Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Legs —  Get ready to elevate your barbecue game with these mouthwatering Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Legs! In this delicious recipe, we’re taking tender chicken drumsticks, coating them in a flavorful barbecue sauce, and air frying them to perfection.

The result? Juicy, crispy, and oh-so-satisfying chicken legs that will have your taste buds dancing with joy. Join us on this flavor-packed journey as we show you how to make BBQ chicken like a pro in your air fryer.

Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Legs
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Can You Cook BBQ Chicken Legs In Air Fryer

Absolutely, you can cook BBQ chicken legs in an air fryer, and they turn out deliciously crispy and flavorful.

If you love an easy chicken recipe, this is one of the best, perfectly cooked, the hot air circulating around the chicken legs, resulting in juicy chicken legs. Serve with your favorite side dishes for an easy meal. Some of my favorites are  Air Fryer Twice Baked Sweet PotatoesAir Fryer Roasted Cauliflower MashLittle Potatoes In The Air Fryer, or  Air Fryer Baby Potatoes.

The Best Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Drumstick Recipe

Get ready to savor the ultimate BBQ experience from your kitchen with The Best Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Drumstick Recipe. We’re about to take you on a journey to discover the most mouthwatering, tender, and perfectly crispy BBQ chicken drumsticks you’ve ever tasted.

Whether it’s a family dinner or a backyard barbecue, this recipe will become your go-to for finger-licking, smoky-sweet chicken delights. So, fire up your air fryer because the BBQ feast of your dreams is just a few steps away!

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Ingredients Needed For Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Legs

To create the most flavor-packed Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Legs, you’ll need the perfect ingredients to infuse your chicken with that smoky, sweet goodness. Let’s dive into the essential components that make this recipe a barbecue sensation.

Ingredients Needed For Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Legs

Remember the step-by-step directions and detailed ingredient list are below in the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post, as well as the nutrition facts.

  • Chicken Drumsticks: The show’s star, Chicken Drumsticks, brings a juicy and tender quality to your BBQ masterpiece. Opt for fresh, skin-on drumsticks for the best results.
  • BBQ Sauce: A rich and savory barbecue sauce is the key to achieving that smoky, sweet, and tangy flavor that makes BBQ chicken irresistible. Please choose your favorite sauce, whether classic, honey-glazed, or any flavor that suits your taste. Homemade BBQ sauce works fantastic here.
  • Olive Oil (Optional): A touch of olive oil can help crisp the chicken skin and enhance its texture. If desired, lightly coat the chicken drumsticks with olive oil before seasoning.
  • Kosher Salt and Black Pepper: These simple seasonings add depth of flavor and enhance the overall taste of your chicken.
  • Seasonings: Other seasonings that pair well with this dish are garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, brown sugar, chili powder, dry rub, or ground mustard.

Now that your ingredients are in order get ready to embark on a culinary journey that will transform these essential components into mouthwatering Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Legs that your family and friends won’t resist.

How To Cook BBQ Chicken Legs In Air Fryer

With this method, your air fryer barbecue chicken legs will have that irresistible combination of crispy, caramelized skin and tender, flavorful meat. It’s perfect for your next barbecue, busy weeknights, or family dinner. The entire family will love this saucy chicken.

Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Legs

Preheat Your Air Fryer: Preheat your air fryer to 375 degrees F (190°C) for 3-5 minutes. Preheating ensures even cooking.

Prepare the Chicken: Dry your chicken legs with paper towels. Lightly brush the chicken drumsticks with olive oil if you’d like. This helps achieve crispy skin. Season the drumsticks with salt and pepper to taste.

BBQ Chicken Legs Air fryer (1)

Coat with BBQ Sauce: Generously coat each chicken drumstick with your favorite BBQ sauce. You can use a brush to distribute the sauce evenly.

Arrange in the Air Fryer: Place the sauced chicken drumsticks in the air fryer basket or on the air fryer tray, ensuring they are in a single layer and not overcrowded. You may need to cook them in batches.

BBQ Chicken Legs Air fryer (1)

Air Fry the Chicken Legs: Set cook time for 15-20 minutes, flipping them halfway through the cooking time. Keep a close eye on them to prevent overcooking.

Check for Doneness: To ensure the chicken is thoroughly cooked, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. It should reach 165°F (74°C) in the thickest part of the chicken. The internal temperature of the chicken should also have a beautifully crispy, golden-brown exterior.

Rest and Serve: Once done, remove the chicken legs from the air fryer and let them rest for a few minutes. This resting period allows the juices to be redistributed, ensuring maximum juiciness. Serve your BBQ chicken legs hot with extra BBQ sauce for dipping.

Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Legs

Pro Tips For Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Drumsticks

Achieving the perfect Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Legs involves attention to detail. Here are some pro tips to elevate your chicken leg game:

  • Preheat Your Air Fryer: Always preheat your air fryer before cooking. This helps ensure that the chicken cooks evenly and crisps up nicely.
  • Use Fresh Drumsticks: Opt for fresh chicken drumsticks with the skin on. Fresh drumsticks produce juicier results, and the skin adds to the crispiness.
  • Season Before Sauces: Season the chicken with salt and pepper before applying the BBQ sauce. This helps enhance the overall flavor of the chicken.
  • Brush with Olive Oil: If you want extra crispy skin, lightly brush the chicken drumsticks with olive oil before applying the BBQ sauce. This step helps achieve that desirable crunch.
  • Don’t Overcrowd the Basket: Arrange the chicken drumsticks in a single layer in the air fryer basket, leaving some space between each piece. Overcrowding can lead to uneven cooking.
  • Flip Halfway Through: Flip the chicken drumsticks halfway through the cooking time to ensure even cooking and a crispy exterior. This step helps both sides of the chicken develop a beautiful crust.
  • Use a Meat Thermometer: The best way to ensure your chicken is cooked perfectly is to use a meat thermometer. The internal temperature should reach 165°F (74°C) to ensure it’s safe to eat.
  • Check for Crispiness: If the chicken isn’t as crispy as you’d like at the end of the cooking time, you can give it a quick extra blast at a higher temperature for a few minutes. Keep a close eye on it to prevent burning.
  • Rest Before Serving: Allow the cooked chicken legs to rest for a few minutes before serving. This helps the juices redistribute throughout the meat, ensuring maximum flavor and tenderness.
  • Serve with Extra Sauce: Serve your BBQ chicken legs with extra BBQ sauce on the side for dipping or drizzling. It adds an extra layer of flavor and enhances the overall barbecue experience.
Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Legs

Can I use frozen chicken legs for this recipe?

It’s recommended to use fresh or thawed chicken legs for the best results. Cooking frozen chicken legs in an air fryer may lead to uneven cooking.

Can I use boneless chicken for this recipe?

While bone-in chicken drumsticks are commonly used for BBQ chicken legs, you can use boneless skin-on chicken thighs, chicken breasts,  rotisserie chicken, or chicken tenders. Adjust the cooking time accordingly.

What BBQ sauce works best for this recipe?

You can use any BBQ sauce you prefer, whether it’s a classic smoky flavor, honey-glazed, or a spicy variety. Choose one that suits your taste. For an easy, low-carb meal, choose low carb options bbq sauce.

Can I marinate the chicken in BBQ sauce before air frying?

It’s best to apply the BBQ sauce just before air frying. Marinating the chicken in BBQ sauce for an extended period may produce a less crispy texture.

How long does cooking BBQ chicken legs in the air fryer take?

Cooking times will vary depending on the size of the chicken legs and the specific air fryer model. On average, it takes about 25-30 minutes at 375°F (190°C), flipping halfway through. Always use a meat thermometer to check for doneness.

How can I prevent the chicken legs from sticking to the air fryer basket?

To prevent sticking, lightly grease the air fryer basket with cooking spray or use parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Can I reheat leftover BBQ chicken legs in the air fryer?

Yes, you can reheat leftover chicken legs in the air fryer. Preheat the air fryer to 350°F (175°C) and heat the chicken legs for a few minutes until they are warmed through.

What should I serve with air-fried BBQ chicken legs?

Air-fried BBQ chicken legs pair well with classic barbecue sides like coleslaw, baked beans, cornbread, and potato salad. Don’t forget extra BBQ sauce for dipping!

Can I use this recipe for chicken wings or other cuts of chicken?

While this recipe is specifically for chicken drumsticks, you can adapt it for other cuts of chicken, such as wings or thighs, by adjusting the cooking time to suit the thickness of the meat.


Make ahead: You can prepare the chicken legs in advance and place the seasonings and raw chicken into a large Ziplock bag, and when you are ready to cook them up, put them into the air fryer basket.

Storing: Let any leftovers cool to room temperature and place them in an airtight container. They will last for about 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Freeze: You can keep these chicken legs in the freezer for three months. Allow them to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and cook in the air fryer for a great and delicious quick meal.

More Easy Air Fryer Recipes

Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Legs

Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Legs

4.41 from 5 votes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 Servings


No summer is complete without good old-fashioned BBQ chicken legs. But who has time to stand over a hot grill all day? Not me! That's where the air fryer comes in. You can make perfect BBQ chicken legs in no time at all using your air fryer. Plus, the best part is that you don't have to heat up your whole house! Check out this easy recipe and start cooking today.


  • 1 pound chicken legs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar


  • Spray your air fryer basket with cooking spray.
  • Start by pouring the flour, salt, and black pepper into a large bowl.
  • Coat your chicken, with the flour mixture. As you coat your chicken, place it into the air fryer basket.
  • Note: Spray your chicken with cooking spray, so that your entire chicken leg is covered with cooking spray. This will help it crisp up.
  • When your basket is full, spray your chicken with cooking spray, and then set the temperature to 360 degrees F, air fryer setting and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the chicken’s internal temperature reads 165 degrees F
  • While the chicken is cooking, add the ketchup and brown sugar in a large saucepan over low heat and mix well. Simmer for a few minutes, until the sauce has thickened.
  • When your chicken is cooked, dip your chicken into the BBQ sauce, then add the chicken back to the air fryer, set the temperature to 400 degrees F, air fryer setting, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes.


  • Air Fryer
  • Cooking Spray
  • Parchment Paper, optional


Serving: 1ServingCalories: 557kcalCarbohydrates: 99gProtein: 18gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0.04gCholesterol: 60mgSodium: 1730mgPotassium: 563mgFiber: 2gSugar: 44gVitamin A: 676IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 50mgIron: 4mg

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