This air fryer chicken legs recipe is deliciously crispy outside and tender inside using a dry rub that adds a lot of flavor to this easy air fryer recipe. Make this for dinner in less than 30 minutes!
Air fryer chicken legs have an incredible texture that you can't get cooking them any other way, combining crisp skin on the outside with juicy meat in the middle. The result is a meal that's guaranteed to impress, and this recipe is so simple that even inexperienced cooks will find it easy to make.
When you make chicken legs in air fryer, the meat is cooked quickly and evenly by passing hot air all around it, which means no moisture is lost. So, you will get perfectly tender chicken every time.
You will season these crispy air fryer chicken legs with a simple BBQ rub, which gives the skin a smoky yet sweet flavor—the perfect complement to the satisfying chicken meat.
Ingredients you'll need to make Chicken Legs.
**Find the full list of ingredients along with the recipe instructions at the end of this post**
Chicken legs. You can buy chicken legs from most grocery stores. Always ensure you buy chicken that is well within date and has a pink color as this indicates freshness. One of the best things about this air fryer chicken legs recipe is the crispy skin, so be sure to choose chicken legs with a good amount of skin on them!
Olive oil. Olive oil is one of the most important elements of the 'Mediterranean diet,' proven to improve heart health and prevent heart disease.
BBQ dry rub (salt-free). It's best to use a salt-free BBQ rub to control the amount of salt going into your meal. You can buy spice rubs ready-made or make your own out of brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. If you like a bit of spice, you can also add cayenne pepper.
How to cook chicken legs in an air fryer?
Place the chicken drumsticks on a baking sheet or large cutting board; pat dry with paper towels, rub oil all over the chicken drumsticks, season with salt and pepper to taste, rub the bbq seasoning, including underneath the skin.
Place the drumsticks in the air fryer basket in a single layer and air fry to 390ºF for 12-13 minutes on each side or until an internal temperature of 165ºF.
Remove from the basket and serve immediately with your choice of sides. Enjoy!
You must cook your chicken drumsticks in air fryer for the right amount of time. If you don't cook them for long enough, they aren't safe to eat, but too long, and they can dry out.
The best way to tell if your chicken is ready is by using a meat thermometer. Insert the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, and make sure it isn't touching the bone (bone conducts heat so that it may give you a false reading). Once the chicken has reached 165°F, it's perfectly cooked.
How long to cook chicken legs in air fryer?
Air fryer chicken legs cook time is between 24-26 minutes at 390°F, depending on the size of the chicken legs and how efficient your air fryer is.
Always use a meat thermometer to check for a safe internal temperature of 165°F before serving chicken.
What to serve with air fried chicken drumsticks
These air fry chicken legs are delectable, served up alongside this juicy air fryer corn on the cob and a generous helping of creamy mashed cauliflower for a meal that's big on flavor but still a healthy choice.
How to store leftovers chicken legs
You can store leftover air fryer chicken legs in the fridge or freezer as a handy ready-made meal.
When storing, always seal them in an airtight container and ensure that you move them to the fridge or freezer within 2 hours of cooking them. Cooked chicken will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days and in the freezer for up to 4 months.
How to reheat chicken drumsticks
To reheat chicken legs in the air fryer:
- Begin by preheating it to 375°F.
- Then, lay the chicken in a single layer in the air fryer basket, ensuring you leave space between each piece.
- Fry for 4 minutes, flipping once halfway through.
- Use a meat thermometer to check that the chicken has reached 165°F before serving.
- If heating from frozen, increase the cooking time by 10 minutes.
To reheat chicken legs on the stovetop:
- Add oil or butter to a non-stick pan, and heat it over low heat.
- Then, add the chicken to the pan and heat it until the meat thermometer reads 165°F.
- You will need to defrost frozen chicken before reheating it on the stovetop.
To reheat chicken legs in the oven:
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Lay the chicken out on a rack over a baking sheet to catch any drips.
- Once the oven is warm enough, put the chicken in and bake for 15 minutes, or until the meat thermometer reads 165°F.
- You will need to defrost frozen chicken before reheating it in the oven.
Yes! Chicken legs air fryer are super easy to make, and you'll get delicious tender meat and crispy skin - all without the mess of the deep fryer!
Yes. Put raw chicken legs in the air fryer basket in a single layer, ensuring enough space between them for the hot air to heat evenly, and cook for 24-26 minutes at 390°F. Turn chicken halfway through cooking.
Cook drumsticks in the air fryer at 390°F for 24-26 minutes, turning once halfway through. You can use a high temperature in the air fryer without drying out the chicken because air fryers cook the meat evenly using hot air, preventing excess moisture from being lost.
Stacking chicken legs is not recommended. Instead, lay out the chicken legs in a single layer, with a small gap between each one, allowing the hot air to flow freely. The chicken cooks evenly, and you get delicious, crispy skin.
More Air Fryer Chicken Recipes you'd like to try
- Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Legs
- Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Chicken Drumsticks
- Grilled Chicken Breast in Air Fryer
- Air Fryer Chicken Meatballs
- Bone-in Skin-on Chicken Thighs Air Fryer
- Air Fryer Breaded Chicken Tenders
- Air Fryer Boneless Chicken Breast
- 5-6 Chicken legs
- 1 teaspoon olive oil,
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 Tablespoons dry rub, salt-free
- Place the chicken drumsticks in a baking sheet or large cutting board; pat dry with paper towels, rub oil all over the chicken drumsticks season with salt and pepper to taste, rub the bbq seasoning including underneath the skin.
- Place the drumsticks in the air fryer basket in a single layer and air fry to 390ºF for 12-13 minutes on each side or until an internal temperature of 165ºF.
- Remove from the basket and serve immediately with your choice of sides. Enjoy!
Use an instant meat thermometer to ensure the meat is cooked all the way through. the internal temperature should be 165ºF in the thickest part of the legs without touching the bone.
If the rub you decided to use has salt, seasoned with salt accordingly, or don't use any salt if the seasoning is high in sodium.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 722Total Fat: 36gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 491mgSodium: 625mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 93g
Please keep in mind that the nutritional information is calculated using a nutrition facts calculator. It is a rough estimate and can vary significantly based on products used. When the recipe list salt to taste the amount of salt is not calculated, only the sodium in the other ingredients is calculated.