These air fryer chicken legs are seasoned with a simple blend of ingredients and cooked to absolute perfection. They are so juicy and have a crispy skin that’s out of this world addicting! I get excited when I have a recipe come out as good as this one. The seasoning, the timing, the temperature, everything comes together and makes a meal that is so unbelievably good! My air fryer has been one of my most used kitchen appliances ever, and recipes like this are the reason why.
Start With Simple Ingredients
I love making recipes that use everyday ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. For this recipe we use brown sugar, salt, pepper, smoked paprika, onion and garlic powder, ground mustard and a pinch of cayenne. We mix all the ingredients together in a large zip-top bag, add a tablespoon of vegetable oil, and 6 chicken legs. Shake it all up real well and let it marinate in the refrigerator. How long? If you can let it marinate for at least an hour, you’ll be glad you did. If you can let it marinate overnight, oh wow!
Chicken Legs Are Easy to Make in the Air Fryer
Chicken legs are a rather forgiving meat when it comes to making in an air fryer. We want to be sure to cook to an internal temperature of at least 165°F. If you don’t have an instant-read kitchen thermometer, I highly recommend one. Not just for this dish, but it will make cooking everything that much better. The air fryer is perfect for quickly cooking the chicken legs so that they are juicy on the inside, with an unbelievably perfect crispy skin. That’s the key! We don’t have to broil or grill, just let the air fryer and the ingredients from this recipe do all the work.
How Long to Cook Air Fryer Chicken Legs?
Start with a preheated air fryer. Then use the “air fry” setting at 380°F for 18-22 minutes, turning the chicken legs halfway through the cooking time. For smaller chicken legs it will be closer to 18 minutes. For larger chicken legs it will be closer to 22 minutes. But always take a look and use that instant-read thermometer to make sure it has an internal temperature of at least 165°F. In fact, you can go all the way to 185°F with chicken legs.
Don’t Need to Use Sauce
For this recipe, we do not use sauce during the cooking. The ingredients are going to give you a nice barbecue flavor, while still letting the flavors of the chicken shine through. If you want to add sauce, you certainly can. Just add your favorite BBQ sauce in the last 5 minutes of the cooking time. But trust me, I don’t think you’ll need it.
Other Recipes You Might Like
If you like this recipe, you’re really gonna love a few more of our air fryer chicken recipes!
- Best Damn Air Fryer Chicken Wings. Oh my goodness! Take homemade wings to a new level with this wings recipe. We expertly season the wings and then air fry them to crispy, juicy perfection. No messy sauces either. These wings are sure to be a big hit for any occasion.
- Best Damn Air Fryer Chicken Thighs. We use boneless, skinless chicken thighs and a few simple ingredients to make the most mouthwatering chicken thighs that can be made in an air fryer.
- Best Damn Air Fryer Chicken Tenders. Making chicken tenders in an air fryer is absolutely the best way to enjoy these crispy treats. We make a simple breading and use boneless, skinless chicken breast to make tenders that will rival any restaurant-made chicken tenders.
Frequently Asked Questions
For this recipe the chicken must be defrosted or fresh.
The cayenne adds a little kick and helps boost the other flavors. You can omit the cayenne entirely if you want to heat at all.
Make sure that you pat the chicken legs dry with a paper towel first. Out of the package, there will be lots of water moisture. Too much moisture can cause the skin to steam, and we won’t get the Maillard reaction that gives us that beautiful look and taste.
Also, temps can vary from appliance to appliance. If your chicken legs aren’t showing much color after 15 minutes, turn the temp up to 400° for the final minutes of cooking time.
We have a great recipe for Best Damn Oven Baked Chicken Legs!