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Crispy chicken legs on a white plate on a wooden surface with cilantro garnished in top.

Air fryer Chicken Drumsticks

  • Author: Yamini
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 3 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


This Air fryer chicken drumsticks recipe is an easy, healthy, and delicious way to make Air fryer chicken legs. It gives you the juiciest chicken ever with a very crispy skin on the outside. 


  • 6 chicken drumsticks ( about 1.7 lbs )

For brining (optional step if you have time)

  • 2 cups Indian buttermilk (directions are given below)
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Lemon juice

For Marination

  • 2 teaspoons avocado oil (or any other oil with a high smoke point)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic cloves or garlic paste or 3/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste ( use a little less if brined in salty buttermilk)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons chilli paste ( I used Sambal Oelek chilli paste)
  • 1 teaspoon soya sauce 
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice 
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder or cayenne pepper 


  1. Make 3 to 4 slits on each drumstick with a knife.
  2. Optional step: To make Indian buttermilk for brining the chicken, simply whisk together 3 to 4 tablespoons of plain yogurt, 1 teaspoon salt, and 2 teaspoons lemon juice with 2 to 3 cups of water in a large enough dish. Add the chicken drumsticks to this mixture making sure all the drumsticks are under the liquid level. Leave them in the refrigerator overnight or for around 10 to 12 hours to brine which will result in a very moist and juicy chicken. After brining, remove the drumsticks from the liquid, and proceed with the next steps.
  3. Mix all the ingredients together for the marination in a bowl.
  4. Apply this marination mixture evenly to the chicken drumsticks and let them marinate for an hour in the refrigerator. ( you can use a large ziplock bag to mix together chicken drumsticks and marination mixture easily)
  5. Preheat the air fryer for 3 mins.
  6. Place the marinated chicken drumsticks into the air fryer without touching each other and leaving enough space between each of them for air circulation. Do not overcrowd your air fryer as this will result in uneven cooking and steaming instead of air frying.
  7. Air fry at 380 F for 20 mins first. Open the air fryer bin at the 10-minute mark, spray or brush oil on the drumsticks, flip them and close the bin to continue cooking.
  8. At 20 minute mark, flip them again, change the temperature to 400 F and cook for the last 5 mins watching closely. Use the meat thermometer to check if the internal temperature reached 165°F to make sure they are cooked thoroughly. If you do not have a meat thermometer then remove a drumstick from the bin and cut it beside the bone and see if it is cooked properly inside before plating them.
  9. Serve them immediately with your preferred choice of side dishes like steamed veggies, fries, soup, salad, or rice. I strongly suggest making them right before serving as they taste best immedietely. You can marinate them beforehand ( even up to 2 to 3 days before ) and air fry them right before eating.


  • Brining gives that extra insurance to make sure that the chicken is really juicy and absorbs flavors while cooking even with different qualities of chicken. But if you don't have time for brining, you can skip it as I made sure that the marination recipe also has ingredients like yogurt and lemon juice which helps in flavor absorption, and juicy chicken with crispy skin.
  • Every air fryer heats differently, so watch closely for the last 5 mins and remove promptly once done to avoid burning.
  • Air fryer naturally gives a very crispy fried chicken with juicy meat inside if you use proper marination. But if you still want a much more crispier chicken then use 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 1/2 an egg white along with the marination mixture and this will give you much more crispier chicken. However, I never felt the need for it if I use this recipe.
  • Category: Main course
  • Method: Air fryer
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Air fryer chicken drumsticks, Air fryer drumsticks, Air fryer chicken legs, Air fried chicken legs