Air fryer chicken wings are the perfect snack for game day, movie night, or any time you're craving some deliciously crispy and juicy wings. Made with finger-licking homemade buffalo sauce, it's a match made in heaven. The crunchiness provided by the hot air of the fryer elevates the chicken wing experience to a whole new level. You may never make wings any other way again!
If you're a fan of chicken wings, then you know that crispy skin, juicy meat, and finger-licking sauce are key to making the perfect wings. Luckily, you don't need a deep fryer to achieve that mouthwatering crunch. Enter the air fryer - a kitchen appliance that has become a beloved addition to many households. Air fryers have been hailed as the healthier alternative to deep-frying, but they're also incredibly versatile in their ability to cook up crispy foods with much less oil than traditional frying methods. In this post, I'll show you how to make the perfect air fryer chicken wings that will leave your taste buds singing.
I love how they are done in half the time than baking them in the oven. These wings are coated with homemade sticky, sweet, and spicy Buffalo sauce, where you can easily adjust the spicy kick and sweetness to your taste. If you’re a wing lover, like me, please give our Air Fryer Sweet Chili Wings, Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings, and Garlic-Parmesan Chicken Wings a try.
How to Make Chicken Wings in the Air Fryer
Please refer to the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post for a complete list of ingredients, step-by-step directions, nutrition info, and tips.
Choose the right wings: First things first, you'll want to choose the right type of chicken wings. Whether you prefer flats or drums, try to select wings that are similar in size so that they cook evenly. You'll also want to make sure they're dry before seasoning them, which will help them get crispy. Pat the wings dry using paper towels or a clean kitchen towel.
Seasoning: Next up, it's time to add some flavor to your wings. There are endless spice blends and marinades out there, but for classic buffalo wings, you can't go wrong with a simple mixture of salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Toss the wings in the seasoning until evenly coated.
Preheat your air fryer: Preheat your air fryer to 400°F (200°C) for a few minutes to ensure that it's nice and hot before adding the wings. This will help the wings cook evenly and get crispy all over. Set the temperature to 400°F and the cooking time to 22-25 minutes.
Cook the wings: Once your air fryer is hot, lightly spray the basket with cooking spray or lightly brush it with oil to prevent sticking. Place the wings in a single layer in the basket, making sure they're not too crowded. You may need to cook them in batches depending on the size of your air fryer. Cook the wings for 12 minutes, then open the basket and flip the wings over using tongs. Cook for another 10-12 minutes until crispy and golden brown.
Add the sauce: Once your wings are cooked, it's time to toss them in some delicious wing sauce. Whether you prefer mild or spicy, you can wing it your way. Please refer to the Homemade buffalo sauce printable recipe at the bottom of this post. Serve with celery sticks and your favorite dipping sauce. I’m obsessed with this easy Homemade Blue Cheese dip.
Chicken Wings Variations
The essential equipment for this delicious recipe is an air fryer. I use and love our Ninja Foodi 6-in1, and Cuisinart Air Fryer. I guarantee that you won't look back once you try the air fryer method. However, if you don’t currently own an air fryer, you can still enjoy this easy chicken wings recipe with variations:
Oven - Use a regular oven with a broiler function. Broil the wings for 35-40 minutes, with occasional flipping in between.
Instant Pot - You can place a wire rack at the bottom of the instant pot and cook for 7 minutes in high-pressure mode. The wings will come out fantastic with a fall-off-the-bone texture. I love this Instant Pot Crispy Wings recipe.
These saucy sweet and spicy wings are great on their own. Serve them with celery and dip them in our homemade blue cheese dressing.
A light and crisp coleslaw is always a great side for chicken wings. I feel that celery, blue cheese, or coleslaw complement and contrast the heat in the same bite.
My son loves wings dipped in our homemade chipotle sauce or BBQ sauce. As for the appetizers, please try:
- Αir fryer french fries
- Air fryer Broccoli Cheese Bites
- Spicy Mozzarella Sticks
- Crispy Potato Sliders
How to Store
It’s best to enjoy crispy chicken wings fresh on the day you cook them. However, if you have leftovers, place them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Then, reheat them in either the microwave or in the air fryer at 380 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 minutes per side to bring the outer crisp back.
Can I cook Frozen Chicken Wings in the Air fryer?
Absolutely! Frozen chicken wings are the perfect ingredient for a quick weeknight meal. It may take a few extra minutes (around 5-10 minutes more, depending on the size of your wings). And please make sure they are not stuck together (easily separated. Follow these directions on how to cook frozen wings in the air fryer.
Tips for the Best Chicken Wings in the Air Fryer
For perfectly crisp skin, lightly pat down with paper towels before adding them to the air fryer.
Season your wings beforehand with a blend of spices you love. Or use salt and pepper to taste and garlic powder.
Aim for an optimal 390-400 degrees Fahrenheit (200C) and 20-25 minutes of cooking time (depending on the size of the wings) - flipping them mid-way through!
If you're not sure the wings are cooked through, use a meat thermometer and check for the internal temperature to be 165 degrees F.
Finally, drizzle over your freshly prepared homemade Buffalo sauce (recipe below) or honey BBQ glaze, and let the drooling commence!
How to Adjust the Spice Level of Buffalo Sauce?
Homemade spicy buffalo sauce is a delicate balance of spices that have to be just right in order for it to truly sing on your chicken wings. Of course, the heat level can vary depending on your preference.
- Simmer it. This allows all of the seasonings to come out and mingle with each other as they simmer, making a complex sticky-sweet-spicy-vinegary-garlicky blast combined with some heat that will make your taste buds dance like no other sauce ever could.
- Don't fear adjusting the sauce up or down by adding more heat or toning it down with adding a little water at a time, if needed – after all, you're in total control!
More Air Fryer Wings You'll Love
- Salt & Vinegar Chicken Wings
- Masala Chicken Drumsticks
- Korean Air Fryer Wings
- BBQ-Chipotle Wingettes
Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Wings with Homemade Buffalo Sauce
- 2 pounds chicken wings Approx 24 pieces of Wingettes and drummettes. Ends cut off
- ½ teaspoon salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 Tablespoon Olive oil or Avocado oil
Homemade Buffalo Sauce
- ¾ cup Franks Hot Sauce or you can use a hot sauce of your choice
- 3 tablespoon Butter
- 1 TBS flour or corn starch to thicken
- 2 TBS Molasses
- 1 TBS Brown sugar
- 1 TBS Raw Honey
- 1 teaspoon Maple Syrup
- 1 teaspoon Tabasco
- ½ teaspoon Liquid smoke optional
- 1 TBS ketchup
- 1 TBS bbq sauce
- Paprika - a pinch of to taste
- Cayenne - a pinch of to taste
- Preheat the air fryer to 400 degrees F° (200 degrees C°). Use air fry (air crisp setting)
- Sprinkle and toss the wings with oil, salt and pepper for taste, and garlic powder.
- Arrange wings in the air fryer basket or tray in a single layer, spacing them evenly and air fry for 22-25 minutes, flipping each wing halfway. 10 minutes per side. Until chicken wings are crisp and golden brown.
Make Chicken Wing Sauce:
- While the wings are cooking, in a small or medium saucepan, mix the following:Begin by melting butter over low heat. Once it’s melted, add flour to it – it helps to thicken the sauce. Then add the remaining ingredients, one at a time. Cook the sauce by stirring it frequently over low heat until it thickens and caramelizes. It should take about 10-15 minutes. If the sauce comes out too thick, you can add water (a little at a time). However, don’t overdo it. We don’t want the sauce to be too liquid.
- When the AirFry program is complete, with the help of kitchen thongs, toss wings with the sauce and serve hot.