Put your air fryer to good use by whipping up a batch of these air fryer chicken drumsticks in a sweet and spicy glaze for a quick and easy meal in less than half an hour.
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Succulent and tasty chicken drumsticks
I've been making sweet and spicy chicken drumsticks this way for years. Before the invention of the air fryer, I used to bake these drumsticks in the oven or bbq them over the coals. But I have to say, I think an air fryer does a better job.
- For a start, you don't have to turn the chicken drumsticks over halfway through. Just pop them into the air fryer, set the time and temperature, and then forget about them until the air fryer pings to remind you to take them out.
- The air fryer doesn't heat up your kitchen the way an oven does, and with summer fast approaching, that's a huge benefit.
- Once you've set the air fryer timer you can forget about the chicken drumsticks until they are done - there's no danger of an over-enthusiastic barbeque chef (ie hubby) turning them into charcoal 🙂
- And because you don't need any oil in the air fryer these drumsticks much healthier.
These air fryer chicken drumsticks are juicy, succulent and packed with flavour, having been marinated for an hour in a mixture of dark soy sauce, honey, garlic and ginger with just a hint of chilli for a kick of heat.
The sweet and spicy flavour comes from the honey (sweet), with the combination of soy sauce, garlic, ginger and chilli providing just the right level of spiciness.
You can serve these sweet and spicy chicken drumsticks with salads and crusty bread for a delightfully light summer meal, or if you want something more substantial, serve them with a baked potato and a few side dishes of your favourite vegetables.
And of course, you can make the baked potatoes in the air fryer.
(PS - I was only joking about burning them on the bbq - they taste amazing grilled over the coals).
Let me show you how easy they are to make.
What you will need
You will need a flat glass dish (or something similar) to marinate the chicken. I like this set because the dishes come with lids so they are easy to cover.
I have an air fryer oven similar to this one, and I've based the timings on this. Different models may take longer, so do consult your manufacturer's manual for the timing. Also, if your air fryer has a basket, you may need to shake it halfway through the cooking time.
The marinade will be sufficient for 12 drumsticks.
**You can get the complete list of ingredients and full instructions on how to make these sweet and sticky chicken drumsticks on the printable recipe card at the end of this post**
Chicken drumsticks - Allow 3 drumsticks per person, although if you do make extra, they are delicious served cold for lunch the next day. If you prefer you can use chicken thighs.
Dark soy sauce - this adds a salty element and it goes well with honey.
Honey - this adds the sweetness.
Ginger and garlic - I used ginger and garlic paste from jars. You could use the equivalent amounts of fresh ginger and garlic, but make sure to mince the ginger and garlic finely.
Chilli - this is optional. I used half a teaspoon of chilli paste for a slight touch of heat.
Salt - optional - you may find that the soy sauce provides enough saltiness.
What to do
Mix all of the marinade ingredients in a flat glass bowl that is large enough to hold all your chicken pieces in a single layer. Add the chicken pieces and turn them so they are coated all over with the marinade. Cover and place in the refrigerator for an hour. Turn the chicken pieces over in the marinade after half an hour.
Arrange the chicken pieces in a single layer on the rack of your air fryer, or place them in a single layer into the air fryer basket.
Set the temperature to 185C / 365F and set the timer to 25 minutes. With an air fryer oven, there is no need to turn the chicken. If you have an air fryer with a basket you should turn the chicken after 15 minutes. Note - with my air-fryer oven I didn't preheat it - you may want to preheat your particular model.
Remove the chicken from the air fryer into your serving dish, cover them loosely with a sheet of tin foil and let the chicken pieces rest for 10 minutes before serving.
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Air fryer chicken drumstick FAQ
You can leave the chicken drumsticks in the marinade for anything from half an hour to overnight. You can also tip the marinade and drumsticks into a plastic bag and freeze them (for up to 3 months), provided you have fresh drumsticks and not previously frozen ones. Let them defrost in the refrigerator and then cook them for the time and temperature given in the recipe.
The most accurate way to know if the drumsticks are fully cooked is to use a meat thermometer. The drumsticks will be done when the thermometer registers 75C / 165F. If you don't have a thermometer, cut into one of the drumsticks. The juices should run clear and there should be no pink showing against the bone.
Save for later
If you'd like to try these sweet and sticky chicken drumsticks yourself, why not save the recipe to one of your Pinterest boards so you can find it easily? Just click on the image below.
Alternatively, you can save the recipe by clicking on the floating heart icon on the right-hand side of the screen.
If you enjoyed this recipe for air fryer chicken drumsticks, here are some other easy chicken recipes you may enjoy:
- Crispy air fryer chicken wings with blue cheese sauce - chicken wings air fried until crispy and served with a blue cheese dipping sauce.
- Sticky chicken skewers - succulent pieces of chicken breast marinated in a tasty honey, mustard and tomato marinade before being baked in the oven.
- Satay chicken skewers - chicken skewers marinated in a tasty satay sauce.
- Sesame chicken strips - strips of tender chicken breast coated in sesame seeds and fried until golden.
Air fryer chicken drumsticks in a sweet and spicy glaze
(Click the stars to rate this recipe)
- 12 chicken drumsticks (3 per adult)
- 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
- 1 - 2 tablespoons runny honey depending on how sweet you like them
- 1 teaspoon garlic paste
- ½ teaspoon ginger paste
- ½ teaspoon chilli paste optional and to your own taste
- ½ teaspoon salt or to taste
- Mix all of the marinade ingredients in a flat glass bowl that is large enough to hold all your chicken pieces in a single layer.2 tablespoons dark soy sauce, 1 - 2 tablespoons runny honey, 1 teaspoon garlic paste, ½ teaspoon ginger paste, ½ teaspoon chilli paste, ½ teaspoon salt
- Add the chicken pieces and turn them so they are coated all over with the marinade. Cover and place in the refrigerator for an hour. Turn the chicken pieces over in the marinade after half an hour.12 chicken drumsticks
- Arrange the chicken pieces in a single layer on the rack of your air fryer, or place them in a single layer into the air fryer basket.
- Set the temperature to 185C / 365F and set the timer to 25 minutes. With an air fryer oven, there is no need to turn the chicken. If you have an air fryer with a basket you should turn the chicken after 15 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the air fryer into your serving dish, cover them loosely with a sheet of tin foil and let the chicken pieces rest for 10 minutes before serving.
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
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