Home Main DishChicken Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Legs

Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Legs

by Karly

These saucy BBQ Chicken Legs turn out so juicy and flavorful! Just 4 ingredients and they cook in 20 minutes! The will quickly become a weeknight favorite!

Several BBQ chicken legs in an air fryer basket on a countertop.

BBQ chicken is such a familiar food. We all grew up eating BBQ chicken at one point or another.

As my husband and I were chatting about all the great BBQ dishes, we realized we haven’t had BBQ chicken legs in over 10 years! We did make some BBQ chicken breasts in our air fryer about a year ago, so we used that as our starting point for this recipe.

The advantage of the legs is two fold. One, it makes me feel like a kid. I can’t explain it, but when I am eating chicken legs cooked in any way, I can’t help but smile. The second is they are so easy to make and eat!

They leave tender meat, a crispy skin, and you can eat them with or without silverware!

These take just 4 ingredients, cook in 20 minutes, and the entire family will enjoy gobbling them up! So sauce and delicious, these are really hard to resist!

Ingredient Notes:

BBQ chicken leg ingredients spread out on a countertop.

Chicken – This recipe will make 8 chicken drumsticks. You can easily halve, double, or even triple the recipe!

Seasoning– You will need some olive oil, BBQ dry rub, and BBQ sauce. Try to pair a rub and sauce that go together, whether it is a spicy sauce or a sweet sauce is entirely up to you. You can even make your own homemade BBQ dry rub if you like!

How to Make BBQ Chicken Legs in an Air Fryer:

collage showing how to make bbq chicken legs in the air fryer.

Season – Add your chicken to a bowl and drizzle your olive oil over it. Rub it into your chicken to coat and then add your BBQ rub. Use your hands to coat the chicken in the rub.

Air Fry – Arrange the chicken in your air fryer basket trying to keep a little space between each chicken leg. Air fry for 17 minutes at 400 degrees F, flipping the chicken once halfway through cooking.

Baste– Baste the chicken with BBQ sauce and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes until fully cooked.

Serve – We like to sprinkle our chicken with a bit of chopped parsley and serve these up hot. The kids like to dip their chicken legs in ranch dressing or extra BBQ sauce.

Overhead view of several BBQ chicken legs in an air fryer basket.

FAQ:

When are chicken legs done cooking?

They are done to the point they are safe to eat at 165 degrees Fahrenheit, but drumsticks have the best texture when cooked to 185 degrees F.

Should I boil chicken legs before putting them in the air fryer?

Nope! The air fryer will do a great job of fully and evenly cooking your chicken without drying it out!

How do I reheat BBQ chicken legs?

Use your air fryer! Heat them up for 5 minutes at 350 degrees F.

Recipe Tips and Substitutions

The USDA recommends cooking chicken to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees, which is perfect for chicken breasts and thighs. Chicken legs tend to have a better texture and are more tender when cooked to 185 degrees.

More Air Fryer Chicken Recipes:

Several BBQ chicken legs in an air fryer basket.

Let us know your opinion!

We’d love to hear what you think of this recipe! Leave a comment and star rating down below! And don’t forget to pin and share!

Six drumsticks in an air fryer basket.

Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Legs

Yield: 8 drumsticks
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

These saucy BBQ chicken legs are a breeze to whip up any night of the week and cook in about 20 minutes. We love how quick and simple these are and the family goes nuts for them. Use any BBQ sauce you like - they're all good!

Ingredients

  • 8 chicken drumsticks
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons BBQ dry rub, see notes
  • ΒΌ cup BBQ sauce, more to taste
  • Parsley, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees. 
  2. Add the chicken, olive oil, and bbq rub to a bowl and use your hands to coat the chicken in the rub.
  3. Arrange chicken in the air fryer basket. Do not overcrowd. You may have to work in batches, depending on the size of your air fryer. 
  4. Cook for 17 minutes, flipping the chicken halfway through.
  5. Baste the chicken with the BBQ sauce and continue cooking for 3-5 minutes or until the chicken has reached at least 165 degrees and up to 185 degrees, see notes.
  6. Sprinkle chicken with parsley and serve hot.

Notes

The USDA recommends cooking chicken to a minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees, which is perfect for chicken breasts and thighs. Chicken legs tend to have a better texture and are more tender when cooked to 185 degrees.

You can add as much or as little sauce to your chicken legs as you like, depending on how saucy you want the finished product. The sauce will caramelize a bit in the air fryer and get a bit sticky, but these are still a bit messy to eat, especially if you use a lot of sauce (my kids think this is part of the fun!).

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 2 legs
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 409Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 234mgSodium: 412mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 0gSugar: 7gProtein: 45g

All information and tools presented and written within this site are intended for informational purposes only. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information is accurate.

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