Frozen chicken legs in air fryer come out tender and juicy with crispy chicken skin. Air fryer frozen drumsticks for the dinner win.
If you didn’t think you could really cook frozen chicken legs in air fryer and have them come out delicious, you were wrong. I wasn’t so sure myself but thought I would give it a whirl so I could share my findings with you and what do you know, this easy air fryer recipe is a total winner for dinner. (affiliate links present)
Ninja Foodi Frozen Chicken Legs
You can use any brand you might have at home. I have three different models because I like to make sure there is no difference in temperatures or cook times. Use your AirWave, Cosori or Foodi to air fry frozen drumsticks to tender. Key is to make sure they aren’t overlapping. Those babies need hot air flow all over to get to perfect.
You may have made air fryer fried chicken legs already defrosted before, but we all have forgetful moments right? If you too realized that it is 4pm and your poultry is still rock hard, no worries. If you follow these directions, or our air fryer frozen chicken thighs instructions you’ll have a complete meal and nobody will know what happened.
If you love air fryer recipes too, here are some resources to start with:
- THIS is my Favorite Air Fryer!
- You can find more Air fryer recipes here, we have Ninja Foodi recipes as well; bookmark them both!
- Here’s a printable air fryer cook times chart here for your fridge.
- It has temp. and times for making the best frozen foods for air fryer too.
- Then join our Facebook page where you can share and find more ideas you’ll love. We have a Foodi social media group as well.
Air Fryer Frozen Chicken Legs
This will work whether you bought these in the freezer section, or found them on sale and froze them yourself. The key to success is to separate them from one another. Typically you can run them under warm water and pull them apart. If not, just place the brick into the air fryer basket while it’s preheating and that will work too.
Yep! Of course for breasts and thighs it is better to have them boneless but for frozen chicken drumsticks in air fryer we have directions for just that below. Those will always have the bone in but still can come out moist and delicious.
Do you have to defrost chicken before air fryer?
I mean it is ideal to do so but if you’re in a pinch and haven’t done that beforehand don’t fret. Any cut will work when cooking frozen meat to tender. I’ve had these moments so often that I have worked my way thru the list y’all, and here to save your day because of it. Our most popular would be frozen chicken wings in air fryer.
Total game changer when you have people over for the big game. 😉 Last but not least air fryer frozen chicken breast has been successful as well. I will say that adding sauce the last 5 minutes is highly suggested too.
Air Fryer Frozen Chicken Drumsticks
I mean you don’t have to brush barbecue sauce on at the end but if you do the skin will have a killer flavor. It will get kinda’ baked on and crispy too which kinda’ caramelizes and OMG I can taste it now so I better stop. Here is what you will need to get started on this;
- Chicken drumsticks frozen
- Seasonings of your choice
- I mean salt and pepper are a given
- I’d suggest Lawry’s seasoned salt though
- Olive oil spray is key to staying moist on the outside and getting crispy at the end
- BBQ sauce is killer brushed on the last 5 minutes to add flavor
Like I said before, lay them inside by themselves in a single layer like you see here. You can put a bit of seasonings on at the very beginning or wait until the point where you flip them over. That way the outside has defrosted a bit and it will stick a bit better.
How to Cook Frozen Chicken Legs
You can jump to recipe card at the bottom of this post but….. Here is a quick step by step so you can get the gist of what I mean. It isn’t difficult at all and you’ll be surprised at how it would be hard to tell the difference if you had fresh at the beginning vs. rock hard.
- First spray the inside of your basket with olive oil. Place frozen chicken drumsticks in air fryer basket.
- Set your air fryer to 360° and cook for 15 minutes.
- Sprinkle 1/3 of seasoning on top, then flip the chicken legs over and top with one third of seasoning.
- Cook for another 15 – 20 minutes (depending on size). Use tongs to flip the chicken legs over.
- Spray tops with olive oil and sprinkle remaining seasoning on top.
- If you want to add bbq sauce brush some on each now.
- Cook for 5 minutes or until crispy on the outside and internal temp reaches 165 degrees F.
You should always use a digital meat thermometer in the thickest part of the meat to ensure it is to the min. internal temperature. Timing will vary depending on the size of the chicken. I always suggest medium to begin with.
Only have an Instant Pot air fryer lid? NO problem. First, start with our Instant Pot frozen chicken legs instructions. Then transfer to the basket, put the lid on and crisp the tops at 380 F for about 3 minutes on each side.
Frozen BBQ Chicken Legs in Air Fryer
Just in case you made too many, we have a ton of leftover chicken recipes to choose from the next day. I hate wasting food so whether you make these naked drumsticks or air fryer turkey legs you can use the meat to make dinner the next night. That means two for one meals which saves $.
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Frozen Chicken Legs in Air Fryer
- Spray inside of basket with olive oil. Place frozen chicken legs in air fryer basket. Set your air fryer to 360° and cook for 15 minutes. Sprinkle 1/3 of seasoning on top, then flip the chicken legs over and top with one third of seasoning.
- Cook for another 15 minutes. Use tongs to flip the chicken legs over. Spray tops with olive oil and sprinkle remaining seasoning on top.
- If you want to add bbq sauce brush some on each now. Cook for 5 minutes or until crispy on the outside and internal temp reaches 165 degrees F.