Incredible Air Fryer Chicken Leg Quarters are crispy, slathered in barbecue sauce, and the perfect weeknight dinner. This juicy chicken is sure to leave you smacking your lips and licking your fingers.
Making air fryer chicken leg quarters couldn’t be any easier. They are lovely for a fancy dinner party or when you are craving comfort food. The best part about this easy air fryer recipe is that I don’t even have to heat up the oven! (affiliate links present, originally published 12/20)
Air Fryer Leg Quarters
This is how to cook chicken leg quarters the best way ever. This method is just so simple but the flavor is mind blowing. After enjoying them I knew I couldn’t wait to share this 1/4 chicken recipe with you. With a dry rub you can get super crispy skin but fork tender meat on the inside. The best combo.
Once you taste them, you will want to add them to your regular recipe rotation. Even the picky eaters are going to be happy to devour them.
If you love air fryer recipes too, here are some resources to start with:
- My Favorite Air Fryer is a Cosori or for a dual machine, the Foodi.
- You can find more easy air fryer recipes here, we have Ninja Foodi recipes as well; bookmark them both!
Air Fryer Chicken Leg Quarters
We eat more than our fair share of air fryer fried chicken, but I wanted something different. Boy, oh boy, were these a hit. I am kind of mad at myself for not making leg quarters much sooner.
Let’s talk barbecue sauce for a second. I used Head Country, but you can actually use any sauce that you want. If you have a homemade sauce, go for it!
The key is not adding sauce to your 1 4 chicken until the last few minutes of cooking. Otherwise, you will have charred sauce and raw chicken. And that is no good for anyone.
Chicken Quarters Instant Pot
If you have the Instant Pot air fryer lid you could try and make it with that as well. The basket is smaller so you would only be able to make one at a time probably but give it a whirl. I wanted to share some questions and answers to help you make bbq chicken leg quarters.
Are chicken leg quarters white or dark meat
Chicken quarters are dark meat. They are made of the drumstick and the thigh, which are both dark. White meat typically comes from the breast and wings.
Because these chicken pieces are dark meat, it’s going to be a lot more juicy and tender than white meat is. That is why these leg quarters turn out so amazing every time.
Can you put aluminum foil in an air fryer
Yes, you can but you need to be careful in doing so or it could affect how your food turns out. It’s important not to allow any foil to touch the heating element of the air fryer, which is usually located at the top. This can cause a fire.
When adding foil, add it to the bottom of the basket. It needs to fit the space well and not have any overhang. Adding food on top of the tin foil will prevent it from flying around inside of the air fryer as it’s cooking. You are going to love how easy it is to clean up!
Never place aluminum foil underneath the basket. I understand that it’s very tempting, but it doesn’t allow for proper airflow. And when it comes to using an air fryer, the most important thing is the airflow!
You don’t need it at all for chicken quarters in the air fryer though!
What temperature is chicken leg quarters done at
They need to reach 170 degrees internal temperature. For best results, use a digital thermometer and remove the meat from the air fryer.
When checking the temperature of the chicken, it’s vital that you don’t stick the thermometer against a bone. This will cause you to have a higher temperature reading than what the meat actually is.
Once the chicken reaches 160 degrees, you can add the sauce and continue to cook. Then let it rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. As it rests, the chicken temperature will continue to rise.
Ninja Foodi Chicken Leg Quarters
Air Fryer Chicken Leg Quarters with Crispy Skin
NOTE: When cooking chicken in an air fryer, leg quarters specifically, you need to make sure not to overfill the basket. If you have a small basket, you will be able to fit one, and a larger basket will allow for more.
The pieces shouldn’t be touching each other, or it’s going to take a lot longer to come to temperature. You do need some space so that the hot air can circulate around each piece really well and get the outer texture you want.
How to bake chicken quarters
You only need a few ingredients and don’t really need to use the sauce if you don’t want to. BUT let me tell you that it does take these over the top when you do lather that on.
- Thawed or fresh chicken quarters
- you can do the same for turkey legs and thighs still attached too
- Olive oil spray
- Bbq sauce
- Salt and pepper (and or any other seasonings you love)
When you air fry chicken of any kind you really want to get a browned crispy skin right? Well using a hot air machine makes all the difference.
With the addition of the sauce at the end, you’ll get the moistest crispy chicken you’ve probably ever tasted.
Yes you can make “old fashioned” oven baked chicken but the small air fryer basket enclosure gets every inch super crunchy on the outside.
You could do the same thing with just chicken drumsticks but that would take less time, closer to 20 minutes total. This cut tends to be cheaper with more meat on the bone.
It doesn’t really make sense as to why other than some people are opposed to air fryer thighs in general, which is super silly.
Here’s how we made them. There is a printable recipe card as well at the bottom you can keep handy. Use your Cosori, Ninja Foodi, or any other brand you might have at home. For 5 quart sizes or larger you can fit 2 pieces, smaller will only fit 1 at a time.
Time needed: 38 minutes.
Air Fryer Chicken Leg Quarters
Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees F for 5 minutes. Spray or brush olive oil on meat and season leg quarters with salt and pepper all over.
Spray air fryer basket with non stick spray and lay chicken in with skin side facing down.
Close basket and cook for 25 minutes, then flip both of them over and cook an additional 10 minutes cooking time at the same temperature. Ensure internal temperature at thickest part of the meat is at least 160 degrees at this time.
Use a brush to add 2 tbsp bbq sauce to the top of each one. Close basket and set to 375 degrees F for 3-5 minutes until skin is crisped and sauce is browned.
Remove leg quarters and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving so they stay moist. Lather on more sauce now if desired.
I will start by sharing our air fryer teriyaki chicken above!! We make this a few times a month because it’s cheap, easy, and healthy.
- We have a air fryer chicken tenders no breading recipe if you want a low carb option.
- And if you are forgetful, check out how to cook air fryer frozen chicken breast or frozen chicken wings in air fryer too. It happens. 😉
Follow these tips when reheating chicken in air fryer.
Want to see a few of my favorite things that I am totally obsessed with?? Take a peek and see how many you might already have…twinsies!
Air Fryer Chicken Leg Quarters
- Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees F for 5 minutes.
- Spray or brush olive oil on meat and season leg quarters with salt and pepper all over.
- Spray air fryer basket with non stick spray and lay chicken in with skin side facing down.
- Close basket and cook for 25 minutes, then flip both of them over and cook an additional 10 minutes at the same temperature. Ensure internal temperature at thickest part of the meat is at least 160 degrees at this time.
- Use a brush to add 2 tbsp bbq sauce to the top of each one. Close basket and set to 375 degrees F for 3-5 minutes until skin is crisped and sauce is browned.
- Remove leg quarters and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving so they stay moist.