These Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks are beautifully crispy, super easy to make and can be seasoned however you like. They make a great lunch or dinner any day of the week and come out nothing short of perfect every single time. Thank you Air Fryer!!!
I’ve either lived with my parents – where I was lucky enough to be fed delicious home cooked meals on the daily that I never had to worry or even think about cooking myself until I moved out. Or, I’ve lived in small Toronto condos or spaces with not enough room to comfortably have a freezer other than the small one attached to the fridge (aka not big enough to hold everything I want it to). Now that I actually live in a house (arguably with a lot more space than the boyfriend and I need), my deep freezer is one of my most loved, can’t live without, things that I currently own (is this 32??). I always make sure to keep it stocked to the brim with a selection of meats and seafood that’ll make up some guaranteed delicious dinners.
And one thing you can always bet to find in my deep freezer is chicken drumsticks. They’re just so easy to whip up, go well with virtually any side dish and you can constantly change up the seasoning so it feels like you’re eating something completely different every single time.
Along with my deep freezer, my other most prized kitchen possession has got to be my air fryer. And I really hope you’ve also jumped on the air fryer bandwagon by this point. I mean, there’s just so much you can do with it. Like make the crispiest french fries on the planet. Or make pub style chicken wings right in the comfort of your own home. You can perfectly cook up some spaghetti squash in half the time you can in the oven. And you can even flawlessly cook things like chicken breast, meatloaf and brussels sprouts.
There ain’t no limit to what you can do with air fryers. And since getting mine, I must admit that I hardly turn on the oven anymore. Sure, oven baked chicken drumsticks are also delicious, don’t get me wrong. But there’s just something about the added crispiness and simplicity of using an air fryer that just hits different. You feel me? I guarantee that these Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks will soon earn their spot at the top of your favourite ways to cook them.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE AIR FRYER CHICKEN DRUMSTICKS
So simple and quick to make, these Air Fried Chicken Drumsticks are always a hit with the entire family. Let’s discuss exactly what you’re going to need to make this easy weeknight dinner in a little bit more detail down below:
- Chicken Drumsticks: Well, duh! You can’t make Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks without the drumsticks! Drumsticks can be tricky to cook because of the tendons they have between the meat and the bone. Therefore, you have to really make sure to cook them well (I even like to overcook them a bit) to get rid of that tendon that can easily ruin your entire meal. Try to get drumsticks that are all the same size in order to ensure even cooking in the same amount of time. Skin on chicken drumsticks work best in this recipe as it’ll crisp up perfectly in the air fryer.
- Olive Oil: Adds flavour, helps the drumsticks crisp up perfectly in the air fryer and helps the seasonings stick to the drumsticks. You can use a different oil (such as avocado) or fat, such as butter or bacon grease, instead if you prefer.
- Homemade Chicken Seasoning: For this Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks recipe, I used my Homemade Chicken Seasoning. It’s super easy to make with basic pantry spices you probably already have on hand. It’s the perfect balance of smoky and sweet and a great match for these chicken drumsticks. However, as previously mentioned, you can go with whatever kind of seasoning or spice blend that tickles your fancy! Try them with my homemade Taco Seasoning next! Don’t be afraid to switch it up from time to time! These Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks are even great with just some salt and pepper.
HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN DRUMSTICKS IN THE AIR FRYER (KEY TIPS)
You can find full instructions for how to make these Crispy Air Fryer Drumsticks in the recipe card down below. But here are a few quick tips to keep in mind:
- Get drumsticks that are all the same size in order to ensure even cooking in the same amount of time. Please note that cooking time may vary depending on the size of your drumsticks.
- Pat the chicken drumsticks dry with a clean paper towel before seasoning with the oil and spices. This will absorb some of their excess moisture making them extra crispy as they cook in the air fryer.
- Be generous with the seasoning. You really want to make sure you coat each drumstick completely no matter the kind of seasoning you choose to use. Use your hands to really rub it in, especially underneath the skin! Remember, seasoning = flavour. EXTRA TIP: If using a blended seasoning, be sure to premix it in a bowl before pouring it onto the chicken. This will ensure that all of the flavours are evenly distributed.
- Don’t overcrowd the air fryer basket or tray. The drumsticks need some space to “breathe” and for the air to circulate. That’s how they cook evenly and crisp up all the way around. Work in batches if you have to.
- Flip the chicken drumsticks halfway through to ensure even cooking on both sides. There are some exceptions to this rule. If you’re using a tray that has holes and your air fryer has 360° circulation, you don’t have to flip them.
- Know your air fryer. While air fryers are a thing of beauty when it comes to cooking in the kitchen, they’re all different. Knowing how to work yours will ensure you get perfectly cooked and crispy drumsticks every single time. Temperature, settings and timings may vary from air fryer to air fryer. For example, my air fryer doesn’t need to preheat but yours might have to.
- Drumsticks can be tricky to cook because of the tendons they have between the meat and the bone. Therefore, you have to really make sure to cook them well. This will help get rid of that tendon that can easily ruin your entire meal. I even like to overcook them a bit. EXTRA TIP: Use your judgement on whether your drumsticks are done or not. We like ours on the crispy side. I purposely add a few extra minutes to the cooking time in order to achieve this. An instant read thermometer should register at least 165° when inserted into the thickest part of the chicken without touching the bone. But, personally, I prefer them with an internal temperature closer to 175°F.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How long drumsticks take to cook in an air fryer really depends on the kind of air fryer you have, how big your drumsticks are and how crispy you want them. They should take anywhere from 20-30 minutes at 400°F. I purposely give mine a few extra minutes. I want to ensure the tendon between the meat and bone is fully cooked and no longer tough. Use an instant read thermometer to check for doneness. They’re done when it registers at 165°F when inserted into the thickest part of the chicken without touching any bone (but I personally enjoy them closer to 175°F).
Whether or not you have to flip drumsticks in an air fryer depends on the make and model of your air fryer. Most of the time, you will have to flip the drumsticks halfway through to ensure even cooking. However, some air fryers have 360° air circulation. In conjunction with a tray that has holes in it (also for circulation purposes) you wouldn’t have to flip the drumsticks to get them to cook evenly all the way throughout.
However, if you don’t own one with 360° air circulation or your drumsticks are on a tray with no holes, you will have to flip them to ensure even cooking. Knowing your air fryer will always give you the best results, no matter what you’re cooking!
If stored in an airtight container and kept in the fridge, these Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks will last 3-4 days. Simply reheat back in the air fryer or the oven or microwave when ready to eat again.
One of the reasons I just love having chicken drumsticks for dinner is that they go with virtually any side dish! Serve them up with a simple salad such as this Kale Caesar Salad, this Spicy Asian Cucumber Salad or this Creamy Broccoli and Bacon Salad. You can’t go wrong with potatoes dishes such as these Spinach Mashed Potatoes, Oven Baked Potato Wedges or Greek Style Roasted Potatoes. And of course, any veggie is like a match made in Heaven for these Air Fried Chicken Drumsticks. Here are some of my favs: Easy Grilled Cabbage Steaks, Simple Sautéed Zucchini, 10 minute Garlic Spinach or Maple and Bacon Brussels Sprouts.
- 10 Chicken Drumsticks
- 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/4 cup Homemade Chicken Seasoning*
- Pat the chicken dry with a clean paper towel.
- Drizzle with the olive oil. Add the seasoning and use your hands to make sure that each drumstick is completely coated, including underneath the skin.
- Arrange in a single layer in the air fryer tray or basket (I lined mine with parchment paper for easier clean up). Air fry at 400° for 20-30 minutes (or until you reach your desired crispiness), flipping halfway through. An instant read thermometer will register at least 165°F when they're done.
You can switch it up and use whatever kind of seasoning you prefer.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 5 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 394Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 231mgSodium: 179mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 44g
Nutrition is only an estimate and calculated using Nutritionix.
NO AIR FRYER? NO PROBLEM. TRY MY OVEN BAKED CHICKEN DRUMSTICKS RECIPE INSTEAD!
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