For a quick, delicious and budget-friendly meal, Air Fryer Chicken Legs are the perfect solution. Dry rubbed and slathered in BBQ sauce.
I use rotisserie chicken a lot in my recipes. And whenever I bring one home, my daughter requests the legs. So I just had to try cooking chicken legs in my air fryer. Chicken legs are considerably cheaper per pound than chicken breasts. BBQ chicken legs are so good made in your air fryer! The skin gets crispy and the meat stays juicy. The BBQ sauce applied at the end provides the perfect glaze to these chicken legs. This easy dinner recipe is a budget-friendly solution for when things might be tight at the end of the month.
Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks Recipe
- Chicken Legs – this recipe is meant for chicken legs (aka drumsticks) with the skin on, which are the most common that I can find at my grocery store
- Smoked Paprika – you can substitute sweet paprika, but I like the extra depth of flavor that smoked paprika adds to the drumsticks
- Salt and Pepper
- BBQ Sauce – use your favorite brand or make your own
How to Make Air Fryer Chicken Legs
- Preheat your air fryer at 400 degrees F for 5 minutes.
- Use paper towels to pat dry the chicken legs. This helps to make them more crispy.
- Mix together the smoked paprika, salt and pepper, then evenly sprinkle it on all sides of the chicken legs.
- Add the chicken legs to your air fryer basket in a single layer. Make sure they are not touching so they cook evenly.
- Air fry the chicken legs at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes. Flip them over and continue cooking for another 8 minutes.
- Brush the legs with BBQ sauce and air fry again at 400 degrees F for 2 minutes.
- If the chicken legs don’t register a minimum of 165 degrees F with a meat thermometer, continue to air fry for a couple more minutes.
So how long does it take to cook chicken legs in the air fryer?
In total, and depending on your brand of air fryer, about 20 minutes at 400 degrees F.
Be sure to check the internal temperature!
This is the most important part. The chicken legs must be a minimum of temperature of 165 degrees F in order to be safe and ready to eat. I always use this meat thermometer in my kitchen. It is quick, accurate and inexpensive.
Can you stack chicken legs in the air fryer?
No. Air fryers cook by circulating hot air around food. If the chicken legs are stacked they won’t benefit from enough heat and air circulation. The goal is safely cooked chicken with crispy skin on the outside. My Philips XXL Air Fryer can fit four chicken legs at one time.
Why don’t you add BBQ sauce at the beginning?
BBQ sauce typically contains sugar. The goal is to get a crispy skin on your chicken legs. Applying the BBQ sauce at the beginning will result in a soggy exterior. Also, the sugars in the sauce are likely to burn before the chicken legs are fully cooked in your air fryer. So save the sauce until the last couple of minutes of cooking time!
What to serve with air fryer chicken legs
I think corn on the cob with some sliced summer tomatoes are the ideal choices to serve with these BBQ’d chicken legs. You can make air fryer corn on the cob too! Here’s some more side dish and dessert recipes to make these chicken legs into a complete meal:
- My Philips XXL Air Fryer tested this recipe
- Always use a digital meat thermometer to check for doneness
- Tongs I use to flip food in the air fryer
- Heat safe pastry brush for applying the BBQ sauce
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Get more of my Air Fryer Recipes!
- Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls
- Air Fryer Orange Chicken
- Easy Chicken Parmesan
- Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
- Crispy Chicken Wings
BBQ Air Fryer Chicken Legs
- Air Fryer
- 8 chicken legs
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/3 cup BBQ sauce
- Preheat air fryer at 400 degrees F for about 5 minutes.
- Dry the chicken legs with paper towels and evenly sprinkle the outsides of the chicken legs with the salt, smoked paprika and pepper.
- Add the chicken legs to the air fryer basket, four at a time. Make sure they are not touching.
- Cook the chicken legs for 10 minutes. Open the air fryer and flip the chicken legs over. Cook for an additional 8 minutes.
- Open the air fryer and brush each chicken leg generously with BBQ sauce. Cook for 2 minutes. Check the temperature. If the chicken legs are at 165 degrees F they are safe to eat. If not, keep cooking.
- Repeat this process with the remaining four chicken legs.