Crispy air fryer turkey legs are a great protein packed low carb dinner idea for the holidays or year round. Made with a dry rub that’s tasty.
Air fryer turkey legs are great for a quick protein packed low carb dinner. During the holidays it’s perfect when there are only a few of you at home. Air fryer recipe success tonight. (originally published 12/20, affiliate links present)
Last week we shared how to cook an air fryer turkey breast and we just couldn’t stop there.
It turned out so good I wanted to show something else you could make for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. This is especially great if you only have two people in the home during the holidays.
If you love air fryer recipes too, here are some resources to start with:
Ok so I was in the grocery store looking for what to cook next, and turkey legs were staring right back at me. I hadn’t experimented much with them so I thought “why not”.
At around $4 for 2 large pieces I kinda’ couldn’t go wrong, so I bought 2 packages to experiment with. I only needed this one set because they came out great the first time around!
With the right rub you can make air fry everything perfectly and make it come out amazingly out of this world.
There wasn’t really a question as to how I was going to season these babies. I made this smoked turkey rub a while back and it’s always been SO popular, so I just halved that recipe (made for the whole bird).
This is what you’re going to need to get out in order to get these ready:
- if you want less meat you can make air fryer turkey wings instead
Just mix the seasonings together, rub it on and you’re ready to cook once your machine is preheaed. Start Instant Pot garlic mashed potatoes once you pop these in and everything will be done at the same time to enjoy.
Here are a few questions you might be wondering about before you get started on this:
We will show you how right here! In just 21 minutes without needing to flip them over they’ll come out tender and full of flavor with our dry rub recipe below.
Remove from heat source and use a meat thermometer to check. Place into thickest part of meat and when it reaches 165 degrees F you’re safe. Remember what it will continue to increase by 10 degrees as it rests. You should allow them to sit for at least 5 minutes to stay moist and reach a safe temp. to eat.
When the internal temperature reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit and the juices run clear, they’re done. The meat on the end will begin to pull away from the bone too which is a good sign.
It really only takes about 10 minutes to preheat, mix the seasonings and coat the outside. Talk about a fast meal! Throw them in and when it beeps you have a delicious meal to enjoy.
We have made this as an easy Ninja Foodi recipe as well as making them in our Cosori air fryer too. It doesn’t really matter the brand you have. The main difference is the size. Mine is rather large and comfortably fits 2.
If you have a smaller one with a round basket you may have to do one at a time. I thought I may need to flip them halfway through like I do with our air fryer wings but no need.
Here is a quick step by step but we have a printable recipe card below too that you can keep handy.
- Spray top of legs with olive oil spray.
Remove from basket and allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing meat off of bone and serving.
I tried a second batch at 400 degrees and I thought a bit lower was better. You don’t want the outsides to get really over crispy in order to cook the insides properly. If you love turkey these will be a huge hit.
Love trying new things? You can make smoked turkey legs or the whole bird as well, it’s one of our favorite methods too.
If you love how quick this 30 minute meal is, you’ll also get a kick out of making sheet pan turkey. The whole bird is done in just about an hour!
Want to make slow cooker chicken legs? Those are great too. BUT our air fryer chicken leg quarters may be our favorite. It cooks similarly, and comes out just as delicious.
Nutritional facts are included in the recipe card below, calories and saturated fat will vary slightly depending on their sizes.
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How to Air Fry Turkey Legs
First, combine your seasonings. I use salt, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and brown sugar.
Rinse and dry your turkey legs. Then rub your spice mixture all over your turkey legs. I make sure to rub the seasoning under the skin as well to get that flavor all over the meat.
Then place the turkey legs in your Air Fryer basket. Lightly spray your turkey leg with a mist of cooking oil. I use my handy dandy oil spray bottle. I discuss more on why you should invest in a spray bottle in my 10 Air Fryer Tips and Tricks.
Cook on 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, flip your turkey leg and lightly spray again and cook for another 20 minutes.
Remove your turkey leg. Use a quick read thermometer to ensure that your turkey leg is done.
Serve and enjoy your delicious and juicy turkey leg
More Turkey Recipe Suggestions:
Can I cook a turkey in my Ninja Foodi grill?
How long does it take to cook a smoked turkey leg in air fryer?
How long do you cook precooked turkey legs?
Of course you can do the same thing I recommend above and pressure cook the turkey ahead of time and crisp it up in the oven just before serving. Or, you can get an 8 pound turkey and that will fit perfectly in the 8 quart Ninja Foodi.