Seasoned in salt and pepper, then brushed with bbq sauce, Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks couldn’t be easier to make!

Everyone loves tender juicy barbecue drumsticks and the air fryer gets them on the table in minutes with minimal fuss and muss! Just in time for the big game or a family movie, crispy air-fried barbecue chicken is a fun, family-favorite meal!

Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks on a serving plate

Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks

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Easy Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks

  • Air fryer drumsticks eliminate oven time and clean up and come out perfectly juicy and delicious! Keep them warm in the oven while more batches are being made! Or cook, chill, and freeze for future dinners!
  • Cook them as you like with just a few seasonings or layers of rich and sticky bbq sauce!
  • Tried and true, drumsticks in the air fryer always come out crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. They are also so easy, even the kids can help out

We love these other air-fried chicken recipes too! Air Fryer Mall Bourbon Chicken, Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Wings, or for heartier appetites, make these whole Air Fryer Chicken Legs.

Chicken Drumsticks being seasoned in a bowl

Ingredients & Variations

CHICKEN Choose fresh or frozen drumsticks with intact skins that are the same size so they cook evenly. Other kinds of chicken to use are thighs, legs, or wings, cooking times will vary.

BBQ SAUCE Choose your sauce! Kansas City BBQ, Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, Sweet and Sour, Hot Honey, or any basic combination of ketchup, chili sauce, and brown sugar will do!

How to Cook Chicken Drumsticks in an Air Fryer

These will cook up in no time, and it just takes a few easy steps:

  1. Toss drumsticks in olive oil and seasonings.
  2. Place them in a single layer and cook (per recipe below).
  3. After 10 minutes, remove chicken and brush with bbq sauce and then continue to cook until they reach 165°F internally (check at the thickest point of the meat away from the bone).
  4. Remove and brush on more sauce, if desired.

For a delicious supper, serve with these sides that don’t take long to make in the air fryer! Try this Air Fryer Mac and Cheese or Tater Tots, or opt for a healthier option like these Air Fryer Kale Chips.

process of cooking Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks in an air fryer basket

Tips for Crispy & Juicy Chicken

  • For best results, always preheat the air fryer before using it. The initial burst of heat to the food seals the outside making the insides stay tender and moist.
  • Keep leftover chicken drumsticks in a covered container in the refrigerator or freeze once chilled for up to 8 weeks.
  • Reheat pieces in a single layer in the air fryer until they are crispy and heated through.

More Chicken Recipes in the Air Fryer

Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks on a serving plate
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BBQ Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks

These air fryer chicken drumsticks have a sweet caramelized glaze and they are so simple to make in the air fryer.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4



  • 8 drumsticks bone in & skin on
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • cup bbq sauce
  • teaspoon salt and pepper


  • Preheat the air fryer to 400°F.
  • Toss the drumsticks with olive oil and seasonings in a large bowl.
  • Place in the air fryer basket in a single layer and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Brush the drumsticks with bbq sauce and cook for another 5-10 minutes or until they reach 165°F internally.
  • Brush with bbq sauce again if desired and serve.


  • For best results, always preheat the air fryer before using it. 
  • Ensure the drumsticks are not touching so the air can circulate.
  • Additional sauce can be brushed on before serving if desired. 
5 from 4 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 313kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 139mg | Sodium: 476mg | Potassium: 393mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 123IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Dinner
Cuisine American

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About the author

Holly is a mom of 4 with a love for all things air fryer! Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making recipes for the everyday home cook!
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