These sweet and spicy air fryer chicken drumsticks are going to become your new favorite way to cook chicken. They are tender and juicy on the inside and perfectly seasoned on the outside. Finished with a sweet and spicy glaze, these drumsticks are irresistible!
I love air fryers because they can make our favorite comfort foods so much healthier. They use very little to no oil, so the food gets just as crispy and flavorful as it would if it were actually deep-fried. If you are new to the air fryer world, I have a full guide on how to use an air fryer with over 30 recipes you can prepare in it!
3 Ingredient Seasoning: garlic powder, ground pepper, and salt. You really could season the meat any way you like. If you plan to add the apricot glaze, a simple seasoning is best.
Glaze: The glaze is optional but makes things interesting. It’s got a sweet and spicy flavor with apricot preserves, dijon mustard, soy sauce, and chili flakes.
How to Make Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks
This simple combination of spices is over-the-top good and so simple that you will want to keep using it in every chicken recipe!In a small bowl, mix salt, ground black pepper, and garlic powder. Make sure to pat the chicken dry really well so the spices can stick to it. Then rub the spices onto the chicken, making sure they coat the drumsticks evenly.
Once you have your chicken seasoned, place it in one single layer in the air fryer. Check your instruction manual to see if you need to preheat the unit. To save some time, I would recommend turning your air fryer and letting it preheat while you prepare the chicken.
Air fry for 10 minutes, then flip the chicken legs over and continue cooking for about 10-15 minutes. Check for doneness using an instant read digital thermometer – chicken should always be served at 165 degrees.
After 20 minutes, remove the drumsticks from the air fryer and add the glaze.
Sweet and Spicy Apricot Glaze
The apricot glaze takes only a few minutes to prepare. You can do this step while the chicken drumsticks are cooking. Mix apricot preserves, soy sauce, dijon mustard, and red chili flakes in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sauce has thickened.
Brush the glaze over the air fried chicken legs, making sure they are coated evenly, and cook for another 2 minutes.
How long do drumsticks take in the air fryer?
Chicken drumsticks take around 20-25 minutes at 380 degrees F to cook in an air fryer. The cooking time can vary depending on the air fryer and the size of the drumsticks. To make sure the drumsticks are cooked evenly let the chicken air fry on one side for 10 minutes and then flip on the other side for an additional 10 to 15 minutes.
A meat thermometer is recommended to make sure the chicken is cooked all the way through. Once it reaches 165 degrees internal temperature the chicken is ready to be glazed.
Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks Recipe Tips
Can you air fry chicken drumsticks from frozen? I don’t recommend it because the meat would dry out on the outside before it was cooked through.
The glaze is totally optional but adds a perfectly balanced sweet and spicy layer of flavor to the chicken. As a substitute for the apricot glaze, you can use barbeque sauce, honey, or a sauce of your choosing. Or you can switch the apricot preserves with orange or blackberry.
To achieve even cooking, make sure that the drumsticks are placed in one single layer in the air fryer.
As you can see in the photos, I removed the skin from the chicken legs. This is a personal preference – you can leave it on and it will get nice and crispy.
Pat chicken dry and season evenly with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Place the chicken drumsticks in the air fryer basket and air fry at 380*F for 10 minutes. Flip chicken over and continue air frying for an additional 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile make the apricot glaze. To a medium saucepan over medium heat, add apricot preserves, red chili flakes, soy sauce, and Dijon mustard. Simmer, stirring frequently, for 3-5 minutes or until the sauce has slightly thickened. Remove from the heat.
Remove the air fried chicken drumsticks and coat with the apricot glaze and return to the air fryer basket. Air fry again for 2 more minutes at 380*F. Test to make sure that chicken reads 165 degrees on a digital thermometer.
Remove the apricot glazed chicken drumsticks, sprinkle with chopped parsley, and serve hot.
The glaze is optional, but delicious. You can also brush with BBQ sauce instead, or use another flavor of preserves like orange or blackberry.
Depending on the air fryer you have, you may need to preheat - check your manual for instructions.
The recipe was made with a 3 quart air fryer in mind. If yours is small, you may need to cook chicken in smaller batches.
Let us know how it was by leaving a review or sharing on Instagram with the tag #yellowblissroad
Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.