These Air Fryer Chicken legs are super easy to make and result in incredibly juicy chicken drumsticks covered in a crispy skin that is coated in a delicious spice rub! This is the perfect recipe when you are needing dinner to be fast, easy and flavorful!

You can serve these crispy drumsticks with Air Fryer Waffle Fries, Air Fryer Potato Wedges or Citrus Summer Salad for a refreshing option. For an oven recipe, try my Oven Baked Chicken Legs or try my Air Fryer Chicken Tenders for another air fryer chicken recipe. 

Golden crispy Air Fryer Chicken Legs on a white plate on a white textured background.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Super moist drumsticks in air fryer. I was incredibly surprised at how moist these chicken legs are! The air fryer cooks them perfectly without loosing that delicious moisture in the meat. 
  • Crispy exterior. These crispy air fryer chicken legs do not disappoint! The outside is nice and crispy thanks to the seasoning rub and the air frying method. It’s the perfect combination to create crispy air fryer chicken drumsticks!
  • Easy dinner recipe. You’ll want to keep this easy recipe on hand for those nights when dinner has gotten away from you. Air fryer drumsticks are easy to prepare and quick to cook up! 

Ingredient Notes

Air Fryer Chicken Legs ingredients portioned into glass bowls: chicken drumsticks, paprika, olive oil, salt, Italian seasoning, and brown sugar.
  • Chicken Legs: Make sure the chicken legs are completely thawed. 
  • Olive Oil: The olive oil helps the seasonings stick to the skin of the chicken legs. 
  • Paprika: You can use smoked paprika for a smoky flavor. 
  • Italian Seasoning: This blend of spices adds a nice complement to the paprika and really brings out a nice flavor to the chicken skin. 
  • Brown Sugar: The bit of brown sugar helps to caramelize the outside, creating a nice and crispy texture. 

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Coat chicken with oil. Add the chicken legs to a medium sized bowl and drizzle the olive oil on top. 
Olive oil being poured overtop chicken drumsticks that are in a glass bowl.
  1. Add seasonings. Add the paprika, Italian seasoning, brown sugar, salt, and pepper overtop and toss until fully coated. 
  1. Place chicken drumsticks in air fryer. Place the chicken legs skin side down in the air fryer basket. Air fry at 380°F for 18-20 minutes, turning halfway through. Cook until the internal temperature of the chicken legs reads 165°F on a meat thermometer. 

Recipe Tips

Turning the air fryer chicken drumsticks halfway through will help get an even cook and help all sides of the chicken get crispy.

You can mix up the seasonings if you’d like! 

To help get an even crispier result, pat the chicken dry prior to drizzling with olive oil. 

You can scale this dinner up to feed more, just be sure to not overcrowd the air fryer basket! You may need to do another batch if you need more. 

Make sure the air fryer chicken legs are in a single layer and do not touch each other (no piling or stacking chicken). 

Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing

Make the chicken seasoning ahead of time by combining the spices and brown sugar and storing in a ziplock bag or container at room temperature. 

Store any leftover air fryer chicken legs in an airtight container or Ziplock bag in the fridge for 2-3 days. 

If wanting to freeze, I recommend removing the chicken from the bone and placing the shredded chicken in an airtight container or Ziplock bag in the freezer for 1-2 months. Thaw this to use in additional recipes. 

Recipe FAQs

Can I put raw chicken in an air fryer?

Yes you can! It cooks up nicely. Just be sure to clean your air fryer basket/tray (according to the manufacturer’s instructions) and anything else that could have been in contact with the raw chicken/any raw chicken juice. 

How long does it take to cook chicken in an air fryer?

The cooking time will very depending on the temperature, but it should take about 20 minutes. 

Can I use chicken thighs or chicken breasts?

Yes you can. This is an air fryer chicken drumsticks recipe, but you can air fry chicken breasts and chicken thighs. For air fryer chicken breast to thighs, you want to consult with your manufacturer’s instructions for recommendations on temperature and cook time.

Golden and crispy Air Fryer Chicken Legs on a white plate garnished with fresh parsley.

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Close up photo of crispy Air Fryer Chicken Legs garnished with parsley, on a white plate.
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Air Fryer Chicken Legs

Crispy air fryer drumsticks are so easy to make! We keep the seasoning simple and add paprika, Italian seasoning, and some brown sugar to bring out subtle sweetness. These chicken legs cook up crisp on the outside but stay really moist on the inside. The perfect dinner when you need something fast, easy, and flavorful!
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 25 mins
Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients
 

  • 6 chicken legs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons paprika - can use regular or smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Instructions
 

  • Add the chicken legs to a medium sized bowl. 
  • Drizzle the olive oil overtop of the chicken legs. 
  • Sprinkle the paprika, Italian seasoning, brown sugar, salt, and pepper overtop and toss until fully coated. 
  • Place the chicken legs (skin side down) in the air fryer basket. Air Fry at 380°F for 18-20 minutes, turning half way through. Cook until internal temperature is 165°F. 
  • Remove and serve immediately.

Notes

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days. 
Serve with Air Fryer Waffle Fries.

Nutrition

Calories: 323kcal (16%)Carbohydrates: 2g (1%)Protein: 21g (42%)Fat: 25g (38%)Saturated Fat: 6g (30%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 120mg (40%)Sodium: 497mg (21%)Potassium: 286mg (8%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 1g (1%)Vitamin A: 456IU (9%)Vitamin C: 1mg (1%)Calcium: 23mg (2%)Iron: 1mg (6%)
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
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