Best 4-ingredient Air fryer chicken leg quarters that you can make in under 40 minutes. You’ll achieve irresistibly crispy skin and incredibly juicy meat, elevated by a flavorful seasoning. The chicken quarters are super affordable and are great if you are looking for some budget and delicious dinner ideas.
If you’re cooking for a while in the air fryer, you know how this kitchen gadget cuts down the cooking time when we are comparing it with the conventional or fan oven.
Also, you will use a lot less oil in it. If you still don’t own one, I highly recommend you buy an air fryer if you want to save time and money while you cook.
Quick note: Personally, I own a Cosori Air Fryer 5.8QT and it is perfect for a family of 3-4 members, so all the directions and instructions that I will give in this recipe will be based on it. If you own a smaller Air Fryer take into consideration that usually, the cooking time in a smaller air fryer is a little bit smaller.
Begin by prepping your raw chicken leg quarters. It’s crucial to ensure that the chicken is well coated with your choice of seasonings or marinades for the best flavors.
When you place the chicken in the air fryer, make sure to position the leg quarters in a single layer to ensure even cooking.
Quick Note: Remember, the thickness of the chicken plays a pivotal role in the cooking time. Check the thickest part of the chicken with a meat thermometer to ensure your chicken is cooked to perfection.
Lastly, after cooking, it’s vital to let your chicken rest.
Allowing the chicken to rest ensures that all the juices redistribute, keeping the chicken moist and ensuring that your chicken leg quarters are fully cooked.
So, if you love air-fried meals, and are seeking a quick and easy air fryer method, this air fryer chicken quarters recipe is perfect. The hot air circulation in the air fryer ensures that the chicken is well coated and turns out crispy in the air fryer, making every dish an absolute delight.
If you’re looking for a recipe for how to air fry the chicken legs, check this recipe of how I make the chicken drumsticks in the air fryer. Also, give it a try and make some delicious chicken patties in air fryer.
🥰 Why You Will Love This Recipe?
- This recipe offers a quick and convenient cooking method, allowing you to prepare a delicious meal in under 40 minutes. The efficiency of the air fryer compared to traditional ovens is a big draw.
- You will get an irresistible combination of crispy skin and incredibly juicy meat, which is a crowd-pleaser. Achieving this balance of textures is a key selling point.
- The inclusion of flavorful seasoning, including mustard, mayo, garlic, and spices, adds depth and taste to the chicken, enhancing the overall dining experience.
- The chicken leg quarters are super affordable, making it appealing for budget-conscious individuals or families.
- You can easily modify the recipe to suit your taste preferences by adding or removing ingredients from the marinade. This flexibility allows for a personalized culinary experience.
- It is a perfect recipe for people who are following a keto diet by offering a low-carb option. Additionally, it promotes a healthier choice by using less oil compared to deep-frying methods.
🏆 Tips for Success? How to Make It Better?
- Start with the best-quality chicken leg quarters you can find. Look for ones that are plump and fresh, as it’s the foundation of a great dish.
- If you have some additional time, leave the meat to marinate for a longer period of time. If you want to get an even better and juicier taste, leave the meat to marinate overnight.
- Preheat your air fryer to 380°F (190°C) for about 5 minutes before cooking. This ensures the chicken starts cooking right away, sealing in those juices.
- Keep an eye on the cooking time. It may vary depending on the size of your chicken leg quarters and the air fryer you’re using. For that golden skin and fully cooked meat, aim for 35-40 minutes. Remember, a meat thermometer is your best friend; it should read 165°F (75°C).
- After 20 minutes, consider flipping the chicken quarters or using a little trick. Cover them with a piece of aluminum foil to protect the skin from over-browning while the meat cooks to tender perfection.
- For an extra layer of flavor and a delightful crunch, sprinkle some sesame seeds over your chicken before cooking. It’s a little touch that goes a long way.
- Be mindful of the size of your air fryer basket when choosing chicken leg quarters. If it’s a snug fit, consider cooking them in batches for the best results.
🤔 How to Scale the Recipe Up and Down?
This is a simple recipe, so increase or decrease the ingredients proportionally.
Quick note: After I cooked the chicken quarters, I cut the chicken legs into drumsticks and thighs, so I served it in 4 servings for 4 people. If you need to serve more meat per person, please take into consideration increasing the amount of meat.
🥘 Ingredients Needed for This Recipe?
- Chicken Leg Quarters. When you will pick the chicken quarters, keep in mind the size of your air fryer basket. I used Cosori Air Fryer 5.8 QT and it fitted perfectly with 2 average chicken quarters. If you are using a smaller-sized air fryer, consider cooking them in two batches or picking smaller chicken quarters.
- Mayonnaise adds creaminess and helps the marinade stick to the chicken while also contributing to the overall flavor. Greek yogurt or sour cream can be used as a substitute for mayonnaise. They offer a similar creaminess and tangy flavor.
- Mustard provides a tangy and slightly spicy kick to the marinade, enhancing its flavor profile. Dijon mustard or whole-grain mustard can be used as alternatives. They maintain the tangy element while offering unique flavor variations.
- Garlic powder imparts a savory garlic flavor to the chicken without the texture of fresh garlic. Fresh minced garlic can replace garlic powder. Use about 1 teaspoon of minced garlic per ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder for a similar taste.
- Chili pepper flakes add a hint of heat and complexity to the marinade. Red pepper flakes or paprika can provide a mild spiciness. Adjust the quantity to control the level of heat.
- Salt & Pepper.
👩🍳 Step-by-step Directions
Clean the chicken well of all excess fat or pieces and corners that you do not like how it looks. Put the chicken quarters in a bowl, and pour over them the mayo, mustard, and the rest of the spices that you decided to use.
Cover well the meat with the marinade that we just made. Then, cover the plate with plastic food wrap and let the meat marinate for at least 1 hour. Also, you can put the chicken quarters in well-closed Ziploc bags to marinade.
After the meat is marinated, preheat the air fryer to 380°F (190°C) for about 5 minutes and put the chicken quarters in the air fryer basket.
Quick Note: If you see that the chicken hindquarters are too crowded in the air fryer basket, for the best results, consider cooking them in separate batches. This will allow them to cook evenly on all sides.
Cook the chicken quarters for about 35-40 minutes at 380°F (190°C)
Quick Note: Keep in mind that the cooking time may differ from the size of the chicken leg quarters and from how your air fryer works because the heating methods, may differ from one air fryer manufacturer to another. For this recipe, I used Cosori Air Fryer 5.8 QT. Also, take into account that if your fryer is smaller, the meat will cook faster.
I didn’t flip the chicken’s quarters. All I did, after 20 minutes, I cover them with aluminum foil to stop burning the skin from the top and to let the meat from the bottom cook slowly.
If you don’t have aluminum foil at hand, you may consider just flipping the chicken quarters on another side after 20 minutes.
To make sure that the meat is enough cooked, we need to get a nice golden skin and if you have a meat thermometer, then check if the internal temperature of the meat is at least 165°F (75°C).
Quick note: If you don’t have a meat thermometer and you can’t verify the internal temperature of the meat, choose the part of the meat that is the thickest, and with a knife, make a cut to see the inside of the meat if there is some blood left. If you can’t see any blood, then the chicken legs are ready.
Let the chicken rest for about 10 minutes before consuming it. By letting it rest, the meat will fully absorb the moisture and as a result, it will become more tender.
🍽️ Serving Suggestions
- Roasted Vegetables: Serve the chicken quarters with a side of roasted vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, or bell peppers. The combination of crispy chicken and tender roasted veggies is delightful.
- Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes make an excellent accompaniment. The contrast between the crispy chicken skin and the fluffy potatoes is a classic favorite.
- Coleslaw: Fresh coleslaw with a tangy dressing complements the richness of the chicken. It adds a refreshing and crunchy element to the meal.
- Garlic Bread: A warm and crusty garlic bread is perfect for sopping up any remaining juices or marinade. It’s a great way to complete the meal.
- Salad: Pair the chicken quarters with a crisp garden salad. Choose your favorite greens, add some cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and a vinaigrette dressing for a light and healthy side.
- Rice or Quinoa: Serve the chicken over a bed of cooked rice or quinoa. The grains will soak up the delicious juices from the chicken, enhancing the flavor.
- Grilled Corn on the Cob: If it’s in season, grilled corn on the cob is a fantastic side dish. Brush it with butter and sprinkle some herbs for added flavor.
- Pasta Salad: A cold pasta salad with colorful veggies and a zesty dressing pairs wonderfully with the warm chicken quarters. It’s a great option for picnics or outdoor gatherings.
- Crispy Fries: If you’re looking for a comfort food pairing, crispy fries or sweet potato fries make for a tasty side dish.
- Refrigeration: If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Make sure the chicken is properly cooled before refrigerating. It can typically be stored for up to 2 days.
- Freezing: While you can freeze cooked chicken, it’s important to note that the texture of the skin may change, becoming less crispy when thawed. However, the meat can still be flavorful and tender. To freeze, place the chicken in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag. It can be frozen for up to 2-3 months.
- Microwave: For a quick reheating option, place the chicken leg quarters in a microwave-safe dish, cover it with a microwave-safe lid or microwave-safe paper towel, and heat on medium-high in 1-2 minute intervals until heated through. This method is fast but may result in slightly less crispy skin.
- Air Fryer: To maintain the crispiness of the skin, the best way to reheat is in your air fryer. Preheat the air fryer to 350°F (175°C), then place the chicken quarters in the basket. Heat for 5-7 minutes, or until the chicken is warmed through and the skin has crisped up again.
- Oven: To reheat in the oven, preheat it to 350°F (175°C). Place the chicken on a baking sheet and cover it with aluminum foil to prevent further browning of the skin. Heat for about 15-20 minutes or until it’s heated through.
- Stovetop: For a more controlled reheating, you can use a skillet or frying pan. Heat a bit of oil in the pan over medium heat, then add the chicken quarters. Cover with a lid and heat for 5-7 minutes, flipping occasionally until heated through.
- Spicy BBQ Chicken Leg Quarters: Add a spicy kick by brushing the chicken leg quarters with your favorite BBQ sauce mixed with some cayenne pepper or hot sauce before air frying. This will give your chicken a smoky and fiery flavor.
- Honey Mustard Glaze: Create a sweet and tangy glaze by mixing honey and Dijon mustard. Brush this mixture onto the chicken during the last few minutes of cooking for a flavorful and glossy finish.
- Lemon Herb Chicken: Marinate the chicken quarters in a mixture of lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic, and your choice of fresh herbs (such as rosemary, thyme, or oregano) for a refreshing and aromatic twist.
- Teriyaki Chicken Leg Quarters: Prepare a teriyaki marinade using soy sauce, brown sugar, minced ginger, and garlic. Let the chicken marinate in this sauce for a few hours before air frying for a savory and slightly sweet dish.
- Parmesan-Crusted Chicken: Coat the chicken quarters in a mixture of grated Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs before air frying. This will give your chicken a crispy, cheesy exterior.
- Buffalo-Style Chicken: Toss the cooked chicken leg quarters in Buffalo sauce for a spicy and tangy flavor. Serve with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing for a classic Buffalo chicken experience.
- Herb-Butter Chicken: After air frying, brush the chicken with a mixture of melted butter and finely chopped fresh herbs like parsley, chives, and tarragon. This adds a rich and aromatic finish to the dish.
- Soy Ginger Glaze: Create a glaze using soy sauce, ginger, brown sugar, and a dash of sesame oil. Brush it onto the chicken during the last few minutes of cooking for an Asian-inspired flavor.
- Mediterranean-Inspired: Marinate the chicken quarters in a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and Mediterranean spices like oregano, thyme, and paprika. Serve with a side of tzatziki sauce and pita bread.
- Cajun Spice: Season the chicken with a Cajun spice blend for a zesty and spicy kick. Pair it with a cool and creamy coleslaw to balance the heat.
🤔 Answering Your Questions:
Can I Use Boneless Chicken Thighs Instead of Leg Quarters?
Yes, boneless chicken thighs can be used as a substitute for chicken leg quarters in this recipe. However, the cooking time may need to be adjusted, as boneless thighs tend to cook faster than bone-in leg quarters. Monitor the internal temperature to ensure they reach 165°F (74°C) for doneness.
How Do I Know When the Chicken Leg Quarters Are Cooked Through?
The internal temperature of the chicken should reach 165°F (74°C) when measured with a meat thermometer. Additionally, the chicken should be golden brown and crispy on the outside.
What Is the Purpose of Marinating the Chicken?
Marinating the chicken serves two main purposes: it adds flavor and helps tenderize the meat. The marinade, which includes ingredients like mayonnaise, mustard, and spices, infuses the chicken with a delicious taste. Additionally, the acid in the marinade helps break down muscle fibers, resulting in a juicier and more tender chicken.
How Can I Customize the Marinade to Suit My Taste?
The marinade for the chicken leg quarters can be customized to your liking. You can adjust the amount of garlic, chili flakes, salt, and black pepper to match your preferred level of spiciness and seasoning. Feel free to experiment and make it your own!
What Can I Do if I Don’t Have a Meat Thermometer to Check the Internal Temperature?
If you don’t have a meat thermometer, you can visually check the chicken’s doneness. Cut into the thickest part of the meat, and if there is no visible pink or blood, and the juices run clear, the chicken is ready to be served.
📋 Recipe Card:
Air Fryer Chicken Leg Quarters
- Clean and remove the fat and corners or unwanted pieces from the meat.2 pieces Chicken Leg Quarters
- Take a large bowl and put in it the chicken quarters. Pour over the meat, the mayo, mustard and spices that you decided to use for the marinade.2 pieces Chicken Leg Quarters, 2 tablespoons Mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon Mustard, ¼ teaspoon Garlic Powder, ⅛ teaspoon Chili Pepper Flakes, ½ teaspoon Salt, ⅓ teaspoons Black Pepper
- Cover well the chicken quarters with marinade on all sides. Cover the bowl with food plastic wrap and leave the meat to marinate for at least one hour.
- Preheat the Air Fryer at 380°F (190°C), put the chicken quarters in the air fryer basket and cook them for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, flip the meat on other side or cover it with aluminum foil and cook the meat for another 20 minutes.
- Check the internal temperature of the meat to be at least 165°F (75°C)
- After the meat is cooked, wait 10 minutes and you can serve it on the plates.
I highly recommend reading the entire recipe to find more tips and notes about this recipe. Read Full Recipe ⇑
- You can marinate the meat also in Ziploc bags.
- If you have the possibility, leave the meat to marinate for a longer period. You will get even softer and juicier meat.
- Instead of flipping the meat on the other side after 20 minutes, you can put on top of the meat an aluminum foil to stop burning the chicken skin.
- If you don’t have a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat, you can use a knife to cut the meat in the thickest part and to check if it still has blood. If not – the chicken legs are ready to be served.