Buttermilk Air Fryer Chicken Legs Recipe

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.
Ready to make a healthy air fryer chicken recipe? This easy to make fried chicken recipe tastes even better than the deep fried alternatives!  Using an air fryer has really revamped my dedication to healthier eating, and I know you will learn to love it as much as I do after you try this amazing recipe.
If you prefer your chicken on the spicy side, then you may want to try out my Air Fryer Nashville Chicken recipe!

A hand holding a cooked air fryer chicken leg above a plate of prepared legs

Buttermilk Air Fryer Chicken Legs Recipe

I love fried chicken.  The problem is, fried chicken is just typically a very unhealthy option to have in my diet regularly.  When things like chicken legs or thighs go on sale at the grocery store, my immediate thought is to batter and deep fry them for a wonderful fried chicken meal.  My mouth waters at the idea of having chicken with a side of my favorite summer squash casserole.

I was determined to find a way to make chicken delicious, crispy, and healthy.  Out came the air fryer to the rescue for this easy and amazing recipe!  If you’ve never used an air fryer, make sure you check out my Air Fryer Tips first so you know everything you need to make it work perfectly.

How do I get that crispy coating on air fryer chicken?

When making this recipe, the air fryer acts as the oil when you are cooking. It crisps the coating on outside of the chicken. The chicken coating is made from traditional items like flour, baking soda, and panko breadcrumbs, so it has the same flavor you are used to, without the guilt.

For the best crispy coating, you want to make sure your chicken is in a single layer in your air fryer.  Allow a bit of room between each piece of chicken so the air can flow around the entire piece.  This makes your breading brown and crips just like it would if deep-fried.

A white plate on a green plaid napkin stacked high with air fryer chicken legs

What can I cook in an air fryer?

When it comes to cooking in the air fryer, the possibilities are endless.  I have made everything from basic french fries to a delicious juicy tender steak in my air fryer.  This little countertop appliance is a wonderful addition to the kitchen!
Making crispy sides like fries, roasted vegetables, or even snacking on crunchy roasted chickpeas has never been easier.  We have made many meals in our air fryer, that I know you will love.  Some of my favorites are linked below.
White plate on green and white napkin stacked with prepared buttermilk air fryer chicken legs


  • chicken drumsticks
  • buttermilk
  • panko breadcrumbs
  • flour
  • baking powder
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • paprika
  • dried oregano
  • butter

How to make crispy chicken legs in the air fryer

I always begin by marinating my chicken in buttermilk.  You can do this for at least 2 hours up to overnight.  The longer you marinate, the more moist and flavorful I have found the chicken to become.  For ease, I typically put the chicken in a large freezer bag, then place that inside another bag, and sit in a bowl or on a plate in the refrigerator.  Food safety is important!

When you are ready to start cooking, you will preheat your air fryer as directed, and then start mixing together the breading for your chicken.

Coat each piece well, then lay in a single layer on your air fryer basket.  Make sure you put a bit of space between each piece of chicken.  That is what helps it get crispy.  It’s okay if you have to cook in two batches to make sure all of the chicken is done perfectly.

Now – the key to this delicious is in the next step.  At 15 minutes into the cooking time, open the air fryer and brush each leg with melted butter.  Coat all sides if possible.  Pop that chicken back in and cook for another 10-15 minutes or until a meat thermometer shows it has reached 165 degrees internal temperature.

Overhead picture of air fryer legs laying on a white plate

Overhead picture of air fryer chicken legs laying on a white plate
5 from 3 votes

Buttermilk Air Fryer Chicken Legs Recipe

This easy to make fried chicken recipe tastes even better than the deep fried alternatives!  Using an air fryer has really revamped my dedication to healthier eating, and I know you will learn to love it as much as I do after you try this amazing recipe.
Servings: 4
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Refrigerate: 2 hours


  • 2 pounds chicken drumsticks
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 stick butter melted


  • In a large freezer bag, place chicken legs and buttermilk. Allow chicken to soak in buttermilk for at least 2 hours to overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Preheat air fryer to 390 degrees. Spray air fryer basket with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Mix together panko, flour, baking powder, and dry seasonings in a shallow dish.
  • Remove chicken from buttermilk and roll in panko mixture.
  • Evenly space chicken in air fryer basket. (Two or more batches will be required.)
  • Cook in the air fryer for 15 minutes. Remove from air fryer and brush with melted butter. Turn the chicken legs over. Return to air fryer.
  • Cook for an additional 10 to 15 minutes (depending on the thickness of the chicken legs.) Check chicken for doneness with an instant thermometer (165 degrees without touching the bone.)
  • Keep chicken warm until all chicken is cooked through.

Last Step:

Please leave a rating and comment letting us know how you liked this recipe! This helps our business to thrive and continue providing free, high-quality recipes for you.


Calories: 458kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 146mg | Sodium: 625mg | Potassium: 533mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 292IU | Calcium: 142mg | Iron: 3mg


Buttermilk Air fryer chicken legs ready to be eaten

Leave a Review!

We LOVE hearing from you! Submit your question or comment here.

Your email address will not be published.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating:

I accept the Privacy Policy

10 comments on “Buttermilk Air Fryer Chicken Legs Recipe”

    1. Donna Davidson

      hit P for pinterest then save it in a file you name ,,, then you can always go there and find your favorites.. or you can copy and paste it in a email to yourself, then save it in things to keep.. I do that alot…

  1. I love this recipe, but I wish there was a place that I could keep all my favorites, I keep forgetting some names and can’t find them again, so disappointing

    1. Hi Kimberli! We have a favorites option now! Just click on the favorites button and you will be able to easily find your favorite recipes that way.