The air fryer is my favorite way to reheat Chicken Legs! Ready in 10 minutes, the skins crisps back up perfectly leaving the meat super juicy and moist. This method covers anything from chicken quarters and drumsticks to cold fried chicken from your favorite finger-licking good fast-food restaurant. Once you Reheat Chicken Legs in an Air Fryer, you won’t go back to any other method!
❤️ Why this is the best way to reheat chicken legs
- Crispy skin: This is the best method because as the hot air circulates around the air fryer, the chicken skin crisps back up beautifully. Sometimes, it’s even crispier than the first time!
- Not dry: Air frying leftover chicken crisps up the skin but keeps the inside dark meat so moist and juicy. You don’t really need to worry about dry chicken with this method.
- Cooks well: I find that with other methods like the oven, microwave, or frying pan, either the skin won’t get crispy or the insides take forever to heat back up. The air fryer is a great way to reheat chicken because it basically blasts the chicken with hot air in a small space, making it cook perfectly. The heating element also adds direct heat to what is closest to it, i.e. the chicken skin which is why it gets particularly crispy.
- Quick: I reheated 3 chicken legs in just 12 minutes. 2 minutes for the air fryer to heat up, and 10 minutes for the cooking time.
- Easy: All I had to do was preheat the air fryer and then add the chicken leftovers. They already had seasoning so I didn’t really need to “cook”!
- Economical: Air fryers are much cheaper to run compared to conventional ovens. They cook food quicker and don’t take as long to heat because they are much smaller.
- No oil: You could reheat the chicken quarters in a deep fryer. It would get nice and crispy on the outside and juicy inside, however, deep frying anything is pretty unhealthy because of the amount of oil used. You don’t even need a cooking spray or olive oil for this method!
- Less mess: I just popped my air fryer basket into the dishwasher afterward and it was sparkling after a quick wash! I do clean it by hand sometimes as well, and it’s so easy. Nothing ever really sticks to it!
🥣 How do you reheat chicken legs in an air fryer?
It’s really simple, even easier than cooking them the first time!
1. Take the chicken legs out of the fridge: Allowing the cold chicken legs to warm up a little at room temperature makes them quicker to reheat. You can skip this step, however (if you forget to take them out), and reheat them straight from the fridge.
2. Preheat your air fryer: Preheat the air fryer to 200°C/400°F, and set the timer to around 20 minutes. You most likely won’t use up all of this time, but it leaves some buffer room for preheating and checking the chicken.
3. Heat the chicken: Add the chicken pieces to the air fryer basket in a single layer and heat them for 10 minutes. Cook time can take a little longer or even a shorter time depending on the size and thickness of the chicken legs. If my chicken is almost hot enough at the 10-minute mark but not quite there, I keep reheating it in 30-second intervals until it reaches the right temperature.
4. Check the temperature: After 10 minutes, check the internal temperature of the chicken with a meat thermometer. The best way to do this is by sticking the thermometer into the thickest chicken part. If it reads at least 71 degrees Celcius/160 degrees Fahrenheit, it is good to go! If you don’t have a meat thermometer, just check that the inside of the thickest part of the chicken feels nice and hot.
5. Rest: Rest the chicken for 5 minutes. It will continue cooking inside a little and then let the cooked chicken cool for a few minutes so that it’s easier to eat. Resting the chicken also keeps it nice and juicy!
🪄 Recipe Notes & Tips
- Air Fryer model: Different air fryer models will take different times to heat up and cook the chicken. Always check that the reheated chicken is thoroughly heated before consuming it. For reference, I use a 4.3l Tower Air Fryer.
- Take it out of the fridge early: Take the leftover chicken legs out of the fridge 30 minutes-1 hour before reheating them so that they’ll reheat even quicker!
- Chicken size: Larger pieces of chicken will take longer to cook than smaller pieces, which will take less time. Start with 10 minutes and then if the meat isn’t hot enough yet, add 30 seconds-1 minute and see how it’s doing. Continue to heat it in small bursts at this point because you don’t want to overcook the chicken.
- Don’t over-crowd: Try not to over-crowd the air fryer, because the air needs to be able to circulate properly for it to heat the food well. A little overlapping is okay. Cook the chicken in a couple of batches if you need to.
- Rest: It’s a great idea to allow the chicken legs to rest after reheating them. This makes them even juicier!
❓ What kinds of chicken legs does this method work with?
I’ve tried it with a few different kinds of chicken legs. Here are the ones I’ve reheated in an air fryer (so far):
- Air Fryer Chicken Leg Quarters
- Air Fryer Chicken Drumsticks
- Leftover chicken thighs
- Leftover fried chicken (from KFC or similar)
- Chicken legs from a leftover rotisserie chicken
🤔 How many times can you reheat chicken?
As with any food, you can reheat chicken many times (yes, more than twice!). As long as it reaches the right temperature, it is safe to consume. Keep in mind though, the Food Standards Agency (FSA) recommends only reheating food once, so try to stick to that when possible. Another thing to consider is that reheating chicken multiple times can make the meat dry and tough, and what was once a great piece of food is not so enjoyable to eat anymore.
🍗 What’s a good chicken legs recipe?
My tried and true Air Fryer Chicken Legs recipe is such an easy recipe and so delicious. The dry rub contains smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, salt, and ground black pepper. There’s no added oil and the flavor is just incredible! Serve them with your favorite dipping sauce (I like this BBQ sauce) and some sweet potato fries or french fries. It’s such an easy chicken dinner idea! Any leftovers keep well in an airtight container, and then all you have to do is follow the instructions in the recipe card on this page to heat the chicken quarters back up.
😋 More air fryer recipes you will love
- Air Fryer Carrots
- Air Fryer Rice Paper Dumplings
- How to Cook Turkey Bacon in the Air Fryer
- Air Fryer Steak Bites
- Air Fryer Candied Walnuts
- How to Cook Sausage in an Air Fryer
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- 4-6 leftover chicken legs (with dry rub or crispy fried)
- Parsley to garnish (optional)
- Take the chicken legs out of the fridge: You can skip this step, however (if you forget to take them out), and reheat them straight from the fridge but it may take a little longer.
- Preheat your air fryer: Preheat the air fryer to 200°C/400°F, and set the timer to 20 minutes.
- Heat the chicken: Add the chicken pieces to the air fryer basket in a single layer and heat them for 10 minutes.
- Check the temperature: After 10 minutes, check the internal temperature of the chicken with a meat thermometer. The best way to do this is by sticking the thermometer into the thickest chicken part. If it reads at least 71 degrees Celcius/160 degrees Fahrenheit, it is good to go! If you don't have a meat thermometer, just check that the inside of the thickest part of the chicken feels nice and hot.
- If the chicken isn't hot enough: If my chicken is almost hot enough at the 10-minute mark but not quite there, I keep reheating it in 30-second intervals until it reaches the right temperature.
- Rest: Rest the chicken for 5 minutes. It will continue cooking inside a little and then let the cooked chicken cool for a few minutes so that it's easier to eat. Resting the chicken also keeps it nice and juicy!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 475Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 328mgSodium: 253mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 62g
Nutrition information and calculations will vary with the use of different brands or ingredients. These figures are estimates. Please get in touch if you have questions!