air fryer chicken wings

A Beginner’s Guide to Air Fryer Chicken Wings


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Introduction to Air Frying

An air fryer is a small piece of equipment that can be used to cook a variety of foods safer and without the large amount of oil required for traditional fryers. In most home kitchens, you’ll find standard or convection ovens. 

In a standard, non-convection oven air is heated to the desired temperature and subsequently cooks the food inside. In a convection oven Air is heated in the same manner, but is then circulated around the oven (and food) by a fan. This generates more heat energy, which allows meals to cook faster and more evenly.

Air fryers utilize the same cooking process as convection ovens, but the air is moved more rapidly around a much smaller area. Also with most air fryers food is placed in a perforated basket allowing the hot air to circulate 360 degrees around the food, ensuring the food is cooked quickly and evenly.  The result is food that has a crispy golden surface and while retaining its natural moisture, similar to deep-frying but with up to 75% less oil and fat. In fact air-frying typically requires little more than a small spoonful of oil!

While an air fryer can certainly handle things that would normally be deep-fried, it can also take the place of traditional ovens and microwaves in certain cooking applications. They are able to reheat things without turning them rubbery, and are also a great for preparing individual foods and entire meals very quickly. 

It is, in Kookist’s opinion, one of the best, most versatile kitchen appliances launched in recent years.

Why Chicken Wings?

It’s been said that Air Fryers were made for Chicken Wings, and there are countless people willing to testify to this statement. But the question is why? 

The answer lies in the chicken itself along with the unique texture and taste of the finished fried wings.

The natural fat found in chicken wings is sufficient with which to cook.  In fact, contrary to many other air fried dishes, no additional oil is necessary. Simply season your wings to your preference, ensure they are dry and get to air frying!

The fatty skin of chicken wings provides enough oil to produce a crispy-fried exterior while the natural tenderness of the meat maintains its moisture during cooking. In fact, the natural fat in the chicken appears to (almost!) guarantee delicious results every time. Using an air fryer on your next batch of wings may even elevate your chicken wings to new heights. 

The following are the benefits of using air fryers for your chicken wings:

  • Greatly reduced overall calorie consumption when compared to deep-frying.
  • Air fried food is typically very fast to prepare. 
  • Most Air Fryers are made of dishwasher safe materials and easily clean up.
  • Air-Frying doesn’t leave your house with that lingering heavy oil odor

How To Fry Chicken Wings


With the Air Fryer, chicken wings are now very easy to prepare, in fact the Air frying method allows for a tasty snack or weekday meal with very little fuss. 

Season your wings with yellow mustard for added flavor, and them even more. 

The process of frying chicken wings include:

  • Gather your ingredients: Get all of the ingredients ready for seasoning the chicken wings. 
  • Rinse your wings: Before seasoning the chicken wings, rinse them under cool running water and pat dry.
  • Toss chicken wings seasoning: Toss chicken wings and your preferred seasonings in a large mixing bowl dish. 
  • (optional, as time allows) Air dry chicken wings: Refrigerate seasoned wings on a baking sheet, uncovered, overnight. This aids in the reduction of moisture levels and improves the crispy exterior.
  • PRO TIP – make them extra crispy by dusting them in baking powder before chilling to further reduce any moisture
  • Set your air fryer to 380 or 400 degrees: Choose a higher temperature if you’re using entire wings, which contain the drumette, flat, and tip.
  • PRO TIP – Before putting the wings in the air fryer, make sure to remove or shake off any excess seasonings.
  • Cook wings for 25 to 30 minutes: For smaller pieces, cook for 25 minutes at 380°F. Cook full wings for around 30 minutes at a higher temperature. Make sure the wings are arranged in a single layer. This enables good air circulation and uniform cooking. To ensure that the wings cook evenly and crisp on both sides, flip them halfway through cooking.
  • Check for doneness: Wings are done when the inner temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit and the outside is golden brown.
  • Sauce Toss – If you are using a sauce, glaze, or other wet finish like BBQ or Buffalo Hot Sauce, etc – this is your opportunity to gently toss the finished wings in your favorite sauce with the help of a large mixing bowl.  Consider adding a tablespoon of melted butter to your sauce to improve its adhesion to the wing. 
  • PRO TIP – don’t oversauce. – this can make for a very messy wing and wasted sauce.  Start sparingly and add sauce as needed to your bowl during the toss stage. 

Ingredients and Tools needed for frying Chicken Wings 

Learn how to make air-fried chicken wings! This simple air fryer chicken wings recipe includes tips for getting extra crispy skin, flavor suggestions, and even instructions for air frying chicken wings. This air fryer chicken wings recipe is a way to cook wings to perfect crispness! With just a couple of simple recipes and a few minutes of preparation, your chicken wings are sure to be a hit.

Ingredients include:

  • Chicken Wings 
  • Baking Powder
  • Sea Salt & Black Pepper
  • Your Favorite Seasoning (some popular recommendations below): 
    • Simple Spices
    • Lemon Pepper
    • Buffalo
    • Ranch
    • Cajun
    • Garlic Parmesan

Kitchen tools include:

  • Medium and Large Bowls for rinsing, seasoning, and tossing wings
  • Sheet Pan
  • Stainless steel measuring cups
  • Mixing bowls
  • Tongs for removing hot wings from Air Fryer

Seasoning Recipes

If you’re just starting out – we recommend the following seasoning and sauce ideas. Then as your confidence (and palette!) grows, you can expand your Chicken wing flavors! – the options are limitless!

  • BBQ Sauce
  • Lemon Pepper

Tips for making Perfect Air Fryer Chicken Wings

  • Use Baking Powder: This is a secret discovered years ago and it’s been a go-to method for crispy skin ever since. The level of the chicken wings is elevated by this Magic Ingredient, which makes them SUPER crispy. PRO TIP – Make sure the baking powder you’re using isn’t made with aluminum.
  • Pat the chicken dry: Make sure that the wings are thoroughly dry. This will aid in the adhesion of your baking powder and seasonings to the skin, resulting in a highly crispy, flavorful texture.
  • No oil is required: This is the best part of air frying chicken wings. You read that right, there’s no need for added oil!
  • Air-frying Temperature: The wings should be first air-fried on medium heat to safely cook the meat, then raise the heat in order to crisp up the skin. As a result, the finished wings are juicy and tender on the inside and crispy on the outside.
  • Don’t overlap the wings: Spread them out so in the basket or pan so they don’t touch. Allowing adequate space between the wings will help them to cook evenly and crisply all over. You may get the greatest results in just one round if you use a big air fryer or if your fryer is more compact, you may need to fry your wings in batches
  • PRO TIP – keep finished wings warm on a sheet pan in a hot oven while working in batches. 

Top Chicken Wings Sauces:

  • Franks RedHot Original Buffalo Wings Sauce: A well-known sauce for those events that call for the classic flavor and heat of traditional Buffalo style wing sauce. Keep your blue cheese (or Ranch!) on hand and remember – this stuff goes great on everything – pizza, burritos, even eggs.
  • Capital City Mambo Sauce – Sweet Hot & Mild Mambo Combo: This two pack promises to light up your taste buds. While the Mild Mambo provides a sweet, tangy touch to many dishes, its Sweet Hot brethren takes it up a notch with habanero and cayenne peppers. Well known in the DC and Mid-Atlantic regions, these versatile sauces are just the thing to finish your wings.
  • Hot Ones Last Dab XXX: Not for the faint of heart, this sauce will set your mouth on fire. Combining the flavors of: ginger, mustard, cumin, and turmeric with several different Pepper X (purportedly one of the species peppers on the planet) varieties mixed in will put your mouth on a roller coaster. Yes you get the heat, but you also get a ton of flavor with this unique sauce. Proceed with caution!

Equipment For Air Frying Chicken 

Annually, sales of chicken keep exceeding that of beef with no end in sight. Chicken wings in particular have been under the microscope recently in the US as shortages and price spikes plague the supply chain. 

In fact, while you may face some sticker shock at the grocery store, any price increase can be somewhat mitigated by cooking wings at home and saving yourself some money.

Here is a helpful list of other equipment you may find helpful for frying chicken wings at home:

  • Air Fryer:

Obviously the number one requirement for air frying chicken wings is the Air Fryer itself! 

To discover some of the best Air Fryers on the market today and determine which one may best fit your needs – Check out our updated review of Top Large Capacity Air Fryers here

Knowing that not every kitchen is the same we did a special feature focused on air fryers more suitable for small kitchens and apartments.

  • Sheet Pan: 

Sheet pans are popular for roasting vegetables and keeping finished chicken wings hot, and they’re a brilliant way to make large enough dishes that will last for a few days. 

Metal pans conduct heat well, and because a sheet pan has a shallow lip, hot air contacts more surfaces of the dishes being cooked than, for example, a deep glass baking dish. A sheet pan’s size also allows you to spread out chicken wings so they don’t get crowded and stay crispy in the oven. 

  • Cooling Rack 

The advantages of using a cooling rack aren’t limited to baked products. It’s also necessary for crispy air-fried chicken. A wire rack raises the food off of a solid surface, allowing air to circulate and preventing the bottoms of your chicken from becoming soggy due to residual steam absorption. You also don’t want your air fried chicken to sit in its own oil, so the cooling rack lets the extra fat drain away.

Using an cooling rack for cooking in the oven allows hot air to flow in the same manner that cold air does, resulting in crispy foods on all sides. Also because your food is elevated off the pan, it will cook faster, more evenly, and with superior browning all around. Should you choose to bake, rather than air fry, your chicken wings – a sturdy cooling rack becomes a necessary component in your chicken wing tool kit. 

  • Food Warmers: 

Food Warmers or Buffet Servers are kitchen appliances that keep food warm for long periods and assist in keeping it fresh.  This is particularly important when entertaining or hosting a party. Some warmers are built for display and consumer sales, while others are exclusive designed for home kitchen use. They keep the food at a safe holding temperature, preserving flavors, and ensuring pathogens don’t spoil the party.

For chicken wings, warmers can certainly help keep things hot and fresh, but as we’ve mentioned numerous times, its important to exercise caution in order to prevent the wings from getting soggy due to moisture and steam build up. 

Here are a few tips to ensure your wings stay hot and crisp for your entire event:

  • Keep the wings out of any liquid and elevated in the warmer 
  • Do not Over-Sauce Wings that are headed for the Warmer
    • PRO TIP – Keep ‘naked’ wings hot and then allow your guests to apply their own sauce
  • Ensure your wings are on the crispy side 
  • Measuring Cups & Spoons:

Stainless steel measuring cups and spoons are critical components of any modern kitchen. For chicken wings, these are important when preparing things like: seasoning blends, sauces, and adding baking soda prior to drying and cooking.  

We’d highly encourage purchasing in a good quality set and not cutting corners. Investing in measuring tools that will not rust, deteriorate, and clean up easily is very important.

Steer clear of spoons and cups made from plastic or include anything but stainless steel – even on the handles. Rubberized grips, ‘copper-like’ coatings, and other features tend to degrade with time and could contaminate your food or require replacing far too soon into their life cycle.

  • Small Suacepan: 

A saucepan is one of the most crucial pieces of cookware to have in your kitchen. They feature  a deep pan with high sides, a long handle, and a lid. The right saucepan can make the difference between even, low maintenance cooking and having to watch your dishes like a hawk for hot spots and scalding.

When it comes to chicken wings, a saucepan’s primary function will be to assist in the preparation of sauces.  In fact, with the proper saucepan, you can even skip the mixing bowl and combine your ingredients and cook your sauce without skipping a beat. Adding properly melted butter just before tossing your wings has never been easier!

You may like: 2022 Top Personal Air Fryers for Small Space Kitchens, Air Fryer with Rotisserie and Racks

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