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Juicy Air Fryer Fried Chicken Legs – made with only 3 Tbsp butter but full of flavor and really easy to make. They’re tender and juicy inside and crispy on the outside. You have to try them!

breaded chicken drumsticks in a white bowl with parchment paper

These air fried chicken thighs are crispy on the outside and so juicy and tender on the inside! They taste like real fried chicken but are made using a healthier method with much less fat. Perfect for every fried chicken lover who whats to eat a bit healthier without losing flavor!

 My husband loves fried chicken, especially the one from a chain with three letters. You know what I mean! I love it too but since we’re trying to eat healthier I experimented a bit with our new AirFryer and came up with this delicious recipe.

It tastes so good you won’t believe it’s made with much less fat! My husband loves this air fried chicken recipe!

More Air Fryer Chicken Recipes

breaded chicken drumsticks lying in an air fryer basket

Our AirFryer (we own this one) is one of the most used appliances in our kitchen! It gets hot much quicker than the oven and it makes fries taste so much better than making them in the oven. Just put the fries in the basket, shake it every 5 minutes or so and you get delicious crispy fries.

What is an Air Fryer?

An air fryer is a small kitchen appliance that cooks food by circulating hot air around it with a mechanical fan at high speed, cooking the food and producing a crispy texture similar to frying, but without all the oil. It cooks food with 70% to 80% less oil than a traditional deep-fryer.

The Air Fryer is perfect for making small things like fries, fish fingers, or frozen chicken strips in it. You could even make a whole roast in it but I haven’t tried that yet.

You can preheat the AirFryer but I often don’t do that, it gets hot so quickly, so I don’t think it’s necessary. To clean it, I just put the basket which holds the food in the dishwasher or I clean it quickly with some hot water and pat it dry with kitchen towels. It’s really easy and quick! The basket is big enough for fries for 2-3 people, so if you are more you might need to do it twice but thin fries only take about 10 minutes.

raw chicken drumstick in a zipper bag filled with buttermilk

How to make fried chicken in Airfryer

These air fried chicken legs are made with buttermilk and have a crispy and slightly spicy breadcrumb crust. They are so juicy and tender inside and make a great dinner or party snack. We often have them with Creamy Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes and homemade coleslaw.

Making homemade fried chicken in an Air Fryer is super easy and quick:

  • Put chicken with buttermilk in a ziplock bag and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Combine spices and breadcrumbs in a bowl. Dip chicken pieces in the breadcrumb mixture.
  • Put the chicken pieces in a single layer in the air fryer (don’t overcrowd the basket) and fry for 20 minutes.
  • Brush with butter after 10 minutes.
  • Check for doneness and serve.
uncooked chicken drumstick lying in the breading mix

Looking for more healthier dinner ideas?

Tools used for making this air fryer recipe:

Air Fryer: This is the model I use and love! It has a big enough basket for a family of 3 or four and is easy to use.
Panko Breadcrumbs: Panko Breadcrumbs work best for this recipe.

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4.89 from 36 votes

Air Fryer Fried Chicken

Juicy Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks – made with only 3 Tbsp butter but full of flavor and really easy to make. They're tender and juicy inside and crispy on the outside.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 6 pieces


  • 1 lbs chicken drumsticks, (4-6 pieces)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder

Spice Mixture

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp celery salt
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp butter melted


  • Place the chicken drumsticks with the skin on in a plastic bag and pour the buttermilk into the bag. Squeeze the air out and seal the bag. Let marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes minimum up to several hours.
  • In a shallow bowl combine the panko breadcrumbs, flour, baking powder, and spices.
  • Preheat AirFryer to 390°F (200°C) (or don’t preheat it and just fry the chicken 2 minutes longer).
  • Remove the chicken from the buttermilk, shake off excess buttermilk, and dredge the drumsticks in the seasoned flour mixture to coat on all sides.
  • Put the chicken in one layer in the Air Fryer basket and air fry for 10 minutes.
  • Then pause the AirFryer and brush drumsticks with melted butter on both sides. Turn the chicken over, lower the temperature to 350°F (180°C) and air fry for 7-10 more minutes or until internal temperature reads 165°F (79°C). Depending on the Air Fryer you use this time can be longer or shorter. Always make sure chicken is completely cooked through.
  • Remove from Airfryer and let the drumsticks rest for 5 minutes before serving.


Calories: 205kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 549mg | Potassium: 191mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 455IU | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 1.2mg
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two breaded chicken drumsticks pm a parchment paper with zucchini salad in the background

About Julia Foerster

Hi, I'm Julia! Born in Germany, I call Canada now my home and love to share my favorite dishes with you! Here you'll find hundreds of recipes, all made from scratch, with lots of tips and detailed step-by-step instructions.

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  1. Holy Toledo!!!!! BEST EVER!!!! My family and friends up and down the East coast are using this “special spice”. I’ll never deep fry again. Thank you, Julia so much for a fine addition to my fried chicken.

  2. 5 stars
    This was my first time air frying chicken legs and let me tell y’all.. mind blown!! These were so delicious. I tweaked it a bit due to not having some items. I marinated in soy sauce, used bread crumbs instead of panko, and my boyfriend is obsessed with msg so that went in as well.

    If you are looking for a recipe, this is the one. Tasted just like my Granny’s fried chicken back in the day.

    1. 5 stars
      I think I misunderstood the recipe and poured the melted butter onto the breadcrumbs mixture. (It is listed under the spice mixture.) I thought it seemed strange but it worked out so well that I have made it that way twice! The butter makes a moist mixture that coats the chicken amazingly. The chicken comes out so crispy! My husband and I don’t go crazy for fried chicken so we only tried this because our kids liked the KFC chicken they had recently. It is a hit with all of us though!

  3. 5 stars
    Thanks for sharing the recipe. I didn’t have buttermilk, so I use soy sauce to marinate. Juicy inside and crispy outside. I am using Philip air fryer.

    1. Can make buttermilk with 1 cup milk, 1 Tablespoon of EITHER white vinegar or lemon juice. Mix together and stand for10 minutes before use.

  4. 5 stars
    I didn’t have panko, so I had my kids crush up goldfish and I reduced the salt. These were delicious! They cooked just perfectly in my Ninja.

  5. That sounds very good and I Love Chicken drumsticks, that is my Favorite part of the Chicken, I will let you know how it turns out ok.

    Thank You,
    Ellen Carroll

  6. Trying this for first time tonite. Going to use bowl for dredging but was wondering if I could use a bag and just shake it. Easier and less mess.