Which, in this case, is actually a good thing. It allows the air fryer to circulate air around all of the exposed areas of the chicken leg, browning up that skin quite nicely!
HOW TO MAKE AIR FRYER CHICKEN LEGS
- Preheat the Air Fryer – Preheat your air fryer to 400°F for about 10 minutes. Don’t skip this step! It’s important when it comes to cook time, but we’ll get that in detail below.
- Pat the Chicken Dry – Use a paper towel to pat the skin of your chicken legs dry. This step really matters if you want crispy skin! Removing the excess moisture on the exterior of the chicken helps the oil to stay put, which promotes browning!
- Season Chicken – To season the chicken, combine your spices in a little bowl, then drizzle the chicken with oil and rub it all over each leg. Sprinkle with the seasoning and rub once more until it is evenly distributed all across the chicken skin.
- Air Fry – Add the chicken legs to the air fryer and cook for about 16 to 20 minutes (or until the chicken is fully cooked through), shaking the basket about halfway through the cook time. You don’t have to cook the chicken in a single layer but be sure not to overstuff the basket so you can shake and move things around!
HOW LONG DO YOU COOK CHICKEN LEGS IN THE AIR FRYER?
Air Fryer Chicken Legs should cook through somewhere in the 16 to 20-minute range at 400°F.
I know it can be frustrating for some to see a 4-minute time gap when it comes to cook time, but there’s actually good reason for it. There are many factors that determine whether your chicken legs may only take 16 minutes to fully cook through in the air fryer, while others need the full 20 minutes.
FACTORS THAT AFFECT CHICKEN AIR FRYER COOK TIME
- The size of the drumstick | Unfortunately, not all chicken legs were created equal, and some chickens are much larger (or much smaller) than others at the time of butchering. As you could probably guess, larger drumsticks will take longer to cook than smaller ones.
- The temperature of the chicken leg before it goes into the air fryer | Chicken that has been sitting out at room temperature for 20 minutes will cook faster than chicken going into the air fryer ice cold.
- Whether or not your air fryer was preheated | Taking the time to preheat your air fryer actually matters! If your air fryer hasn’t quite reached 400°F before you add your chicken, it will take longer for the chicken to cook.
SAFE INTERNAL TEMPERATURE OF CHICKEN
If you’re unsure as to whether or not your Air Fryer Chicken Legs are fully cooked through and ready to eat, consider the instant-read thermometer your new best friend.
To take the temperature of a chicken leg, insert the thermometer probe into the flesh of the chicken as close to the bone as you can get without touching it. The bone will be much hotter than the chicken itself and give you an incorrect reading. Chicken is fully cooked when it has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees faranheit.
Another way you can determine if your chicken is ready (or not) is to slice into it. If the juices run red or pink, your chicken is not ready. The juices should be clear.
MORE AIR FRYER RECIPES TO TRY!
- Air Fryer Shrimp
- Air Fryer Cheese Sticks
- Air Fryer Donuts
- Air Fryer Pickles
- Air Fryer Sweet Potatoes
INGREDIENTS FOR AIR FRYER CHICKEN LEGS
You don’t need much to add a ton of flavor to your chicken. The simplicity of this recipe is what makes air frying chicken legs perfect for slamming out a weeknight dinner fast! Just a few simple ingredients are all you need:
- Chicken Legs | For this recipe, you’ll want bone-in, skin-on chicken drumsticks!
- Oil | You can use just about any oil you’d like — avocado, canola, or olive oil will work just fine!
- Seasoning | Here’s where all that flavor comes in! A quick and easy Southern spice mix of Kosher salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and onion powder will add a ton of flavor to your Air Fryer Chicken Legs. To make sure there’s a little bit of everything in every single bite, mix up the spices in a bowl before you add them to the chicken!
Love BBQ chicken? Feel free to brush your drumsticks with a sticky-sweet coating of BBQ sauce as soon as they come out of the air fryer. If you’d like for the sauce to caramelize a bit, you can add your bbq drumsticks back to the air fryer to cook for another minute or two before serving!
HOW TO STORE
Store any leftover Air Fryer Chicken Legs refrigerated in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days.
5 MORE CHICKEN RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
- Baked BBQ Chicken Legs and Thighs
- Crock Pot Chicken Legs
- Crock Pot Chicken Thighs and Rice
- Baked Teriyaki Chicken Thighs
- Oven-Baked Chicken Leg Quarters
Air Fryer Chicken Legs are an easy, healthy, and delicious quick-fix weeknight dinner both the kids and the grown-ups will love! You can count on extra crispy, golden skin on the outside and juicy, dark meat chicken on the inside with this recipe.
- 2 - 2 1/2 pounds chicken legs
- 2 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
- 1 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 tablespoons oil (avocado, canola, or olive oil)
Preheat your air fryer to 400°F for about 10 minutes.
Pat each drumstick dry with a paper towel.
Combine all of the dry seasoning in a small bowl and stir to combine. Drizzle the chicken with oil and rub to adhere to each leg. Then, sprinkle the seasoning evenly over the chicken and rub all over to adhere.
Add 4-6 chicken legs to the air fryer at a time. Take care not to overstuff the basket and cook in batches if necessary. Cook for 16-20 minutes (until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F) shaking the basket about halfway through the cook time.