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Air Fryer Fried Chicken Drumsticks

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Juicy and crunchy Air Fryer Fried Chicken Drumsticks are a healthier alternative to fried chicken drumsticks. You have that same crunchy battered coating that makes you weak in the knees. Take these air fryer chicken drumsticks straight from the Air Fryer and bursting with amazing flavor in every single bite. 

I love fried chicken, but I also hate all the grease and oil used. I wanted to create a homemade Air Fryer Fried Chicken recipe that would eliminate the oil in the recipe. This recipe uses no oil to fry in, just the hot air that circulates all around the chicken in the Air Fryer to give you that crispy and crunchy texture like fried chicken. 

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Air Fryer Fried Chicken Drumsticks

I also love how the Air Fryer preheats so much faster, so I can have dinner on the table a lot quicker. Also, if you own a Ninja Foodi, you can also use that, on the Air Fryer setting. Both machines will work great at air frying your chicken exactly how you want it to be. 

Air Fryer Fried Chicken Drumsticks

What Will You Love About Air Fryer Fried Chicken Drumsticks

  1. Juicy and Tender: Air fryers cook food quickly and evenly, sealing in the moisture and juices of the chicken drumsticks. As a result, you’ll enjoy drumsticks that are succulent and tender on the inside, while still being crispy on the outside.

  2. Healthier Option: Air frying requires significantly less oil than traditional frying methods, making it a healthier alternative. With air fryer fried chicken drumsticks, you can enjoy the indulgence of fried chicken with less guilt.

  3. Quick and Easy: Air fryer fried chicken drumsticks are quick and easy to prepare, making them perfect for busy weeknights or when you’re craving a delicious meal without spending hours in the kitchen. Simply season the drumsticks, pop them in the air fryer, and let it do the work for you.

  4. Versatility: You can customize the seasoning and flavor of your air fryer fried chicken drumsticks to suit your taste preferences. Whether you prefer classic salt and pepper, spicy Cajun seasoning, or tangy barbecue rub, the options are endless.

  5. Family-Friendly: Fried chicken drumsticks are a family favorite that appeals to both kids and adults alike. They make a great option for family dinners, parties, or picnics, and are sure to be a hit with everyone at the table.

  6. Less Mess: Air fryers are designed to contain any splatters or drips during the cooking process, resulting in less mess to clean up afterward compared to traditional frying methods. This means less time spent scrubbing pots and pans and more time enjoying your meal.

air fryer fried chicken drumsticks

What Is The Advantage To Air Frying Drumsticks vs Frying Them

Air frying drumsticks offers several advantages over traditional frying:

  1. Healthier Option: Air frying requires little to no oil compared to deep frying, making it a healthier cooking method. With air frying, you can achieve crispy and golden drumsticks without the excess oil and calories.

  2. Less Mess: Air frying produces less mess compared to deep frying. There’s no need for large amounts of oil, which can splatter and create a mess on your stovetop or countertop. Air frying is contained within the appliance, resulting in easier cleanup.

  3. Faster Cooking Time: Air frying typically cooks food faster than traditional frying methods. Drumsticks cooked in an air fryer usually take less time to cook compared to deep frying, making it a convenient option for quick meals or busy weeknights.

  4. Even Cooking: Air frying provides even heat distribution, ensuring that drumsticks are cooked thoroughly and evenly on all sides. The circulating hot air in the air fryer basket cooks the drumsticks from all angles, resulting in crispy skin and juicy meat.

  5. Versatility: Air fryers can be used for a variety of cooking methods, including frying, baking, roasting, and grilling. This versatility allows you to prepare a wide range of dishes using the same appliance, making it a convenient and space-saving option for your kitchen.

Overall, air frying drumsticks offers a healthier, cleaner, and faster cooking alternative to traditional frying methods, while still delivering delicious and crispy results.

Air Fryer Fried Chicken Drumsticks

Can I Use Other Cuts Of Chicken For This Fried Chicken Recipe 

Yes. Feel free to use wings, thighs, breasts, or whatever you prefer. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time to the size of your chicken. I recommend using a meat thermometer to ensure your chicken reaches the appropriate internal temperature. 

Air Fryer Fried Chicken Drumsticks

How to Make Air Fryer Fried Chicken Drumsticks

Ingredients

  • 6-8 Chicken legs
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp. cajun seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp. black pepper
  • 2 cups of Panko crumbs
  • 4 eggs beaten

Instructions

  • Stir together panko, cayenne pepper, cajun seasoning, salt, and pepper,

  • In a separate small bowl, beat your eggs until fully mixed.

  • Add chicken (two pieces at a time), to the egg mixture and coat evenly on both sides.

  • Now place the chicken into panko crumbs crumbs

  • Set each one aside once coated in panko crumbs.
  • Air fry chicken on a power level high or 380 for 25 minutes.

  • For thicker / larger chicken legs it may need 4-5 minutes longer. (make sure the internal temperature is 165 degrees)
  • Let chicken rest with the top on or door closed for 1-2 minutes.

  • Enjoy!

Air Fryer Fried Chicken Drumsticks

 

What To Serve With Air Fried Chicken 

Serve up any of your favorite fried chicken sides. We love a handful of recipes, and I will share them below for you to consider! 

Air Fryer Fried Chicken Drumsticks

As you can see you can reach for truly any side that fits your fancy. Depending on what I have on hand will depend on what gets served up. 

Air Fryer Fried Chicken Drumsticks

Can I Stack Chicken In The Air Fryer 

No. You need to ensure you leave room in between each piece of chicken. The reason being is the Air Fryer heats up and circulates hot air to cook and crisp up the chicken. If you have pieces of chicken touching it will stay gooey and uncooked. So make sure to never have any pieces of chicken touching each other. Batch cook if you need be. 

Air Fryer Fried Chicken Drumsticks

How to Make This In The Oven

To make chicken drumsticks using this recipe in the oven, follow these steps:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  2. In a shallow dish, mix together the Panko crumbs, cayenne pepper, Cajun seasoning, salt, and black pepper.
  3. In a separate shallow dish, beat the eggs until fully mixed.
  4. Dip each chicken drumstick into the beaten eggs, coating them evenly on both sides.
  5. Then, dredge the chicken drumsticks in the seasoned Panko crumbs, pressing gently to adhere the crumbs to the chicken.
  6. Place the coated chicken drumsticks on the prepared baking sheet, leaving space between each piece.
  7. Bake the chicken drumsticks in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, or until they are golden brown and crispy, and the internal temperature reaches 165°F (75°C) when tested with a meat thermometer.
  8. If using thicker or larger chicken legs, you may need to bake them for an additional 5-10 minutes, depending on their size.
  9. Once cooked through, remove the chicken drumsticks from the oven and let them rest for a few minutes before serving.

Enjoy your crispy oven-baked chicken drumsticks!

air fryer fried chicken drumsticks

How to Store Leftover Air Fried Chicken 

Store any leftovers you may have in the fridge for up to three days. It is best fresh but still tastes okay when eaten cold or reheated. It will lose some of the crunch factor, but that is to be expected. 

Air Fryer Fried Chicken Drumsticks

Best Way To Reheat Air Fried Chicken 

I like to place it on a baking sheet and pop it into the oven at 350 degrees. Then I heat it until it is warmed all the way through. This helps to preserve that crunchy texture on the outside. Or if you want fast, toss it in the microwave. It will soften the outside a bit, but it still, tastes delicious.

Air Fryer Fried Chicken Drumsticks

How Much Healthier are Air Fried Chicken Drumsticks vs Fried Chicken Drumsticks

Air frying is generally considered a healthier cooking method compared to deep frying because it uses hot air circulation to cook food, requiring much less oil than traditional frying methods. Here are some points to consider when comparing air-fried chicken drumsticks to fried chicken drumsticks:

  1. Lower Fat Content: Air frying requires only a small amount of oil compared to deep frying, resulting in lower fat content in the cooked food. This can contribute to a reduction in overall calorie intake.

  2. Reduced Calories: Since less oil is used in air frying, the calorie content of the food is lower compared to deep-fried versions. This can be beneficial for those looking to manage their calorie intake.

  3. Less Acrylamide Formation: Deep frying at high temperatures can lead to the formation of acrylamide, a potentially harmful substance. Air frying, which typically cooks at lower temperatures, may reduce the formation of acrylamide.

  4. Retained Nutrients: Air frying may better preserve the nutrients in the food compared to deep frying, as the cooking process is generally shorter and involves less exposure to high temperatures.

  5. Crispy Texture: While air-fried foods can have a crispy texture similar to deep-fried foods, they may not be as crispy. However, many people still find air-fried foods to be satisfying.

It’s important to note that the overall healthiness of the dish also depends on factors such as the quality of the ingredients used, the seasoning, and the rest of your diet. While air frying is a healthier option, it’s essential to maintain a balanced and varied diet for overall well-being.

Keep in mind that individual health considerations may vary, and it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or a nutritionist for personalized advice based on your specific health goals and needs.

air fryer fried chicken drumsticks

Tips & Tricks

  1. Preheat the Air Fryer: Preheat your air fryer for a few minutes before adding the drumsticks. This helps ensure that the air fryer is hot and ready to cook the chicken evenly from the start.

  2. Season the Chicken Well: Season the drumsticks generously with your favorite spices and seasonings. Consider using a combination of salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and any other herbs or spices you prefer for extra flavor.

  3. Coat the Chicken: For extra crispy skin, coat the drumsticks in a thin layer of oil before seasoning them. You can use a cooking spray or brush the drumsticks with a small amount of oil. This helps promote even browning and crisping during cooking.

  4. Use Parchment Paper: To prevent the chicken from sticking to the air fryer basket and to make cleanup easier, consider lining the basket with parchment paper before adding the drumsticks.

  5. Arrange the Drumsticks Properly: Arrange the drumsticks in a single layer in the air fryer basket, making sure they are not touching or overlapping. This allows for optimal air circulation and ensures that the chicken cooks evenly.

  6. Cook in Batches: Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may need to cook the drumsticks in batches to avoid overcrowding the basket. Overcrowding can result in uneven cooking and soggy chicken.

  7. Flip the Drumsticks: Halfway through the cooking time, flip the drumsticks using tongs to ensure that they cook evenly on all sides. This helps achieve crispy skin all around.

  8. Check for Doneness: Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken. Drumsticks are safe to eat when they reach an internal temperature of 165°F (75°C). If necessary, continue cooking until the desired temperature is reached.

  9. Rest Before Serving: Allow the cooked drumsticks to rest for a few minutes before serving. This helps the juices redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in juicier chicken.

  10. Serve with Dipping Sauce: Serve the air fryer fried chicken drumsticks with your favorite dipping sauce, such as barbecue sauce, ranch dressing, honey mustard, or hot sauce, for extra flavor and enjoyment.

With these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to make delicious and crispy air fryer fried chicken drumsticks that are sure to be a hit with your family and friends!

Air Fryer Fried Chicken Drumsticks

FAQ’s

  1. How long does it take to cook chicken drumsticks in the air fryer? Cooking times can vary depending on the size of the drumsticks and the temperature of your air fryer. Generally, chicken drumsticks take about 20-25 minutes to cook at 375°F (190°C) in the air fryer. However, it’s always best to use a meat thermometer to ensure that the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (75°C) for safety.

  2. Do I need to flip the chicken drumsticks in the air fryer? Yes, it’s recommended to flip the chicken drumsticks halfway through the cooking process to ensure even browning and crisping on all sides. Use tongs to carefully turn the drumsticks over, being mindful not to damage the skin.

  3. Should I use bone-in or boneless chicken drumsticks for air frying? Either bone-in or boneless chicken drumsticks can be used for air frying. Bone-in drumsticks tend to have more flavor and juiciness, while boneless drumsticks may cook slightly faster. Choose the option that you prefer or based on availability.

  4. Can I bread or coat the chicken drumsticks before air frying? Yes, you can bread or coat the chicken drumsticks before air frying for extra crispiness. Use a standard breading process with flour, egg wash, and breadcrumbs or seasoned flour. Alternatively, you can marinate the drumsticks in buttermilk or a seasoned mixture before cooking.

  5. How do I prevent the chicken from sticking to the air fryer basket? To prevent the chicken from sticking to the air fryer basket, consider lining the basket with parchment paper or lightly greasing it with cooking spray before adding the drumsticks. This will help ensure that the chicken cooks evenly and doesn’t stick to the basket.

  6. Can I season the chicken drumsticks before cooking? Yes, seasoning the chicken drumsticks before cooking is recommended for added flavor. You can use a variety of spices and seasonings, such as salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and herbs. Rub the seasonings onto the drumsticks before placing them in the air fryer.

  7. How do I know when the chicken drumsticks are done cooking? Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken drumsticks. They are safe to eat when they reach an internal temperature of 165°F (75°C). Additionally, the chicken should be golden brown and crispy on the outside.

These FAQs should help address common queries about making air fryer fried chicken drumsticks. Enjoy cooking and savoring this delicious and crispy dish!

Air Fryer Fried Chicken Drumsticks

 
 
 
Air Fryer Fried Chicken Drumsticks

Air Fryer Fried Chicken Drumsticks

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Additional Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 32 minutes

Juicy and crunchy Air Fryer Fried Chicken Drumsticks are a healthier alternative to fried chicken drumsticks. You have that same crunchy battered coating that makes you weak in the knees. Straight from the Air Fryer and bursting with amazing flavor in every single bite. 

Ingredients

  • 6-8 Chicken legs
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp. cajun seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp. black pepper
  • 2 cups of Panko crumbs
  • 4 eggs beaten

Instructions

  1. Stir together panko, cayenne pepper, cajun seasoning, salt and pepper,
  2. In a separate small bowl, beat your eggs until fully mixed.
  3. Add chicken (two pieces at a time), to egg mixture and coat evenly on both sides.
  4. Now place the chicken into panko crumbs crumbs
  5. Set each one aside once coated in panko crumbs.
  6. Air fry chicken on power level high or 380 for 25 minutes.
  7. For thicker / larger chicken legs it may need 4-5 minutes longer. (make sure the internal temperature is 165 degrees)
  8. Let chicken rest with top on or door closed for 1-2 minutes.
  9. Enjoy!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 826Total Fat: 36gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 561mgSodium: 1580mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 92g
Air Fryer Fried Chicken Drumsticks

Meet Melissa, the creative mind behind Sparkles to Sprinkles, where imagination thrives and joy abounds. A proud Jersey girl who fell in love with a New York boy, Melissa is a dedicated mom to four boys and a few fur babies. Her journey into blogging began when she chose to stay home and nurture her children. Formerly a workaholic, Melissa found solace and passion in blogging, inspired by her mother-in-law’s culinary prowess. Through family recipes and cooking classes, Melissa honed her skills, often attending with her son Michael, who shares her love for cooking. Her blog showcases diverse recipes, from beloved family classics to global cuisines, featuring her expertise with kitchen appliances like the Instant Pot and air fryer. Join Melissa on her culinary journey, where tried-and-true favorites meet exciting new discoveries!

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7 Comments

  1. This is a really good recipe. I added a little regular mustard to the eggs and it gives it a nice extra flavour. Thanks.

  2. I used thighs, and served with collard greens. The chicken was crunchy, delicious, and juicy! Thanks!

  3. 4 eggs for 6-8 legs is more than I’d have needed for 12 legs, so i used only 2 eggs (especially is 2022 egg prices!) and was out of Panko crumbs so used a mix of Italian breadcrumbs and crushes potato chips and it was very good. Flipped chicken legs twice in the air fryer and it was decently crunchy. Bookmarked

    1. Made this recipe and definitely 4 eggs are a waste. Used 2 eggs and was more than sufficient. Delicious otherwise

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