Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Leg Quarters: Fast and Finger-Licking!

There’s nothing better than a chicken BBQ in the summertime. Pair it with some picnic sides and you’ve got the perfect meal! Instead of breaking out the charcoal grill, though, these air fryer BBQ chicken leg quarters are even easier to make!

air fryer bbq chicken leg quarters recipe dinners done quick

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

I love my air fryer for cooking chicken, especially when dealing with a skin-on variety. That’s because it gets the skin perfectly crispy!

The meat still comes out perfectly juicy as well, though in fairness that’s not as difficult to achieve when using dark meat like these leg quarters.

There’s very little tending required with this method, which is a win for me compared to the grill. Just pop the chicken quarters in the air fryer, flip once during cooking, and that’s it!

piece of air fryer bbq chicken on a fork

Pretty simple, and it gives me time to focus on my sides while the main course takes care of itself.

If you’re interested in more delicious barbecue flavors, then you might also enjoy my Air Fryer Brisket Burnt Ends recipe!

What You’ll Need: Ingredients

ingredients to make air fryer bbq chicken leg quarters
  • 2 chicken leg quarters, bone in, skin on (such as Perdue)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp ground mustard
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ¼ cup barbecue sauce

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • You can swap other high smoke point oils like avocado or grapeseed in place of the olive oil
  • All the seasonings are adjustable to taste – add more or less, or omit things you don’t like. You can also use about 2 Tbsp of a BBQ chicken rub seasoning mix of your choice instead of measuring individual seasonings to save time
  • Any barbecue sauce is fine, so choose whatever you like! I’m using Stubb’s original today, but I’ve used vinegar, spicy, and sweet based sauces before as well

How to Cook Chicken Leg Quarters in the Air Fryer

  1. Preheat your air fryer to 400°F
  2. Pat your chicken dry, and trim any excess fat or skin
pat chicken quarters dry
  1. Rub the chicken in the olive oil, making sure it’s well coated
rub olive oil into chicken
  1. In a large Ziploc bag, add all the dry seasonings and shake them to mix
add all seasonings to ziploc bag
  1. Add the chicken quarters to the bag, seal, and then shake until the chicken is thoroughly coated in seasoning
mix chicken quarters in bag with seasoning
  1. Place the chicken leg quarters in the preheated air fryer basket (either way is fine)
add chicken leg quarters to air fryer basket
  1. Cook on the air fry setting for 10 minutes at 400°F, then flip and cook an additional 10-15 minutes, until the chicken reaches 165°F at the thickest point (but not touching the bone)
  2. Make sure the skin side is facing up, and then brush the top of chicken with barbecue sauce and return to the air fryer basket
brush bbq sauce over the skin of the chicken thighs
  1. Cook an additional 5 minutes, or until the edges are browned and the sauce is sticky 
  2. Rest for 5 minutes, before serving warm with your favorite sides
overhead view of two bbq chicken leg quarters air fried on a plate

What to Serve With BBQ Chicken

  • Baked beans
  • Coleslaw
  • Mac and cheese
  • Cornbread
  • Biscuits
  • Macaroni salad
  • Potato salad
  • Deviled eggs
  • Corn on the cob
  • Summer squash
  • Cucumber salad
  • Potato wedges
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Corn casserole
  • Fried okra
  • Fried green tomatoes
  • Watermelon
  • Strawberry shortcake
  • Grilled peaches
  • Icebox pies
  • Pinot Noir
  • Zinfandel
  • Lemonade 
  • Iced tea

There are so many great things to serve with BBQ chicken, from sides to dessert, and even drinks!

Pair your air fryer BBQ chicken leg quarters with my sweet Air Fryer Hasselback Sweet Potatoes, tangy Vinegar Cucumber Onion Salad, perfect Air Fryer Corn Casserole, creamy Air Fryer Potato Salad, easy Air Fryer Summer Squash Casserole, and sip on a summery Vodka Peach Lemonade.

Recipe FAQs

Can You Cook a Quarter Chicken Leg in the Air Fryer?

Yes, you can cook a quarter chicken leg in the air fryer. For best results, you want the chicken quarter to lay flat in the air fryer basket, and flip it once during cooking.

For very small air fryers, this may mean splitting the quarter up into smaller pieces, or cooking in batches if you’re feeding more than 1-2 people.

How Long Do Chicken Leg Quarters Take in the Air Fryer?

Chicken leg quarters take 20-25 minutes on average in the air fryer. The time will vary slightly based on the size of your chicken quarters, as well as the power of your specific air fryer.

Always make sure chicken is thoroughly cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F, measured at the thickest part of your chicken without touching the bone.

What Temperature to Air Fry Chicken Leg Quarters?

Chicken leg quarters should air fry at a temperature of 380°F – 400°F. For a less crispy chicken, or one with sugar in the rub, use a lower temperature. For more crispy skin and more browning, use a higher temperature.

It may also vary based on the available settings on your specific air fryer, so know that anything within the range is perfectly fine for cooking.

How Long to Air Fry Chicken Leg Quarters at 400?

You should air fry chicken leg quarters at 400 for 20-25 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken. They may need an additional 5 minutes if they’re particularly large, or if they’re frozen.

Make sure to flip halfway through cooking and test for doneness with a thermometer.

How Long Does it Take to Cook 2 Leg Quarters in the Air Fryer?

It should take 20-25 minutes to cook 2 leg quarters in the air fryer. The cooking time actually does not change, regardless of quantity, so long as you can fit the leg quarters in a single layer in your air fryer basket.

If you overcrowd your basket and thus block air flow, only then will it cause uneven heating and extended cooking times.

Can You Stack Chicken Legs in an Air Fryer?

You should not stack chicken legs in an air fryer, as this will limit air flow which results in uneven cooking. It also gets the chicken closer to the heating element, which can splatter grease.

To fit more in, make sure to alternate directions of the chicken legs in the basket. They can touch slightly as well.

How Do You Know When Chicken Leg Quarters Are Done?

Chicken leg quarters are done when the internal temperature of the chicken reads 165°F at the thickest part of the chicken, without touching the bone. If you measure the temperature of the bone, you’ll get a false reading.

If you don’t have a thermometer, you’ll need to cut the chicken open and give it a squeeze. If the juices from the center of the chicken are clear, then the chicken is done. If they are red or pink, the chicken needs to be cooked more.

Do Chicken Quarters Go Skin Side Up or Down?

Chicken quarters should go skin side down to start in an air fryer. After about 10 minutes, you should flip the chicken over, and then the quarter should remain skin side up for the remainder of the cooking.

This ensures that both sides of the chicken are evenly cooked, but you ultimately end up with crispy skin at the end of the process.

How Long to Cook Frozen Chicken Leg Quarters in an Air Fryer?

Cook frozen chicken leg quarters in an air fryer for approximately 25-30 minutes, depending on the size of the quarters.

This is about 5 minutes longer than cooking from fresh requires, to account for the colder beginning temperature.

Do You Have to Flip Chicken Drumsticks in an Air Fryer?

It is highly recommended to flip chicken drumsticks in an air fryer. This helps to ensure even heating and thus even cooking on the chicken.

Additionally, this also promotes the skin getting crispy on all sides, versus having a soggy bottom side.

Recipe Pro Tips

  • You can easily double (or more) this recipe to make additional servings. Cooking time doesn’t change as long as they fit in a single layer in your air fryer. Cook in batches if needed
  • My 8-qt Ninja air fryer holds up to 4 chicken leg quarters at a time
  • Dark meat produces a lot of grease, so it’s normal for your air fryer to start smoking during cooking. Use a pair of tongs to hold the chicken in place and dump out the excess grease if needed
closeup of bbq chicken made in the air fryer on a plate

Storage and Reheating

  • Store leftover cooked chicken quarters in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. If you have extra raw chicken, it freezes well for up to 6 months
  • Reheat chicken quarters in the air fryer at 350°F for 6-8 minutes, flipping halfway, or until warmed through

More Air Fryer Chicken Recipes You’ll Love

Final Thoughts

These amazing air fryer BBQ chicken leg quarters are everything you love about a cookout, made easily indoors! No more tending the grill or smoker when your air fryer does all the hard work for you.

In just about 30 minutes total, you’ll have perfectly cooked chicken quarters with caramelized barbecue sauce. That’s easy enough for a weeknight dinner! Plus, chicken quarters are a very inexpensive cut, making them great even when your family is on a budget.

Pair them with some summery sides for a perfect meal. I’ll take some fresh corn on the cob and a cold glass of iced tea, myself!

air fryer bbq chicken leg quarters recipe dinners done quick featured image

Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Leg Quarters

These air fryer BBQ chicken leg quarters cook up perfectly in your air fryer. With juicy meat, crispy skin, and delicious flavor in 30 minutes or less you can’t go wrong for dinner.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 2
Calories 779 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • 2 Chicken leg quarters, bone in and skin on (such as Perdue)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tsp salt
  • 1 Tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tsp onion powder
  • 1 Tsp paprika
  • ½ Tsp mustard powder
  • ½ Tsp oregano
  • ¼ Cup barbecue sauce

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your air fryer to 400°F
  • Pat your chicken dry, and trim any excess fat or skin
    2 Chicken leg quarters, bone in and skin on
  • Rub the chicken in the olive oil, making sure it’s well coated
    1 Tbsp olive oil
  • In a large Ziploc bag, add all the dry seasonings and shake them to mix
    1 Tsp salt, 1 Tsp black pepper, 1 Tsp garlic powder, 1 Tsp onion powder, 1 Tsp paprika, ½ Tsp mustard powder, ½ Tsp oregano
  • Add the chicken quarters to the bag, seal, and then shake until the chicken is thoroughly coated in seasoning
  • Place the chicken leg quarters in the preheated air fryer basket (either way is fine)
  • Cook on the air fry setting for 10 minutes at 400°F, then flip and cook an additional 10-15 minutes, until the chicken reaches 165°F at the thickest point (but not touching the bone)
  • Make sure the skin side is facing up, and then brush the top of chicken with barbecue sauce and return to the air fryer basket
    ¼ Cup barbecue sauce
  • Cook an additional 5 minutes, or until the edges are browned and the sauce is sticky
  • Rest for 5 minutes, before serving warm with your favorite sides

Notes

  • You can swap other high smoke point oils like avocado or grapeseed in place of the olive oil
  • All the seasonings are adjustable to taste – add more or less, or omit things you don’t like. You can also use about 2 Tbsp of a BBQ chicken rub seasoning mix of your choice instead of measuring individual seasonings to save time
  • Any barbecue sauce is fine, so choose whatever you like! I’m using Stubb’s original today, but I’ve used vinegar, spicy, and sweet based sauces before as well
  • You can easily double (or more) this recipe to make additional servings. Cooking time doesn’t change as long as they fit in a single layer in your air fryer. Cook in batches if needed
  • My 8-qt Ninja air fryer holds up to 4 chicken leg quarters at a time
  • Dark meat produces a lot of grease, so it’s normal for your air fryer to start smoking during cooking. Use a pair of tongs to hold the chicken in place and dump out the excess grease if needed
  • Store leftover cooked chicken quarters in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. If you have extra raw chicken, it freezes well for up to 6 months
  • Reheat chicken quarters in the air fryer at 350°F for 6-8 minutes, flipping halfway, or until warmed through
  • Exact nutritional values will vary based on brand and flavor of ingredients, any sides added, and quantity consumed, so please consider this a guideline only

Nutrition

Serving: 390gCalories: 779kcalCarbohydrates: 18gProtein: 62gFat: 50gSaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 289mgSodium: 1787mgPotassium: 160mgFiber: 1.6gSugar: 12gVitamin A: 109.1IUVitamin C: 7.6mgCalcium: 34mgIron: 4.3mg
Keyword air fried leg quarters, air fry quarter chicken, air fryer bbq chicken leg quarters, air fryer chicken quarters, bbq chicken, bbq chicken leg quarters in air fryer, bbq chicken legs, bbq chicken quarters, chicken leg quarters air fryer recipe, ninja air fryer chicken leg quarters
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air fryer bbq chicken leg quarters recipe dinners done quick pinterest
Katie Vine

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