Can you air fry chicken leg quarters? Absolutely! No collection of air fryer recipes is complete without these air fryer chicken legs with mustard and herbs. Air fried, mustard-crusted chicken leg quarters make the perfect high-protein entrée for a weeknight meal. They’re quick, easy, inexpensive, and delicious! Whether your preference is for air fryer drumsticks or air fryer chicken leg quarters (thigh and drumstick), I’m on it with this recipe!
Chicken legs in an air fryer? Oh, yes.
You’re going to love these savory mustard-crusted chicken legs. They are so much easier than they look.
BTW, by chicken legs, I’m talking about the chicken thighs with drumsticks attached. If you’re like my husband and “chicken legs” is a synonym for the drumsticks, well, that’s going to work too.
I air fried chicken legs and I also air fried chicken drumsticks for this recipe. I will provide the cooking time for each. Whichever cut of chicken you happen to have on hand, you can use this recipe.
Whole chicken leg quarters seemed to be a much more popular cut back in the 1980s. I remember having them a lot for dinner as a child. Where’d they go?
I had to go to several stores to find a pack of chicken legs. They were almost as inexpensive as they were a few decades ago- only 89 cents per pound! Considering that boneless, skinless chicken breasts typically run $5-6 per pound, the legs are quite a deal.
If you can’t find this thigh and drumstick combo, we’ll cover air fryer chicken drumsticks as well. Either way, mustard fried chicken in the air fryer will be yours!
- 📋 What are the calories, net carbs, and protein?
- ⭐ Benefits
- 🥘 Ingredients
- 🍽 Equipment
- 🔪 How to Air Fry Chicken Leg Quarters
- ⏲️ Cooking Time and Temperature
- ️👪 Side dishes for chicken legs
- 💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
- 👩🏻🍳 Other Easy Air Fryer Chicken Recipes
- The Disclaimer…
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
📋 What are the calories, net carbs, and protein?
Each homemade air fried chicken leg provides 641 calories, 3.4 grams net carbs, and 50 grams protein. This calculation subtracts the weight of the bone, but not the fat lost while air frying.
Why eat this chicken leg quarter air fryer recipe? Here are a few of my reasons:
- Protein: Chicken legs offer a HUGE portion with a lot of high-quality protein. Around 50 grams of protein, to be precise. If you’re looking to bump up the protein in your diet, this is the recipe for you. (You could easily split each leg into two servings.)
- Easy clean up: Don’t want to make a mess making oven baked chicken or chicken on the stove top? The air fryer is well-known for easy clean up.
- Easy to customize: These air fryer chicken legs (no breading) use mustard, but there’s no reason you couldn’t use BBQ sauce or hoisin sauce instead. You could also experiment with breading chicken leg quarters with panko or flour.
- Keto diet friendly: If you are on a very low carb diet, this chicken with mustard recipe will be a great fit. Each chicken leg provides only 3.4 grams of net carbs per serving, perfect for most keto diets.
- Naturally gluten free: This chicken leg recipe has no gluten, assuming the mustard you use is gluten free. I really like how the mustard here is used as a flavorful alternative to breading. I think it’s perfect whether you need a recipe without gluten or not!
- Not deep fried: We’re air frying chicken, not deep frying it. That means you’re getting crispy chicken skin and moist, tender chicken with very little added oil.
- Inexpensive: I covered this one above but chicken legs quarters are one of the cheapest cuts of chicken around. Keep an eye out for them if your budget is tight!
- Delicious: This recipe is SUPER simple, but it’s also pretty tasty. I hope you like this air fryer fried chicken as much as we do.
So, what do you need to make air fryer chicken legs? Here’s what to gather:
- Chicken leg quarters (or chicken drumsticks if you can’t find legs)
- Grainy mustard
- Avocado oil (or olive oil)
- Garlic clove
- Dried thyme
- Salt and black pepper
- Dried Rosemary
- Dried Sage
- Cooking spray
I used Lusty Monk’s Original Sin Mustard for these air fryer chicken quarters. This is a spicy, grainy mustard with great flavor.
It’s important to use a mustard that you enjoy for this recipe. It imparts a lot of flavor to the chicken!
That said, I don’t recommend using sweetened mustard for this recipe, such as honey mustard. The sugars may burn while cooking. You’ve been warned; try sweetened mustards at your own risk!
The two main pieces of kitchen equipment that you need for this recipe are an air fryer and a meat thermometer. I highly recommend the 10-Quart Kalorik Digital Air Fryer Oven. It has the capacity to cook four large chicken legs at once!
However, you can make whatever air fryer you have work with this recipe. The Ninja Foodi, Philips, Power Air Fryer, Cosori, Nuwave, Instant Vortex, Cuisinart, etc. Each have their own advantages.
You’ll need to cook the chicken in multiple batches if your air fryer basket is small. However, I’ve noticed the chicken tends to cook a little faster in smaller air fryers. Be sure to keep a close eye on the chicken the first time you make this recipe so you can adjust cooking times as needed.
The meat thermometer is the best way to ensure your chicken is properly cooked. If you regularly air fry meat and poultry, a meat thermometer is indispensable.
🔪 How to Air Fry Chicken Leg Quarters
Let’s cook chicken legs in the air fryer! You’ll be ready to eat before you know it, I promise.
Start by stirring the mustard, avocado oil, garlic, thyme, rosemary, sage, salt, and pepper together. Set this mixture aside for later.
Mist your air fryer trays with cooking oil spray. I needed to use two trays for this recipe.
Put the chicken legs on the trays and spray them with the cooking oil. For the best results, don’t crowd them. They’re already ready to go in the air fryer!
⏲️ Cooking Time and Temperature
How long do chicken leg quarters go in the air fryer? Large chicken legs take 35-40 minutes total at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Chicken drumsticks take about 30 minutes total at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. There’s no need to preheat the air fryer.
Chicken Leg Quarters Air Fryer Directions
Air fry for 10 minutes at 400F, then switch the position of the trays and air fry 10 more minutes at 400F. Spread the mustard mixture on the tops of the chicken pieces with the back of a spoon.
Air fry 10 more minutes at 400F. Then switch the position of the trays in the air fryer and air fry a final 5-10 minutes at 400F.
Check to ensure they’ve reached the minimum safe internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit with the meat thermometer. They will need to be cooked a bit longer if they have not.
After cooking, let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before eating. This gives the chicken time to fully absorb the moisture and become tender.
Chicken Drumsticks Air Fryer Directions
Since the drumsticks will be cooked a shorter time, you can spread the mustard mixture on them prior to any cooking.
Bake the drumsticks at 400F for a total of 30 minutes. Switch the position of the trays in the oven at 10 minutes, 20 minutes, and 25 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to check that the chicken has reached the minimum safe internal temperature of 165F after cooking.
After air frying, let the drumsticks rest for 10 minutes. Bon appetite!
️👪 Side dishes for chicken legs
You can serve air fried chicken legs with a variety of vegetable and/or grain sides. One time I served them with roasted zucchini and a jalapeno-cheddar air fryer cornbread. (Have you made cornbread in an air fryer yet? It is delicious!)
Here are a few other recipes for the air fryer (and non-air fryer recipes) that would go well with this chicken:
- Air Fryer Frozen French Fries
- Air Fryer Carrots
- Kale Apple Slaw
- Air Fryer Jicama Fries
- Air Fryer Squash with Brown Butter and Sage
💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This is a level 2 recipe (transition or weight maintenance). The nutrition information provided is a calorie and nutrient overestimate that does not subtract the cooking loss. (Fat does drip off of the chicken when you cook it in an air fryer.) If you are tracking calories and/or macros, keep in mind that you are overestimating portions if you use raw meat and poultry weights for calculations...
That said, this how I've always done things personally to help with my weight management because it is easier. Professionally, we calculate the EP (edible portion) when conducting a nutrient analysis on a recipe. I don't think it's necessary to do that at home, as it makes tracking unnecessarily difficult.
That issue aside, some will want to remove the skin from the chicken to reduce the fat and calories in this dish. Removing the skin before air frying is harder than peeling it off after it cooks.
Also, cooking the chicken with the skin on provides more flavor. The skin also helps to preserve more moisture; your chicken is more likely to dry out when air fried without the skin.
There’s one more downside to removing the skin after making this recipe. The mustard and herb crust gets removed from the chicken if you remove the skin. IMVHO the extra fat and calories are worth it, and I leave the skin on there.
Chicken leg quarters around here are always sold with the skin on. If anyone tries air frying a mustard-crusted skinless chicken leg quarter, I’d love to know how it went. You can drop me a comment below!
There’s no need to boil the chicken legs before cooking. This extra step makes the recipe take longer. Additionally, it might make it harder for the skin to get crispy during air frying. If you used a marinade on the chicken, boiling prior to air frying would rinse most if it away.
Yes, you can air fry breaded chicken leg quarters using whole grain bread crumbs! Use seasoned pork panko or almond flour for a keto alternative. I’ve got a bunch of different breaded chicken air fryer recipes for you in the next section.
For the best results, you should air fry chicken legs in a single layer. This allows the air to more freely circulate in the air fryer, allowing the chicken skin to properly crisp up.
Garlic powder, onion powder, jerk seasoning, Italian seasoning, chili powder, curry powder, BBQ rubs, salt and pepper are all great on chicken. Chicken is fairly neutral, so feel free to use it as a canvas for your favorite flavors! That said, I think they are perfect cooked this way with an herby, zingy mustard crust. Enjoy!
👩🏻🍳 Other Easy Air Fryer Chicken Recipes
Want more easy chicken air fryer recipes? I’ve got you! Check these out:
- Air Fryer Chicken Schnitzel (Keto, Low Carb)
- Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Breast
- Frozen Popcorn Chicken in Air Fryer
- Air Fryer Frozen Chicken Nuggets
- Air Fryer Breaded Chicken Breasts
All recipes on this website may or may not be appropriate for you, depending on your medical needs and personal preferences. Consult with a registered dietitian or your physician if you need help determining the dietary pattern that may be best for you.
"Keto" recipes on the web may not be appropriate for those using ketogenic diets as part of their medical nutrition therapy. That includes this recipe.
The nutrition information is an estimate provided as a courtesy. It will differ depending on the specific brands and ingredients that you use. Calorie information on food labels may be wildly inaccurate, so please don't sweat the numbers too much.
For more information on how the three recipe levels may help with a weight management goal, refer to my overnight oats no sugar post. Let's get cooking!
Air Fryer Chicken Leg Quarters (Keto, Low Carb, Gluten Free)
- 4 lbs chicken leg quarters, bone-in, skin on 1.8 kg (4 chicken legs; can substitute 2-3 lbs./0.9-1.4 kg chicken drumsticks)
- 4 tablespoons grainy mustard (unsweetened, NOT honey mustard)
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- ½ teaspoon dried sage
- salt and pepper, to taste
- cooking oil spray of choice
- Mist two air fryer oven trays with the cooking spray. Put your chicken pieces in a single layer on the racks. Spray the chicken with the cooking oil spray.
- Stir the mustard, avocado oil, garlic, thyme, rosemary, sage, salt, and pepper together.
To Air Fry Chicken Leg Quarters:
- Air fry for 10 minutes at 400°F (200°C), then switch the position of the trays and air fry 10 more minutes at 400°F (200°C). Spread the mustard mixture in a thin layer on the tops of the chicken pieces with the back of a spoon.
- Air fry 10 more minutes at 400°F (200°C). Then switch the position of the trays in the air fryer and air fry a final 5-10 minutes at 400°F (200°C). (Total air frying time: 35-40 minutes.)
- Ensure the chicken reached the minimum safe internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) with the meat thermometer. If not, you will need to air fry a little longer.
- Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before eating.
To Air Fry Chicken Drumsticks:
- Spread this mustard mixture in a thin layer all over the top of the chicken pieces with a spoon.
- Put the air fryer racks with the chicken into your air fryer oven. Bake at 400°F (200°C) for a total of 30 minutes, switching the position of the trays in the oven at 10 minutes, 20 minutes, and 25 minutes. This is long enough to get a nice mustard crust and for there to be no blood around the bones of the chicken.
- Use a meat thermometer to check that the chicken has reached the minimum safe internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) after cooking.
- Let the drumsticks rest for 10 minutes after air frying.
This recipe has been updated from 2020 with new photos, more nutrition information, and a new recipe video! Happy air frying!