This is how to cook chicken leg quarters in oven, smoked, air fryer or in a slow cooker. Tender dark meat legs and thighs with crispy skin.
We have many chicken leg quarter recipes here for you to choose from. Decide which leg and thigh recipes you want to use, how you want to cook it, and we have directions for you to make them perfectly. A cheap and healthy family friendly meal we make year round. (affiliate links present)
Chicken Leg Quarters
Leg Quarters are probably the cheapest part of the bird where you get the most meat. Yes wings are usually the least expensive but let’s be honest, you need a ton to get full. If you have seen these at the store but only really cooked them after they’ve been separated let us dispel the myth that they aren’t that great.
Dark meat vs. white, you may have only chosen the latter for years and years because that is what you grew up on. Nowadays with groceries being out of this world expensive you may be looking for other dinner ideas. Believe me, once you switch to dark you may never ever go back, it’s that good. First let’s start with how to bake chicken quarters in oven.
How to Cook Chicken Quarters
Baked is the first go to since everyone has an oven at home, or in an apartment or even an RV. They are all easy to throw together but going for the “old fashioned” sometimes is the way to go first. All you need is a sheet pan, foil and seasonings of course. Yes the meat tastes amazing but you have to at least sprinkle with salt and pepper.
These make a great Old Bay recipe too, probably something I put on all the things. It is not just for seafood if that is what you are thinking. I put it on all different proteins and vegetables too! Your best bet is to not only season the skin but lift that up and rub it on the meat itself as well.
How to Cook Frozen Leg Quarters
If you want to bake them you’ll want to decrease the temperature to 365 F and increase the timing by 10 minutes (so 30 minutes on each side) or until they reach 160 F internally. Then uncover, spray top with oil and increase temp to 400 degrees to crisp the skin for 10-15. Or follow steps in chicken leg quarters Instant Pot style.
If making Crockpot chicken leg quarters there is no difference. For the air fryer I’d follow our air fryer frozen chicken thighs recipe and increase timing by 5 minutes on each side. Timing will depend on how large they are of course, I always recommend medium for all cuts.
How to Cook a Quartered Chicken
Now let’s move on to the air fryer chicken quarters recipe. If you love really crispy skin I would highly recommend following this one. Your meat will still come out moist but you won’t get this same texture in the oven. Of course you can use this after it’s been baked to get a similar crunch too.
You would only need about 4 minutes at 400 degrees F. if you do it this way. I would add bbq sauce on the top too so it can bake right on and kinda’ caramelize. It’s pretty killer. To do it this way from the get go you just basically;
- Step one: Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees F for 5 minutes.
- Step two: Spray olive oil on meat and season leg quarters skin with salt and pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and/or choice of seasonings all over.
- Step three: Spray air fryer basket with non stick spray and lay chicken in with skin side facing down.
- Step four: Air fry for 25 minutes, then flip both of them over, spray with olive oil on top again and cook an additional 10 minutes at the same temperature.
- Use meat thermometer in thickest part to ensure internal temperature at thickest part of meat is 165 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 pieces and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving so they stay moist. If you want to make a few of these you may have to cook in batches so they don’t overlap.
Now if you cut up the bird yourself into just a few pieces, you may need instructions on the how to cook a chicken breast too. There are tons of options as far as those go to of course but if you want to make everything in your Ninja Foodi or Cosori I’d just go with that one.
Cook times will vary slightly between the two but it isn’t a huge difference. I always recommend that you have an instant read thermometer handy. Always insert into the thickest part of the meat, and after it’s been pulled out of the heat source.
How to Cook Chicken Legs and Thighs
And then we have Traeger chicken leg quarters. OMG this is amazing. You don’t have to have this brand but it is said to be the best. Green Mountain is another pellet grill, but electric smokers work well too. Not only do you get a killer smoky flavor to your meat this way but if it is a hot season you may not want to cook inside period.
Chicken Leg Quarters Recipes
Whether you choose to follow our baked chicken leg quarters directions, or one of the other methods you will want some side dishes as well. I usually just go with some steamed vegetables and sliced bread or rolls. I like to use the same machine for everything so here are a few choices to pair with each such as;
- Air fryer mixed vegetables
- You can make a batch of smoked vegetables in a foil pan and cook right along side your meat
- Buttered Crockpot cabbage is probably our favorite side ever
- And we love roasted red cabbage steaks on a lower shelf of the oven if I am going with that method
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!
How to Cook Chicken Leg Quarters
- Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees F for 5 minutes. Spray olive oil on meat and season leg quarters skin with salt and pepper and choice of seasonings all over.
- Spray air fryer basket with non stick spray and lay chicken in with skin side facing down. Air fry for 25 minutes, then flip both of them over, spray with olive oil on top again and cook an additional 10 minutes at the same temperature.
- Ensure internal temperature at thickest part of meat is 165 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.