How to Cook Chicken Wings in an Air Fryer (3 Recipes!)

by Ella

Chicken wings are a beloved classic in the world of finger foods. Whether you’re hosting a game day gathering, planning a casual dinner, or just craving a tasty snack, chicken wings always hit the spot. While traditionally deep-frying chicken wings is a common method, the emergence of air fryers has revolutionized the way we prepare this popular dish. Air frying provides a healthier alternative to traditional frying, as it requires less oil while still delivering that crispy texture and flavorful taste. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of cooking chicken wings in an air fryer, exploring various recipes, tips, and tricks along the way.

Benefits of Making Chicken Wings in Air Fryer

Air fryers have gained immense popularity in recent years for their ability to create crispy and delicious dishes with significantly less oil compared to traditional deep frying. Here are some reasons why an air fryer is an excellent choice for cooking chicken wings:


Healthier Option: Air frying uses hot air circulation to cook food, requiring only a fraction of the oil needed for deep frying. This reduces the overall calorie and fat content of your chicken wings, making them a healthier option without sacrificing flavor and texture.


Crispy Texture: Air fryers produce chicken wings with a satisfyingly crispy exterior while keeping the meat inside tender and juicy. The high-speed air circulation ensures even cooking and browning.


Time Efficiency: Air fryers are known for their quick cooking times. You can have perfectly cooked chicken wings in just a fraction of the time it would take in a conventional oven.


Minimal Odor: Unlike deep frying, which can leave your kitchen smelling like oil, air frying produces minimal odors, keeping your home fresh and clean.

See Also: 10 Minute Air Fryer Frozen Shrimp – No Thaw!

Selecting the Right Chicken Wings

Choosing the right chicken wings is a crucial step in creating a delicious dish. Here are some tips for selecting the best wings:

Freshness: Always opt for fresh chicken wings. Look for plump, moist, and evenly colored wings without any off-putting odors. Avoid wings that appear slimy or have a strong, unpleasant smell.

Wing Type: There are typically two types of chicken wings available: flats and drumettes. Flats have two bones, while drumettes have a single bone. Select the type you prefer or use a combination for variety.

Skin-on or Skinless: Chicken wings with the skin on will become crispier in the air fryer. However, if you prefer a lighter option, you can choose skinless wings.

Organic or Free-Range: If possible, choose organic or free-range chicken wings for better flavor and animal welfare.

Once you’ve chosen your chicken wings, it’s time to prepare and marinate them for cooking.

Preparation and Marination

Proper preparation and marination are essential for infusing your chicken wings with flavor. Follow these steps:

Thawing: If your wings are frozen, ensure they are completely thawed before cooking. You can do this by placing them in the refrigerator overnight or using the defrost function on your microwave.

Dry Pat: Pat the wings dry with paper towels. Removing excess moisture helps achieve that crispy texture.

Seasoning: Season the wings generously with salt and pepper. For added flavor, consider adding herbs, spices, or a dry rub. Let the wings sit in the seasoning for at least 15 minutes to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat.

Marinade: For even more flavor, marinate the wings in your choice of sauce or marinade for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Popular options include barbecue sauce, soy sauce, garlic and herb marinades, or even a simple mixture of olive oil and lemon juice.

With your wings prepared and marinated, let’s move on to setting up your air fryer and ensuring safety.

Air Fryer Setup and Safety

Using an air fryer is generally safe, but it’s essential to follow some basic safety guidelines:

Preheat the Air Fryer: Preheating the air fryer for a few minutes before adding your chicken wings helps ensure even cooking and better texture.

Avoid Overcrowding: Do not overcrowd the air fryer basket. Arrange the wings in a single layer, ensuring they have enough space to cook evenly.

Use Proper Temperature: Follow the recommended temperature settings for chicken wings, typically around 375°F (190°C). Check your air fryer’s user manual for specific guidelines.

Monitor Cooking: Keep an eye on the wings during cooking. You may need to shake the basket or flip the wings halfway through to ensure uniform crispiness.

Use Oven Mitts: The air fryer basket and tray can get hot during cooking, so always use oven mitts or tongs when handling them.

With your air fryer set up and safety precautions in place, let’s proceed to a basic chicken wing recipe.

Basic Chicken Wing Recipe

This simple recipe will guide you through the process of cooking delicious chicken wings in an air fryer.


  • 2 pounds (approximately 1 kg) chicken wings
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional for added crispiness)


Thaw and pat dry the chicken wings.

Season the wings with salt and pepper. Optionally, you can toss them with a tablespoon of olive oil for extra crispiness.

Preheat your air fryer to 375°F (190°C).

Place the seasoned chicken wings in a single layer in the air fryer basket.

Cook for 25-30 minutes, shaking the basket or flipping the wings halfway through to ensure even cooking.

Check the wings for doneness. They should have a golden-brown, crispy exterior and reach an internal temperature of at least 165°F (74°C).

Once done, remove the wings from the air fryer and let them rest for a few minutes before serving.

This basic recipe serves as a foundation for various flavorful variations. Let’s explore some popular options next.

Flavorful Chicken Wing Variations

Variety is the spice of life, and the same applies to chicken wings. Here are three delicious variations to elevate your chicken wing game.

1. Buffalo Wings

Ingredients for Buffalo Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) hot sauce (such as Frank’s RedHot)
  • 1/3 cup (75 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust to taste)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


Follow the basic chicken wing recipe.

In a separate bowl, mix all the Buffalo sauce ingredients until well combined.

Once the wings are cooked, toss them in the Buffalo sauce until they are evenly coated.

Serve with celery sticks and blue cheese or ranch dressing.

2. Honey Mustard Wings

Ingredients for Honey Mustard Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) honey
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


Follow the basic chicken wing recipe.

In a separate bowl, whisk together all the Honey Mustard sauce ingredients.

Once the wings are cooked, toss them in the Honey Mustard sauce until they are evenly coated.

Serve with carrot and celery sticks.

3. Teriyaki Wings

Ingredients for Teriyaki Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) mirin (Japanese rice wine)
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) sake (or substitute with white wine)
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (dissolved in 2 tablespoons water)


Follow the basic chicken wing recipe.

In a saucepan, combine soy sauce, mirin, sake, sugar, garlic, and ginger. Bring to a simmer and cook until the sugar has dissolved.

Slowly add the cornstarch mixture to the sauce while stirring, and cook until the sauce thickens.

Once the wings are cooked, toss them in the Teriyaki sauce until they are evenly coated.

Garnish with sesame seeds and chopped green onions.

These variations showcase just a fraction of the possibilities for flavoring your chicken wings. Feel free to experiment with your favorite sauces, rubs, or seasonings to create unique combinations that suit your taste buds.

Serving and Presentation

The presentation of your chicken wings can elevate the dining experience. Consider these tips for serving and presenting your air-fried chicken wings:

Garnishes: Garnish your wings with fresh herbs, such as parsley or cilantro, for a burst of color and freshness.

Dipping Sauces: Offer a variety of dipping sauces on the side, such as ranch, blue cheese, honey mustard, or sriracha mayo, to accommodate different preferences.

Vegetables: Serve your wings with crisp celery and carrot sticks to balance the richness of the dish and add a refreshing crunch.

Side Dishes: Consider serving your chicken wings alongside side dishes like coleslaw, potato salad, or cornbread for a complete meal.

Plating: Use attractive serving platters or trays to showcase your wings and make them visually appealing.

By paying attention to presentation, you can turn a simple dish into a culinary masterpiece.

See Also: Shelf Life of Various Chicken Cuts in the Freezer: A Full Guide

Troubleshooting Common Issues

While air frying chicken wings is relatively straightforward, you may encounter some common issues. Here are solutions to help you troubleshoot:

Wings Not Crispy Enough: To achieve crispier wings, ensure you pat them dry before seasoning. You can also increase the cooking time slightly or use a higher temperature setting.

Wings Sticking to the Basket: To prevent sticking, lightly grease the air fryer basket with cooking spray or a small amount of oil before placing the wings.

Uneven Cooking: If your wings are not cooking evenly, avoid overcrowding the basket, and make sure to shake or flip them during cooking.

Wings Too Dry: Overcooking can result in dry wings. Always check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer and remove them once they reach 165°F (74°C).

Breading Falling Off: If you’re using a breaded coating on your wings, ensure they are thoroughly coated and pat them gently to remove excess breading.

See Also: Chicken vs Shrimp – Unveiling the Healthier Choice

Cleaning and Maintenance

Properly maintaining your air fryer is essential for its longevity and continued performance. Here are some cleaning and maintenance tips:

Regular Cleaning: Clean the air fryer basket, tray, and accessories after each use. Most parts are dishwasher safe, but check your user manual for specific instructions.

Deep Cleaning: Periodically, perform a deep clean by removing and cleaning the heating element and other removable parts, following the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Odor Removal: If your air fryer retains odors from cooking, place a small bowl of water with vinegar or lemon juice inside and run the air fryer at a low temperature for a short time to help remove odors.

Maintenance Checks: Routinely inspect your air fryer for any signs of wear or damage. If you notice issues, contact the manufacturer or a professional for repairs.


Cooking chicken wings in an air fryer is a fantastic way to enjoy this classic dish with a healthier twist. The versatility of air fryers allows you to experiment with various flavors and styles, making every batch of wings a unique culinary adventure. With the right preparation, marination, and attention to safety, you can consistently create crispy, flavorful chicken wings that will delight your family and guests.

Remember to choose quality ingredients, follow the steps outlined in this guide, and don’t be afraid to get creative with your wing recipes. Whether you’re a fan of classic Buffalo wings, tangy honey mustard wings, or savory teriyaki wings, your air fryer can help you achieve the perfect balance of crispy skin and tender meat every time.

So, fire up your air fryer, gather your favorite sauces and seasonings, and get ready to enjoy a mouthwatering feast of air-fried chicken wings. Your taste buds will thank you, and your friends and family will keep coming back for more of your delicious creations. Happy cooking!



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