Looking for a quick and easy recipe for dinner that even the pickiest kids will love? The whole family will enjoy this east to make Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Leg Recipe.

The best part is it only takes 2 minutes to prepare before you start cooking in your air fryer. The air fryer helps you make extra crispy skin on the outside and a juicy bite on the inside. 

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Serve these drumsticks seasoned in garlic, onion, and sweet paprika plain, or slather them with BBQ Sauce or Hot Honey.

Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Legs on tray

If you enjoy this air fryer chicken drumsticks recipe, then be sure to Pin or print some my other air fryer recipes. One of my reader’s favorites is my crispy skin, baked potato. They turn out perfect every time. If you like spicy food, then try these Buffalo Air Fryer Meatballs.

If you need a make-ahead dinner or snack idea, whip up a batch of these Easy Air Fryer Frozen Taquitos. If you have the munchies but don’t want to blow your diet, then this Crispy Air Fryer Chickpea Recipe is what you need.

Why Make Chicken Legs In An Air Fryer

  • Cooking chicken drumsticks in an air fryer yields extra crispy skin and juicy, tender meat inside.
  •  Air frying helps eliminate excess grease from the meat and drips into the bottom pan.
  •  This easy dinner recipe only takes 2 minutes to prep these chicken legs before you put them in your air fryer! 
  •  Drumsticks are a great chicken dinner to serve if you have kids who are picky eaters. This recipe will be a hit for sure.
  • Chicken legs are budget-friendly meat, making it easier on your pocketbook. 

Ingredients Notes

This air fryer chicken legs recipe calls for simple ingredients you will typically keep in your pantry. The spices are mild but could easily be made spicy.

salt and pepper, garlic and onion powder, paprika and chicken legs
  • Chicken legs: My air fryer will hold 6 medium size legs. However, there are different size baskets for air fryers. You might be able to get more or less in yours. The legs can touch but try to leave some room between them when cooking.
  •  Olive oil: I like to use olive oil, but avocado oil, coconut, or grapeseed oil would work great also.
  •  Paprika: I use smoked paprika for this recipe to give drumsticks just a hint of grilled flavor.
  •  Onion and garlic powder: Be sure to use powder, not salt. 
  •  Salt and black pepper to taste. I like to use fresh ground pepper sprinkled on after cooking.
  •  Cayenne pepper: Add 1/2 teaspoon to the seasoning mix if you want spicy chicken legs. Adding some heat is optional.

 See the recipe card for a complete list of ingredients and quantities.

🔪 Instructions For Cooking Cooking Chicken Legs

1 First, blot any excess moisture from the chicken legs with paper towels. Patting the chicken skin dry helps the olive oil and seasonings adhere.


2. In a large-size bowl, mix up the seasoning mix. Add olive oil, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. Stir until the seasoning and oil are blended well.

chicken leg seasoning for air fryer


3. Add the drumsticks, tossing, or string until the meat is evenly coated.

chicken legs coated for going into the air fryer after tossed in bowl


4. Place coated chicken legs in a single layer into your air fryer basket. Place chicken pieces so there is a bit of space between each leg. This will help the hot air rotate properly around the meat.

chicken legs coated in seasoning put in air fryer basket

How Long To Cook Air Fry Chicken Legs

Cook at 400 degrees for 12 minutes. Open your air fryer and carefully flip the legs over. Return the basket to your air fryer and cook for another 12 minutes.


When the chicken legs start to turn golden brown, they are getting close to being fone. Be sure to check the internal temperature of the meat. It should reach 165 degrees F. It’s easy to check the temperature with an instant-read meat thermometer.

To quickly read the internal temperature of the chicken, I like to use an instant-read digital meat thermometer with a probe.

⭐ Note: cooking time may vary slightly depending on the make and model of your air fryer. To ensure tender meat, be careful not to overcook the drumsticks.

Safety Tip

I like to use disposable rubber gloves when handling raw chicken parts to prevent salmonella cross-contamination.

✔️ Substitutions

If you know how to make the recipe fit a certain diet, let the reader know here. Don’t fake it – only provide guidance on topics you have actual experience with.

  •  You can substitute chicken thighs for chicken legs in this recipe. Just be sure to add extra time for cooking the larger piece of meat. The same rule, be sure the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
  •  You could also make this an air fryer chicken leg quarters recipe. You can fit two leg quarters in a typical-sized airfryer. The meat may take a bit longer in the air fryer to reach 165 degrees F. Be sure to check the temperature in the thickest part of the thigh meat. Avoid bumping the bone.
  •  I have used this recipe several times to make air fryer chicken wings. The cooking time is a few minutes less to reach the safe 165 degree internal temperature. To make them even easier to cook, visit my easy guide for How To Cut Chicken Wings. 

Try Some Different Seasoning Ideas 

I am giving you a very basic blend of seasonings in this recipe. However, I’m encouraging you to switch up the seasonings some to make the best juicy chicken legs to your family’s liking.

Creating your own seasoning mixture when making air-fried chicken legs is fun. Substitute the season in the recipe for 4 1/2 teaspoons of one of these homemade seasoning mixes.

Drumstick Dipping Sauce Ideas

💭 Tip To Save Your Grocery Budget

If chicken legs go on sale at your grocery, pick up several packs. Then when you get home, blot your chicken legs with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. This helps prevent freezer burn.


Next, place 6 drumsticks, or however many your air fryer holds at one time, in a zip-lock style freezer bag. Label and put the date they need to be used.

Knowing you need a quick dinner the next day, place a bag of drumsticks in your refrigerator. Allow thawing for 24 hours. If you are in a hurry, you can always grab one bag to defrost in your microwave before cooking in your air fryer.


Leftovers 🍗

If you have leftovers, place the legs into an airtight container. You can use the air fryer to reheat them. For best results, reheat at 400 degrees F for just a few minutes.

Be careful to remove them as soon as they are warm so you do not overcook the meat and make it tough.

Tips and Questions About Making Juicy Chicken Drumsticks

Why is air fryer chicken so juicy?

Air fryer chicken is incredibly juicy due to its unique cooking method. The hot air circulating around the chicken ensures even heat distribution, resulting in perfectly cooked meat that retains its moisture.

Additionally, the use of minimal oil keeps the chicken from drying out, making it a more flavorful option.

How long to cook bone-in chicken legs in the air fryer?

To achieve perfectly cooked bone-in chicken legs in the air fryer, it is recommended to cook them at a temperature of 400°F (200°C) for approximately 20-25 minutes.

However, it’s always a good idea to check the internal temperature using a meat thermometer to ensure they reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) for safe consumption.

Can you air fry leg quarters?

Air fryer chicken leg quarters are easy to make in an air fryer. It takes less time than in an oven and yields extra crispy skin.

How long do drumsticks take in the air fryer?

Six drumsticks in an air fryer take approximately 24 minutes to reach a safe internal temperature of 165 degrees Ferinhite.

Are drumsticks better in the oven or air fryer?

The oven and air fryer can yield delicious drumsticks, but 300 degrees F in an oven tends to produce more tender, falling-off-the-bone meat.

However, an air fryer can be quicker than an oven to get the meat done at 400 degrees F. The air fryer produces crispy and golden skin.

Ultimately, the choice depends on your personal preference for texture and taste.

air fried chicken legs on a plate
crispy air fryer chicken legs on a plate
5 from 1 rating

Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Leg Recipe

Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 24 minutes
Total Time: 26 minutes
Servings: 6
The whole family will enjoy this Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Leg Recipe for a quick and easy dinner. It only takes 2 minutes to prepare before you start cooking in your air fryer.6

Note: Be sure to read through the recipe’s post for tips and details about this recipe.

Ingredients
 

  • 6 chicken legs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, Salt to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, Optional if you like it spicy

Instructions
 

  • Blot any excess moisture from the chicken legs with a paper towel. When you pat chicken dry, it helps the olive oil and seasonings adhere.
  • In a large-size bowl, mix up the seasoning mix. Add olive oil, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. Stir until the seasoning and oil are blended well.
  • Add the drumsticks, tossing or string until the meat is evenly coated.
  • Place coated chicken legs in a single layer into your air fryer basket. Place chicken, so there is a bit of space between each leg. This will help the hot air rotate properly around the meat.
  • Cook at 400 degrees for 12 minutes. Open your air fryer and carefully flip the legs over. Return the basket to your air fryer and cook for another 12 minutes. The internal temperature should reach 165 degrees Farinhight. It's easy to check the temperature with a meat thermometer.

Notes

⭐ Note: cooking time may vary slightly depending on the make and model of your air fryer. To ensure tender meat, be careful not to overcook.
I like to use an instant read digital meat thermometer with probe.

 Sauce ideas

These drumsticks are delicious right out of the air fryer. However, this is a basic recipe that can be changed up by tossing them in a sauce after they are cooked. As soon as they are done cooking, toss them in a large bowl with one of these sauce ideas.
Serving: 1g, Calories: 321kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 21g, Fat: 25g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 12g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 120mg, Sodium: 303mg, Potassium: 279mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 227IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 15mg, Iron: 1mg
Cuisine: American
Course: Main Dish
Author: Gina Dickson

⭐️ One last thing, please leave a rating and comment letting me know how you liked making this recipe. This helps me provide more free, high-quality recipes for everyone.

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