Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks are crispy and juicy – the ultimate combination. These quick and easy air fry drumsticks are not only bursting with flavor but are on the dinner table in under 30 minutes. Our ninja foodi chicken legs are tender and juicy along with being delicious and nutritious – all with just 2 ingredients! Instructions are shown using a Ninja Foodi air fryer.
We are big fans of the air fryer. It has added variety to meals and is an easy and lower-calorie way to get foods crispy on the outside, quickly.
Chicken Drumsticks: The main ingredient, chicken drumsticks, are the lower part of the chicken leg, consisting of the drumstick bone and meat. They offer juicy, tender meat and are known for their rich flavor.
Dry ranch dressing mix can be a versatile and flavorful ingredient when used with drumsticks. The mix typically consists of a combination of herbs, spices, and dried buttermilk powder, which adds a tangy and savory taste to any dish it is used in. If you’d like to add a bit of a smoky flavor, add a teaspoon of smoked paprika to the dry ranch dressing mix.
When using dry ranch dressing with drumsticks, there are a few ways you can incorporate it:
- Dry Rub: This is how we are using the ranch dressing in this recipe. Pat the drumsticks dry with a paper towel, then generously coat them with the dry rub mixture. Allow the drumsticks to sit for a while to absorb the flavors before cooking. You can bake, grill, or fry the drumsticks for a delicious, seasoned coating.
- Marinade: Another option is to turn the dry ranch dressing mix into a marinade. Combine the mix with olive oil, vinegar, or buttermilk to create a flavorful liquid. Coat the drumsticks in the marinade and refrigerate them for at least a few hours or overnight to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat. Grill or bake the drumsticks for a juicy and flavorful result.
- Breading: Dry ranch dressing mix can also be used as part of a breading mixture for drumsticks. Create a dredging station with a bowl of flour, a bowl of beaten eggs, and a bowl of the dry ranch dressing mix combined with breadcrumbs or cornmeal. Dip each drumstick into the flour, then the egg, and finally into the ranch and breadcrumb mixture. Fry or bake the drumsticks until they are crispy and golden.
- Different cuts of chicken: To cook chicken breasts, begin by preheating your air fryer to around 375°F (190°C). Season the chicken breast with your preferred spices or marinade for added flavor. Place the seasoned chicken breast in the air fryer basket in a single layer, ensuring they don’t overlap to allow for even cooking. Depending on the thickness of the chicken breast, it usually takes around 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through the cooking time, to reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). For chicken thighs, cook them at the same temperature, but typically for a slightly shorter time, about 15-20 minutes, flipping once. To cook chicken wings in the air fryer, preheat it to 375°F (190°C). Season the wings and arrange them in a single layer in the basket, avoiding overlap. Cook for 20-25 minutes, flipping halfway through until they’re crispy and reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). If desired, toss them in your favorite sauce for a flavorful finish.
Regardless of the method you choose, the dry ranch dressing mix will infuse the drumsticks with a tangy and herby flavor. It pairs well with the natural juiciness of the chicken and adds a delightful twist to a classic dish.
How To Air Fry Drumsticks
Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees.
PRO TIP: Let the air fryer preheat for 3-5 minutes before adding your ingredients.
It is really important not to skip the preheating step. I know we have all contemplated skipping the preheated step at one point or another. Not this time! Preheating allows your chicken to cook and crisp evenly.
Using a paper towel, pat the chicken dry on both sides of each chicken leg.
This is key to a crispy piece of chicken. Patting the chicken dry allows for excess moisture to be removed. Less moisture, crisper!
Season both sides with dry ranch dressing. We go back and forth between using a packet of dry ranch dressing and making it homemade.
PRO TIP: You can either dip the cooked chicken legs in a sauce or toss in a sauce before serving.
Once the air fryer chicken legs are seasoned, place them in a single layer onto the air fryer rack or air fryer basket, depending on your model. Spray the top of the chicken drumsticks with non-stick cooking spray.
Cook the drumsticks for approximately 20 to 25 minutes, flipping them halfway through the cooking time. This will help to ensure that both sides are evenly cooked and result in crispy chicken.
To ensure that the drumsticks are fully cooked, check their internal temperature using a meat thermometer. The safe internal temperature for chicken is 165°F (74°C). If they haven’t reached this temperature yet, continue cooking for a few more minutes and check again.
Remember that cooking times can vary, so it’s always best to use a meat thermometer to ensure the drumsticks are cooked to the appropriate internal temperature. Additionally, it’s important to consult the specific instructions provided with your air fryer, as cooking times and temperatures may vary depending on the model.
PRO TIP: Try to limit the number of times you open the door of your air fryer while cooking. This lets the hot air escape.
If using the Ninja Foodi Air Fryer Oven, or a similar air fryer, make sure to place the baking pan on the rack under the air fryer pan as the chicken will drip and the pan will catch the juices rather than having to clean them from the bottom of the air fryer.
Homemade Ranch Dressing makes a great dipping sauce for these chicken legs. However, the ranch seasoning gives the chicken a great flavor you honestly don’t even need a dipping sauce.
One of my favorite things about eating chicken drumsticks is the dipping sauce. Here are a few recipes for you to try!
How Long To Cook Drumsticks In The Air Fryer
Cooking times in an air fryer can be influenced by several factors, with the size of the drumsticks and the specific model of air fryer being the primary considerations.
Smaller drumsticks or drumettes tend to cook faster, typically taking around 15-20 minutes, while larger, thicker drumsticks may require 25-30 minutes or more.
Additionally, if your drumsticks are coated in breading or have a thick sauce, they might need extra cooking time to ensure the chicken inside is fully cooked while achieving a crispy exterior. Frozen drumsticks generally require longer cooking times compared to thawed ones. Altitude can also play a role, with adjustments needed for high-altitude cooking.
Tips and Tricks
- Air Fryer Rack:
- Place the seasoned drumsticks onto the air fryer rack. Placing them on the rack instead of directly in the basket allows the hot air to circulate around the chicken, promoting even cooking and a crispy texture.
- Non-Stick Cooking Spray:
- To prevent the drumsticks from sticking to the air fryer rack and to enhance their crispiness, lightly spray the top of the drumsticks with non-stick cooking spray. This step contributes to the appealing texture of the finished product.
- Cooking Time:
- Air fry the drumsticks for an initial cooking time of 10 minutes. After the first 10 minutes, flip the drumsticks to ensure even cooking on both sides. Then, continue cooking for an additional 10 minutes.
- Internal Temperature Check:
- To ensure the chicken is fully cooked and safe to eat, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. The drumsticks should reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). This is the recommended safe temperature for poultry.
- Adjust for Drumstick Size:
- Keep in mind that cooking times can vary based on the size of the drumsticks and the specific air fryer model. If your drumsticks are particularly large or small, you might need to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
- Monitoring Crispiness:
- While following the cooking times is important, keep an eye on the drumsticks for their crispiness. If they haven’t reached your desired level of crispiness by the end of the recommended cooking time, you can extend the cooking time slightly. Just make sure not to overcook them.
- Serve and Enjoy:
- Once the drumsticks have reached the proper internal temperature and have achieved the desired level of crispiness, remove them from the air fryer. Allow them to rest for a few minutes before serving. This resting time helps the juices redistribute within the meat for optimal flavor and juiciness.
By following these tips and instructions, you should be able to create delicious, crispy, and flavorful ranch-seasoned chicken drumsticks using your air fryer.
Yes, you sure can. However, it is recommended that you use thawed drumsticks. You will need to add 5-10 minutes to the cooking time or until the internal temperature is 165 degrees Fahrenheit if cooking with frozen chicken.
In our experience, cooking thawed drumsticks in the air fryer results in a crispier piece of chicken. You are able to remove more of the moisture before adding to the air fryer.
Unfortunately, you can not stack chicken in an air fryer. I know it can be tempting to cram multiple chicken legs on the air fryer tray. I typically fit 6-10 drumsticks on the air fryer tray depending on the size of the chicken leg. Stacking could cause the chicken to be undercooked or not crispy. No one wants to bite into raw chicken or non-crispy fried chicken!
If you are cooking fried chicken for a crowd, we recommend making a few batches of this recipe.
Yes, marinating the drumsticks before cooking can add flavor and moisture. It’s best to marinate them for at least 30 minutes or overnight in the refrigerator. Pat them dry before placing them in the air fryer to achieve a crispy skin.
To achieve crispy skin, ensure the drumsticks are dry before placing them in the air fryer. You can pat them dry with a paper towel or let them air dry in the refrigerator. Additionally, flipping the drumsticks halfway through the cooking time helps to evenly crisp the skin.
The safest way to check if the drumsticks are cooked is by using a meat thermometer. Insert it into the thickest part of the meat, avoiding the bone. The chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to be considered fully cooked.
Chicken drumsticks pair well with a variety of side dishes. Consider serving them with classic options like mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, or a fresh garden salad for a well-rounded meal. French fries, rice, and corn on the cob are also great choices. For added comfort, try garlic bread or macaroni and cheese.
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.
More chicken recipes
- Chicken Tortilla Chip Casserole
- Chinese Honey Garlic Chicken
- Instant Pot Chicken Spaghetti
- Instant Pot Chicken Stew
- Southwest Chicken Chili
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 Drumsticks Recipe
- 8 chicken drumsticks ✅
- 1 Packet Dry Ranch Dressing Mix ✅
- Preheat the air fryer. Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees.
- Prep the chicken and then season. Using a paper towel, pat the chicken dry. Season both sides with dry ranch dressing. Place onto the airfryer rack. Spray top of drumsticks with non-stick cooking spray.8 chicken drumsticks, 1 Packet Dry Ranch Dressing Mix
- ⭐️Air fry. Cook 10 minutes, flip, then cook 10 more minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.