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Air Fryer Chicken Legs Recipe

This air fryer chicken legs recipe is a great alternative to traditional fried chicken, and the result is just as delicious! The air fryer cooks these chicken legs to crispy perfection and the crispy exterior is perfectly seasoned.

This quick and easy recipe is a game-changer for anyone craving the taste of fried chicken without all the guilt.

Four chicken legs on a white plate with lemons and a side of BBQ sauce.

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What I love most about this air fryer chicken legs recipe is how effortless it is to make at home. In just a matter of minutes, you can have restaurant-quality chicken on the table, no deep fryer required. It's the perfect solution for satisfying comfort food cravings while keeping things on the lighter side.

These air fryer chicken legs have become a regular part of my dinner rotation. They pair beautifully with this Corn Rice, a fresh salad or roasted vegetables for a complete and healthy meal. 

I also love to serve them as an appetizer or snack - they're great for game days, potlucks, or anytime you need a crowd-pleasing dish. The crispy chicken legs disappear quickly, so you may want to double the recipe!

No matter how you serve it, this air fryer chicken is sure to be a hit. The process of air frying the chicken results in a crisp exterior with juicy, flavorful meat inside.

Ingredient Notes

Please take a look at the printable recipe card below for all ingredients, specific measurements, and complete instructions.

Ingredients to make chicken legs set out on the counter.
  • Chicken legs: You can use drumsticks, thighs, or a combination for this recipe. Look for pieces that are similar in size for even cooking.
  • Paprika: This spice adds a delicious smoky flavor and beautiful color to the chicken.
  • Garlic powder: For an aromatic, savory seasoning.
  • Salt and pepper: The classic seasoning duo that enhances all the other flavors.
  • Olive oil: A light coating of oil helps the seasonings adhere to the chicken and gives it a crispy coating.

How To Make Air Fryer Chicken Legs

Start by preheating your air fryer to 380°F for 5 minutes. This step is crucial for getting the chicken extra crispy.

Pat the chicken legs dry with paper towels and place them in a large bowl or plate lined with parchment paper. Removing any excess moisture will help the skin get nice and crisp in the air fryer.

Brushing olive oil on chicken legs on parchment paper lined plate.
Seasoning added to bowl with chicken legs.
Chicken legs coated in seasonings in a large glass bowl.

Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and brush or toss to coat evenly.

In a small bowl, mix together the paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Rub this seasoning blend all over the chicken legs, making sure to coat them thoroughly.

Arrange the seasoned chicken in a single layer in the preheated air fryer basket, making sure not to overcrowd. Giving the chicken pieces some space allows the hot air to circulate and crisp them up.

Four seasoned chicken legs are placed in a single layer in the air fryer.
Cooked chicken legs in the air fryer basket.

Air fry the chicken for 10 minutes, then flip and cook for another 8-10 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. The exact cooking time may vary depending on the size and thickness of your chicken pieces, so use a meat thermometer to ensure they're fully cooked through.

Let the chicken rest for a few minutes before serving, then sprinkle with chopped fresh herbs like cilantro or parsley for a bright, flavorful finish. I like to serve it with a side of BBQ sauce for dipping.

Chicken legs served on a white platter.

Tip: You can easily double the recipe to make eight chicken legs. Be sure to cook in batches to avoid overcrowding the air fryer.

Can I make this recipe in the oven instead?

You can, but the results won't be quite as crispy. To bake the chicken, preheat the oven to 400°F and bake for 30-35 minutes, flipping halfway through, until cooked through.

Seasoning Variations

In addition to the classic paprika-garlic seasoning, you can try out all sorts of other flavor combinations with this air fryer chicken legs recipe. Some tasty options include:

  • Cajun seasoning
  • Lemon pepper
  • Italian herbs
  • Barbecue spices

Recipe Tips

  • Make sure you preheat the Air Fryer before frying the chicken. Preheating allows for even cooking and getting a crispy exterior.
  • Look for chicken pieces that are similar in size to ensure even cooking. 
  • For the crispiest skin, make sure to pat the chicken dry before seasoning. Any excess moisture can steam the skin rather than crisping it up.
  • Don't overcrowd the air fryer basket - cook the chicken in a single layer with a little space between each piece. This allows for even cooking and maximum crispiness.
  • Flipping the chicken halfway through cooking time allows even browning on both sides.
  • The cooking time may vary depending on the size and thickness of the chicken. Use a meat thermometer to check that the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165°F.
A hand holding a chicken leg dipped in BBQ sauce.

Here are a few more air fryer chicken recipes to try!

This air fryer chicken legs recipe is going to be a new family favorite. The combination of juicy, tender meat and that satisfying crispy skin is simply irresistible.

Four chicken legs on a white plate with slices of lemon.

Air Fryer Chicken Legs Recipe

Author: Judy Wilson
Easy Air Fryer Chicken Legs are perfectly seasoned and cooked to perfection with a combination of juicy, tender meat and delicious crispy skin.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 chicken legs
Calories 342 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4 chicken legs
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your air fryer to 380 °F for about 5 minutes.
  • Pat the chicken legs dry with paper towels. Place them in a large mixing bowl.
  • Rub olive oil on the chicken.
  • In the small mixing bowl, stir together paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  • Rub the spices on each side of the chicken
  • Cook in the air fryer at 380 degrees for 10 minutes.
  • Open the air fryer and flip the chicken. Cook for another 8-10 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
  • Remove the chicken from the air fryer and let it rest for a few minutes before serving.
  • Sprinkled with chopped cilantro or parsley.

Notes

Place the seasoned chicken legs in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Avoid overcrowding.
You can double the recipe to make eight chicken legs. Cook in batches to avoid overcrowding the air fryer.
Flipping the chicken halfway through cooking time allows even browning on both sides.
The cooking time may vary depending on the size and thickness of the chicken.
I like to serve with a side of BBQ sauce for dipping.
Store the chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Nutrition

Calories: 342kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 21gFat: 28gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 120mgSodium: 400mgPotassium: 292mgFiber: 0.4gSugar: 0.1gVitamin A: 612IUVitamin C: 0.3mgCalcium: 16mgIron: 1mg
The nutritional information provided is approximate and should only be used as a general guideline. It is an estimate that will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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Donna @ Modern on Monticello

Wednesday 24th of April 2024

This looks like a delicious recipe. And a great idea for the summer months to keep the heat out of the house. Thanks for sharing and this post will be a feature this week. #HomeMattersParty

Tea With Jennifer

Sunday 14th of April 2024

Sounds delicious & easy! Visiting from Laurie's today. You're most welcome to join me in a cuppa at Tea With Jennifer...

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