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Easy Air Fryer Chicken Legs

This easy air fryer chicken legs recipe is a healthy way to get chicken drumsticks crispy on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside in 30 minutes. Air Fryer chicken legs are keto, paleo and whole30 compliant. 

air fryer chicken legs

If you’re ever wondering what to cook in your air fryer, this easy recipe is perfect for you. Traditional fried chicken found it’s new match with air fried chicken! 

Air fryers cook using hot circulating air or convection.  This means that we can get the same affect fried chicken has but much more healthy!

💗Why You’ll Love Air Fryer Chicken Legs

It will replace fried chicken with a much healthier version. Air frying chicken with the skin on produces a nice crispy chicken drumstick without all the breading and coating or any extra oil.  This is especially helpful if you are on a keto or gluten free diet.

Flavor your air fried chicken in many ways. I used a simple garlic and herb marinade, but feel free to check below for some great spice and flavor alternatives.

Chicken drumsticks are affordable.  For the most part, chicken legs and drumsticks are the most affordable part of a chicken which makes this protein budget friendly. 

You can air fry multiple chicken legs at once. Depending on the size of your air fryer basket and the size of the chicken drumsticks, you can cook as many as 6-8 at a time. 

Minimal clean up. Using an air fryer to fry chicken is essential for the person that has little time to clean up as all you have to do is clean the air fryer basket. 

Air fried chicken is also easy to clean up because you don’t have to clean up any oil or grease splatter. 

What’s The Difference Between Chicken Legs and Chicken Drumsticks?

Chicken legs could be just the drumstick OR the chicken drumstick that is attached to the chicken thigh. These terms are interchangeable although this recipe is technically only for the drumstick portion and not the drumstick and thigh together. This could also be called a chicken leg quarter. 

If you are going to make a full chicken leg with the thigh attached, add about 10 minutes or more to your cooking time and be sure to use a kitchen thermometer to make sure the chicken leg is fully cooked through by inserting in the thickest part of the chicken thigh. 

air fryer chicken legs

♨️ How To Cook Chicken In The Air Fryer:

  1. After you marinate your chicken legs, set them out at room temperature for about 15 minutes. While you do this, preheat your air fryer so it gets nice and hot. 
  2. Place chicken drumsticks in air fryer basket in an even single layer without overcrowding. 
  3. Cook for 15 minutes then flip them half way through. 
  4. Remove with tongs and serve them hot. 

🍽️ What Can I Serve With Air Fryer Chicken Legs?

These easy air fryer side dishes perfect to serve with chicken:

👉 Variations

Try out these flavors on your air fried chicken:

Tips & FAQs

  • Before cooking air fryer chicken legs, let them sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes. This will make sure that the meat has had time to rest and wont get tough going from very cold to very hot. 
  • Don’t overcrowd your air fryer basket. Make sure there is enough room for everything to cook evenly. Place chicken drumsticks in an even single layer.  This makes sure there is enough air flow to cook everything at the same time.
  • Every Air Fryer is different. I recommend making sure you have a thermometer to check if your chicken is cooked thoroughly because every air fryer is different as every oven is different.  
  • The size of your chicken legs matters. If you are using bigger drumsticks, you may need to air fry them a little longer.  If they are smaller they need to cook in less time.  Again, this is why a kitchen thermometer is very helpful. 
  • Grease air fryer before cooking. I like to spray some avocado oil in the air fryer basket because chicken skin can get stuck to the basket. Greasing it before hand helps to keep the chicken skin crispy and helps it stay on the chicken! 
What’s the best air fryer?

I have been in love with my ninja foodi for over a year. It is a pressure cooker, slow cooker, air fryer, dehydrator all in one. I am able to make foods multiple ways using the same pot like I did in this air fryer turkey breast recipe

Can I cook frozen chicken in the air fryer?

It is recommended that you defrost chicken before cooking in the air fryer. However, you can make frozen chicken in the instant pot very easily! 

What if my chicken doesn’t brown in the air fryer?

If your chicken skin doesn’t brown or get crispy in the air fryer, it could be because the air fryer basket is too crowded, there is not enough oil on the skin or because it’s not being cooked at a temperature that is hot enough. 

air fryer chicken legs

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air fryer chicken legs

Air Fryer Chicken Legs

4.4 from 33 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 3 -4 servings
Calories: 324kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs Chicken Drumsticks about 5-6 pieces
  • 2 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • ¼ tsp Paprika
  • 1.5 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 tbsp Avocado Oil

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, whisk together avocado oil, Italian seasoning, paprika, black pepper, salt and garlic powder.
  • Remove raw chicken legs from package and pat dry with paper towels. Place chicken legs in a plastic bag and add whisked garlic herb marinade. Close bag and distribute marinade evenly on the chicken legs. Leave to marinate in fridge for a minimum of 2 hours or up to 24 hours.
  • When you’re ready to cook the chicken drumsticks, take out of fridge and let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes to take the chill off. During this time, preheat air fryer to 400 degrees and grease air fryer basket.
  • Add marinated chicken legs to air fryer basket in a single layer being sure to not overcrowd the basket.
  • Cook for 15 minutes, flip halfway through and cook an additional 15 minutes until drumsticks are cooked all the way through reaching an internal temperature of 165 F.

Notes

What’s the best air fryer? I have been in love with my ninja foodi for over a year. It is a pressure cooker, slow cooker, air fryer, dehydrator all in one. I am able to make foods multiple ways using the same pot like I did in this air fryer turkey breast recipe
Before cooking air fryer chicken legs, let them sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes. This will make sure that the meat has had time to rest and wont get tough going from very cold to very hot. 
Don’t overcrowd your air fryer basket. Make sure there is enough room for everything to cook evenly. Place chicken drumsticks in an even single layer.  This makes sure there is enough air flow to cook everything at the same time. 
Every Air Fryer is different. I recommend making sure you have a thermometer to check if your chicken is cooked thoroughly because every air fryer is different as every oven is different. 
The size of your chicken legs matters. If you are using bigger drumsticks, you may need to air fry them a little longer.  If they are smaller they need to cook in less time.  Again, this is why a kitchen thermometer is very helpful. 
Grease air fryer before cooking. I like to spray some avocado oil in the air fryer basket because chicken skin can get stuck to the basket. Greasing it before hand helps to keep the chicken skin crispy and helps it stay on the chicken! 
Can I cook frozen chicken in the air fryer? It is recommended that you defrost chicken before cooking in the air fryer. However, you can make frozen chicken in the instant pot very easily! 
What if my chicken doesn’t brown in the air fryer? If your chicken skin doesn’t brown or get crispy in the air fryer, it could be because the air fryer basket is too crowded, there is not enough oil on the skin or because it’s not being cooked at a temperature that is hot enough. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 324kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 192mg | Sodium: 537mg

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6 Comments

    1. Hi, Julie! Yes, the marinade is thick. However, a little bit goes a long way. For a thinner marinade, you can mix in a tablespoon or two of chicken broth, water, or soy sauce. -Krista (Team Thyme & JOY)

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