Air fryer chicken legs – tender meat and crispy skin, flavorful and ready to be served in no time at all. Rub the legs with some spices, turn on the air fryer, and 20 minutes later dinner is served.
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We love chicken legs, either oven-baked drumsticks, chicken thighs, drumsticks on the stove, or whole chicken quarters. Roasting them in the oven is easy and the results are always delicious. So why use the air-fryer, you might ask?
Because is fast, faster than the oven and the results are just as juicy, crispy, and delicious. I only have the air-fryer for a couple of months now, but I just love it and use it at least every other day, sometimes every day for 3-4 days in a row...
I find it particularly enjoyable now, in summer, when I really don't like having the oven turned on when the kitchen is already too hot as it is. Check out these Air-Fryer Zucchini as well, they are so amazingly crispy.
What do you need?
- Main ingredient: the chicken legs or drumsticks.
- My Kessner XXL Air Fryer can hold 8 chicken legs in its basket, which is quite enough for our family.
- Spices: salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, sweet and smoked paprika.
If you want a really basic recipe, salt and pepper will be enough and the chicken legs will still taste great. Otherwise, use any spice combination you like (and add salt and pepper when not included in the spice mixture):
- poultry seasoning of choice
- lemon pepper
- ground cumin + ground coriander + a touch of cinnamon
- add chili powder or flakes for really spicy drumsticks
How to make them?
- Preheat the air-fryer. Mine definitely needs preheating, but there are some which don't. Make sure you know your gadget before using it.
- Prepare the chicken legs while the air-fryer is preheating. Place them in a bowl, drizzle with the oil and rub well. Sprinkle the spice mixture on top and rub well to make sure that the drumsticks are coated all over.
- Cook. Place the chicken parts in the fryer in one layer. Cook for 10 minutes, flip using tongs, and cook for further 10 minutes.
- You never have to wash the chicken, but you should still pat it dry with kitchen paper before you add the oil and the spices. That makes the skin even crispier.
- Place the chicken parts in a single layer in the basket, this way they will cook evenly.
- Check the internal temperature, the safe temperature is 74 degrees Celsius/ 165 degrees Fahrenheit. I usually cook the legs to reach a temperature of about 80-82 degrees Celsius/ 175-180 degrees Fahrenheit. Stick the thermometer into the thickest part of a drumstick.
- If you don't have a thermometer, stick a toothpick into the thickest part of the leg, the juices should run clear.
Glazed chicken legs?
- This recipe is a very simple one, just the drumsticks, and the spices.
- You could bring it a bit further by glazing the drumsticks towards the end of the cooking time.
- Either brush them with your favorite barbecue sauce or try my mixture:
1 tablespoon soy sauce + 1 tablespoon Worcester sauce + 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard + 1 tablespoon ketchup + 1 tablespoon honey + ½ teaspoon garlic powder + ½ teaspoon smoked paprika + some salt (smoked salt, if you happen to have it) + some black pepper.
- I just love this mixture, I use all the time with slight changes here and there. Great for air fryer ribs or eggplants, for instance.
- If you decide to glaze the drumsticks, only season them lightly with salt and pepper at the beginning.
- Five minutes before the cooking time is up, brush the chicken with the glaze and continue cooking.
- In this case the drumsticks will not be that crispy anymore, but the flavor and the stickiness is just amazing.
For the crispiest version of the drumsticks, serve them immediately.
Serve with oven potato wedges, fries or garlic smashed potatoes, for instance.
Or just some crusty bread if you don't feel like cooking anything else.
And with a green salad with yogurt dressing or white cabbage salad or Shopska salad, which is a delicious Croatian chopped vegetable salad topped with feta.
You can also enjoy them cooled, so they are perfect for the lunch box or for a picnic.
Leftover meat can be used to add to salads or soups, for instance.
Leftovers can definitely be reheated, I do it all the time.
Place them in the air fryer again and heat for about 5 minutes or until heated through.
The skin might not be that crispy anymore, but the chicken legs will still be delicious.
More chicken legs
Air Fryer Chicken Legs
- 8 chicken drumsticks
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder Note
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon sweet paprika powder
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika powder
- a pinch of pure chili powder optional and to taste
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat the air fryer to 190 degrees Celsius/ 370 degrees Fahrenheit. Mine does that in 3 minutes.
- Rub legs: In the meantime, mix all the spices in a small bowl or cup. Place the drumsticks in a bowl and drizzle with the oil. Rub well. Sprinkle the spices on top and rub again to coat the chicken all over. Place the drumsticks in the basket.
- Cook for 10 minutes at the same temperature.
- Flip carefully and continue cooking for 10 minutes or until the chicken legs are cooked through and crispy.
- Check the internal temperature with a digital thermometer, the safe temperature is 74 degrees Celsius/ 165 degrees Fahrenheit, but you can go up to 80-82 degrees Celsius/ 175-180 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don't have a thermometer, stick a toothpick into the thickest part of the leg, the juices should run clear.
- You can also glaze the chicken legs. Season them only with salt and pepper at the beginning. 5 minutes before the cooking time is over, brush them all over with Bbq sauce or another glaze.
- My suggestion: mix 1 tablespoon soy sauce + 1 tablespoon Worcester sauce + 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard + 1 tablespoon ketchup + 1 tablespoon honey + ½ teaspoon garlic powder + ½ teaspoon smoked paprika + some salt (smoked salt, if you happen to have it) + some black pepper.
- It makes a little more than you need, but it keeps well in the fridge for 2-3 days, and you can use it to glaze other things, like ribs or eggplants.