It doesn’t need to be Thanksgiving to enjoy delicious, tender and juicy Air Fryer Turkey Legs. Grab the napkins as these guys are finished in just 30 minutes. The BBQ rub’s sweet/smoky combination is perfect for this mild dark meat. Add sauce (but you certainly won’t miss it if you don’t have any).
If you put your Air Fryer away, you are missing out on the speedy and delicious meals you can be making using our all time favorite appliance. Besides the grill, this is our “go-to” kitchen gadget to make quick, easy and yummy meals that fit our “on the run” lifestyle.
Why This Recipe Works
Fast and Easy – I say this a lot on the recipes we put out but it’s true. There are enough recipes out there that taste fantastic and take time. We want to produce fast and easy recipes that don’t sacrifice taste. This is a true winner.
Delicious – Here’s the deal with this one. If you don’t want to use the homemade rub, use what you have, but make the turkey legs in your Air Fryer. They come out so juicy and tender that I always feel like “what the heck happens in there” while it’s cooking.
Hands Off – Busy families need delicious meals that don’t need to take a lot of energy and time. We need meals that taste amazing, but practically cook themselves and this one does that. Prep time is about two minutes (if you drag it out). Then, you can do other things until you have to flip the legs. These are meals I can wrap my head around.
Flexible – The homemade rub is fabulous and I know you will love it! If you are short on time and want to stay with the two minute prep, use a rub you have at home or a seasoning that is your family’s “go-to” favorite. Make the rub ahead of time and even adjust the flavor a bit to your liking…swap out paprika with the smoked version, for instance.
Turkey Legs – Find these at the grocery store right by the turkey breast and thighs. Usually they are sold in two-packs.
Homemade Rub – This rub comes together in about two minutes with spices from your cabinet. There is nothing fancy here, which shows you simple and delicious can be synonymous.
Step One: Make the homemade rub by combining the ingredients into a bowl and stir. Make this up to two weeks ahead of time and keep it sealed in a container. Just remember to label it.
Step Two: Heat the Air Fryer to 350 degrees. Spray the turkey legs with olive oil spray and apply 2-3 tablespoons of the rub. Either sprinkle on the legs directly or put it all in a Ziploc bag and shake it like you would shake and bake chicken. This gets the best coverage.
Step Three: Cook for 30-40 minutes, turning half way through. Check the internal temperature. It should be 165 degrees. Make sure to not touch the bone as that will give you a false reading. Everyone’s Air Fryer is different so start with 30 minutes and see if you need the extra time.
📌 Expert Tips
Use a Ziploc bag to get an even coating of this or any rub on your meat.
If you want to get a crispier skin, increase your temperature to 375-380 and decrease your time by checking on it at 20-25 minutes.
Make sure to flip the meat at the halfway point to get even cooking.
I keep mine for 3-4 days. Make sure you seal them well so they don’t get any refrigeration taste to them. Of course, we end up eating them faster than that!
Yes, you can cook these and then freeze them. My favorite way to do it is to flash freeze them by placing cooked legs on a sheet pan and place in the freezer for up to 12 hours. Remove from the freezer and put in a freezer safe freezer bag for up to 3 months. If you are worried, you can also wrap them in Saran or Press n Seal before putting in the freezer. I really like to do that to protect the meal just in case.
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Air Fryer Turkey Legs with Homemade BBQ Rub
Homemade BBQ Rub
- ⅓ cup Brown Sugar
- ¼ cup Paprika
- 3 tbsp Black Pepper
- 2 tbsp Sea Salt kosher salt works great as well
- 2 tsp Onion Powder
- 2 tsp Garlic Powder
- 2 tsp Celery Seed
- 3 Turkey Legs
- Olive Oil Spray
Homemade BBQ Rub
- Combine all the ingredients and stir. You only need about 2-3 tbsp of this on the turkey legs so store the rest in a sealed container for up to a year.
- Heat the Air Fryer to 350 degrees.
- While the Air Fryer is heating up, spray the turkey legs lightly with olive oil spray and then apply 2-3 tbsp of the Homemade BBQ Rub to the legs.
- Add the turkey legs to the Air Fryer and cook for 30-40 minutes or until the internal temperature is 165 degrees. Turn the legs over half way through cooking.