Juicy, tasty, and lip-smacking good chicken legs oozing with natural flavors. This air fryer chicken dish takes away the messy and oily spills in cooking your favorite comfort food. Now you don’t have to worry about hurting yourself with oil splatters or those extra calories from oil!
I won’t blame you if you’re thinking twice about using your air fryer for making chicken. I also have the fear of drying out, burning, or undercooking chicken meat.
Trust me, you won’t have to worry about this when cooking with an air fryer because it cooks perfectly fine!
This cooking method makes the kitchen a safer place for everyone, especially for new home cooks. The best part about this is that it’s a healthier version of your classic favorite dish.
There is little to no change in flavor, it even makes the whole thing tastier because it uses its natural juices.
The Classic Fried Chicken
Everyone and I mean everyone, knows what a fried chicken should look and taste like. However, there are so many versions of the best-fried chicken recipe from all across the world.
The most iconic fried chicken part is the leg. From a bucket of “finger-licking good” chicken to your Southern granny’s Southern Fried Chicken, one thing’s for sure, they’re irresistible.
The classic recipe deep-fries the chicken in a lot of oil which is only good for a few dips. That’s not sustainable if you ask me.
Aside from being an environmental waste, too much oil can cause a lot of chronic ailments. Because of this, the recipe developed into a healthier and more sustainable dish over the years.
This Oven Fried Chicken is a good example of a healthy fried chicken recipe. It doesn’t use much oil and it cooks perfectly. The downside of this is that the equipment used for this is a bit bulky and consumes a lot of space.
Luckily, using an air fryer for chicken legs is easy, healthy, and super convenient. It won’t take much of your time or space in the kitchen.
Air Fryer Chicken Legs Recipe
Don’t worry, there isn’t going to be any drastic changes in the flavor itself. The breading and preparation for this would still be the same. Here’s everything you’ll need to cook this perfectly hassle-free comfort food.
- Chicken Legs
- Dried Italian herb
- Onion powder
- Garlic powder
- Smoked paprika
- White pepper
- Cayenne pepper (optional)
- Bouillon powder (you may replace with salt)
Just remember to incorporate everything before you put it in the air fryer to have the best crunch and flavor at the same time.
If you’ve traveled far and wide, you must’ve encountered a lot of people claiming the best-fried chicken in town. I have to admit, there are great recipe variations out there but most of them are because of the seasoning. Here are some of my favorite recipe variations.
- The south is known for a lot of things but a tender and juicy Southern Fried Chicken is just too iconic to miss. You can also do this to your Air Fryer Chicken Legs to give it a true southern kick.
- The Jamaican Fried Chicken is flavored to the bone. The marinating process lets the flavor really seep into the poultry meat.
- Give your chicken legs a flavorful twist when you mix this homemade Creole Seasoning into your dry batter. Feel the sensational heat in every bite.
- African Fried Chicken is definitely one of my favorite on this list. It retains the juiciness, moisture, and flavor of the dish even after air frying.
Tips in Cooking Chicken in an Air Fryer
Learning a new cooking method can be daunting especially when you’re used to cooking manually. However, we can all agree that there is a better way of cooking. The air fryer makes cooking a more pleasant and healthy experience with its revolutionary method of cooking. Check these tips on cooking chicken in an air fryer.
- Check it every once in a while and open the basket to flip the chicken for even cooking.
- Do not overcrowd! The reason for this is that the temperature in the basket will be much cooler giving you a longer cooking time.
- Never use a loose or wet batter. The air fryer uses hot circulating air to cook the chicken. Having wet batter blown by hot circulating air can cause a huge mess inside the basket. Trust me you wouldn’t want that.
- Air fryer chicken legs don’t necessarily use oil. So tenderizing the meat before air frying can help it cook evenly to the bone. I suggest marinating the poultry for effortless cooking.
- If you really need a quick fix, here’s some good news. You can directly place frozen chicken legs in the Air Fryer to cook them. Sure it’ll take a few extra minutes but that’s still faster than thawing it out.
Keeping it Fresh and Crisp
Keeping your air fried chicken legs crispy isn’t really a problem. Since we’re not using any oil for this recipe, you can expect that your dish will retain its crispiness. You don’t have to worry about storing it as well.
Wait for the whole dish to cool down before placing it in an airtight container. This will decrease the chances of moisture formation in the container. Moisture can both make your chicken soggy and shorten the shelf life of the whole dish.
According to the USDA, cooked poultry can last up to 3-4 days refrigerated. After that, the air fryer chicken legs might still be safe for consumption but is not recommended anymore.
Although these are already tasty, you can’t help but think of perfect pairings for it. This is the reason why I listed down my favorite pairings, may it be dips, rice, or sides.
- Homemade BBQ Sauce gives our dish a kick of sweet and spicy sensation that’s just perfect for gatherings.
- This African Pepper Sauce also gives your dish delightful heat.
- A good serving of Jollof Rice makes a great pair for any chicken dish.
- Or if you wanna go the healthy route, you can always toss a simple green salad or this Tossed Salad HERE.
More Easy Chicken Recipes
- How to Make Poached Chicken
- Sweet Sticky Spicy Chicken
- Air Fryer Chicken Wings
- Baked Crispy Chicken Legs
How to Air Fry Chicken Legs
Wash chicken legs, thoroughly dry and place on a cookie sheet in a single layer, then let them sit in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight. Do not cover them; let the air-dry them out. This step is not a must but a recommendation for extra crispy skin. If pressed for time, omit. Salt and pepper the chicken, then thoroughly mixed with spices above or use any of our favorite spice mix we have on this blog. Jerk seasoning, Creole, or Italian seasoning.
Preheat the Air Fryer – I preheat mine at 400 Degrees F for 5 minutes – when ready to air fry. Set your Air Fryer to 380°F. Place chicken legs in the air fryer basket. Do not overcrowd. You might have to do so in batches. Cook chicken for about 18-20 minutes depending on the size of your chicken.
Also, keep in mind that each air fryer cooks differently. If it is your first time making chicken, check frequently especially the last few minutes of cooking, and adjust according to desired brownness. Flip the chicken legs halfway through while cooking. Chicken legs should be brown and thoroughly cooked through before serving. Remove and toss with sauce or serve with Ranch or Blue Cheese Dressing here.
Watch How To Make It
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Air Fryer Chicken Legs
- 2 pounds (907.18g) chicken legs
- ½ tablespoon (1.37g) Dried Italian herb
- ¾ teaspoon (3.75g) salt
- 2 teaspoons (4g) onion powder
- 2 teaspoon (6g) garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon (1g) smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon (1g) white pepper
- ½ teaspoon (1g) cayenne pepper (optional)
- ½ teaspoon (1g) bouillon powder (you may replace with salt)
- Wash chicken legs, thoroughly dry and place on a cookie sheet in a single layer, then let them sit in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight. Do not cover them; let the air-dry them out. This step is not a must but a recommendation for extra crispy skin. If pressed for time, omit.
- Preheat the Air Fryer - I preheat mine at 400 Degrees F for 5 minutes - when ready to air fry.
- Set your Air Fryer to 380°F. Place chicken legs in the air fryer basket. Do not overcrowd. You might have to do so in batches.
- Cook chicken for about 18-20 minutes depending on the size of your chicken. Also, keep in mind that each air fryer cooks differently. If it is your first time making chicken, check frequently especially the last few minutes of cooking, and adjust according to desired brownness.
- Flip the chicken legs halfway through while cooking. Chicken legs should be brown and thoroughly cooked through before serving.
Tips & Notes:
- Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.