Air fried Chicken Legs with Cilantro Pesto–made with minimal fuss in your air fryer. It’s pesto like you’ve never had, and you’re going to love it. It’s kinda pesto and kinda chimichurri–but no matter what you call it, it’s delicious.
Air Fried Chicken Legs with Cilantro Pesto
Pesto is normally made from basil, or a similar herb, but I’m not normal. We use a lot of cilantro around my house, and I decided to make these Cilantro Pesto Chicken Legs and I’m glad I did! They’re rich in flavor and came out nice and crispy from the Air Fryer.
You will need to touch raw chicken for this recipe, so mentally prepare yourself to give those chicken legs a nice massage. This recipe also includes jalapeno, so it does have a nice spice to it. It’s not overbearing, and the jalapeno peppers really give it a nice flavor and pair well with the cilantro.
One thing to note that the air fryer really works best on fattier meats than leaner meats, and better with chicken with skin than without. I don’t love chicken skin, but honestly, the air fryer makes it so super crispy that you might find yourself enjoying it, as I did.
CHECK OUT MY OTHER AIR FRYER CHICKEN RECIPES FOR MORE IDEAS!
EQUIPMENT YOU MAY NEED TO MAKE THESE AIR FRIED CHICKEN LEGS WITH CILANTRO PESTO:
- Gowise Air Fryer or Philips Avance XL or Breville Smart Oven Air
- Meat Thermometer. Essential for Air Fryer cooking!
- AIr Fryer accessory set or 7-inch pan
- Tongs to move stuff around. I use either these big silicone tongs or this set of Smaller Tongs which are easier on my hands
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- My favorite cutting board
- Good set of knives
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- 4 chicken drumsticks
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- 1/2 jalapeno pepper
- 8 cloves garlic
- 2 thin slices ginger
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
Place drumsticks in a flat tray. Using the tip of a sharp knife, score small slashes into the chicken at regular intervals so that the marinade can penetrate the chicken.
Finely chop the cilantro, pepper, garlic and ginger and place in a small bowl.
Add salt, oil and lemon juice to the chopped vegetables and mix well.
Spread this mixture over the chicken. Overcome any inhibitions you may have about touching raw chicken and lovingly massage the marinade into the chicken.
Let the chicken marinate for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
When you are ready to cook, place the chicken legs into the air fryer basket, skin side up.
Set your airfryer to 390F for 20 minutes for meaty chicken legs. Halfway through, flip the chicken legs over.
Use a meat thermometer to ensure that the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 1650F. Remove and serve with plenty of napkins.
Variations to the marinade:
- Add 1 teaspoon ground cumin and 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- Add 1 teaspoon garam masala
- Add 1 teaspoon sumac or zataar
- Add parsley and oregano or substitute parsley for some or all of the cilantro
- Substitute red wine vinegar for the lemon juice