Air Fryer Chicken Legs

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Air Fryer Chicken Legs make for an easy weeknight dinner or game day snack. Learn how long to cook chicken legs in air fryer, plus tips for creating a mouthwatering marinade with just 4 simple ingredients!

titled: Air Fryer Chicken Legs Recipe


Air Fryer Chicken Legs

Making chicken legs in the air fryer is not only quick and easy, but you get perfectly crispy skin every time.

Plus, skipping the oven keeps your kitchen cool during the hotter months!

In just two easy steps, you’ll have tender, juicy meat with plenty of kick! Be sure to start early enough to allow time for the drumsticks to sit in the refrigerator.

Serve up air fried chicken legs with your favorite ranch or blue cheese dressing for dipping and a simple green salad or veggie sticks to round out your plate.

Love the buffalo flavor in this recipe? Enjoy it in a variety of ways, from pasta salad and party dip to sandwiches and meatballs!

raw chicken drumsticks with ingredients for buffalo sauce

Ingredient Notes and Suggestions

  • Chicken – Drumsticks are one of the cheapest cuts you can find, so I especially love to stock up when they’re on sale!

    Be sure to pat each piece dry with paper towels, especially if you thawed them from frozen. It really helps the meat absorb all that buffalo flavor!
  • Hot Sauce – I like to use Frank’s in all of my recipes, but you can easily use whichever brand is your favorite.

    Check the label for the list of ingredients — if vinegar is one of the first ones listed, you may want to reduce the amount in this air fryer chicken legs recipe so the flavor isn’t too overpowering.
  • Garlic Powder – This makes everything taste better, and it won’t burn on the surface of the air fryer chicken legs like minced cloves would.
marinating drumsticks in buffalo sauce

How Long to Cook Chicken Legs in Air Fryer

It takes about 25 minutes at 400°F to cook six chicken legs in the air fryer — as long as your model is large enough to accommodate that many.

Smaller amounts may be ready in less time. Your best option is to check the internal temperature with a digital meat thermometer.

All poultry is considered safe to eat when it reaches 165°F at the center.

Insert the probe into the thickest part of the meat without hitting the bone (which will give you an inaccurate temperature).

buffalo chicken legs in air fryer basket

Tips for the Best Air Fried Chicken Legs

  • Customize the sauce.

If you want to crank up the heat, add a pinch of cayenne pepper to the marinade.

For extra saucy air fryer chicken legs, double the ingredients.

Use half of the sauce for the marinade, then use the other half to toss with the drumsticks after they have been cooked.

  • Get crispier results.

Don’t try to cook too many chicken legs in the air fryer at one time. There should be space between each so the hot air can properly circulate.

You’ll also want to flip air fried chicken legs about halfway through cooking so they crisp evenly on all sides.

cooked drumsticks in air fryer

Air Fryer Chicken Legs Recipe FAQ

How do you tell if chicken legs are fully cooked?

Any type of poultry should reach an internal temperature of 165°F for food safety reasons. Feel free to use a digital meat thermometer to be sure, but you can also check for doneness by cutting into the air fryer chicken legs.

Slice into the meat, about halfway to the bone, and gently separate the two sides. The poultry should no longer be pink or translucent, and the juices should run clear.

If it doesn’t appear done, pop the drumsticks back in for a few more minutes.

Can I make this air fryer chicken legs recipe with wings instead?

Absolutely! The cooking time will be different, so check out this post for tips and instructions.

If you need a big batch to feed a crowd, I would recommend using my crock pot recipe instead. It uses honey to create a sweet and sticky glaze, but there’s still plenty of heat to tantalize your taste buds!

plate of air fried chicken legs

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basket of buffalo drumsticks with celery and dip

Air Fryer Chicken Legs

Donna Elick
Air Fryer Chicken Legs are great as a weeknight dinner or game day snack. Create a mouthwatering marinade with just 4 simple ingredients!
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine American
Method Air Fryer
Servings 4


  • 1/2 cup buffalo hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 6 chicken legs


  • In a large Ziploc bag, combine the buffalo sauce, butter, vinegar, and garlic powder. Close the bag and shake until all the ingredients get incorporated.
  • Add the chicken legs into a Ziploc bag and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour to marinate.
  • Place the chicken legs into the basket of the air fryer, save the remaining marinade for later. Set the air fryer to 400° for 25 minutes. Flip the chicken halfway through the cooking time.
  • If you wish to brush the chicken with the remaining marinade, simply transfer it to a pot over medium-high heat and boil until the marinade is reduced (thickened).


Serving: 1 | Calories: 468cal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 37g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 195mg | Sodium: 1128mg | Sugar: 1g | Fiber: 1g | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
titled image (and shown): air fryer chicken legs

Originally published May 2021, updated and republished September 2023

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