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Air Fryer Turkey Legs

by Karly


Our AIR FRYER TURKEY LEGS recipe has a great blend of seasonings and will certainly cook your turkey leg quarters perfectly! Follow this recipe for tender, juicy meat with that perfect crispy skin every time.

Turkey leg and potatoes on a plate

I don’t eat turkey legs very often. In fact, it is very rare indeed. I pretty much eat them during a trip to Disney and that’s it!

But, I don’t know why? I really like them. I enjoy how tender they are when they are cooked right.

It was obviously high time I came up with a turkey leg recipe in the air fryer! And oh boy – so easy, so juicy, so good!

If you’re having a smaller Thanksgiving this year, these will be perfect! Or, if you just get a craving for turkey, these will do the trick!

If you are more of a white meat person, try our air fryer turkey breast!

Ingredient Notes:

Turkey leg ingredients on a countertop.

Turkey legs – We use turkey leg quarters, with the thigh attached to the leg. Ours were right around 2 lbs, but the size can vary. If you don’t want the thigh, you will need to adjust the cooking time to cook the legs to a minimum of 165 degrees F.

Seasonings– We use a blend of seasonings that are common ingredients. You will want to mix together brown sugar, salt, paprika, thyme, sage, garlic powder, and onion powder.

How to cook turkey legs in the air fryer:

Raw turkey leg with seasoning on top

Season the legs– Dry your turkey legs and then rub them with olive oil to coat. Next stir together your seasonings in a small bowl. Then sprinkle the seasoning onto the turkey and rub it in to completely coat the turkey legs. It is advised that you wear gloves for this step, but if you don’t be sure to wash your hands thoroughly.

Turkey leg wrapped in foil.

Wrap the legs – Score the skin and muscle of the legs with a sharp knife. Go all the way down the leg and make an upside-down “L” shape into the thigh. You only need to do this on one side of the turkey leg. Next, wrap the entire leg and thigh completely in foil.

Close up of turkey legs in an air fryer basket.

Cook the turkey– Place the turkey in the air fryer and cook for 30 minutes at 400 degrees F. After 30 minutes, remove the foil and return the turkey to the air fryer. You need to cook for 20 more minutes targetting an internal temp of 180 degrees.

Serve the turkey– Remove the turkey from the air fryer and you will see juices left in the bottom of the air fryer basket. Brush those juices on the turkey while it is still hot and then let the turkey sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Cooked turkey leg being held up to the camera.

FAQ:

Why do we cook the turkey legs to 180 degrees F?

First, it is perfectly safe to eat the turkey if it is over 165 degrees F. We cook it longer because we are cooking the leg and thigh together. This particular cut of meat is very tender to eat, but they are held together tightly. It is easier to eat, and the thighs will be more tender if we cook them to 180 degrees and, because it’s dark meat, they won’t dry out!

Are turkey legs and turkey drumsticks the same?

Technically, no. The legs should include the thigh. Drumsticks are often called legs though. This recipe is for the whole leg. If you purchased drumsticks, no problem. Just adjust the cooking time to get the meat cooked between 165 and 180 degrees internally.

Cooked turkey leg cut and resting on a cooling rack.

More traditional recipes you might like:

Cooked turkey legs stacked in an air fryer.

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!

A few turkey legs in an air fryer basket.

Air Fryer Turkey Legs

Yield: 4-6
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
These turkey legs turn out so moist and juicy with a perfectly crisp skin!

Ingredients

  • 2 turkey leg quarters, about 3-4 pounds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 ½ tablespoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon sage
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Instructions

  1. Pat the turkey legs dry and rub with the olive oil to coat. 
  2. Add the seasonings to a small bowl and stir to combine.
  3. Sprinkle with the seasoning and rub to coat the turkey completely.
  4. Use a sharp knife to score the skin and muscle of the turkey legs and then wrap completely in foil.
  5. Place turkey legs in a single layer in the the air fryer and cook at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.
  6. Carefully remove the foil and return the turkey to the air fryer. Continue cooking for 20 minutes or until the skin is golden brown and the internal temperature is 180 degrees.
  7. Remove the turkey from the air fryer and brush with the juices left in the bottom of the basket before serving. 
  8. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

While poultry is safe to consume at 165 degrees, dark meat tends to taste better and have a better texture when cooked to 180 degrees. You may remove the turkey from the air fryer at any time after it reaches 165 degrees, if that’s your preference.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 334Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 164mgSodium: 2509mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 0gSugar: 8gProtein: 31g

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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