Mouthwatering Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Legs: Easy & Flavorful

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Get ready to experience finger-licking goodness with these Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Legs! You won’t believe how easy and delicious this recipe is. The crispy exterior and juicy interior will have you coming back for seconds. 😋 Fry it, to believe it!

Air fryer BBQ chicken legs, recipe bite-shot, with corn and salad on the side
Air fryer BBQ chicken legs, recipe bite-shot, with corn and salad on the side

Notes: We are currently in the development and testing stage for this BBQ chicken drumsticks in air fryer recipe. Stay tuned for more updates. If you have any tips on making this dish even better, please leave us a comment below. We appreciate your input!

Happy frying!

Here’s a video of a similar recipe that we’re going for.

Ingredients for Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Legs

Here are all you need to make air fried BBQ Chicken Legs.

  • Chicken legs (drumsticks)
  • Avocado oil
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Garlic powder
  • Paprika
  • Salt and pepper

📣 You can find the exact measurements and adjust the number of servings in the recipe card down below.


Barbecue sauce: You can use your favorite store-bought bBBQ sauce or experiment with flavors like honey BBQ, smoky mesquite, or spicy chipotle.

Note: Don’t use olive oil, which will overpower the barbecue flavor.

How to Cook BBQ Chicken Legs in Air Fryer?

1. Preheat your air fryer to 400ºF (204ºC).

Preating Instant Pot Vortex Plus Air Fryer to 400°F (204°C).

If your air fryer doesn’t have a preheating option, set your desired temperature then let it cook for 5 minutes without food.

🚨 Important: Reduce the cooking temperature to 380°F (193°C) if you’re using a 4-quart air fryer or smaller. They are hotter due to the heating element being closer to the food.

2. Prepare ingredients.

Pat the chicken drumsticks dry with paper towels to ensure maximum crispiness.

Combine avocado oil, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and black pepper in a mixing bowl. Toss the chicken legs in this flavorful seasoning. Making sure that all the corners of the chicken are fully coated.

3. Air fry BBQ Chicken Legs for 16 – 20 minutes at 400ºF (204ºC).

Place the seasoned chicken drumsticks in the air fryer basket in a single layer. Avoid overcrowding, as it may lead to uneven cooking.

Cook the chicken legs at 400ºF (204ºC) for 11 – 13 minutes. 

Then, brush the barbecue sauce generously over the chicken legs, coating them entirely. Flip the chicken drumsticks, and brush with more bbq sauce.

Air fry for 5 – 7 more minutes or until the chicken reaches a safe internal temperature of 165ºF (74ºC).

This step adds classic barbecue flavor and caramelizes the sauce for an extra punch.

4. Serve and Enjoy!

air fried BBQ chicken legs, with corn on the side

Remove the chicken legs from the air fryer and let them rest for a minute. Serve it hot with your choice of sides for a lip-smacking meal.

Now that you’ve got the secret recipe, it’s time to fire up your air fryer and savor the deliciousness of these bbq chicken drumsticks air fryer. They’re perfect for any occasion, whether a casual family dinner or a backyard barbecue with friends. 

So, what are you waiting for?

Bonus: Marinate the chicken drumsticks.

Consider marinating your chicken legs in BBQ sauce before air frying for an explosion of taste in every bite. This method allows the flavors to penetrate the meat, resulting in a more pronounced and succulent taste. 

To do this, pierce the chicken with a fork. Then, submerge the chicken drumsticks in your favorite barbecue sauce and let them marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or overnight. The longer they marinate, the richer the flavor will be. 

When it’s time to cook, pop those perfectly seasoned chicken legs into the air fryer, and you’ll be rewarded with an unforgettable BBQ experience!

What to Serve with Air Fried BBQ Chicken Legs?

  • Air Fryer Corn on the cob: A classic pairing with BBQ chicken drumsticks that adds a touch of sweetness and texture to the meal.
  • Coleslaw: A refreshing and crunchy side that complements the richness of the barbecue flavors.
  • Sweet potato fries: The perfect balance of sweetness and crispiness to round out your plate.
  • Air fried green beans: A comforting side dish that adds depth and richness to your BBQ feast.

💡 Pro Tip: BBQ chicken legs are already packed with flavor, but if you want an extra punch, serve them with a side of barbecue sauce for dipping!

Freezing & Storage

Freezing: If you want to freeze them, allow the cooked chicken legs to cool completely before storing them in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag. They’ll stay good in the freezer for up to 2 – 3 months. 

To reheat from frozen, cook in the air fryer at 375ºF (190ºC) for 25 – 30 minutes until hot and crispy.

Fridge: Air fried chicken drumsticks can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 – 4 days. To reheat, pop them back into your air fryer at 400ºF (204ºC) for 5 – 7 minutes until heated.

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Meat Thermometer

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

Cooking BBQ chicken legs in the air fryer takes 16 – 20 minutes at 400ºF (204ºC). Remember to flip them halfway through for even cooking and achieve that deliciously crispy and juicy texture. Moreover, ensure that the chicken has reached a safe temperature of 165ºF (74ºC) before serving.

air fried BBQ chicken legs, with corn on the side

Easy Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Legs

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Enjoy finger-licking goodness with these tender and flavorful air fryer BBQ chicken legs. With a crispy exterior and juicy interior, this easy recipe is perfect for a quick and delicious meal.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 2
Calories 746 kcal


  • 4 chicken legs (drumsticks)
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


  • Preheat your Air Fryer. Set your air fryer to 400ºF (204ºC) and preheat it for 5 minutes while you prepare the chicken legs.
  • Prepare the seasoning. Combine the avocado oil, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and black pepper in a mixing bowl.
  • Pat the chicken legs dry with paper towels to ensure crispy results.
  • Season the chicken. Place the chicken drumsticks in the bowl and toss them until evenly coated with the marinade.
  • Place the chicken drumsticks in the preheated air fryer basket in a single layer, ensuring they’re not touching each other.
  • Air Fry the Chicken Legs for 16 – 20 minutes at 400ºF (204ºC).
  • Baste the chicken with BBQ sauce at around 11 – 13-minute mark. Flip the chicken drumsticks, and brush with more barbecue sauce.
  • Continue cooking until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF (74ºC).
  • Once cooked, remove the air fryer and let the chicken rest for 5 minutes at room temperature.
  • Serve and enjoy!


  • Remember that cooking durations may differ depending on the chicken’s thickness and your air fryer’s size and model. Before serving, ensure it has been cooked to a safe internal temperature of 165ºF (74ºC).
  • If your air fryer doesn’t have a preheating option, you can set the temperature to 380°F (193°C) and then let it cook for 4-5 minutes without food. 
  • You can skip preheating by adding 2-4 minutes to your cooking time. Increment gradually to prevent burning the BBQ chicken legs in the air fryer.
  • I used a 6-quart (air fryer) to test the BBQ chicken drumsticks. Cooking time and temperature may vary depending on your air fryer and the number of servings you are making. For optimal results, begin with the lower end of the suggested cooking time.


Calories: 746kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 55g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g | Monounsaturated Fat: 27g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 240mg | Sodium: 1168mg | Potassium: 653mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 812IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 2mg
Keywords: air fryer bbq chicken drumsticks, air fryer bbq chicken legs, bbq chicken legs in air fryer

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