These amazing Air Fryer Chicken Legs with an easy marinade recipe require just 15 minutes of cooking for a juicy, flavorful low-carb meal!
Air Fryer Chicken Legs
One main reason the air fryer has become so popular is because it cooks SO quickly! My Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets only require 8 minutes of cooking, but it turns out you don’t have to stick to boneless, skinless chicken for a fast meal!
These Air Fryer Chicken Legs only need to cook for 15 minutes… Perfect easy weeknight recipe! Even better, I opted to marinade these chicken legs, saving time from having to coat them in seasonings when I was ready to cook.
This easy recipe can be keto-friendly, is gluten-free, and great for meal prep. Keep scrolling for the printable recipe card, side suggestions, and meal prep tips!
Ingredients for Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks
Here’s a quick overview of what you’ll need. Keep scrolling to the printable recipe card for exact measurements.
- Chicken legs – I used skin-on drumsticks, but you can use skinless if you prefer. They don’t get as crispy, but it does save you some calories!
- Soy sauce – I used the reduced sodium version, and it was just salty enough.
- Brown sugar sweetener – If keto, use golden monk fruit or brown sugar Swerve.
- Lime juice & zest
- Toasted sesame oil
- Minced garlic
Do I have to marinate chicken legs before cooking?
I prefer marinating because it adds a ton of flavor, the acidity of the citrus juice tenderizes the meat, and it can be done throughout the day while I’m working. However, you don’t have to! You could also season your chicken legs (I love this Homemade Keto BBQ Rub) if you prefer.
If you want to marinate the chicken but want to switch up the flavors, here are a few of my other favorite marinades:
How long should I marinate chicken legs?
If you’re mainly looking to infuse the chicken with flavor, 30 minutes is always better than nothing! If you have longer, though, you can get more benefits.
Marinating chicken over 2 hours allows the acidic ingredient (usually a vinegar or citrus juice) to breakdown the meat tissue, leading to beautifully tender chicken legs. You can marinate chicken up to 24 hours–Beyond that, the tissue can break down too much, leading to a “mushy” texture instead of a tender one.
How long to cook chicken legs in air fryer
This recipe is incredibly easy–Mix up the marinade ingredients and marinate the chicken between 30 minutes and 24 hours. If possible, flip the chicken a few times in the marinade to make sure every bit is well-coated.
When ready to cook, pat the chicken legs off with a paper towel. Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees F for 5 minutes–It’s important that it is very hot when you add the chicken. After 5 minutes, add the chicken in the air fryer basket and reduce temperature to 380 degrees F. Cook for 10 minutes, then flip the drumsticks and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
Check the internal temperature of the chicken with a meat thermometer–If it has not yet reached 165 degrees F, cook in 2 minute intervals until cooked to a safe temperature.
What to serve with Air Fryer Chicken Legs
These delicious chicken legs can easily go with so many side dishes! These Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts come with an AMAZING dipping sauce that would also be perfect for this chicken! If you’re not keto, this Brussels Sprout Fried Rice is super tasty and goes a long way, too.
These Foil Pack Green Beans cook in a great sesame sauce, have very little cleanup involved, and can cook on the grill or in the oven while your chicken is in the air fryer. Similarly, these Bacon Wrapped Green Beans can also be grilled or baked for an easy side.
If you’re not keto, I highly recommend trying this Vegetable Lo Mein–The flavors of the chicken and sauce would complement each other perfectly! If you are keto and miss a good biscuit, you’ve got to try these Three-Cheese Keto Biscuits!
Can I make Chicken Legs ahead of time?
Yes, these Air Fryer Chicken Legs are great for meal prep! You don’t have to worry as much about bone-in dark meat chicken drying out, especially when compared to boneless, skinless chicken breast.
After marinating and cooking your chicken legs, allow them to cool completely. Store them in foil or an airtight container and refrigerate up to 3 days. You can also freeze these–Double wrap in foil (protects from freezer burn), then store in a freezer bag with all the air squeezed out. It’s best to eat these within 4 months from freezing.
How to reheat Chicken Drumsticks
If you refrigerated your chicken legs, you can reheat them in the microwave, air fryer, or oven. While the microwave is quickest, it will make the skin a soggy. Microwave on 50% power in 45-second to 1-minute increments until warmed throughout.
Reheating in the air fry is quick and results in perfectly crispy skin, just like the first time you cooked it! Preheat air fryer to 380 degrees F for 2-3 minutes, then reheat for about 3 minutes until warmed throughout.
To cook in the oven, preheat to 350 degrees F and place in a baking dish with just a bit of water (1-2 teaspoons for each drumstick). Warm for 5-8 minutes covered, then remove the cover and continue warming for 2-5 minutes more.
More Air Fryer Recipes
- Chicken Alfredo Zucchini Boats
- Air Fryer Cabbage and Sausage
- Air Fryer Brownie (single serving, gluten free, keto!)
- Air Fryer Cauliflower
- Check out ALL of my Air Fryer Recipes here!
- 2 pounds chicken legs
For the Marinade:
- 2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sweetener of your choice (golden monk fruit or brown sugar swerve if keto)
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons lime zest
- 1 teaspoon sriracha
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- Combine all the ingredients for the marinade in a shallow bowl or plastic bag, then add the chicken legs. Allow them to marinate for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
- Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees F for 5 minutes. While it's preheating, pull chicken from the bag and pat dry with paper towels.
- Place chicken legs in the air fryer basket, then lower temperature to 380 degrees F. Cook for 10 minutes, then flip drumsticks. Cook another 5 minutes.
- Check the internal temperature of the chicken with a meat thermometer--If it has reached 165 degrees, pull out and allow to set for 4-5 minutes. If it has not yet hit 165, cook in additional 2-minute increments until it reaches a safe temperature.
Nutrition value based on using Golden monk fruit sweetener and includes ALL marinade. Since much of the marinade is discarded, true values are likely lower than calculated here.
Serving Size:1/2 pound (about 2 drumsticks)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 332Total Fat: 12gCholesterol: 231mgSodium: 537mgCarbohydrates: 1.9gNet Carbohydrates: 1.8gFiber: 0.1gSugar: 0.7gProtein: 51g