Perfect Air Fryer BBQ Chicken

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This air fryer BBQ chicken is tender, juicy and and QUICK!! With only 4 ingredients and less than 30 minutes of air frying time, this delicious chicken makes the perfect weeknight meal!

4 Air Fryer BBQ chicken legs on a plate with cilantro

Before we purchased our amazing 12 in 1 Cosori Air Fryer, BBQ chicken was reserved for summertime only! But since then, I have perfected everything from roasted potatoes in the air fryer to this amazing BBQ chicken! And it’s sooooo fast! You can whip this up on a weeknight in less than 30 minutes!

This air fryer chicken is crispy on the outside thanks to the SECRET INGREDIENT–baking powder! Finished off with your favorite BBQ sauce and this chicken is juicy deliciousness!

Four air fryer chicken legs with BBQ sauce, garnished with cilantro

What do you need to make BBQ chicken in the air fryer?

Not much at ALL! The ingredients are simple–just chicken, your favorite BBQ spice rub and your favorite BBQ sauce…that’s IT!

As far as equipment, there are two things that are essential. First off, an air fryer. OBVIOUSLY. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, I LOVE our Cosori 12 in 1 Air Fryer. It’s seriously a game changer–sooooo much quicker than the oven. If you just want a regular air fryer, I recommend getting one on the larger side (like this one), so you aren’t constantly having to cook in batches.

The second thing you really need to have is an instant-read thermometer. This is sooo necessary when cooking meats, especially when you are cooking new recipes for the first time. Sure, you can cut the meat open to check for doneness (been there, done that!), but let’s keep it classy, here!! I have this amazing thermometer and it’s

about $13. It’s been a Godsend and never fails me!! So worth $13!

How do you cook BBQ chicken in an air fryer?

It’s as simple as seasoning your chicken with a little baking powder and your favorite BBQ rub….we use McCormick’s Sweet and Smokey and Rudy’s Rub if you like spicy!!

Then you air fry and brush on your favorite sauce about halfway through cooking. Continue to air fry until internal temperature reaches 165. Done! Perfect “BBQ” chicken every time!

What type of chicken is best in the air fryer?

This recipe is for chicken legs because they are full of flavor, cook quickly, and my family loves them! However, any bone in chicken will cook up beautifully in the air fryer! You will just need to adjust the cooking time. Just remember to get the internal temp to 165 and you’re golden!

How long do you cook chicken in the air fryer?

It will vary just a bit depending on your air fryer, but I have found the sweet spot is about 25 minutes at 400 degrees. Remember to check the internal temperature and don’t take it out until it reaches 165 degrees.

Four air fryer chicken legs with BBQ sauce, garnished with cilantro

Recipe notes and tips

  • If you are not a “saucey” person, TOTALLY leave off the sauce! The baking powder + dry rub will make the chicken super crispy and AMAZING on the outside! No sauce needed!!
  • This recipe is also amazing with just a dry rub of baking powder and lemon pepper! Again, super crispy chicken and no sauce needed.
  • While the chicken in air frying, whip up some corn and a salad for a perfect, complete meal!
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I hope you love this Air Fryer BBQ Chicken! If you make it be sure to leave a comment and a rating so I know how you liked it. Enjoy, xo!

Perfect Air Fryer BBQ Chicken

Casey Rooney
This air fryer BBQ chicken is tender, juicy and and QUICK!! With only 4 ingredients and less than 30 minutes of air frying time, this delicious chicken makes the perfect weeknight meal!
4.67 from 3 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 4


  • 1.5 lbs chicken legs (drumsticks) See Note 1
  • 1 tbsp your favorite dry rub BBQ seasoning
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup prepared BBQ sauce plus more for serving!


  • Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees and coat the basket/tray with a little olive oil (See Note 2).
  • Toss chicken with dry rub and baking powder. Using your hands works well to get the chicken evenly coated.
  • Arrange chicken in the air fryer and air fry for 10 minutes.
  • At the 10 minute mark, brush chicken with BBQ sauce.
  • Return chicken to air fryer and cook for 3-4 minutes. Then, flip chicken and brush with more sauce.
  • Cook about 10 minutes more until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 when an instant read thermometer is inserted into the thickest part of the leg.
  • Brush with more sauce if you like and serve immediately!


Note 1: You can use any bone-in chicken, but adjust cooking time accordingly! Make sure internal temperature reaches 165. Boneless, skinless chicken works with this method too! It just won’t be quite as crispy without the skin. 
Note 2: Most air fryers recommend NOT spraying the air fryer tray with non-stick cooking spray (like Pam). Just a light coating of olive oil on the tray will work just fine. I like putting a little on a paper towel and just rubbing it in 🙂
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