Crispy, sticky Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Drumsticks are a super fast and easy choice for a busy weeknight dinner. Chicken legs are seasoned, basted with BBQ sauce, and air fried to tender perfection.
The more new things I try in my air fryer, the more my love for this incredible appliance grows. I’ve been air frying at least one or two dinners a week and these delicious Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Drumsticks have quick become a favorite. Everyone loves ’em!
Chicken legs are an inexpensive choice for dinner and leftovers are fabulous warm or cold from the fridge the next day for lunch. They’re incredibly easy to make and fun to eat.
The air fryer method is a great way to cook BBQ chicken indoors when it’s too cold outside to fire up the grill!
- Chicken drumsticks – This recipe makes 6 chicken legs, approximately 1 ½ to 2 pounds. The recipe can easily be doubled and cooked in two batches.
- Oil – You need a very small amount and I recommend using either olive or avocado oil.
- BBQ sauce – Use your favorite store-bought or homemade BBQ sauce. We like Kinders Mild.
- BBQ Seasoning Mix – Onion powder, granulated garlic, kosher salt, dried thyme, dry mustard, freshly ground black pepper, cayenne pepper (just enough for a little kick). This dry seasoning mix creates amazing flavor when it blends with the BBQ sauce.
- Nonstick cooking spray – Always use a propellant free nonstick cooking spray or a refillable oil mister when air frying as sprays that contain propellants can cause the nonstick lining of your air fryer basket to peel over time. Refined avocado oil has a high smoke point and is an excellent choice for air frying up to 500 degrees F.
How to Make Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Drumsticks
- Place the chicken legs in a large bowl, drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with the seasoning. Toss until well coated.
- Preheat your air fryer to 380 degrees. When hot, spritz the air fryer basket with nonstick cooking spray. Place the seasoned chicken drumsticks in the basket in one layer and cook for 10 minutes.
- Use tongs to flip the chicken and cook for an additional 8 minutes.
- Pull the basket out and baste the chicken liberally on all sides with BBQ sauce. Cook an additional 3 to 5 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches at least 165 F and the BBQ sauce is slightly caramelized.
The air fryer pictured in this post is the Cosori Air Fryer. I love it so much I’ve bought one as a gift for two of my boys and my sister. It is very lightweight and easy to store and has a nice, big capacity.
Can I Use Other Cuts of Chicken?
Yes! You can substitute all or some of the chicken drumsticks with any other cuts of chicken you like. Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or breasts are a great choice. The nice thing about the air fryer method is you have the ability to pull the basket out and check the temperature throughout the cooking time. Smaller pieces will cook faster than larger pieces and can be removed from the air fryer first.
In order to cook properly, it’s important to cook chicken pieces in a single layer with a little space in between for air flow. Cook the chicken in batches, if needed.
How to Double the Recipe
Preheat your conventional oven to 200 degrees F and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. After cooking, place the first batch on the baking sheet and transfer it to the oven to keep warm while you cook the second batch.
Up to 24 hours in advance, toss the chicken drumsticks with the oil and seasoning mix in a large bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to cook.
What to Serve with BBQ Chicken Drumsticks
- Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese
- Macaroni Coleslaw
- Skillet Corn with Jalapeno
- Rustic Sweet Cornbread
- Old Fashioned Potato Salad
- 5 Minute Broccoli Kale Slaw
More Air Fryer Recipes You’ll Love
- Looking for more chicken recipes? Try this Air Fryer Chicken Breast or Air Fryer Fried Chicken.
- Try Air Fryer London Broil for a special meal with very little effort!
- Air Fryer Beef Taquitos– a much lighter version of traditional fried taquitos.
- Even picky kids will love these Air Fryer Fish Sticks.
Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Drumsticks
- 6 chicken drumsticks, approximately 1 ½ to 2 pounds
- 2 teaspoons olive or avocado oil
- ¼ cup BBQ sauce
- propellant-free nonstick cooking spray, like Chosen Avocado Oil Spray
BBQ Spice Mix
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to tate
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
- Preheat air fryer to 380 degrees F. for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, pat the chicken dry with paper towels and place in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with the oil and toss again to coat the drumsticks well. Sprinkle the seasoning over the chicken and toss until the chicken is well coated on all sides. Set aside.
- Spritz the air fryer basket with nonstick cooking spray (be sure it’s propellant free – see Notes). Place the seasoned chicken drumsticks in the basket in one layer with a little space in between and cook for 10 minutes at 380 degrees F. Use tongs to flip the chicken and cook for an additional 8 minutes.
- Pull the basket out and baste the chicken liberally on all sides with BBQ sauce. Cook at 380 degrees F for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches at least 165 F and the BBQ sauce is slightly caramelized.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients, and is an estimate not a guarantee. For more accurate results, please refer to the labels on your ingredients at home.