These Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks are crispy and golden and packed with sweet, salty and savoury flavour. Easy to make in the air fryer without oil, its a healthy way to enjoy tender, juicy chicken without the greasy after effects.
Once you’ve tried this method of cooking chicken legs, you won’t cook them any other way.
- They are perfectly crispy, without using any oil
- 5 minutes of prep and they cook themselves
- Chicken Drumsticks are cheap and they are easily transformed into a delicious meal
- Perfect for eating on their own, with a salad, or a side of air fryer garlic bread
- You can make them ahead of time, take them on picnics, eat them hot or cold
- The chicken is moist and juicy and the air fryer doesn’t dry them out like the oven can often do
- Chicken: Buying skin on and bone in chicken drumsticks is what helps makes these moist and full of flavour, however you could also try this recipe with skinless chicken thighs with a light spray of oil.
- Sea Salt and Black Pepper: this is the base of the seasoning. Whilst I love using regular sea salt, I also sometimes use garlic salt, or celery salt (n the same quantity) for a slightly different flavour.
- Garlic Powder: helps to bring the spice base together and provides flavour
- Breadcrumbs: there is only 2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs in this recipe which isn’t a lot but does help to give the chicken a nice texture. I use wholemeal breadcrumbs, but a great option would be panko breadcrumbs for even more texture, or for a smoother and finer texture, cornflake crumbs.
- Smoked Paprika: helps to give the chicken a sweet smokey earthiness flavour and that lovely golden colour
- Rosemary: works perfectly with the smoked paprika to create flavour and helps to balance the sea salt and pepper.
How To Make
- Preheat air fryer to 180 degrees C/350 degrees F
- Make Seasoning: Add sea salt, black pepper, breadcrumbs, smoked paprika, garlic powder to a bowl and mix together
- Season Chicken: Add one chicken leg at a time and rub the spice mix liberally all over until coated. Set aside onto a clean plate and repeat until all are done.
- Arrange and Cook: Add chicken legs to air fryer, laying them flat and without overcrowding the basket. (if you put all 6 chicken legs in air fryer and they are touching and overlapping, I find its best to do two separate cooks so you get perfectly crispy coat on the outside).Cook at 180 degrees C/350 degrees F for 25-27 minutes. (Check at about 17 minutes to see how they are going and to give the basket a shake to move them about)
- Serve: Once cooked, removed and serve with your favourite dipping sauce. My 5 minute healthy smokey BBQ sauce is always a winner with chicken
- Seasoning Chicken: to avoid dirtying a bowl, add the seasoning to a large plastic bag, shake, and add the chicken drumsticks one at a time to coat. Repeat until all are done.
- Preheat the Air Fryer: whilst your making the seasoning and rubbing it onto the chicken, preheat the ai fryer for a few minutes. This will make a big difference and will help the chicken to crisp up better.
- Don’t overcrowd the basket: Overcrowding will not allow the air to circulate properly, will stop them from crisping up, and make the seasoning disappear from the chickening rubbing together. In short, air circulation allows the chicken to brown and crisp up. Also avoid stacking the chicken legs on top of each other, they should lay flay on the base of the air fryer basket.
- Cooking in Batches: Depending on the size of your air fryer you may be able to do all six drumsticks at once, or you may need to cook in two batches. I have a Tefal XL and I cooked these in two batches, one batch of 4 and one batch of two so as not to overcrowd the basket.
- Don’t open to frequently: resist the temptation to open the air fryer every few minutes to check on the chicken as all the heat will escape and it will just take longer to cook. Checking once or twice is fine.
- Air Fryer Cooking Times: All air fryers cook differently, depending on the model and size. The instructions provided here are tested in my air fryer which is a Tefal XL model. Other brands and models may require a longer cooking time, or a slightly higher temperature to get the chicken drumsticks just right. If you’re new to using your air fryer, you can always cook one chicken drumstick to get a feel for what timing and temperature works best for your air fryer.
How long do Drumsticks take in the Air Fryer?
Anywhere from 25 to 35 minutes, based on the model of air fryer you have, whether you have preheated the air fryer and how crowded or uncrowded the air fryer basket is.
You can tell if chicken is cooked by testing the temperature with a digital thermometer, however I find that by gently cutting into the thickest part of the meat without hitting the bone to visually inspect if its cooked usually works best, especially if you don’t have a meat thermometer.
No, but its recommended for best results and to get perfectly cooked and crispy chicken. Preheating also helps to speed up the cooking time.
I was never really a fan of chicken drumsticks until I tasted ones that had been cooked in a air fryer. I was so surprised at how good they were, full of flavour, tender juicy meat that fell off the bone and so easy to do with little to not mess.
More Air Fryer Recipes
Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks
- Air Fryer
- Preheat air fryer to 180 degrees C/350 degrees F
- Add sea salt, black pepper, breadcrumbs, smoked paprika, garlic powder to a bowl and mix together
- Add one chicken leg at a time and rub the spice mix liberally all over until coated. Set aside onto a clean plate and repeat until all are done.
- Add chicken legs to air fryer, laying them flat and without overcrowding the basket. (if you put all 6 chicken legs in air fryer and they are touching and overlapping, I find its best to do two separate cooks so you get perfectly crispy coat on the outside)
- Cook at 180 degrees C/350 degrees F for 25-27 minutes. (Check at about 17 minutes to see how they are going and to give the basket a shake to move them about)
- Once cooked, removed and serve with your favourite dipping sauce.
- I did not use any oil for this recipe and they still came out golden and crispy
- Nutritional information is for one chicken drumstick
Note: Sugars contained in this recipe are from naturally occurring sugars in fruits, vegetables or other natural sweeteners.