Lemon chicken drumsticks in air fryer

Lemon chicken drumsticks really have a special spot in the world of comfort food, blending that zesty lemon kick with the heartwarming goodness of chicken. What makes these drumsticks stand out is how easy they are to prepare and the amazing depth of flavor they add to any dinner table.

Delicious air fried easy chicken drumsticks, a flavorful and easy comfort food favorite.

Lemon garlic chicken drumsticks are the perfect mix of an easy-peasy weekday meal and something fancy enough to impress your guests. These easy chicken drumsticks smell amazing and really kick the flavor up a notch, making them a big hit at my place. What’s awesome about these baked lemon chicken drumsticks is how simple they are to make and how they pack such a flavorful punch.

This lemon chicken drumsticks recipe is totally foolproof and it’ll give you juicy, tender chicken with a perfectly crisp outside every single time. When you bring citrus into the mix, especially with this lemon garlic chicken drumsticks variant, you’re giving the classic chicken dinner a refreshing new twist. It’s a dish that’ll keep you coming back for more!

How to bake lemon chicken drumsticks in the air fryer

Tasty air fryer lemon chicken drumsticks - a simple yet flavorful addition to any dinner table!


Bring these delicious lemon chicken drumsticks to life with a handful of ingredients:

  • Chicken Drumsticks: The main event of our dish. Opt for fresh, high-quality drumsticks for the best flavor and tenderness.
  • Lemons: For juicing and zest. They are essential for that tangy kick that defines the dish.
  • Garlic: Aromatic and flavorful, it complements the lemon perfectly, adding depth to the chicken.
  • Oregano and Black Pepper: These spices round off the flavor profile, adding earthiness and a mild heat.
  • Brown Sugar: For a touch of sweetness to balance the tanginess of the lemons.


Don’t have chicken drumsticks on hand? No problem! You can easily substitute them with chicken wings or thighs for equally delicious results.

Don’t have fresh garlic? Use garlic powder instead.

And if you prefer a spicier version, swap the black pepper for some red chili flakes.

If you’re out of oregano, thyme or basil can serve as a suitable substitute.

For a lower calorie version, you could use a light olive oil or even a simple non-stick cooking spray.

Lemon juice can be substituted with lime for a slightly different but equally delicious zest.


  • Air fryer: This handy appliance makes cooking these drumsticks a breeze, with its ability to evenly crisp the chicken without excessive oil.
  • Mixing bowl: For marinating the chicken and ensuring all the flavors are well incorporated.
  • Measuring cups and spoons: Precision is key when it comes to cooking, so make sure you have the right tools to measure out your ingredients accurately.
  • Baking paper (optional): Lining your baking sheet with parchment paper can help prevent the chicken from sticking and makes clean-up a lot easier.

Tangy air fryer lemon garlic chicken drumsticks, a simple yet flavorful addition to any meal.

Instructions to cook lemon chicken drumsticks


  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the lemon juice, zest, minced garlic, oregano, black pepper, and brown sugar. Stir well to ensure all ingredients are blended.
  2. Once the marinade is ready, add the chicken drumsticks to the bowl ensuring each one is evenly coated with the marinade. Alternatively, place the chicken and marinade in a zip-lock bag, seal it, and then gently massage the bag to coat the chicken.
  3. Allow the chicken to marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, but for optimal flavor, aim for 1-2 hours.
  4. Once the chicken has marinated, remove it from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature for about 10 minutes. This step helps in cooking the chicken evenly.
  5. Preheat the air fryer to 375°F

Cooking the drumsticks

  1. Place the chicken drumsticks in the air fryer basket, making sure they are not overcrowded. If necessary, cook in batches to ensure each drumstick is cooked thoroughly and gets a nice crispy exterior.
  2. Halfway through the cooking time, open the air fryer and flip the chicken drumsticks to ensure they brown and crisp up evenly on all sides.
  3. Once the chicken is cooked through and has a golden, crispy exterior, remove it from the air fryer and place it on a serving platter.
  4. Serve your delicious lemon chicken drumsticks hot, garnished with additional lemon slices or zest, if desired, for an extra pop of fresh, citrusy flavor.


If you have leftover marinade, you can heat it in a pan until it reaches a gentle simmer. Use this as a sauce to drizzle over the drumsticks when serving.

Squeeze some additional lemon juice on top for an extra burst of tanginess.

If you don’t have an air fryer, you can also bake these drumsticks in the oven at 375°F for approximately 30-35 minutes, flipping them halfway through.

Recipe variations

  • For a honey lemon twist, add 1 tablespoon of honey to the marinade mixture.
  • Add a tablespoon of soy sauce for some umami flavor.
  • Use different herbs and spices like rosemary or paprika to switch up the flavor profile.
  • Top the drumsticks with some crumbled feta cheese for added richness and creaminess.

Delicious baked lemon chicken drumsticks - a perfect blend of zesty lemon and heartwarming chicken goodness!

What to serve these drumsticks with

  • Rice: White, brown, or even cauliflower rice make a great side for these delicious drumsticks.
  • Vegetables: Grilled or roasted vegetables like zucchini, bell peppers, and onions pair well with the tangy flavor of the chicken.
  • Mashed potatoes: The creaminess of mashed potatoes balances out the tanginess of the chicken perfectly.
  • Pasta salad: A cold pasta salad with a light vinaigrette dressing complements the chicken well.
  • Garlic bread: Nothing beats some warm, toasty garlic bread alongside these crispy lemon chicken drumsticks.
  • Salad: A simple side salad with a vinaigrette dressing can add some freshness and texture to your meal.

Frequently asked questions

Can I make this recipe with boneless chicken?

Yes, you can use boneless chicken in place of drumsticks for this recipe. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly, as boneless chicken may cook faster than drumsticks.

Can I make this recipe in a regular oven instead of an air fryer?

If you don’t have an air fryer, you can easily adapt this recipe for the oven. Preheat your oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean-up. Arrange the marinated drumsticks on the sheet, ensuring they’re not touching for optimal airflow and even cooking. Bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until the chicken achieves a golden, crispy exterior, flipping them halfway through the baking time to ensure even browning.

Storage and reheating instructions

To store leftovers, allow the drumsticks to cool to room temperature before placing them in an airtight container. They can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

For longer storage, freeze the drumsticks in a freezer-safe container or bag for up to 3 months. To reheat, thaw in the refrigerator overnight, and then either reheat in the air fryer at 375°F for 4-5 minutes or in the oven at the same temperature until heated through. This will help preserve the drumsticks’ crispiness.

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Serving size

This recipe serves 4 drumsticks, for 2-4 people depending on the size of the drumsticks and your desired portion size. Double or triple the recipe for a larger crowd or to have leftovers for meal prep. The recipe card below will help you figure out the exact measurements for your desired serving size.

With its tangy, flavorful marinade and crispy exterior, these lemon chicken drumsticks are sure to be a hit at your dinner table. They’re easy to make and can be customized to suit your taste preferences. Whether you have an air fryer or not, this recipe is a simple and delicious way to enjoy chicken drumsticks. So go ahead and give it a try! Happy Cooking!

Crispy air fryer lemon chicken legs, a perfect blend of zesty lemon and juicy chicken.

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Delicious air fried easy chicken drumsticks, a flavorful and easy comfort food favorite.
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Lemon chicken drumsticks

Enjoy this lemon chicken drumsticks recipe, a comforting blend of zesty lemon and tender chicken, perfect for a flavorful dinner!
Prep Time35 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time55 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: baked chicken drumsticks, easy chicken drumsticks, lemon chicken drumsticks, lemon garlic chicken drumsticks
Servings: 4 drumsticks
Calories: 392kcal
Author: Petro Neagu


  • 4 Chicken Legs or sub with 6-7 chicken wings, or 4 thighs

For the marinade

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large garlic clove if garlic is not strong enough, use 3 or even 4 cloves
  • ½ teaspoon Black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Lemon zest from one larger lemon
  • 1 lemon large, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 3 teaspoon brown sugar regular brown sugar or muscovado sugar for more intense caramel sweet flavor



  • Mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl.
  • In a large bowl (or you can use a zip lock bag for this) massage the chicken legs with the marinade and leave it in the fridge for 30 minutes or 1-2 hours if you have more time.
  • Preheat air fryer to 375 F according to manufacturer instructions.
  • Once the air fryer is preheated, transfer the chicken into the basket and air fry for 10 minutes (discard the leftover marinade or reheat in a pan until gently simmering to drizzle on top when serving).
  • Flip the chicken for the last 10 minutes. Total air frying time 20 minutes. Chicken should be darkened, browned and very crisp on the outside.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 392kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 16g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 120mg | Sodium: 692mg | Potassium: 319mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 134IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1mg
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about petro


Hi, I’m Petro, author and founder of Easy Peasy Creative Ideas. Sewist, crafter, avid DIY-er, foodie, photographer, homemaker and mommy to one. I’m an expert at coming up with quick, clever sewing tips, recycling crafts and simple, easy recipes! You can find my ideas featured in reputable publications such as Country Living, Good House Keeping, Yahoo News, WikiHow, Shutterfly, Parade, Brit & Co and more. Thanks for stopping by and hope you’ll stay for a while, get to know me better and come back another time. Stick around for real fun projects! Read more…

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