Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks

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For the perfect versatile meat dish, air fryer chicken drumsticks are a top choice. They are perfectly crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, and packed with a nice flavor.

These easy-to-make air fryer drumsticks are a great addition to hearty sides like rice or potatoes – and give off a BBQ vibe right in the kitchen!

crispy chicken drumstick in bowl with potatoes and parsley behind
Our air fryer chicken drumsticks – so good!

Recipe Tips/Substitutions

Before you make these air fryer chicken drumsticks, have a read through this recipe tip section:

  • People sometimes use the words chicken leg and drumstick interchangeably. However, technically speaking, drumsticks are only the lower part of the leg – and don’t include the thigh. So if you are planning to make a full chicken leg (drumstick and thigh) in the air fryer, your cook time will be longer than indicated in this recipe!
  • Your exact blend of spices can obviously vary. We don’t like these drumsticks too spicy but if you do, cayenne pepper is a popular spice to double down on for some kick.
  • For the drumsticks to get crispy on the outside, be sure not to overcrowd the air fryer tray. If you want to make more drumsticks (or have a smaller air fryer), cook them in two batches.
  • Since you’re working with raw chicken, make sure that the insides are cooked through. You can always test one drumstick by cutting it open or use a meat thermometer to be sure. Chicken should have an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

We use this air fryer for our recipes and it has been great.

Step by Step Instructions

If you’d like to see the step-by-step process for how to make chicken drumsticks in the air fryer, have a read through this section.

Otherwise, you can skip below to the card to get started cooking!

raw chicken drumsticks in metal bowl with spices on top
Add the drumsticks, oil and spices to a bowl.

First, if the chicken drumsticks are quite wet, place the legs on a plate and pat them dry with a paper towel. If they don’t have too much excess moisture, there is no need to dry them first.

Next, place the drumsticks in a medium-sized mixing bowl and add in the oil, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper (optional).

raw chicken drumsticks in metal bowl covered in spices and oil
Toss until the chicken is evenly coated.

Toss until the chicken drumsticks are evenly coated in the oil and spices.

chicken drumsticks in black air fryer tray on white counter
Place the drumsticks into the air fryer.

Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Once heated to temperature, place the chicken drumsticks in the air fryer tray.

They should be in a single layer on the tray to make sure that they cook evenly and air fry to a nice crisp. If your air fryer is too small to accommodate this amount of drumsticks, cook them in two batches.

chicken drumsticks in air fryer flipping with red tongs
Flip the drumsticks.

Cook the chicken for a total of 20-22 minutes. Flip the drumsticks over after about 10 minutes.

Since every air fryer is different (and the drumsticks might be slightly different sizes), your total cooking time may vary.

cooked chicken drumsticks in black air fryer tray
These drumsticks are nice and crispy on the outside.

Once the chicken drumsticks are cooked through and crispy on the outside, remove them from the tray.

crispy chicken drumsticks in bowl with potatoes
Drumsticks ready to eat!

Serve the chicken with a side like rice, fried potatoes, or French fries.

Storage Tips

Chicken drumsticks in the air fryer are best when enjoyed fresh out of the air fryer when they are crispy. You can store any leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge.

Since it’s cooked chicken, eat the should be eaten within 3-4 days maxium.

When stored in the fridge, the skin will lose its crispiness so we like to pull the good chicken meat off the legs to use in wraps, salads, or other dishes!

Alternatively, you can also place the chicken drumsticks back into the air fryer to reheat and slightly crisp up the skin.

What to Serve Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks With

Drumsticks are great as a part of a larger meal or served with different gameday snacks like air fried crispy pickles.

Since they give off more of a summer vibe, they go great with brown rice or fried potatoes.

You can also serve them with a creamy pasta salad or a leafy green salad with an oil and vinegar dressing to complement the flavor of fried meat and spices.

Related Recipes

If you are looking for more chicken recipes, check out these tasty ideas – all made from fresh chicken!

crispy chicken legs in bowl with potatoes

Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks

Air Frying Chicken drumsticks are the best way to make them. Crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, these flavorful chicken drumsticks make the perfect meat dish to go with your favorite sides!
4.75 from 4 votes
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Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 3 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6 chicken drumsticks

Ingredients

  • 6 chicken drumsticks
  • 2 teaspoons avocado oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional

Instructions

  • If the chicken drumsticks are wet, place the legs on a plate and pat them dry with a paper towel. If they don’t have too much excess moisture, there is no need to dry them first.
  • Place the drumsticks in a medium-sized mixing bowl and add in the oil, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper (optional). Toss until the chicken drumsticks are evenly coated in the oil and spices.
  • Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Once heated to temperature, place the chicken drumsticks in the air fryer tray. They should be in a single layer on the tray to make sure that they cook evenly and air fry to a nice crisp. If your air fryer is too small to accommodate this amount of drumsticks, cook them in two batches.
  • Cook the chicken for a total of 20-22 minutes. Flip the drumsticks over after about 10 minutes. Since every air fryer is different (and the drumsticks might be slightly different sizes), your total cooking time may vary.
  • Once the chicken drumsticks are cooked through and crispy on the outside, remove them from the tray. Serve them with a side like rice, fried potatoes, or French fries.

Notes

  • Since you’re cooking chicken, make sure that it is fully cooked before taking it out of the air fryer. If you have an instant-read meat thermometer you can also use that – the internal temperature for chicken should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • People often use the words chicken legs and chicken drumsticks interchangeably. However, technically a chicken leg includes the whole leg (thigh and drumsticks) while drumsticks are just the lower part of the leg.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 364kcal | Protein: 44g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 231mg | Sodium: 531mg

This nutritional information has been estimated by an online nutrition calculator. It should only be seen as a rough calculation and not a replacement for professional dietary advice.

Course Chicken
Cuisine North American

2 thoughts on “Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks”

  1. Very simple and awesome flavor. This is an excellent simple recipe. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Very crispy and lightly spiced so you can really taste the chicken. Thank you!

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