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)
Air Fry Turkey Leg
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.
I mean you may want that classic dish on your table but don’t want to buy a whole bird because that would be WAY too much. Just two legs would be perfect for y’all, leaving just a bit to make a leftover recipe the next day.
If you love air fryer recipes too, here are some resources to start with:
- THIS is my Favorite Air Fryer!
- You can find more Air fryer recipes here, we have Ninja Foodi recipes as well; bookmark them both!
Ok so I was in the grocery store looking for what to cook next, and these 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! First with this crispy crunchy method and then tested it with baked turkey legs. Loved that too.
Turkey Legs in Air Fryer
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 turkey dry rub a while back and it’s always been SO popular, so I just halved that recipe (made for the whole bird).
Cooking Turkey Legs
This is what you’re going to need to get out in order to get these ready:
- 2 turkey legs – this is what will fit in your air fryer basket at a time
- if you want less meat you can make air fryer turkey wings instead
- Olive oil spray
- Sea salt
- Chili powder
- Garlic powder
- Old Bay is my favorite secret ingredient for “all the things”
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.
Ninja Foodi Turkey Legs
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.
Air Fryer Turkey Legs
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.
- Of course there will be a slight difference in cook times depending on how large your legs are but 20 minutes to 22 minutes is pretty dead on.
Frozen Turkey Legs in Air Fryer
If you forgot to defrost these you can still save dinner. Surprisingly you can still follow the same directions but increase the time by 3-5 minutes. That is all!! Here is a quick step by step but we have a printable recipe card below too that you can keep handy.
- Preheat air fryer to 390 degrees F. Mix together dry rub ingredients in a bowl. Rub on all sides of legs. Spray inside of air fryer basket with olive oil spray and lay legs inside.
- Spray top of legs with olive oil spray.
- Close drawer and air fry turkey legs at 390 degrees F for 21 minutes. Check at thickest part of leg to ensure internal temp. is at least 165 F.
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.
Unique Ways to Cook Turkey Legs
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.
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!
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Air Fryer Turkey Legs
- Preheat air fryer to 390 degrees F.
- Mix together dry rub ingredients in a bowl. Rub on all sides of legs.
- Spray inside of air fryer basket with olive oil spray and lay legs inside. Spray top of legs with olive oil spray.
- Close drawer and cook at 390 degrees F for 21 minutes. Check at thickest part of leg to ensure internal temp. is 165 F. Remove from basket and allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing meat off of bone and serving.