Air fryer BBQ bacon wrapped chicken drumsticks is the easy chicken recipe you didn't know you were missing out on! A double dose of BBQ flavor from a zesty BBQ chicken rub and savory BBQ sauce makes these chicken legs better than any you've tried before!
Easy, Tasty BBQ Chicken Legs
These air fryer BBQ bacon-wrapped chicken drumsticks are a perfect example of a finger-lickin' good meal. When baked in the air fryer, the BBQ sauce becomes like a sticky glaze over the crispy bacon and makes each bite downright incredible!
Pair these easy chicken legs with something equally quick and wonderful for a family favorite dinner. See my post on how to make air fryer asparagus for inspiration!
This is, hands down, one of our favorite air fryer recipes!
This recipe only requires a handful of ingredients, all of which are pretty easy to find. I like high-quality bacon, but steer clear of thick-cut bacon if you want it extra crispy.
- Chicken Drumsticks - 1 pound of drumsticks (there are usually about 4 chicken legs per pound).
- Olive Oil - ½ a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO).
- BBQ chicken rub - 1 tablespoon of my BBQ chicken rub, or your favorite brand.
- Bacon - 8 slices with 2 slices of bacon per drumstick.
- BBQ sauce - I enjoy Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce, but you can use whatever you like.
- Liquid Smoke (optional) - ½ a teaspoon of Liquid Smoke adds a nice smokey flavor to your drumsticks!
*Be sure to see the recipe card below for ingredients, amounts & instructions!*
There are a few steps, but they are all pretty simple! You will need your air fryer, of course, and some tongs, a basting brush, and a meat thermometer if you have one.
- Preheat. First, preheat your air fryer to 400°F (205°C).
- Prep. While your air fryer is preheating, pat the 1 pound of chicken legs dry with some paper towels and trim any excess fat or skin if needed. Then, brush the drumsticks with ½ a tablespoon of olive oil and season them liberally all over with 1 tablespoon of BBQ chicken rub.
- Wrap the bacon. Hold one end of 1 of your 8 strips of bacon against the chicken leg and wrap it firmly around the drumstick, do this with 2 strips. Place the bacon-wrapped drumstick to the side on a plate, tray, or cutting board while you finish wrapping the others. Then, place them in the air fryer basket in a single layer with some space between them.
- Brush. In a small bowl, mix ⅓ cup BBQ sauce and ½ a teaspoon of Liquid Smoke (if using). Brush the mixture over the chicken legs and air fry them for 7-8 minutes. Then, flip the drumsticks and brush the mixture on the reverse side. Fry for an extra 5-6 minutes, or until the bacon is crispy.
- Check doneness. Check that the internal temp of your chicken has reached 165°F (74°C). If needed, return the chicken legs for an additional minute or two to finish. *Particularly large chicken drumsticks may need the extra cooking time.
- Serve. Remove from your air fryer when done and serve immediately.
💭 Tips & Notes
- Use toothpicks! If your bacon isn't staying wrapped around the chicken leg as you want, poke a toothpick in it before popping them in the air fryer.
- Check that your chicken is done with a meat thermometer. Because the drumsticks are covered in bacon and BBQ sauce, you can't be sure they are cooked through without checking. The chicken should be 165°F (74°C) on the inside before they are considered fully cooked.
- Storing: Leftover bacon-wrapped drumsticks can be wrapped in foil or placed in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 3 days.
- Freezing: To freeze, wrap them first in plastic wrap, then foil, and then place them in a freezer bag for up to 90 days. Thaw drumsticks in the fridge overnight.
- Reheating: To reheat the drumsticks so that the bacon gets crispy again and the meat is warmed all the way through, place them on a baking sheet in the oven at 350°F (175°C) for 10 minutes or so.
🍗 More Awesome Chicken Recipes!
- Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
- Baked Avocado Chicken
- Rotisserie Chicken Salad
- Baked Huli Huli Chicken
- Creamy Parmesan Garlic Mushroom Chicken
- Cream Cheese Chicken
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📖 Recipe Card
Air Fryer BBQ Bacon Wrapped Chicken Drumsticks (The Best Chicken Legs!!)
- 1 lb chicken drumsticks (about 4 chicken legs per pound)
- ½ tablespoon olive oil (extra virgin)
- 1 tablespoon BBQ chicken rub (see recipe or use your favorite brand)
- 8 slices bacon (I use about 2 slices bacon per drumstick)
- ⅓ cup BBQ sauce
- ½ teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
- Preheat your air fryer to 400°F (205°C).
- Pat your chicken legs dry and trim any excess fat or skin as needed. Brush olive oil onto the drumsticks then season liberally with BBQ chicken rub and massage it into the chicken.1 lb chicken drumsticks, ½ tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon BBQ chicken rub
- Holding the end of a strip of bacon against the chicken leg, wrap two slices of bacon firmly around each of the drumsticks. Place each bacon wrapped drumstick onto a plate, tray, or cutting board until they're all wrapped then transfer into your preheated air fryer basket. Arrange the chicken legs in a single layer with some space for air circulation between each.8 slices bacon
- Mix the bbq sauce and liquid smoke together then brush over the chicken legs then air fry for 7-8 minutes. Flip the bacon wrapped chicken drumsticks and brush the smoky bbq sauce on the reverse side of the legs and continue air frying for an additional 5-6 minutes or until the bacon is crisped.⅓ cup BBQ sauce, ½ teaspoon liquid smoke
- Check the internal temperature of the thickest portion of your chicken for doneness, it should be at least 165°F (74°C). If needed, return the chicken legs for an additional minute or two to finish. *Particularly large chicken drumsticks may need the extra cooking time.
- Remove from your air fryer when done and serve immediately.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!