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These Air Fryer Chicken Legs is every kids’ dream come true. Everyone always wants to eat the legs, especially the kiddos. With this recipe there will still be fighting over who gets the last drumstick!

These crispy chicken legs will be perfect served with Beans, Corn Casserole, Brussel Sprouts or Potatoes. An ideal meal for any occasion!

Crispy, seasoned, delicious air fryer chicken legs.

Air Fryer Drumsticks

These air fryer chicken legs are so amazing! You don’t have to freeze outside to grill them, or make a huge mess in the kitchen pan cooking them. Air Frying is changing the cooking world! Air frying chicken legs are the best because it is all contained in the air fryer, that sits on your countertop. This frees up your oven to make the Potato Wedges or the Funeral Potatoes to go with the legs.

The circulating air creates succulent crispy outsides and tender juicy meat inside. The seasoning is savory with a hint of sweet. It is SO good! Everyone loves chicken legs, they are easy to hold on to and eat. They give you an excuse to eat with your fingers too! These chicken legs have become my kids’ favorite dinner. They can eat with their hands and love the tender, juicy chicken taste. This air fryer recipe is so outstanding, you will have to plan to make extras!  Try them tonight!

What You Need For Air Fryer Chicken Legs

Look for Chicken Legs in the meat section of your grocery store. You can usually find packs of just chicken drumsticks near the other chicken parts.

  • Chicken Legs: You will want the skin on these. It creates that crispy outside shell that everyone loves.
  • Paprika: Adds flavor and color to the drumsticks.
  • Italian Seasoning: A perfect blend of seasoning to go right on top.
  • Brown Sugar: Adds a little bit of caramelization and sweetness to each leg.
  • Salt and Pepper: Add to taste!
  • Olive Oil: This helps the seasoning stick to the chicken and gives it a nice crisp skin once air fried.

How To Make Chicken Legs in the Air Fryer

This couldn’t get easier! Toss it all together and then hands off. No need to babysit the grill or pan. Just flip Cook the legs once and you will have dinner on the table in no time.

  1. Prep the Chicken: Pat dry the chicken legs with some paper towel. Place then in a medium sized bowl.
  2. Spice it up: In a smaller bowl combine the paprika, Italian seasoning, brown sugar, salt and pepper.
  3. Combine it: Add the olive oil to the bowl of chicken and then sprinkle with the seasonings, tossing until fully coated.
  4. Bake it: Place the chicken legs skin side down in the basket of the air fryer. Cook at 380 degrees for 10 minutes. Flip after 10 minutes and continue to cook for 7-8 more minutes until no longer pink and the internal temperature is 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Seasoning chicken legs for the air fryer.

Why You Need Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks in Your Life!

Just in case your really wondering if you should make these or not, I’m here to tell you, you do!

  • Less Mess: Air Frying drumsticks in the air fryer keeps the mess contained instead of all over your grill or stove top. Love it!
  • Fast and Easy: Cook your drumsticks in half the time and get superb results.
  • Even Cooking: The circulating air in the fryer cooks the legs evenly without over charring the outside. It’s just first-rate!
  • Healthier: With little to know oil needed, it’s a healthier way to get your protein. Especially if you are  trying keto or a low carb diet. It’s a healthy way to get that “fried” taste and texture without the oil.
  • Cheap: The last time I checked chicken legs were one of the cheapest meats you could buy, talk about eating gourmet on a budget!
  • Fun: Ok, I’ve mentioned this before but seriously air fryer chicken drumsticks are one of the most fun things to eat. So dig in!

Chicken legs ready to cook in the air fryer basket.

Tips for Air Fryer Drumsticks

You will want to make sure these are unbelievable but since you are air frying, that will be easy!

  • Know Your Air Fryer: Temperatures and timings can vary depending on your air fryer. How many chicken drumsticks you can fit will also make a difference. Be sure to check and monitor your chicken legs so you don’t overcook or undercook them. Adjust accordingly.
  • Check the Temperature: You will need to check the internal temperature to make sure these air fryer chicken legs are safe to eat. Insert a thermometer in the thickest, fleshiest part of the drumstick, making sure it’s not touching the bone. The temperature should read 165 degrees.
  • Let it Rest: It’s always a good idea to let meat rest before cutting into it. It allows the meat to reabsorb and redistribute the moisture within the meat and allows meat fibers to become more tender.

Variations for Chicken Drumsticks

The wonderful part about this air fryer recipe is that it is so customizable. Use different spices, sauces and make these chicken legs your own special legs. Just like these Air Fryer Chicken Wings, they will be just as awesome!

  • Rubs: There are so many different spices you can use for these air fryer legs. Besides taco and ranch seasoning there are a whole bunch of varieties you can mix up. Chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, ground mustard and celery seed just give you a few ideas.
  • Sauces: The air fryer chicken legs don’t need a sauce, but sometimes you just want a sauce. If you want to add a sauce to the chicken while it cooks like BBQ Sauce, wait to add it to the chicken till the last 2-3 minutes of cooking. Slather the chicken legs in BBQ sauce then finish cooking. Other sauces you’ll want to reserve for dipping. For instance Ranch dressing, Hot sauce, Cheese Sauce, YUM YUM Sauce, a honey mustard or your favorite Asian sauce all will work with these air fryer chicken legs.
  • Store: These will keep for 4-5 days in the fridge and up to 3-4 months in the freezer. To reheat the chicken legs, let them thaw in the fridge and reheat in the microwave or for a few minutes in the air fryer.

Perfectly cooked chicken legs made in the air fryer.

Let’s Make More Chicken!

Chicken is one of the best proteins out there. It is convenient, cheap and extremely customizable. It is a healthy protein when you’re trying to clean up the diet a bit and it’s one of those foods that kids always seem to like. With its mild flavor, juicy tender texture, chicken is an ideal choice for any meal. Try making one of these incredible recipes today.

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Air Fryer Chicken Legs

4.84 from 25 votes
By: Alyssa Rivers
These Air Fryer Chicken Legs is every kids' dream come true. Everyone always wants to eat the legs, especially the kiddos. With this recipe there will still be fighting over who gets the last drumstick!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 Chicken Legs



  • Pat the chicken legs with a paper towel to dry. Add them to a medium sized bowl.
  • In a small bowl combine paprika, Italian seasoning, brown sugar, and salt and pepper. Add the olive oil to the bowl of chicken and sprinkle with the seasonings and toss until fully coated.
  • Place the chicken legs skin side down in the basket of the air fryer. Cook at 380 degrees for 10 minutes. Flip after 10 minutes and continue to cook for 7-8 more minutes until no longer pink and the internal temperature is 165 degrees.



Calories: 346kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 21gFat: 28gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 120mgSodium: 400mgPotassium: 284mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 611IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 20mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic!

About Alyssa Rivers

Alyssa Rivers is the author of 'The Tried and True Cookbook', a professional food photographer and experienced recipe-developer. Having a passion for cooking, her tried and true recipes have been featured on Good Morning America, Today Food, Buzzfeed and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. I am having a hard time with the time to cook the legs are really thick and sometimes it’s longer like a lot longer than 18 min

    1. Each air fryer can cook a little differently. You can adjust the cooking time to be a bit longer to work with yours!

  2. I have a Power XL air fryer & my husband says it didn’t come with a basket. I only have the wired removable “shelves”. Can I cover them with foil to help avoid a mess? I don’t have the manual either, so I’m trying to learn how I can use the fryer. What brands of fryers come with a basket? I haven’t found one available for a Power XL & would love to have that option!

    1. Not all air fryers have a basket. I too have the power XL and it has shelves which hold more food than the basket style fryers. This is exactly why I bought it as opposed to the basket style. Put foil on the bottom tray to catch any drippings, but I wouldn’t put it on each shelf as it may restrict the heat circulation.
      Alyssa-I assume this recipe work for wings, too? Maybe a bit shorter cook time. I’m going to try it as we recently purchased a large bag of wings from Costco.
      I just discovered your website minutes ago and am anxious to try out your stuff. I think it was the lumpias on FB that caught my eye first.

      1. Thanks for the tips!! Yes, it will work for wings! The cook time will be less so just keep an eye on them. Also, the Lumpia is a MUST try!

      2. If you dont get your current one to work properly, Costco sells the xl with dual baskets! That’s what I use and it’s great. It actually fits 2 full chickens at a time of you want. It gives the choice to use both at once- or just one side. You can also do different functions and temps on each side so I do meat in one and veggies in the other and you can tell it how to cook each one then tell it to be done at the same time and the machine will do it so they finish together

  3. Do you keep the chicken directly in the basket or do we need to layer it with the aluminium foil? Please let me know.. By the way loved the recipe.. Looking forward to trying it..

  4. If I’m cooking 12 drumsticks in a countertop air fryer do I cook them longer on each side or will they be done in the same time as the instructions say?

    1. Cook them as per the instructions. Don’t layer your drumsticks on top of each other, or they will cook unevenly. Make sure to do smaller batches so that the drumsticks arent touching in the air fryer. Let me know how they turn out!

  5. 5 stars
    I’ve tried several other recipes, some were good, some not so good. Made this tonight. Recipe was simple compared to the others I tried. Honestly wasn’t expecting too much. About 5-10 minutes into cooking had everyone in the house coming to the kitchen asking how much longer. Followed recipe exactly and everyone loved it. Usually have leftovers, but not tonight! With such few indigents, it packed a lot of flavor. Definitely a keeper.

  6. 5 stars
    The simplest and yet the best air fried chicken recipe I have tried. And I have tried many, all great but this one is a the top of the list. Did not deviate from your recipe. Thank you!

  7. Does cooking time apply to a full size oven with the air fryer setting? I have an LG full size range with this option. It has been a challenge, seems different then a small counter top appliance.

    1. You should still be able to use this recipe to cook it in an oven with an air fryer setting!

  8. 5 stars
    Great, great, great! First time using my air fryer and this was the perfect trial recipe for me. But, it was so good, I will be making this as often as possible. (I will however use a little less salt, as I also used smoked paprika – my bad.) The spices were well blended, and my husband loved it – he said I didn’t cook enough of it. Thank you!

    1. My bad too..I actually used 1 t smoked paprika 1 t paprika..instead of salt & pepper..I used “Papa Joe’s Salt”..has a little of both..just a thought I’d pass along!:-)

  9. 5 stars
    This recipe is the best. Crispy and tasty. Will definitely use it again. I think the brown sugar is the key

  10. 5 stars
    Made it tonight! Half in oven, half in air fryer, legs and thighs cut in half. Had to cook a bit longer in both cases, but both were great, air fryer seemed less hassle.
    Thank you for your recipe. First time cooking I. The air fryer

  11. My diet does not allow brown sugar.
    Would the recipe work if I use all ingredients minus the brown sugar?

    1. I haven’t tried that before! The brown sugar does bring a delicious element to the recipe. If you try it without and it turns out, let me know!

  12. 5 stars
    These turned out amazing! I have been recommending to all my family and friends. I never really loved the drumstick, mainly favored other cuts, but now my mind has been changed. Thank you!!

  13. 5 stars
    Norway here – just tried your recipie in my new Ninja Foodi fryer and I made a batch up exactly as described and I have to say they were the best ever.
    Also tastes great with a Pinapple,Habanero & Rum spice mix!