These Air Fryer Chicken Legs (Drumsticks) with chipotle glaze make a great snack while watching the big game or a quick weeknight meal.
Ever since my son bought me an air fryer for Christmas, I have been enjoying using it beyond the crispy fast french fries. I have made Persian kebab koobideh (ground beef kabob) in the air fryer as well as Persian kotlet. So fast and easy!
This recipe is NOT Persian but is more Mexican in inspiration. There is something sinful about sticky, finger-licking finger foods. I’m not one that likes super sweet dinners, but I do love the sweet and sour combination.
Whether it’s for wings, thighs or drumsticks, this sweet and spicy chipotle glaze is a keeper. And it gets even better because these drumsticks are cooked in the air fryer.
Why you must try this recipe
I made these for my family, and despite the addition of chipotle peppers in this, they taste amazing. If you haven’t tried chipotle in adobo sauce, you must add this to your grocery list.
It comes in a little can and this stuff is magical. It’s sweet, a little spicy and nice and smokey, too. And a little bit packs a ton of fabulous flavor. You only need a couple of tablespoons for the marinade. If you want more heat, by all means add some more!
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I was crazy about the sauce, so I loved these drumsticks with some sticky brown rice. A nice coleslaw would also help offer a great cooling contrast to the smokey heat of the chicken. Add some chips, guacamole and a margarita and it’s a happy time.
When I first made these chicken legs, I baked them in the oven. But then I tried them in the air fryer and it was even easier to get dinner on the table. I love how easy the air fryer is to clean up. Less mess than a baked on sheet pan.
Ingredients you need
- Chicken legs (drumsticks): This recipe is good for 1 ½ pounds of drumsticks, which is about 6 legs. You easily double the recipe to make enough for a crowd.
- Chipotle chile in adobo sauce: This baby is the star of the marinade. These are whole chiles in a delicious smokey paste, so you will need to finely chop the chiles first before mixing into the marinade. Use the extras to kick up your chili, chicken tortilla soup or even guacamole. Store leftovers in a small air tight container in the refrigerator.
- Lime juice: You can use freshly squeezed or bottled lime juice.
- Soy sauce: I personally prefer low sodium soy sauce, but you can use regular, too.
- Honey: Some bottled honeys have been diluted with the addition of corn syrup, so read the labels and use real honey.
1. In a bowl whisk together lime juice, soy sauce, honey and chipotles.
2. Place chicken in a resealable plastic bag and pour in marinade. Squeeze it around the chicken and it marinate for 10-30 minutes at room temperature.
3. Set Air Fryer to air fry at 400ºF for 20 minutes. When preheated, place chicken legs in one layer in the air fryer and cook. Reserve the sauce.
4. While the chicken is cooking, place reserved marinade in a blender, and process until smooth. Place puréed marinade in a small saucepan. Bring it to a rolling boil, and cook 3 minutes.
5. At the halfway mark of cooking the chicken, brush with chipotle glaze, flip the chicken legs over and brush some more glaze on. Continue cooking chicken until done or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the drumstick registers 165°F. Transfer to a platter and serve with remaining sauce.
Recipe tips and FAQs
You can also prepare these drumsticks in the oven. Just place on a baking sheet and bake at 400ºF for 20 minutes. Be sure to brush on the glaze halfway in the cooking process.
Serve alone or in a spread with brown rice, coleslaw or even tortillas and guacamole.
Be sure to preheat your air fryer. You want to make sure your air fryer is piping hot and before you add the chicken legs. It is also important to place them in a single layer to insure that they get cooked evenly and turn crispy.
It is important to turn over your chicken or whatever you are cooking in the air fryer at the halfway mark to ensure the food is cooked evenly. This also helps to brown the meat all over.
If you end up with leftover chicken legs, place them in an airtight container, or resealable bag, and store in the refrigerator. They should keep for 3-5 days. You can also freeze leftovers for up to 3 months.
- 1 ½ lb chicken drumsticks (about 6)
- ¼ cup lime juice
- 3 TBS soy sauce
- 2 TBS honey
- 2 TBS chipotle chile in adobo sauce
- In a bowl whisk together lime juice, soy sauce, honey and chipotles.
- Place chicken in a resealable plastic bag and pour in marinade. Squeeze it around the chicken and let it marinate for 10-30 minutes at room temperature.
- Place chicken legs in one layer in the air fryer, reserving marinade. Air Fry at 400ºF for 20 minutes, flipping them over and brushing with glaze at the halfway mark.
- While the chicken is cooking, place reserved marinade in a blender, and process until smooth. Place puréed marinade in a small saucepan.
- Bring to a rolling boil, and cook 3 minutes.
- At the halfway mark of cooking the chicken, brush with chipotle glaze, flip the chicken legs over and brush some more glaze on.
- Continue cooking chicken until done or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the drumstick registers 165°F.
- Transfer to a platter and serve with remaining sauce.
Serving Suggestions: Great for dinner or use chicken wings and serve as an appetizer.
To cook in the oven, place chicken legs on a baking sheet and cook at 400ºF for 20 minutes, brushing with glaze at the halfway mark.
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light, June 2010.
Serving Size:2 drumsticks
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 335Total Fat: 10.3gSaturated Fat: 2.6gCholesterol: 152mgSodium: 978mgCarbohydrates: 11.1gFiber: 1.2gSugar: 9gProtein: 48.1g
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