Think sweet, tangy and spicy glazed juicy drumsticks. That's what this pomegranate chicken recipe tastes like! It's unlike any other chicken recipe because of that "secret sauce"... literally. Pomegranate molasses. And by the way, this is an air fryer drumsticks recipe that comes together so quickly!
Why this recipe works
My obsession with pomegranate molasses naturally led me to experiment with it as a glaze. If you didn't know, pomegranate molasses is a common ingredient used in a lot of Iraqi recipes to add that extra tang, like in this okra stew or even this lahm bi ajeen flatbread.
The tangy and slightly sweet taste of the molasses, together with a bit of a kick from the Aleppo pepper and the garlic make magic. It's a really easy glaze to throw together too, which is why it's become a favourite. Then you can cook them in the air fryer which is a lot faster than baking.
Ingredients you will need
The main "unusual" ingredient here is the pomegranate molasses. Look for it at your local Middle Eastern shop, Amazon (although its very overpriced on there!), or in some supermarkets in the international aisle.
As for Aleppo Pepper, you can also find it at your local Middle Eastern store. It has half the kick of your regular chilli flakes but also a deep earthy flavour that enhances the recipe in my opinion. But if you don't have it, you can substitute it with chilli flakes - but half the amount.
How to make pomegranate chicken drumsticks in the air fryer
First, start by crushing the garlic and mixing together your marinade ingredients and incorporating them well.
Next, marinate the drumsticks and refrigerate them for a few hours or overnight (even better). You can skip the fridge part if you're in a hurry but it definitely enhances the flavour.
Air fry them at 380F for 15-18 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches a minimum of 165F. Don't discard some of the marinade that stays in the plate. Halfway through the cooking time, brush some of the remaining glaze onto the chicken then continue cooking. A meat thermometer comes in handy when cooking chicken, but if you don't have one, ensure the inside is white and the juices run clear.
You can also bake them at 400F for 30-45 minutes, depending on your oven. Again, make sure they are cooked inside. That's it!
FAQs and Expert Tips
Air fryers vary slightly, but generally speaking, they should take about 15-18 minutes at 380F. They cook a lot faster in the air fryer vs. the oven.
Yes, you can cook raw chicken in an air fryer.
In this recipe, no you can't since it's a core ingredient.
Yes, it's the same product, which is reduced pomegranate juice, sometimes mixed with some sugar.
Yes, you can bake them at 400F for 35-40 minutes depending on your oven.
Other chicken recipes you'll love
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Pomegranate Chicken Recipe (Air Fryer Drumsticks)
- Air Fryer (or oven)
- 5 drumsticks approx. 0.5 kg
- 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon Aleppo Pepper Or substitute ½ tsp chilli flakes
- Start by crushing the garlic and mix together all of the marinade ingredients
- Marinate the chicken with the sauce, ensuring you incorporate well. Place in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight (you can skip this if you're in a hurry)
- Take them out of the fridge and allow them to come to room temperature (within 10 minutes or so)
- Air fry them at 380F for 15-18 minutes or until a meat thermometer reaches min 165F. Serve and enjoy!
- You can bake the drumsticks if you don't have an air fryer. Bake them at 400F from 35-40 minutes or until cooked through
- If you don't have Aleppo pepper, you can substitute it with half the amount stated for chili flakes