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Easy Air Fryer Turkey Legs Recipe

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Air fryer turkey legs are delicious, with a crispy skin outside and juicy meat inside. This is my favorite way to cook turkey drumsticks. Try it and you will have a new family favorite recipe!

For me turkey legs always remind me of big gatherings like a carnival, state fair or Renaissance festival. But the huge drumsticks at those events are almost always deep fried, making them calorie laden and unhealthy!

When you make turkey legs in the air fryer you get the fair taste at home fast, without the deep frying. It takes less than 40 minutes to make these easy air fryer drumsticks.

top view of three air fryer turkey legs

Why You Will Love Air Fryer Turkey Legs

  • They are a low effort dinner.
  • No grease, no oil and no mess makes for easy cleanup.
  • They shake up a boring dinner routine! And kids love to eat them because they are fun and the kind of meal they don’t usually get at home.
  • If you need a little more dark meat for Thanksgiving or Christmas throw a few legs in the air fryer to add to your holiday table.

Check out my recipes for air fryer turkey breast or air fryer turkey burgers!

ingredients for air fryer turkey legs

Key Ingredients

Turkey drumsticks – You can find these in the poultry section of most grocery stores. My grocery store usually has them in packs of 2 or 3.

Butter or olive oil – This is used to help hold the spices on the meat and make sure the skin gets extra crispy.

Spices – These are seasoned with paprika, garlic powder, salt and black pepper. There are lots of different ways to season these, check out some suggested seasoning variations here.

How to Cook Turkey Legs in Air Fryer

1. Season

If you are using butter put it in a microwave safe dish and microwave it until it is melted. Then stir all your desired seasoning into the butter or oil.

Pat the legs dry with a paper towel, then use a pastry brush to brush the seasoned butter all over the them. Pull the skin back and brush some underneath the skin so the meat is nicely seasoned.

brushing the seasoning on the drumsticks

2. Air Fry

I prefer to line the air fryer basket with parchment paper, because it makes the cleanup easier. You can buy parchment paper that is precut to fit inside the basket.

Put the legs in the air fryer basket. My 5.8 quart Cosori air fryer can fit 3 drumsticks without crowding them.

You need to leave space for the air to circulate, so if you have a smaller basket or a circular one you might not be able to fit as many.

Air fry the legs at 390 degrees for 25 minutes. You don’t have to flip them over half way through, although you can if you want them to be more evenly browned all over.

turkey legs in air fryer basket

3. Check the Temperature

Use an instant read thermometer to check the internal temperature of the drumsticks. They are done when it reaches 165 degrees F. There really isn’t a way to tell when they are done without checking the temperature.

Always use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature, don’t try to cook based just on time. A thermometer is not expensive and the peace of mind they give you is priceless. Food poisoning is not fun! This is my favorite inexpensive meat thermometer, which you can buy on Amazon.

If they need more time put them back in the air fryer, cook for another 5-10 minutes and recheck the temperature.

How to Serve

Let the drumsticks rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. This will let the juices reabsorb and make the meat even juicier.

You can serve turkey legs with almost any side dish. If you are going for a Thanksgiving feel make mashed potatoes and cornbread stuffing

Or make it more like a picnic with potato salad and broccoli salad. You could even go all out on the fair theme and add an air fryer blooming onion with fried Oreos for dessert!

top view of three turkey legs

Find More Air Fryer Recipes!

How to Store

Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or foil to keep the meat from drying out.

You can eat the leftovers cold or reheat them in the air fryer at 360 F for about 10 minutes. I love to use leftovers on sandwiches like a turkey club sandwich or in turkey soup.

Seasoning Variations

You can vary the seasoning based on your taste, just use about 2 teaspoons of spices. Some of my favorites:

  • Cajun – 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Old Bay – 1 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Montreal – 2 teaspoons Montreal spicy steak seasoning
  • Classic – 1 teaspoons poultry seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
turkey leg closeup

FAQ

How do you reheat turkey legs in an air fryer?

Using the air fryer to reheat these keeps the skin nice and crispy. Cook them at 360 degrees F for 5-10 minutes to warm them up.

Are air fryer turkey legs healthy?

Turkey is generally a healthy meat, which is high in protein and nutrients. Air frying the drumsticks is a healthy way to cook it, since it requires minimal added fat.

How do I know when turkey legs are done?

The safest and most reliable way to know if they are done is to check them with an instant read thermometer. They are done when they have a temperature of at least 165 degrees F.

How so you keep turkey legs from drying out?

Cooking them in the air fryer is an excellent way to keep turkey legs from drying out. The high heat cooks them quickly and the meat under the skin stays moist and juicy.

Should you brine turkey legs?

Brining turkey legs is great for a slow cooking method like smoking. For air frying it isn’t necessary to brine them since they stay juicy. If you are looking for a great turkey brine anyway check out my apple cider brine recipe.

Find More Air Fryer Turkey Recipes

Yield: 3-4

Air Fryer Turkey Legs

turkey legs in air fryer basket

Make turkey legs in the air fryer for fair taste at home.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 Turkey Legs
  • 4 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  1. If using butter put it in a small microwave safe bowl melt microwave it until it is melted.
  2. Add the seasonings to the melted butter or oil and stir to combine.
  3. Pat the legs dry with a paper towel. Brush the seasoning mixture all over the drumsticks. Pull the skin back and brush a little bit underneath.
  4. Use parchment paper in the bottom of the air fryer basket if desired to make cleanup easier.
  5. Put the legs in the air fryer basket and air fry at 390 for 25-30 minutes.
  6. The legs are done when they reach an internal temp of 165 degrees F. Always check the temperature with a meat thermometer, don't just go based on cooking time.
  7. If the drumsticks need more cooking time return them to the air fryer for another 5-10 minutes additional time and check the internal temp again.
  8. Let them rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Notes

Suggested seasoning variations:

  • Cajun - 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Old Bay - 1 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Montreal - 2 teaspoons Montreal spicy steak seasoning
  • Classic - 1 teaspoons poultry seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


Reheat leftover drumsticks in the air fryer at 360 degrees F for about 10 minutes to warm them up.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 541Total Fat: 34gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 278mgSodium: 587mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 58g

Nutrition facts are estimates.

closeup of turkey legs on a plate
collage pin for pinterest air fryer turkey legs
By on October 14th, 2021

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