This a delicious recipe for air fryer turkey legs, crispy on the outside, juicy, and tender on the inside. This might be the easiest Thanksgiving turkey you could possibly cook. Ready in 40 minutes.
Are you searching for the easiest turkey recipe to make for Thanksgiving or Christmas this year? This air fryer turkey legs recipe might be it. All you must do is season the drumsticks and air fry them for about 35 minutes.
While the turkey drumsticks are cooking, you could make this simple Cornbread Recipe without Buttermilk (ready in 30 minutes). And once the cornbread is in the oven, use the spare time to make a salad or cook some veggies for the side dish and set the table.
Thanksgiving dinner ready in less than one hour! Theoretically, you would even have the time to make a super quick dessert, something like yogurt with honey and berries, for instance.
Why will you love this recipe?
- Tender dark meat and crispy skin: The best combination when it comes to poultry. Juicy, addictive turkey legs make a super main course or a snack (like those legs sold in your favorite amusement park).
- Fast recipe: Ready in about 40 minutes.
- Cheap and easy recipe: It is a one-ingredient recipe if you don’t count the spices and the oil. And salt, pepper, paprika, and oil are the most common pantry ingredients, I suppose.
- Easy prep: Rub those spices on the turkey legs and place them in the basket of the air fryer. Flip once. That’s it!
- Turkey legs: Two or three depending on their size. I had two weighing about 1 lb (500 g) each. You should be able to find them quickly at this time of the year in larger grocery stores.
- Oil: Canola or sunflower oil; the oil helps make the skin extra crispy and delicious.
- Seasoning: Fine sea salt, ground black pepper, sweet paprika. You can use hot or smoked paprika if you like or a combination.
- More seasoning ideas: Basically, use anything you like. Good-quality bought poultry seasoning mix or dry rub for meat are excellent. Add dried herbs like thyme or rosemary, garlic powder, onion powder, curry, and even some brown sugar if you like.
How to make the recipe?
- Preheat the air fryer, if necessary; it depends on the type you are using. Mine needs 3 minutes of preheating.
- Season: In the meantime, pat the meat dry with paper towels. Then, mix the spices in a small bowl and rub the legs with the oil and the seasoning.
- Cook: Place drumsticks in the basket in a single layer and cook at 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius) for 20 minutes. Flip using tongs and cook for another 15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit (82 degrees Celsius). The cooking time depends on the size of the drumsticks. Check the internal temperature with a quick-read thermometer.
Helpful tips and FAQ
How many legs will fit in the air fryer?
- I can get 2-3 legs in my air fryer, depending on their size. Two if they weigh between 1 – 1 ½ lb each, and three if they are slightly thinner. Make sure to check before you plan the meal. You can also cook a huge turkey leg (about 2 lbs/ 1 kg), but it will take longer, and only one will fit in the kitchen gadget.
How many servings will I get?
- Turkey drumsticks are large, so you will be able to feed one family (two adults and two children) with 2-3 pieces. And you will probably have some leftovers.
Should I marinate the meat?
- You can if you have the time. Rub the meat with the oil and the seasoning and let it marinate in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
How long to cook turkey legs?
- It depends very much on their size. I had to cook my 1lb pieces for precisely 33 minutes. Smaller legs will need slightly less time. Large pieces weighing about 2 lb (1 kg) might take up to 45 minutes. Make sure to check.
How to check if the meat is cooked through?
- The best way to check is with a digital meat thermometer; the internal temperature should be 180 degrees Fahrenheit (82 degrees Celsius). To check, insert the tip of the thermometer into the thickest part of the leg. If the temperature is not right yet, give the meat a few more minutes and check again.
- The cooking time might also depend on the type of air fryer you are using. Make sure you know your machine and adjust the times and temperature accordingly.
We have made a small guide on how to check if the meat is cooked through: Where to put the thermometer in a turkey?
How to store leftovers?
- Refrigerator: Keep them in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
- Freezer: Keep them in an airtight container for 3-4 months. Defrost in the refrigerator and reheat before serving.
How to reheat?
- Air fryer: In the preheated machine for about 5-6 minutes, flipping halfway.
- Preheated oven: Let the meat reach room temperature. Reheat at 325 degrees Fahrenheit (160 degrees Celsius) in a baking dish covered with aluminum foil for 30-45 minutes, depending on size.
How to serve?
I love to serve the air fryer turkey legs as a main dish with mashed potatoes, coleslaw, or green salad. But many other sides are delicious as well. Try them with roasted potatoes or fries, Mac and Cheese without Flour, Fried Gnocchi, vegetable or tomato rice, and so on. Use leftovers to make a Turkey Avocado Sandwich.
Either rub the meat with oil all over, or place oil in a small bowl and dredge the meat and roll it in the oil, this is the optimal way to add oil to make the meat crispier. Check out this Easy Air Fryer Turkey Legs Recipe
Check the web story for this recipe: How to make Easy Air Fryer Turkey Legs
Cooking tips: Where do you put the thermometer in a turkey?
More Air Fryer Recipes
- Quick Air Fryer Turkey Burger
- Air Fryer Meatloaf
- Air Fryer Pork Roast
- Air Fryer Frozen Chicken Wings
Give my quick recipes a try for your next family meal! Feel free to reach out if you need any assistance!
Easy Air Fryer Turkey Legs
- Air fryer
- 2 turkey legs (drumsticks) about 1lb (500 g) each (Note 1)
- 1 tablespoon oil canola, sunflower oil
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika Note 2
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Preheat the air fryer, if necessary; it depends on the type you are using. Mine needs 3 minutes preheating.
- Season: In the meantime, rub the meat with the oil and the seasoning all over.
- Cook at 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius) for 20 minutes. Flip using tongs and cook for another 15 minutes or until cooked through. The cooking time depends on the size of the drumsticks.
- Check the internal temperature with a quick read thermometer; it should be 180 degrees Fahrenheit (82 degrees Celsius). To check, insert the tip of the thermometer into the thickest part of the leg. If the temperature is not right yet, give the meat a few more minutes and check again (Note 3).
- If the legs are smaller, you might be able to fit another one in the air fryer’s basket. Check before planning the meal.
- Use other spices instead. You can mix several types of paprika (sweet, hot, smoked), use bought poultry seasoning or lemon pepper, add dried herbs like thyme or rosemary.
- The cooking time depends very much on the size of the drumstick. I had to cook my 1lb pieces for 33 minutes. Smaller legs will need slightly less time. Large pieces weighing about 2 lb (1 kg) might take up to 45 minutes. Make sure to check.