Today’s air fryer chicken legs recipe is a quick and easy guide to an explosion of goodness.
Juicy and tasty chicken drumsticks are seasoned with an aromatic blend of spices and fried to golden perfection. Using the air circulation system, they’re made crispy on the outside while remaining succulent on the inside in a matter of 25 minutes.
Are Air Fryer Chicken Legs Healthy?
Chicken legs, or drumsticks, are one of the most affordable, customizable, and healthy sources of protein from meat. Not only are they incredibly moist and juicy, but they’re also savory and flavorful.
In today’s air fryer chicken legs recipe, we kept the chicken skin on when frying so you won’t miss out on that deep-fried chicken flavor and crispy texture. With the air-frying method, you’ll get crunchy fried chicken drumsticks with only a small amount of oil for coating and absolutely no breading.
For these reasons, this dish is undoubtedly healthier, faster, and more convenient than either pan-frying, baking, or broiling. It’s keto and low-carb compatible and put together easily within 25 minutes.
How to Season Chicken Legs
For this recipe, we season the chicken legs with a simple spice blend of garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, paprika, salt, ground black pepper, chili powder, and olive oil.
To season the chicken legs, simply mix them together in a small bowl, then use your hands to rub them evenly onto the meat. Another way to do it is to place the chicken in a large zip-top bag, add the spice mix into it, seal it, then shake them up to toss.
The addition of oil in the mix helps the seasoning stick to the meat when cooking, resulting in more flavorful, crispier chicken. Altogether, these spices give the dish a pleasant smoky barbecue aroma but without overpowering the chicken flavor.
Can You Cook Frozen Chicken Legs in the Air Fryer?
Chicken legs are juicy and full of flavor. They lend themselves very well to the air fryer.
Whether the chicken is frozen or not, you can easily create moist and tasty fried chicken using the rapid air circulation system. The air fryer will distribute the concentrated heat around the chicken pieces to cook them evenly while allowing the coating to fully absorb the flavor.
Cooking Tips for Air Fryer Chicken Legs
- Pat the chicken dry
Patting the chicken drumsticks dry with a paper towel before rubbing in the spices helps remove excess moisture. This allows the seasoning to stick to the surface better and also results in crispier skin after frying.
- Make sure the air fryer is preheated
Preheating the oven is a must, so when the chicken legs are added, the basket is already hot and ready to go. The 25-minute cooking time in this recipe includes preheating.
If your air fryer doesn’t come with a preheating mode, simply turn it on with an empty basket, and run for a few minutes before cooking.
- Adjust the temperature for crispy frying
Chicken drumsticks fry better at a high temperature. Cooking on high heat, the skin will turn brown faster while the meat remains incredibly juicy.
Frying chicken at a high temperature also helps get rid of dry meat, rubbery skin and bloody spots around the bone.
Different air fryers cook at different temperatures. So if this is your first time using a newly bought air fryer, please pay double attention when monitoring the cooking process.
- Check for doneness
You should only open the air fryer onc:e when flipping the chicken over. This is also the only chance for you to check their doneness.
Don’t keep pulling the rack out constantly, or the heat will escape, and the chicken won’t get enough hot air to cook.
Generally, chicken drumsticks are considered perfect as long as their skin is fried to a golden-brown crisp. However, sometimes it might be difficult to be 100% sure that the chicken is done just by the look of it, especially if you’re unfamiliar with air-frying.
In this case, a rapid-read digital thermometer could help. Insert it into the thickest part of the drumsticks (not touching the bone) to check if the internal temperature has reached 165℉.
- No overcrowding
Don’t stack the chicken drumsticks in the frying basket, otherwise, they won’t be able to cook evenly. It’s important to place them in a single layer to expose as much skin to the hot air as possible.
As long as they don’t lay atop each other and the air can circulate to all the corners, you’re good to go.
- Let meat rest after cooking
The chicken should be allowed to rest before tearing, cutting, or sticking a fork into it. The moisture needs some time to reabsorb into the chicken pieces and tenderize the meat even more.
How to Store and Reheat
Leftover air-fried chicken legs can last well up to 3-4 days in the fridge and 3-4 months in the freezer. As long as they’re stored in air-tight containers, you’re good to go.
To defrost and reheat, thaw the frozen chicken legs in the fridge overnight. Next, put them back into the air fryer to cook for another round, or warm them in the microwave for a couple of minutes.
To play it safe, follow our full guide on how to reheat fried chicken to retain the best taste and quality.
What to Serve With Chicken Drumsticks
These savory chicken drumsticks, bursting with aroma are easy to make and super versatile. They can pair well with pretty much anything; below is a sample meal that we made out of it for your reference.
1. Home Fries
Easy to prepare and packed with flavor, these spicy hot home fries are the perfect pair for the air-fried chicken legs. They add a healthy source of carbs to your meal, as well as mouth-watering flavors and a crispy texture.
2. Fresh Lime Juice
This fresh lime juice requires nothing more than simple ingredients and 10 minutes of whisking and stirring. It’s a refreshing drink to complement our meal since we’ve got all the essential macronutrients from the previous two dishes.
What are your thoughts on this? Please share your final result!
Air Fryer Chicken Legs Recipe
- 40 oz bone-in chicken drumstick yields 8 drumsticks
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp chili powder
- 1.5 tbsp olive oil divided
- 1/2 tsp traditional Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tbsps Japanese Mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp coriander finely chopped
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp honey
- 4 oz romaine lettuce
- 4 oz cherry tomatoes
- 1 oz red onion sliced
- 4 oz cucumber sliced
- 2 oz pistachio
- 1 oz parmesan sliced
- Preheat the air fryer to 370℉.
- Rub the 40 oz bone-in chicken drumstick with 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp Italian seasoning, 1 tsp paprika, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp ground black pepper, 1/4 tsp chili powder, and 0.5 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Place the chicken drumsticks in the air fryer basket in a single layer. Cook for 15 minutes, then pull it out, flip sides, and cook for another 10 minutes.
- While waiting, make the dipping sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard, 2 tbsp Greek yogurt, 2 tbsps Japanese Mayonnaise, and 1 tbsp coriander. Stir well.
- Make a salad dressing in another bowl: Whisk together 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar, and 1/2 tsp honey until well combined.
- Combine the vegetable mix from 4 oz romaine lettuce, 4 oz cherry tomatoes, 1 oz red onion, 4 oz cucumber, 2 oz pistachio, and 1 oz parmesan slices. Pour the salad dressing over, toss it up if desired.
- Serve the air-fried chicken drumsticks hot, with the dipping sauce and the vegetable mix on the side.