Crispy air fryer chicken legs are one of our favorite dinners! They are filling, satisfying, and provide the comforting feeling of a true home cooked meal. The air fryer does all the work and it's done in less than 30 minutes.
You can also serve them with mashed potatoes, biscuits, veggies, mac n cheese, or whatever your favorites are. There are so many options. I serve them with carrots and baby potatoes.
Chicken legs are so moist and the kids love eating them! Some folks believe dark meat isn't the greatest, but it's actually something of a myth! While it is true that dark meat is higher in fat and calories, it is also true that dark meat is higher in some nutrients such as iron and niacin. So it's great to add white meat and dark meat in your diet in my opinion, especially with younger kids who need might need it. You can also make it with chicken breast or make my air fryer whole chicken recipe and have them both.
Why You'll Love These Air Fryer Chicken Legs
- Quick and Easy – This recipe is so simple, and it is done in under 30 minutes!
- Crispy Comfort Food – You favorite familiar flavors are present in this classic comfort dish. Plus, using the air fryer helps achieve crispy skin and tender meat every time.
Ingredients to Make Chicken Legs Air Fryer
- Chicken Legs – Opt for skin on legs to achieve the perfect outer crisp. Air fryer chicken drumsticks or chicken thighs work great too if drumsticks are desired.
- Olive Oil – Just a little olive oil helps to get this dish moist and crispy without adding much in the way of fat or flavor.
- Brown Sugar – Brown sugar will add a touch of sweetness, plus it will caramelize a little, helping to give our chicken legs the perfect outer crisp.
- Smoked Salt – When cooking meat, smoked salt adds an extra element. If you only have regular sea salt, you can add a drop of liquid smoke to your chicken legs, or forego it altogether.
- Garlic Powder – Garlic is an essential component to a savory poultry seasoning.
- Smoked Paprika – This will add a little kick, plus another layer of smokiness.
- Minced Onion – We are using dried onion in our seasoning. If you don’t have minced onion, you can use onion powder instead.
- Black Pepper – Regular black pepper will season the dish.
- Thyme – Thyme has such a delicious savory flavor. It is also packed with vitamins C and A, and has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects.
How to Make Chicken Legs In The Air Fryer
1. Start by giving the chicken legs a nice pat until dry. Lightly drizzle or spray with olive oil and sprinkle with mixed seasonings.
3. Fill air fryer basket making sure to not over crowd the legs.
4. Air fry at 390F for 10 minutes, flip legs over, then cook for another 7-8 minutes.
Step by Step Instructions
Before beginning, combine your brown sugar, smoked salt, garlic powder, smoked paprika, minced onions, black pepper, and thyme in a bowl and set aside. I really love this blend, but if you have a rub you enjoy, you can easily swap it out as well!
Next, dry your chicken legs. You can pat them dry with a paper towel, and immediately discard. It is important to get your chicken legs completely dry or they will not crisp up on the outside. Don't skip this step if you want crispy chicken! It really does help to get the best texture.
Lightly drizzle your chicken legs with olive oil, or spray them with olive oil spray. Sprinkle your seasoning mix over the chicken legs evenly.
Place your chicken legs in the air fryer. Below this is an example of overcrowding. You'll see it's a little over crowded! Be careful not to overcrowd or they will not crisp properly. If needed, you can cook them in batches.
Lastly, cook in the air fryer at 390 for 10 minutes. Flip your chicken legs and then continue cooking for an additional 7-8 minutes, until done. Cooking time may vary, so please use an internal thermometer. It should read 165 degrees Fahrenheit when fully cooked. If you want to add potatoes and carrots to this dish as shown, all you need to do is buy small potatoes and cut up some carrots. Toss the potatoes in about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and air fry for about 15 minutes at 400F. Then remove them back to a bowl and add salt and pepper or desired seasoning. Add another tablespoo of olive oil. Air fry for an additional 10 minutes until carrots are tender and potatoes are crispy.
- You don't need a preheated air fryer for this recipe!
- Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.
- Reheat leftovers in the air fryer at 375 for 8 minutes.
- If you are unsure how to tell when chicken is done, use a meat thermometer to determine that the chicken legs have reached an internal temperature of 165 F.
- If you like ground mustard feel free to add a little to the seasoning, my kids don't care for it. Also, if they enjoy bbq sauce it's great to serve it on the side as well.
Patting the chicken dry helps browning and crisping. The extra moisture prevents it from having the best crispy exterior and browning.
Cook your chicken legs in the air fryer at 390 for 10 minutes. Then, flip them and cook for an additional 7-8 minutes.
The air fryer cooks chicken to perfection. Simply cook at 390 for 10 minutes, flip, and cook for 7-8 minutes, until done. Your chicken is safe to eat once it has reached an internal temperature of 165.
Food that is coated in a wet batter will typically not cook well in an air fryer. Try foods that are not battered, or foods that are coated in a thicker substance after battering, like my recipe for air fryer onion rings.
How long should you cook chicken in an air fryer?
Regardless of how you prepare your chicken, you should be sure that it reaches a safe internal temperature of 165 before enjoying. For these chicken legs, you can cook them at 390 for 10 minutes, and then flip and finish cooking for 7-8 minutes.
Looking for more delicious air fryer recipes? Try these!
Air Fryer Chicken Legs Recipe
- 6 Chicken Legs skin on
- 1 tsp Olive Oil or Olive Oil Spray
- 1 tbs Brown Sugar
- 1 tsp Smoked Salt
- 1 tsp Garlic powder
- 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
- 1 tsp Minced Dried Onions may sub onion powder
- ½ tsp Black Pepper
- ½ tsp Dried Thyme
- Start by giving the chicken legs a nice pat until dry.
- Lightly drizzle or spray with olive oil and sprinkle with mixed seasonings.
- Fill air fryer basket making sure to not over crowd the legs.
- Air fry at 390F for 10 minutes, flip legs over, then cook for another 7-8 minutes.
Store in air tight container for up to 4 days in fridge