These crispy Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks are the ultimate way to cook drumsticks! They're seasoned with garlic, smoked paprika, onion, and cayenne for a little heat, and are ready in under 20 minutes!
Oh how I adore air fryer recipes! My air fryer chicken thighs are my personal favorite, but these drumsticks are giving them a run for their money.
Though there isn't any breading, these chicken legs are still super crispy, juicy and tender, just the way chicken should be. Besides being delicious, this recipe just so happens to be gluten free, paleo, low carb, and whole30 friendly, too!
- Making the perfect air fryer chicken legs recipe is super quick and so much easier than any other method.
- This recipe serves 2 people, but it can easily be doubled.
- The chicken is seasoned with a simple dry rub, making it a healthy option when cooking chicken.
- Chicken drumsticks - The main ingredient!
- Olive oil - A little bit of oil helps the chicken crisp up nicely and allows the spices to stick the chicken better. Don't love olive oil? Try avocado oil instead.
- Spices and seasonings - Smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, salt, and black pepper. I recommend making a double batch of the dry rub because it’s so good on everything!
Step 1: Mix the dry rub. Mix the smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, salt, and black pepper together in a small bowl.
Step 2: Season the chicken. Drizzle chicken with olive oil and use your hands to make sure it's completely coated. Sprinkle the spice mixture on both sides of the chicken and rub it in with your hands.
Step 3: Air fry. Spray your air fryer basket with nonstick cooking spray and place the drumsticks in a single layer inside. Cook them at 400°F for 12 minutes on the first side, then flip them over and cook for 8 more minutes. Serve with a side of vegetables and enjoy!
Tips and FAQs
- All air fryers are slightly different, meaning the cook time can vary. Be sure to check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer. You'll know the chicken is done once it reaches 165°F.
- This is the perfect weeknight dinner for two because it's made with simple ingredients. If you're serving more than two people, you may need to work in batches depending on the size of your air fryer basket.
- Some recipes call for flour, which makes the chicken extra crispy. You can go this route, but to keep it healthier, I opted to omit it.
- Want to make bbq chicken drumsticks? Follow the recipe as-is, and as soon as the chicken is done, brush it with your favorite bbq sauce (similar to my baked bbq chicken thighs recipe).
What else can you use to season drumsticks?
So many things! Besides barbecue sauce, you could use the spice blend I used for my blackened chicken, or a dried chimichurri mix, like in my Instant Pot whole chicken recipe.
Can you make frozen chicken legs in the air fryer?
Yep! They might not be quite as crispy, but they'll work. You will have to cook them for longer: Try air frying them at 400° for 15 minutes on the first side, then 12-15 minutes on the second side. As always, check the internal temperature to ensure doneness.
What sides pair well with this?
I love serving this dish alongside potatoes (like my roasted red potatoes or my microwave sweet potato), rice, cauliflower rice, and/or fried brussels sprouts.
The storage for these chicken legs is very similar to that of my air fryer pork chops:
- Refrigerator - Let the leftover drumsticks cool completely, and then wrap them in plastic wrap or an airtight container to store any leftovers. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 days.
- Reheating - Reheat in the microwave or the air fryer at 370ºF for 3 to 4 minutes.
More easy air fryer recipes
If you made this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below. Thanks!
Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks
- Air fryer
- 2 lb. chicken drumsticks (approx. 5 drumsticks)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne or more to make them spicy
- Combine the spices in a small bowl. Then, place the chicken in a separate large bowl.
- Drizzle the oil over the chicken, then use your hands to make sure it's completely coated. Next, pour the dry rub over the chicken and again, use your hands to make sure the chicken is coated in the spices on both sides.
- Spray your air fryer with nonstick spray, and place the chicken in a single layer. Air fry the chicken at 400° for 12 minutes, then use kitchen tongs to flip it over and cook it for 8 more minutes, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 165°. Enjoy!
Awesome love it I did one thigh and it was melting in my mouth