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Air Fryer Turkey Legs

Air Fryer Turkey Legs are a full-flavored entrée seasoned with a smoked paprika butter rub for a crispy outside with a juicy, tender inside. With easy prep, these turkey legs are ready in less than 45 minutes, with most of that time dedicated to cooking in the air fryer.
4.90 from 82 votes
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Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Gluten-Free
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 2
Calories: 436kcal
Author: Capri Lilly


  • Air Fryer


  • 2 Turkey Legs/Drumsticks (2-3 lbs) (if using lean turkey legs cut the cooking time down by half)
  • 1/3 cup Butter melted, reserve 1 tbsp to baste halfway
  • 2 tsp Smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp Poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp Garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Pepper or to taste
  • 1 tsp Dried thyme
  • 1 tsp Herbs de Provence (or Italian seasoning)
  • 1/2 tsp Salt or to taste


  • Pat the turkey legs dry with a clean cloth or paper towel.
  • Prepare the smokey butter rub by mixing the seasonings with the melted butter.
  • Cover turkey with seasoned butter rub. Try to get under the skin as well. (Remember to reserve one tablespoon of the mixture)
  • Preheat the air basket to 400°F for 3 minutes. Then, place turkey legs in the air fryer basket. Try to leave space between them if possible.
  • Air Fry at 400°F for 20 minutes. Then open the air fryer basket, flip the turkey legs and lightly spray with cooking oil. Baste the flipped side with the remaining seasoned butter.
    Close the Air Fryer basket and cook for 20 more minutes, check every ten minutes for doneness. (If the temperature reads 160°F this is okay as the temperature will increase while the turkey legs are resting)
    (Cooking time may vary depending on how big your turkey legs are and the air fryer you are using. Cook for ~30-40 minutes, or until the internal temperature of 165 is reached.)
  • Let the turkey legs rest for 5 minutes. Enjoy!


If you are cooking lean turkey legs, reduce the cooking time to prevent the turkey legs from drying out. Start by cutting the cooking time in half, then cook longer if necessary

How To Reheat Turkey Legs In The Air Fryer?

In order to reheat smoked turkey legs in an air fryer, preheat the air fryer to 350F. Then cook them for 5 minutes, flipping halfway through to ensure they heat evenly.

How Do You Defrost Turkey Legs Quickly?

Submerge the frozen turkey legs in cold water (do not remove the turkey legs from the packaging). They should defrost in 2-4 hours. You can also leave the turkey legs in the fridge overnight to thaw. For. the best results, thaw the turkey legs before cooking.

Should You Brine Turkey Legs Before Air Frying?

Brining the turkey legs is completely unnecessary if you are cooking them in the air fryer. The air fryer does a great job of keeping the inside of the turkey moist and tender. Plus, with the help of the butter rub, these turkey legs will be absolutely flavorful and juicy.
**Please Note: I’ve made these wings in an Instant Vortex Air Fryer and a Yedi 7 QT air fryer. Cooking Time may vary based on the type of air fryer you use. Adjust time accordingly and be sure to use an instant thermometer to check the doneness. Turkey is fully cooked at 165°F.


Calories: 436kcal