Corn tortillas, a 4 ingredient Mexican spice blend, chicken leg quarters, and an air fryer are all you need to make these Mexican Air Fryer Chicken Leg quarters. Served with this avocado crema, it's a healthy, family-pleasing new way to enjoy chicken.
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - Recipe Inspiration
While I'm always looking to create new healthy recipes for my readers, January seems to be a time when EVERYONE is looking for healthy recipe ideas. Air fryer cooking is relatively new to me, but I've used it for dishes like turkey tenderloins, plantains, sweet potatoes, and the not-so-healthy pork belly. It's a great way to cook without adding additional fat and calories.
With food prices ticking upwards, I decided it was time to tackle air fryer chicken leg quarters. They're so inexpensive relative to boneless chicken breasts and thighs, and they're so flavorful. I decided to keep the recipe really simple. Stale corn tortillas and my Mexican mole spice blend make a flavorful rub, and the air fryer does the rest. While the air fryer cooks the chicken, you can make a dipping sauce and any sides.
📋 Air Fryer Chicken Legs Ingredients
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
- chicken legs - Whole chicken leg quarters are very economical, and often on sale at many markets, making them a great choice for family meals. On photo day, I put them in the air fryer with the skin on. It was a bit of a splurge as I typically remove the skin. I must admit to really enjoying the skin. You can do it with or without the skin. You may prefer to use boneless thighs
- olive oil
- mole spice blend - This mole spice blend includes cocoa powder, ground cumin, red chile powder, and cinnamon. I keep a jar in my well-stocked pantry to add a hint of mole flavor to dishes like smoked pork tacos, roasted chicken, and pork tenderloin tacos.
- corn tortillas - Coarsely processed corn tortillas make a great stand-in for panko or regular bread crumbs. The little bits provide a satisfying texture to the air fryer turkey legs.
- Prepare the air fryer - Preheat your air fryer to 400° for about 5-7 minutes.
- Add ingredients to food processor bowl - Add torn corn tortillas and mole spice blend to the bowl of a food processor. NOTE: This is a great way to use stale corn tortillas.
- Process the breading - Pulse several times until the corn tortillas are incorporated with the spice blend, and the crumbs are coarse rather than fine.
- Cook the chicken leg quarters - Place the leg quarters skin side up (or meaty side up) in the air fryer. Cook 12-13 minutes before flipping. At 20 minutes, check internal temperature. If it is not 165°, check again in 5 minutes. Dark meat chicken is forgiving. The skin should be brown, and juices should be clear.
- Make sides and/or sauces - While the chicken is in the air fryer, I make this lovely avocado lime crema. On photo day, I served the air fry chicken legs with a Mexican-inspired chayote squash with black beans. I'm still working on the recipe, but I will post it when it's worthy!
Is it better to reheat air fryer chicken in the microwave or the air fryer?
Both methods will work, but we prefer the results of reheating the chicken leg quarters in the air fryer. Microwaving it can result in dry, rubbery chicken. See Tips below for recommendations.
Can I make this chicken if I don't have an air fryer?
Yes. You can oven roast it at 400°, and it takes between 35 and 40 minutes to reach an internal temperature of 165°.
How long can I keep air fryer chicken legs?
My rule of thumb is 5 days in the refrigerator, and up to 3 months in a freezer zip bag in the freezer.
To reheat your leftover chicken in the air fryer, bring your chicken to room temperature (this reduces the time required to reheat it). Preheat air fryer to 400° for 5 minutes, then place the chicken in the air fryer. Turn once. The leg quarters will probably require 6 to 8 minutes - depending on size and starting temperature.
Variations? If this Mexican mole spice blend isn't your "thing," you can use the same method with different spices and crumbs. Panko is my "go to" for breading. Try something simple like garlic, paprika, thyme, lemon zest, salt and pepper.
Are you a New Year's "resolutionary" looking to make better food choices? Hopefully those better choices will make a lasting impact! Best wishes for success!
Mexican Air Fryer Chicken
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil
- 2 chicken leg quarters
- 2 corn tortillas
- ¼ cup mole spice blend
- 1 teaspoon salt - kosher or sea salt
- fresh ground pepper
- Preheat your air fryer to 400° for about 5-7 minutes.
- Add torn corn tortillas, mole spice blend, salt, and several grinds of pepper to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse several times until the corn tortillas are incorporated with the spice blend, and the crumbs are coarse rather than fine.
- Rub the leg quarters all over with the oil. Press into the crumbs and spice blend mixture to coat the chicken.
- Place the leg quarters skin side up (or meaty side up) in the air fryer. Cook 12-13 minutes before flipping. At 20 minutes, check internal temperature. If it is not 165°, check again in 5 minutes.
- Remove from the air fryer, and serve with chosen dipping sauces and sides.
NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.