Make juicy and tender air fryer chicken drumsticks all year long thanks to your favorite kitchen appliance! Chicken drumsticks in the air fryer are simple and full of BBQ flavor.
Long gone are the days of saying goodbye to perfectly cooked on-the-grill chicken drumsticks as soon as the temperatures drop! My air fryer chicken drumsticks with BBQ sauce will give you the same juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside results as your grill.
I’m a huge fan of chicken — we eat it at least once a week in my house. Air fryer grilled chicken, air fryer breaded chicken wings, and air fryer stuffed chicken breast are a few of my easy favorites. I also love roasting a chicken for the week to have on hand for sandwiches and salads. It’s such a versatile main ingredient — the side dish options are endless!
My recipe for chicken drumsticks in the air fryer is easy and is made with pantry ingredients that you likely already have on hand. It’s a wonderful weeknight dinner option that comes together in just 30 minutes!
Here’s what I’m going to teach you in this post:
- The pantry ingredients you’ll need to make air fried drumsticks. You just may already have everything you need at home!
- Step-by-step instructions to show you how to make air fryer chicken drumsticks with BBQ sauce in the air fryer.
- Answers to the top FAQs on how to make chicken drumsticks in the air fryer.
These air fried drumsticks are about to become one of your go-to chicken recipes. All you need are some yummy seasonings, drumsticks, and your favorite BBQ sauce (or use my easy homemade BBQ sauce recipe!).
How to Make Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks
A full printable version of this recipe with ingredient measurements is available at the bottom of this post.
STEP ONE: Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees F and prep the drumsticks by patting them dry with a paper towel.
STEP TWO: Add the garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper (if using), and olive oil together to a small bowl and mix.
Coat the chicken drumsticks in the mixture and massage for a few minutes — this helps to ensure the seasonings stick!
STEP THREE: Place the chicken in the air fryer basket in one layer (air fry in batches if necessary) and cook for 15 minutes. Flip the chicken and cook for 5 more minutes.
STEP FOUR: Baste the chicken with BBQ sauce, flip, then baste the other side. Air fry for another 3-5 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees F.
STEP FIVE: Remove your air fried drumsticks from the air fryer and baste them with more BBQ sauce if desired. Serve and enjoy!
How Long Do Drumsticks Take in the Air Fryer?
You can refer to the recipe card below for my specific cooking instructions, but it typically takes around 20 minutes in total to cook chicken drumsticks in the air fryer. That includes the time it takes to flip the drumsticks, baste, and air fry a second time.
My recipe for air fryer chicken drumsticks takes around 30 minutes to make from start to finish, including prep time.
Can You Put Raw Chicken in an Air Fryer?
Yes, you can! No need to worry about pre-cooking your drumsticks before placing them in your air fryer. They’ll come out tender and juicy every time!
Just make sure to take the time to flip the chicken after 15 minutes. The internal temperature must be 165 degrees F to prevent foodborne illnesses.
You can even put raw turkey legs in the air fryer!
Should I Put Oil on Chicken Before Air Frying?
There tends to be a lot of confusion around oil in the air fryer. For recipes like my air fryer chicken drumsticks with BBQ sauce, you don’t need to add a ton of excess oil before cooking it.
You’ll notice that you need to add oil to the spices and seasonings before coating the chicken, simply to help them stick to the surface. That’s all the extra oil you’ll need for this dish!
Do You Flip Chicken When Air Frying?
Yes — don’t forget to flip your air fryer chicken drumsticks after 15 minutes so that they cook all the way through. You can use a food-safe thermometer to check that the drumsticks’ internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F before serving.
What To Serve with Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks
- Air Fryer French Fries
- Air Fryer Sweet Potato Fries
- Air Fryer Tater Tots
- Green Beans Almondine
- Instant Pot Potato Salad
- Air Fryer Baby Potatoes
- Quinoa Chickpea Salad
- Air Fryer Carrots (or Baby Carrots)
More BBQ Recipes
- Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Thighs
- Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Wings
- Air Fryer Pork Steaks
- Air Fryer Baby Back Ribs
- Instant Pot Chicken Drumsticks
- Air Fryer Country Style Ribs
- BBQ Chicken Salad
- Air Fryer Tempeh
- BBQ Grape Jelly Meatballs
- Ninja Foodi Pulled Pork
How Do I Reheat Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks?
- Preheat your air fryer to 350 degrees.
- Place the leftover chicken drumsticks in the air fryer basket and cook until warmed thoroughly about 5-8 minutes.
- Baste with a little more BBQ sauce then enjoy!
More Air Fryer Chicken Recipes
- Air Fryer Chicken Legs
- Air Fryer Chicken Leg Quarters
- Whole Chicken in the Air Fryer
- Air Fryer Fried Chicken
- Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
- Air Fryer Chicken Parmesan
- Air Fryer Bone in Chicken Breasts
- Air Fryer Chicken Breast
- Air Fryer Shake and Bake Chicken
- 5-6 chicken drumsticks
- 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 cup BBQ sauce (I prefer Sweet Baby Ray's)
- pinch of cayenne pepper to add spice
- Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees.
- Pat drychicken drumsticks.
- Mix together the olive oil, garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, salt and pepper, and cayenne pepper (if using).
- Coat the chicken drumsticks with oil mixture and massage into the drumsticks for a few minutes to help keep the flavor in.
- Add chicken drumsticks to the air fryer in one single layer and cook for 15 minutes.
- Flip chicken and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Baste chicken with BBQ sauce, flip, then baste other side of chicken with BBQ sauce.
- Cook until chicken has an internal temperature of 165 degrees, about 3-5 more minutes.
- Remove from the air fryer, baste additional BBQ sauce if desired and enjoy!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 297Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 139mgSodium: 503mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 0gSugar: 9gProtein: 27g
This nutrition information is based on the exact products I used in this recipe. Brands and sizes of products could alter exact nutrition and should always be calculated independently.