My air fryer marinated chicken drumsticks recipe is one of my old favorites and a hit with my family. It’s crispy and super juicy because of the secret marinade that I’ve been making at home for years.
Today I am going to share it with you.
Recently I moved from my old deep fryer to air frying, and I can tell you now I’m never going back.
Since I began my journey using my Phillips XXL (family-sized) air fryer, my chicken has come out juicier and crispier than ever before. And more importantly, air fryers are a healthier alternative.
My kids love my marinated chicken so much; they want me to make extra so they can take some cold to school with them.
It’s pretty simple to make but does take some preparation. But I promise you it will be worth it.
Why Do You Brine Chicken Before Frying?
I believe this process is essential when air or deep frying anything with chicken.
There are two methods to a brine. The first is using salt water, and the second is using buttermilk. I tend to use buttermilk, so I will be teaching you the buttermilk method today!
Firstly I want you to understand how a brine works and why I do this before cooking anything with chicken.
Have you ever cooked chicken in the oven, and it seems to be dry?
That’s because very high temperatures come into contact with the proteins within the chicken. These proteins then contract and expel moisture.
And because water has been expelled from the chicken, the oven will transfer heat more effectively than the air.
Heating your oven and making it hotter and more prone to drying out.
So by taking extra time to make a buttermilk brine, muscle fibers will loosen instead of tightening, locking in moisture, and tenderizing the meat.
This recipe will make 6-8 chicken drumsticks. So to start, you will need at least 600mls of buttermilk.
Herbs We Will Be Using In My Air Fryer Marinated Chicken Drumsticks Recipe
I am a big advocate for using herbs in just about everything. I love to experiment with different herbs and spices to create unique and amazing flavors.
But knowing whether you have used the correct combination of herbs can make or break a dish.
I drove my wife nuts when creating this recipe because I cooked it so many times. I wanted to get it perfect, and of course, she was the one that cleaned up after me.
Herbs I’m using are:
- Salt & Pepper
To begin, finely chop one large brown or red onion and eight smashed garlic cloves into a mixing bowl.
Then we want to add our concoction of herbs, which consist of
Fresh Parsley, Thyme, and Tarragon.
Dice your herbs, so they fill up 1 cup.
If you can’t find fresh, then dry is perfectly fine also. I think, “Fresh is Best.” You will want to convert the dried herbs into one tbsp each.
Add 1 tbsp of paprika, and add a tsp of salt and pepper.
Making The Brine
To begin making the brine add all of your herbs combined with your diced onion and garlic into a mixing bowl and mix thoroughly.
Pour in 600ml of buttermilk and stir once again.
The last ingredient we will want to add is my secret sauce; well, it’s not really secret.
I just saw this particular sauce in the cupboard and thought, heck, why not and put some into the brine.
I knew I was always missing something, and when I put the hot sauce in, I knew that was it.
Franks Red Hot Sauce, yeah, underwhelming, I know, but it was a big deal for me.
If you fear hot sauce like my kids, I assure you it won’t burn, I promise.
But what it does do is add some kick to complement the herbs, onion, and garlic.
Pop the chicken drumsticks into the brine, making sure to submerge the chicken fully so each chicken drumstick will be covered.
Cover the mixing bowl and pop it into the fridge for at least 12-24 hours.
I recommend leaving the chicken in the brine for 24 hours to allow more time for the herbs and spices to be soaked into the chicken, boosting the flavors.
How To Make The Breading?
Making the breading is the fun stage of my air fryer marinated chicken drumsticks recipe because you can experiment with anything you like.
But I prefer to keep this part simple, only adding paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and a little bit of fresh parsley.
But please feel free to play around with your variations of herbs.
If you would like to stick with my recipe, then here it is!
In a mixing bowl, add your 2 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 tbsp of paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder.
Add 1tsp of salt and pepper for extra seasoning.
And finish it off with about ¼ cup of fresh parsley and mix.
Quick Tip: If your mixing bowl has a lid, pop it on and shake it up. I find it a lot easier to combine the ingredients.
Time To Break Out Your Air Fryer
For this recipe, I use my Phillips XXL Air Fryer, which is fantastic, by the way. It’s crazy what you can cook in this thing.
Get your air fryer and plug it in if it isn’t already, and pop it onto the chicken setting if yours has that option.
For my air fryer marinated chicken drumsticks recipe, I don’t use eggs or an egg and milk solution to make the flour stick to the chicken.
Not using eggs not only saves you some time, but it will also be less messy.
Grab your now well-brined chicken from the fridge and a pair of tongs, and let any excess buttermilk drip off the drumstick.
Pop it into the breading mix and cover the drumstick, rolling it around in the flour. Make sure to pull down the skin and cover it with the mixture.
Pick up the drumstick from the bottom, shake off any excess flour, and place it into your air fryer.
It depends on the size of your air fryer, but it is essential not to overload it.
Only place enough drumsticks onto the tray that they do not touch each other, and the air can circulate around the chicken.
Another critical point is not to stack the chicken.
Finally, you will want to baste the chicken with a small amount of oil; this helps the flour give you some crunch.
Also, your air fryer blows air, and flour and air are bad. And make for a messy experience.
You can use olive, peanut, vegetable, and canola oil. But I have had more success using canola to make the skin crunchy.
How Long do You Need to Cook Chicken Drumsticks in an Airfryer?
In a Phillips XXL Premium Air Fryer, you will need to set a temperature of 190°C / 375°F for 26 minutes to get moist and juicy air fryer chicken drumsticks.
This time may vary between different air fryers, so you may need to experiment if you have a different model.
Quick Tip: To work out the cooking time for your model air fryer, use a meat thermometer and stick it into the thickest part of the drumstick.
You want the internal temperature to be at least 73°C / 165°F to be considered safe for eating.
Once your chicken has reached the safe eating temperature, note down the time it took your air fryer to get your chicken to that temp.
When the chicken has reached the halfway point, so for me 13 minutes, pause your air fryer and open the draw.
Turn the chicken over and baste the other side with oil and start your air fryer again.
When your air fryer has finished, pop the chicken onto some paper towel and allow some time to cool before serving.
What To Serve With Air Fryer Marinated Chicken Drumsticks?
A night with dull chicken drumsticks is no good. It will need to be complemented with something to enjoy fully.
Luckily I have some great suggestions to help you.
I have tried every one of the following, and they work perfectly together:
- Steamed or Boiled Vegetables
- French Fries
- Potato Salad
- Ceaser Salad
- Mashed Potato & Gravy
My air fryer marinated chicken drumsticks recipe can be eaten cold, given to the kids to take in their lunchbox, and will store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
A poured my heart and soul into this recipe, so I hope you guys enjoy it!
If you tried any other herbs or spices, I would love to hear them so I can try it next time, so please share your thoughts and ENJOY!
Super Juicy Air Fryer Marinated Chicken Drumsticks
Making The Marinate
- 6-8 Chicken Drumsticks Skin On
- 600ml Buttermilk
- 8 Garlic Cloves Smashed
- 1 Onion Diced
- 1 Cup Fresh Herbs (Parsley, Thyme, Tarragon) Diced 1 tbsp of each dried herb if you don't use fresh
- 1 tbsp Paprika
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Black Pepper
- ¼ Cup Frank's Red Hot Original Hot Sauce
Making The Breading
- 1 Cup All Purpose Flour (Plain Flour)
- 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tbsp Onion Powder
- 1 tbsp Paprika
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Black Pepper
- Oil For Basting Canola, Vegetable, Olive Oil, Peanut
Preparing The Marinate
- Smash garlic and dice up the onion, parsley, thyme, and tarragon and place into a mixing bowl
- Add the paprika, onion powder, salt & pepper
- Pour buttermilk into the mixing bowl and add the hot sauce, and mix thoroughly
- Add the chicken drumsticks to the marinade making sure to cover the entire drumstick with marinade
- Cover the mixing bowl and pop into the fridge to marinate for 24 hours
Preparing The Breading
- In another mixing bowl, add all-purpose flour
- Add garlic and onion powder, paprika, salt & pepper, and mix thoroughly
Air Frying The Chicken
- Take chicken from the fridge and place each piece onto a wire rack to let excess buttermilk drip off. Don't pat chicken dry with a paper towel. You need the flour to stick to the chicken
- Place one piece at a time into the flour mixture and cover with flour. A kitchen hack I know is to put the lid on the mixing bowl and toss the chicken inside. It's quicker and less messy. Shake off anyyexcess flour and add the breaded chicken to another clean wire rack
- If you know how many chicken drumsticks your air fryer can hold then only add that many to the flour mixture, and just repeat this procedure untillall of your drumsticks are cooked
- Lastly, baste a small amount of your chosen oil around the chicken so you don't see any flour. Don't worry about the bottom as this is done once the chicken has cooked through half-way
- Turn your air-fryer to the chicken setting and set a temperature of 375°F (190°C) for 26 minutes
- With 13 minutes remaining or at the half-way point, pause your air-fryer and turn the chicken over basting any remaining flour with a small amount of oil
- Restart your air-fryer for the remaining cooking time
- Once the chicken is cooked place it on a wire rack and allow to cool before eating. repeat steps 2-8 if more chicken is required and ENJOY!!!