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Air Fryer Chicken Leg Quarters – 20 Minute Meal!

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If you’re looking for a healthier dinner, look no further than our air fryer chicken leg quarters. You’ll love how the air fryer cooks the chicken tender and juicy on the inside with a crispy skin on the outside.

This easy recipe is ready in just 20 minutes, making it perfect for weeknight dinners. And because kids love chicken drumsticks, it’s a dish that your picky eaters will enjoy.

Overhead view of an air fried chicken leg quarter on a white plate with wild rice and lemon slices.

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We tend to eat a lot of meals with chicken. And after making air fryer tenders I wanted to switch things up and make something without breading.

Leg quarters are inexpensive, making them a great choice if you’re on a budget. Or if you’re looking to save a little money when trying to feed a crowd on the cheap.

And making chicken quarters in the air fryer cuts down on the cooking time compared to baking them in the oven. Not to mention you don’t have to heat up the kitchen – bonus! And the chicken cooks up beautifully, so why wouldn’t you use the air fryer?

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New to air frying? Get the low down on maximizing your usage of this amazing small appliance, including easy clean up tips, with our best air fryer tips for beginners.

What are Chicken Leg Quarters?

This is the part of the chicken that consists of the thigh and drumstick all in one. Both cuts are dark meat and cooked as a single piece. They are often referred to as “the whole leg”.

Leg quarters are typically much cheaper to buy than other cuts of poultry. That being said, if you want to make chicken thighs or drumsticks separately, you can buy the quarters and cut them apart yourself.

Even though chicken breasts are leaner, the dark meat is the juiciest and is the most flavorful of the two cuts. Which is why we chose the cut for this recipe.

Ingredients needed to make air fryer chicken leg quarters with text overlay.

Ingredients Needed

  • chicken leg quarters – the size of our air fryer basket allowed us to cook 2 at one time.
  • salt and black pepper – for seasoning.
  • oil for misting – any kind can be used as long as it has a high smoke point. We typically go with olive oil for this recipe.
  • sugar, lemon juice, and white wine vinegar – this simple glaze brings a bright citrus flavor to the chicken.
  • lemon slices and parsley – for garnish, optional.

How to Make Chicken Quarters in the Air Fryer

Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees F.

Place the chicken in the air fryer basket and spritz with oil (we use a mister). Season with salt and pepper.

Side by side images of chicken in air fryer basket and chicken seasoned with oil, salt, and pepper with text overlay.

Air fry chicken for 20 minutes or until it reaches 160 degrees F.

Combine the sugar, lemon juice, and vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring it to a low simmer then remove from the burner and set aside.

Once the chicken has finished cooking, brush each piece with the glaze and top with slices of lemon.

Two images of chicken after being cooked for 20 minutes and chicken in air fryer with glaze and topped with lemon slices with text overlay.

Continue cooking for 4 more minutes.

Transfer the juicy chicken to a plate and tent with aluminum foil. Allow it to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Tips for Making

  • For best results, pat the chicken dry with a paper towel before seasoning and spritzing with oil. This removes the excess moisture so they cook up super crispy.
  • Leave the skin on for crispier chicken and to lock in the best flavor.
  • To make cleanup easier, use a parchment paper liner. You’ll want to add this to the basket after preheating and before adding the chicken.
  • Make sure you place the quarters in the basket in an even layer and not touching so the hot air can circulate easily. This also helps reduce the cooking time compared to baking chicken in the oven.
  • Insert an instant-read thermometer in the thickest part of the chicken, but not touching bone, to make sure the internal temperature has reached 165 degrees F before serving.
  • Depending on the size of the chicken quarters and your air fryer basket, you may need to cook in batches and the cooking time may vary.
  • For even crispier chicken, cook with the skin side down for 10 minutes then flip at the halfway point and continue cooking.
Front view of a white plate filled with an air fried chicken leg quarter with rice and lemon slices next to a fork.

Substitutions and Variations

Seasoning: add your favorites such as garlic powder, onion powder, or a blend like Nature’s Seasoning. You can also use any dry rub you like.

Spicier: a dash of cayenne pepper will add a nice kick.

Wings: Use this recipe to make chicken wings in the air fryer. You’ll need to reduce the cooking time for these smaller pieces.

What to Serve With

For more of a comfort food vibe, you can serve these hearty chicken quarters with homemade stuffing, cornbread muffins and green bean casserole.

Air fried chicken quarters go well with butternut squash fries, Hasselback potatoes, or sweet potato wedges.

How to Store

Keep leftover chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Reheat in the air fryer for a few minutes until the chicken is warm and crispy.

If you’re looking for an easy dinner, chicken quarters in the air fryer are sure to please. All it takes are a handful of ingredients and less than 30 minutes to put this flavorful meal on the table.

**Save Air Fryer Chicken Leg Quarters Recipe for Later**

Air fryer chicken leg quarter topped with a lemon slice on a white plate with rice with text overlay.

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Closeup view of air fried chicken quarters with rice and lemon slices on a white plate.

Air Fryer Chicken Leg Quarters

These chicken leg quarters are cooked in the air fryer, tender and juicy on the inside with a crispy skin on the outside. A healthier dinner ready in about 20 minutes.
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Course: Dinner, Weeknight Dinner
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 3
Calories: 451kcal
Author: Lori @ I Heart Air Frying


  • 3 chicken leg quarters, rinsed & patted dry
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • oil for misting
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • lemon slices for garnish, optional
  • parsley for garnish, optional


  • Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees F.
  • Place chicken legs in the air fryer basket, spritz with oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook for 20 minutes or until chicken reaches 160 degrees F on an instant read thermometer.
  • While the chicken is cooking, place the sugar, lemon juice, and vinegar in a small saucepan over Medium-High heat. Bring the glaze to a low simmer and immediately remove from the heat and set aside.
  • When the chicken is done, open the basket and brush the chicken with the lemon glaze and top with lemon slices.
  • Continue cooking at 400°F for 4 more minutes, until fully cooked. Internal temperature should reach 165 degrees F on an instant read thermometer.
  • Remove chicken to a plate, tent with foil and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before serving.


  • You can line the air fryer basket with foil or a parchment paper liner to make clean up easier.
  • Leave the skin on for the juiciest chicken and the best flavor.
  • For even cooking, the chicken should be placed in a single layer in the basket, making sure the pieces don’t touch.
  • The cooking time will vary based on the size and thickness of the chicken pieces.
  • For crispier chicken, cook chicken skin side down for 10 minutes, then turn at the halfway point.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days.
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Nutritional Estimate

Serving: 1chicken quarter | Calories: 451kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 142mg | Sodium: 501mg | Potassium: 314mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 33g | Vitamin A: 115IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information is provided as a reference, using an online calculator. We recommend verifying the information independently for accuracy.

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