Our Air fryer chicken legs recipe is a simple and convenient method to cook chicken drumsticks. With just a few ingredients and a speedy cooking time, you can enjoy deliciously crispy and moist chicken legs. This recipe, specifically designed for the Ninja Foodi air fryer, yields a guilt-free version of fried chicken that boasts a delightful crunch and tender texture.
Chicken legs are a quick and simple recipe that is ready in under 30 minutes. It is the ideal recipe for a weeknight dinner, friend potluck, family game night or game day celebration. Between the crispy outside and tender inside, these chicken legs in the air fryer will not leave you disappointed.
- Bone-in, skin-on chicken legs: Chicken legs with the bone and skin intact work best for this recipe. The bone adds flavor and helps retain moisture, while the skin contributes to the crispy texture.
- Dry Italian seasoning mix: A packet of dry Italian seasoning mix is used to infuse the chicken legs with a blend of herbs and spices, enhancing their flavor profile. This seasoning mix typically includes ingredients like oregano, basil, thyme, garlic powder, onion powder, and sometimes red pepper flakes.
These two ingredients are all you need to create a simple yet flavorful coating for the chicken legs. The dry Italian seasoning mix adds a robust taste without the need for additional herbs and spices. It’s a time-saving and convenient way to season the chicken legs for air frying.
How To Make Chicken Legs in the Air Fryer
Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees.
While the air fryer is preheating, using a paper towel, pat the chicken legs dry. By removing the excess moisture from the chicken drumsticks, you will end up with a crispy piece of air-fried chicken!
Season both sides with a seasoning mix. I personally like to use an Italian Seasoning Mix. But, you could swap with any other dry seasoning mix.
PRO TIP: Make sure to season one side of the chicken legs, flip, then season the other side of the chicken legs.
Once the chicken legs are seasoned, place them in a single layer onto the air fryer rack or air fryer basket. Spray the top of the chicken legs with a non-stick cooking spray.
Cook for 10 minutes on one side, flip, and cook 10 more minutes on the other side.
An air fryer circulates hot air around the food with a fan. This allows you to end up with food that is fried on the outside and juicy on the inside.
PRO TIP: Make sure the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees before removing from the oven.
Tips and Tricks
Here are some tips and tricks to help you achieve the best results when cooking air fryer chicken legs:
- Pat dry the chicken legs: Before seasoning the chicken legs, make sure to pat them dry with paper towels. This helps remove any excess moisture, allowing the seasoning to adhere better and promoting crispiness.
- Use a light coating of oil: While air fryers require less oil than traditional frying methods, a light coating of oil on the chicken legs can help promote browning and crispiness. Brush or spray a small amount of oil on the chicken legs before seasoning.
- Arrange in a single layer: To ensure even cooking, arrange the chicken legs in a single layer in the air fryer basket. If necessary, cook in multiple batches to avoid overcrowding.
- Flip halfway through: To ensure that both sides of the chicken legs are evenly cooked and crispy, flip them halfway through the cooking time. This helps promote even browning.
- Monitor cooking time: Keep a close eye on the chicken legs during the cooking process. Cooking times can vary based on the size of the chicken legs and the specific air fryer model. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature, and adjust the cooking time if needed.
- Let them rest: Once the chicken legs are cooked, remove them from the air fryer and let them rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the juices to redistribute and ensures a juicier end result.
- Customize the seasoning: Feel free to experiment with different seasonings and spice blends to suit your taste preferences. You can try adding smoked paprika, chili powder, or your favorite herbs and spices to create unique flavor profiles.
Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t be afraid to adjust cooking times and techniques based on your own air fryer and personal preferences.
The cooking time for chicken legs in an air fryer typically ranges from 20 to 25 minutes at a temperature of 400°F (200°C). However, cooking times may vary depending on the size of the chicken legs and the specific model of your air fryer. It’s always recommended to check the internal temperature of the chicken legs using a meat thermometer to ensure they reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) for safe consumption.
No. Make sure you do not overcrowd your air fryer basket by stacking the chicken thighs. You will want to arrange the chicken drumsticks in a single layer. This is key to a crispy piece of air-fried chicken!
Absolutely! If you prefer a different flavor profile or have a specific seasoning blend in mind, feel free to experiment and use your preferred seasoning mix. You can try Cajun seasoning, barbecue seasoning, or any other spice blend that complements chicken well. Adjust the amount of seasoning according to your taste preferences.
The capacity of air fryers can vary, so the amount of chicken legs you can cook at once depends on the size of your air fryer. Avoid overcrowding the air fryer basket to allow proper air circulation and ensure the chicken legs cook evenly. If you have a larger batch of chicken legs, you may need to cook them in multiple batches.
Yes, you can use this recipe with any brand of air fryer. The cooking time and temperature may vary slightly depending on the specific model, so it’s recommended to consult the user manual of your air fryer for any specific instructions or adjustments.
Storage and Freezing Instructions
- After cooking the chicken drumsticks, let them cool to room temperature before storing them.
- Place the drumsticks in an airtight container in the refrigerator and consume them within 3-4 days.
- When reheating leftovers, use the air fryer at a lower temperature to preserve their crispiness.
- For freezing, ensure the drumsticks are completely cooled before wrapping each one individually in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Place them in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag, removing as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Label the packaging with the freezing date and store the drumsticks for up to 2-3 months in the freezer.
- To thaw, transfer them to the refrigerator and let them thaw gradually.
- When reheating frozen drumsticks, preheat the air fryer to a slightly lower temperature than before and reheat them until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C), ensuring safe consumption.
Dipping Sauce Suggestions
Have some fun by trying different dipping sauces. Personally, the sauces are my favorite part of eating fried chicken. You can serve the sauce on the side or toss your fried chicken legs in the sauce before serving.
- Honey Mustard Sauce
- Roasted Garlic Cream Sauce
- Creamy Herb Sauce
- Blueberry BBQ Sauce
- Sweet Honey Sauce
Not a fan of dipping sauces? No worries, this air-fried chicken leg recipe is already bursting with flavor!
More Chicken Recipes
- Instant Pot Chicken and Rice Soup
- Crescent Roll Chicken Pot Pie
- Instant Pot Chicken Spaghetti
- Chicken A La King
- Chicken and Bacon Pasta Recipe
- Light Chicken Alfredo with Greek Yogurt
CKC Features both Gluten-Free Guidance and Kids Cooking Instructions: If you’re new to eating gluten-free we understand it’s overwhelming trying to figure out which foods may contain gluten and which ones don’t. All of our gluten-free recipes marked with this symbol ✅ represent foods that need to be checked for gluten or cross-contamination.
The ⭐️ symbol in the recipe below denotes the steps in which kid cooks may need a helper (depending on age). If there is no ⭐️ symbol, that step (or recipe) doesn’t require a helper.
Air Fryer Chicken Legs Recipe
- non stick cooking spray
- 8 chicken legs ✅
- 1 Packet Dry Italian Seasoning Mix ✅
- Preheat the air fryer. Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees.
- Prep and season the chicken. Using a paper towel, pat the chicken dry. Season both sides with a dry Italian seasoning mix. Place onto air fryer rack. Spray top of chicken legs with non-stick cooking spray.8 chicken legs, 1 Packet Dry Italian Seasoning Mix
- ⭐️Air Fry. Cook 10 minutes, flip, then cook 10 more minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.