Air Fryer BBQ chicken legs are deliciously saucy and sticky and perfectly cooked in under 25 minutes! These easy chicken drumsticks are great for parties, game day or an easy family dinner.
My Air Fryer gets a lot of use.
It’s awesome for cooking veggies - the crispiness! - and for making faux “fried” versions of things. (Especially useful for me since I don’t actually like to fry foods.)
And it gets super crunchy coatings on meats. Oh, and it reheats foods amazing well!
(Plus, you don’t have to heat up the oven, great for summertime, and it’s so easy to clean!)
And I recently shared Air Fryer fried ravioli, which can be an appetizer if you use the mini ones or a side dish or main meal if you use the big ones and get a hearty filling, like chicken and cheese.
And today I’m so excited to share these Air Fryer BBQ chicken legs.
They are sticky and saucy and messy and everything BBQ chicken legs should be.
They are well seasoned, cooked in the Air Fryer, slathered with BBQ sauce then finished in the Air Fryer until perfectly cooked and perfectly scrumptious.
Plus, they take just 25 minutes to make!
They would be great for get togethers, BBQ parties, game days and just a yummy family dinner that will have everyone running to the table!
So quick, so easy, so very delicious.
(You might also want to check out slow cooker BBQ chicken for another way to enjoy these flavors; it's perfect for sandwiches!)
My kiddos adore these, too. They’ve long been big fans of the drumstick when I get a rotisserie chicken from the store or when I make homemade rotisserie chicken.
I’m thankful I have just the two kids for so many reasons, but one is definitely that they can each have their own drumstick without any fighting! 🤣
And now, we can make ALL the BBQ chicken drumsticks for dinner and they can have as many as they want.
Oh, and a quick note: You can call these chicken legs or chicken drumsticks. I use both and they are the same thing.
(What’s not the same is chicken leg quarters, which includes more than just the leg - it's also the thigh and part of the back of the chicken - and those won’t work the same in this recipe.)
OK, let’s get cooking so you can fall in love with these, too!
Now, I’ve got some notes and tips coming up below on how to make chicken legs in the Air Fryer. Just tryin’ to be helpful.
If you want to jump on down to the recipe, simply scroll right on through the rest of the text. The recipe card is near the bottom of the page, above the comments section.
Notes on making Air Fryer chicken legs:
- Chicken: You’ll need 8 chicken legs (aka chicken drumsticks) for this recipe. I recommend leaving the skin on because it gets a bit crispy in the Air Fryer before being slathered with the sauce and finishing. So tasty!
- BBQ sauce: Use your favorite store-bought BBQ sauce or make your own. You could even substitute a flavored BBQ sauce if you wanted to change the flavor here a bit.
- Servings: The recipe makes enough for 4 people if everyone has 2 chicken legs. You can certainly double the recipe, but you’ll need to cook the chicken in batches. (It must be in an even layer in your Air Fryer tray to cook properly.)
- Spicy: Want to make these a little spicy? Feel free to add some cayenne pepper to the seasoning blend. Or you could use a spicy BBQ sauce.
- Cooling time: You’ll want to dive into these as soon as they are ready, but they are HOT. Give them just a few minutes to cool down so you don’t burn your fingers holding them or your mouth eating them.
All in all, these are super simple to make.
Just mix together the seasoning mix, season the drumsticks on all sides and place in the Air Fryer.
Cook for 20 minutes, turning halfway through. Then baste with the BBQ sauce on all sides and cook for 3 more minutes.
Ta-da! The best BBQ chicken drumsticks you will ever have await you.
And in case you are in the market for an Air Fryer, I highly recommend mine.
Originally, I had a small size one, but it just wasn’t big enough for all the things I wanted to put in the Air Fryer.
So I got this Air Fryer (it’s usually on sale, which is nice) and I’ve loved it. It’s a better fit for families with children, or just if you’re cooking for bigger groups.
You can check out all of my Air Fryer recipes if you’re obsessed like I am with the magic of this appliance.
And stay tuned because I have many more Air Fryer recipes planned for you!
You can sign up for my free e-newsletter to get all of my new recipes delivered straight to your inbox so you never miss a thing. I’ll even send you my free e-cookbook, Healthy Weeknight Dinners, as a thank you!
As for serving, these are perfection as is.
You could certainly put out some extra BBQ sauce for dipping though, if you’d like.
And be sure to serve these with plenty of napkins. You will get messy!
If you are making these for dinner, we love pairing them with some oven fries and a bagged salad kit from the store for an easy meal. 👍
Last thing, let’s talk about the leftovers.
Leftover chicken legs, once cooled, can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Feel free to enjoy them cold (anyone else love them that way, too?) or take the meat off the bones to use for sandwiches or sliders, wraps or salads.
You can also reheat them if you want to enjoy them hot again.
How to reheat Air Fryer chicken drumsticks:
- To reheat, place the drumsticks in an even layer in the Air Fryer tray and set to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 3-4 minutes, until warmed through.
- Feel free to baste with extra BBQ sauce if you think it’s needed.
There you go! You are all set to go make some of the best BBQ chicken drumsticks you’ve ever tasted.
I hope you enjoy them as much as we do! Oh, and if you do make them, please leave a comment below or tag me on Instagram. I love hearing from you!
- 8 chicken legs (aka drumsticks)
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅓ cup prepared BBQ sauce
- Preheat the Air Fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, if yours requires preheating.
- Combine the brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and black pepper in a small bowl.
- Drizzle the chicken legs on all sides with the olive oil then season on all sides with the seasoning mixture.
- Place the chicken legs in an even layer in the Air Fryer tray. Cook at 400 for 10 minutes, then turn over and cook for 10 more minutes.
- Baste all sides of the chicken legs with BBQ sauce. (I baste the tops and then turn them over one more time and baste the other side.) Cook at 400 for an additional 3 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
- Let sit for 5 minutes. (They are hot and can burn fingers if picked up right away.) Enjoy!
Chicken: You’ll need 8 chicken legs (aka chicken drumsticks) for this recipe. I recommend leaving the skin on because it gets a bit crispy in the Air Fryer before being slathered with the sauce and finishing. So tasty!
BBQ sauce: Use your favorite store-bought BBQ sauce or make your own. You could even substitute a flavored BBQ sauce if you wanted to change the flavor here a bit.
Servings: The recipe makes enough for 4 people if everyone has 2 chicken legs. You can certainly double the recipe, but you’ll need to cook the chicken in batches. (It must be in an even layer in your Air Fryer tray to cook properly.)
Spicy: Want to make these a little spicy? Feel free to add some cayenne pepper to the seasoning blend. Or you could use a spicy BBQ sauce.
Leftovers: Leftover chicken legs, once cooled, can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
How to reheat: To reheat, place the drumsticks in an even layer in the Air Fryer tray and set to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 3-4 minutes, until warmed through. Feel free to baste with extra BBQ sauce if you think it’s needed.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 485Total Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gProtein: 56g