| |

How To Cook Frozen Drumsticks In Air Fryer

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure to learn more.

The best way to use frozen drumsticks without thawing them is to cook them in an air fryer. It saves time, is super easy and you will always get beautifully cooked and crusted chicken every time.

But how should you cook frozen drumsticks in air fryer? Add 3-4 drumsticks or as many that can fit comfortably in the air fryer basket, set the temperature to 360F, and cook the drumsticks for 15 minutes on one side, then flip the chicken and cook for an additional 10-12 minutes! 

Read below to learn more about how to perfectly cook chicken drumsticks to the bone and some great tips and tricks that you can use to get the most out of air frying frozen chicken!

Is Air Frying Drumsticks Better?

Air frying offers an extremely convenient and simple approach for cooking drumsticks – and if you do it right, air frying will prove to be a superior method to deep-frying!

Frozen drumsticks are notorious for not getting cooked to the bone. Since drumsticks consist of dark meat that is attached to the bone, it is denser and contains more fat. 

To render this fat, you need to cook the chicken for longer so that the meat fibers loosen and the chicken tenderizes from the outside in.

If not cooked right, the meat under the superficial layer of the drumstick will remain raw.

If you dig in deeper you may even find traces of blood and even cold, raw chicken meat! This is a common occurrence with working with drumsticks, especially if you shallow fry the meat. 

So, how are air fryers better in this scenario?

Air fryers work by circulating hot air around the cooking chamber. The hot air evenly encompasses the chicken from all sides. In other words, the chicken will cook the same on all sides, at the same time. 

This is in contrast to shallow frying where one part of the chicken will be exposed to air while the bottom part fries in hot oil. 

The same can also be said for regular deep-frying methods too. Try putting a frozen drumstick in hot oil!

You will notice that it will initially sink in but as soon as the chicken gathers air bubbles around it, it will rise and, if you don’t have enough oil, then you will essentially be cooking the chicken on one side. 

Air fryers eliminate this limitation and you get added health benefits too – you know, because of the lack of a gallon of oil and all.

Furthermore, adding frozen drumsticks to hot oil isn’t exactly a good (read: safe) idea too. Frozen meat will naturally contain more moisture and when you add hot oil to the equation, you will likely have to deal with a burning hazard!

Since the hot oil will first penetrate and cook the superficial layer of the meat, it will take time for the internal temperature of the chicken to rise.

This will eventually result in a meat that is overcooked on the outside while being undercooked or inadequately cooked on the inside.

Sure, there are a few steps that you can take to make deep-frying frozen drumsticks better.

But would you rather just pop in the drumsticks in an air fryer and let them cook till they are perfectly crispy and juicy or would you want to deal with heating the oil, dealing with splatter, iffy cooking times, and then the mess afterward? 

How Long To Cook Frozen Drumsticks In Air Fryer

Cooking frozen drumsticks in the air fryer is super easy. All you need to do is set the required temperature and time settings, put in the drumsticks, and let the machine do its job.

But before you begin, there are a few things to keep in mind:

First, while it isn’t required, it would be a good idea to preheat the air fryer, especially when using frozen drumsticks. This will give the appliance a head start and will help the chicken cook better within 30 minutes

Generally speaking, if you don’t have the time and would just want to use frozen drumsticks then you can go ahead and cook the drumsticks without preheating the air fryer.

Also, don’t douse the chicken in oil before adding it to the air fryer, just a light coat will be enough to get a nice crisp exterior. 

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to cook the drumsticks:

  1. Spray the cooking basket with PAM or add any type of fat to insulate the cooking basket. We recommend using neutral oil. Just make sure that you don’t add too much oil inside the basket or it might pool at the bottom, which can be a hassle to clean.
  2. Add 2-4 pieces, or as many that can comfortably fit. You can try fitting the drumsticks in different directions too. We do not recommend piling the drumsticks over each other as that would make it difficult for the air to pass through. You would ideally want to place a single layer of frozen drumsticks at a time! For smaller air fryers this would mean adding 2-3 at a time while larger air fryers may easily fit 3-5 at a time.
  3. Set the temperature to 360F and cook the chicken on one side for about 15 minutes. Then remove the basket from the air fryer and then flip the drumsticks using tongs. Put the basket back in the fryer and cook for an additional 10-12 minutes or until you get a beautiful golden-brown color.
  4. Remove the cooked drumsticks from the basket and let them cook for about 3-4 minutes. In the meanwhile, you can repeat the process for the other drumsticks too!

Tips And Tricks

Here are a few tips to get the most out of air frying frozen drumsticks:

  • When you’re in a time crunch, simply add oil and seasoning in the same bag as the frozen drumsticks and let them thaw a little. Using this method, you can marinate the chicken for as little as 25 minutes – and you won’t need to add extra oil to the fryer either! 
  • Thawed drumsticks may catch on a better color. You can thaw the drumsticks in the microwave before popping them in the air fryer or also let them thaw in the fridge overnight.
  • Frozen drumsticks will cook within 30 minutes but if you want a bit more color, then we suggest cooking the chicken for an additional 3-4 minutes or until you get the right texture on the meat. Please be vigilant because once the meat is cooked, it can burn very quickly with additional time.
  • Avoid adding sauces or thick marinades when cooking frozen drumsticks as it may interfere with the cooking process and may also lead to a whole lot of mess! Instead, try applying the sauce after the chicken has been cooked to rehydrate it and add a whole lot of flavor!
  • Always flip the frozen meat when using the air fryer. While generally this step isn’t required, it is considered good practice to turn the meat over so that the air fryer can evenly cook all the surface of the food while also adding a bit of char and color on the surface!
  • Use a cooking thermometer to check the internal temperature of the drumstick, which should be around 160-165°F. 

Related Questions

Cooking frozen drumsticks in an air fryer will provide the same crispiness and juiciness as deep frying and can come in handy when you want a quick dinner option. 

Now that you know how to properly cook them, here are some related questions!

How long to cook frozen drumsticks at 400°F?

To air-fry frozen drumsticks at 400°F, you will need to cook them for about 8-10 minutes on one side.

Flip the pieces and then cook them for an additional 7-8 minutes or until they are crispy on the outside and have a beautiful and even golden color.

Can you reheat cooked frozen drumsticks in an air fryer?

Yes. Cooked meat can be reheated in the air fryer just as well! The best way to do this would be to add the frozen meat to the air fryer basket with just a spray of oil to keep them from drying

This step is important because cooked meat will have less moisture, which is why it is a good idea to add a layer of insulation. Reheat the chicken at 360°F for about 15 minutes or until adequately warm.

Can you cook frozen drumsticks and frozen chicken breasts?

No. Both types of meat will have different cooking times so you should cook them separately.

However, you may be able to cook drumsticks and a frozen thigh together since both these types of meat are very similar and may only require a few extra minutes to cook! 

Frozen Drumsticks In Air Fryer

Frozen Drumsticks In Air Fryer

Yield: 5 drumsticks
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

This is a great and super fast way to whip up a batch of delicious drumsticks!

Ingredients

  • 3-5 frozen drumsticks
  • Air fryer

Instructions

  1. Spray the cooking basket with PAM or add any type of fat to insulate the cooking basket. We recommend using neutral oil. Just make sure that you don’t add too much oil inside the basket or it might pool at the bottom, which can be a hassle to clean.
  2. Add 2-4 pieces, or as many that can comfortably fit. You can try fitting the drumsticks in different directions too. We do not recommend piling the drumsticks over each other as that would make it difficult for the air to pass through. You would ideally want to place a single layer of frozen drumsticks at a time! For smaller air fryers this would mean adding 2-3 at a time while larger air fryers may easily fit 3-5 at a time.
  3. Set the temperature to 360F and cook the chicken on one side for about 15 minutes. Then remove the basket from the air fryer and then flip the drumsticks using tongs. Put the basket back in the fryer and cook for an additional 10-12 minutes or until you get a beautiful golden-brown color.
  4. Remove the cooked drumsticks from the basket and let them cook for about 3-4 minutes. In the meanwhile, you can repeat the process for the other drumsticks too!

Up Next: How To Tell If Frozen Salmon Is Bad

Leave a Reply

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