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Air Fryer Turkey Legs

Air Fryer Turkey Legs deliver impossibly crisp skin and succulent, juicy meat on the inside.

air fryer turkey legs on a cutting board.

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Thanksgiving turkey is always a bit of a letdown to me. There’s too much white meat that ends up dry and bland. I always wish there could be more of the tender, flavorful dark meat. Air Fryer Turkey Legs are the answer!

A turkey leg easily feeds two people, so they’re great if you’re feeding a smaller group for Thanksgiving, or just want a change from weeknight chicken dinners. Turkey legs are easy to prepare, too, making them suitable for anytime meals.

Not only does the air fryer turn out the best, juiciest poultry in general, but using just the turkey drumsticks means you get all dark meat!

When I cook turkey legs in the air fryer, I like to use a simple dry rub, which adds flavor but keeps the skin nice and crisp. Loosen the skin and rub some of the seasoning mixture underneath it, too, to make sure the flavors really permeate the meat.

Low angle shot of a couple of turkey legs on a cutting board.

Ingredients you need

For the complete list of ingredients with quantities and detailed prep and cooking instructions, please see the recipe card that appears at the end of this post.

To make this turkey leg recipe, you only need a few ingredients. Here’s the list:

  • Seasonings: I use a mixture of chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, salt, pepper, and cayenne.
  • Turkey legs: You’ll find turkey legs or turkey drumsticks in packs of two in most supermarket meat sections or ask for them from your butcher.
  • Oil for spraying: Use a straight oil, not one with an accelerant, for spritzing your turkey legs (accelerants will erode the nonstick surface of your air fryer basket). I like to use this Oil Spritzer.

How to cook turkey legs in the air fryer

For the complete list of ingredients with quantities and detailed prep and cooking instructions, please see the recipe card that appears at the end of this post.

Cooking turkey legs in the air fryer is so easy! Here’s how:

  1. Place the turkey legs in the air fryer basket and spray with oil. You might need to cook one turkey leg at a time depending on the size of either the legs or the air fryer basket.
  2. Place the turkey legs in the air fryer basket and spray with oil. You might need to cook one turkey leg at a time depending on the size of either the legs or the air fryer basket.
  3. Place the turkey legs in the air fryer basket and spray with oil. You might need to cook one turkey leg at a time depending on the size of either the legs or the air fryer basket.
  4. Place the turkey legs in the air fryer basket and spray with oil. You might need to cook one turkey leg at a time depending on the size of either the legs or the air fryer basket.
  5. Place the turkey legs in the air fryer basket and spray with oil. You might need to cook one turkey leg at a time depending on the size of either the legs or the air fryer basket.
  6. Cook until the internal temperature measures 165°F on a meat thermometer.

What to serve alongside

Turkey legs make a great family dinner and they’re also a perfect addition to your Thanksgiving table.

I like to serve these turkey legs with my Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce, Crispy Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic, Green Bean Salad with Crispy Fried Onions, and Sweet Potato Casserole.

For dessert, Pumpkin Ice Cream with Apple Cider Donut Cake or sweet-spicy Ginger Snap Cookies is just perfect!

Low-angle shot of two golden brown air fryer roasted turkey drumsticks.

More Air Fryer Recipes you’ll love

I love to use my air fryer to cook everything from everyday dinners to special holiday meals. Some of my other favorite dishes include Air Fryer Korean Fried Chicken, Air Fryer Artichokes, Air Fryer Empanadas, and even Air Fryer Peanut Butter Cookies.

Yield: Serves 4

Air Fryer Turkey Legs

Closeup of a crispy skin turkey leg roasted in the air fryer.

 Air Fryer Turkey Legs are a great option for Thanksgiving dinner, family meals, or any time you want delicious roasted turkey drumsticks without committing to a whole turkey. Using a dry rub ensures that you get crispy turkey legs every time you air fry turkey legs.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 2 turkey legs
  • Oil for spraying (non-aerosol)

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, combine the chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, salt, pepper, and cayenne.
  2. Pat the turkey legs dry using paper towels and use a knife and your hands to loosen the skin from the flesh so that you can get some of the seasoning mixture in there.
  3. Rub the seasoning mixture all over the entire leg and under the skin.
  4. Place the turkey legs in the air fryer basket and spray with oil. You might need to cook one leg at a time depending on the size of either the legs or the air fryer basket.
  5. Cook on 380°F for 15 minutes or until internal temperature measures 165°F.
  6. Enjoy your Air Fryer Turkey Legs!

Nutrition Information

Yield

4

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 324Total Fat 17gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 12gCholesterol 165mgSodium 480mgCarbohydrates 4gFiber 1gSugar 0gProtein 40g

Nutrient values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product availability and manner of food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin, freshness of ingredients, and other factors.

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By on September 22nd, 2022

About Robin Donovan


Hi, I’m Robin! I am a full-time food blogger, recipe developer, and cookbook author. I spend my days cooking, writing about, and photographing food.

I’m the author of more than 40 cookbooks, including Ramen for Beginners, 5 Ingredient Cooking for Two, Sushi at Home, The Baking Cookbook for Teens, and the bestselling Campfire Cuisine.

My food writing has also been featured in major print and online pubications including Cooking Light, Fitness, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, and other popular publications.

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