You can stop looking. This is THE BEST extra crispy air fryer chicken wing recipe ever. I’m serious. It’s easy as all get out, uses just a few ingredients, is basically oil-free, and still yields THE CRISPIEST chicken wings ever. I’m talking crispier than wings that have been double deep-fried to within an inch of their life. And the best part? The meat is still luscious, juicy, and packed with flavor.
Why Cook Wings In An Air Fryer?
An air fryer is just a countertop convection oven with a cute name. It doesn’t actually fry food. It circulates hot air all around whatever’s in the basket, creating a crispy outer layer while keeping the inside moist and tender. There’s no splatter all over your stove, no sheet pan to scrub, and you only need a small fraction of the oil used in traditional frying. It’s the perfect vehicle for crispy chicken wings that will absolutely blow your mind.
Can I Use Frozen Chicken Wings?
You can absolutely use frozen chicken wings in an air fryer. Just make sure they are defrosted and patted dry before you begin rubbing them down with spices. Frozen wings can hold loads of water, and you want to remove as much of that as possible before you air fry. Otherwise, you won’t get a crispy result.
Can I Use Boneless Chicken Wings?
You can, of course, use boneless chicken wings in an air fryer. Just take two minutes off each turn in the air fryer, as boneless wings cook a little faster than bone in. They’re also made from white breast meat, which has a much lower fat content than dark wing meat. A longer cook will leave you with dry results. Make sure the internal temperature reads 165°F on a meat thermometer before taking them out of the air fryer.
Ingredients For Crispy Chicken Wings
For the crispiest chicken wings you’ve ever had, use the following ratio of spices per pound of chicken:
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
We’re using a ratio, so no matter how many pounds of chicken wings you make, you will know how much spice to use. You don’t need to rely on a recipe. Just multiply the amount of spice by the number of pounds you’re making. If you want to use your favorite spice rub instead of making your own, just use a heaping teaspoon per pound of chicken.
Why Use Baking Powder For Chicken Wings?
Without getting too sciency, when you’re looking for crispy wings, you want to do two things: break down the proteins in the skin and draw moisture out of the skin. You can achieve this by first drying your wings with paper towels, then rubbing your wings down in salt and baking powder, and resting them for at least an hour. The salt and baking powder both draw out moisture. The salt deeply flavors your chicken while the baking powder breaks down the proteins in the skin, giving you the crispiest wings ever.
How To Store Leftover Wings
I’m not sure how you end up with leftover wings, but I won’t judge. Obviously, your friends and family have more self-control than mine. You can store leftover wings in an air-tight container in your fridge for up to three days. However, if your wings have been out at room temperature for more than two hours, according to the FDA, it’s best to throw them out, as harmful bacteria could already be growing on them.
How To Reheat Chicken Wings In An Air Fryer
Reheating wings is really easy. You’ll want to bring them to room temperature before putting them in your air-fryer. You’ll also want to preheat your air fryer to 350°. Then cook your leftover wings for 2 minutes, flip, and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
Tips For Cooking Wings In An Air Fryer
- Preheat the air fryer. Your air fryer is a countertop oven, and like most ovens, you need to preheat it. You may not need to do so for every recipe, but for crispy wings, it’s a must. If you’re waiting for the air fryer to come up to temp with your wings already in it, it throws off your cook time.
- Don’t crowd the air fryer basket. You’ll be tempted to put as many wings as possible in the basket, but don’t do it. For crispy results, you need the wings to be in a single layer and to have enough separation between them to allow the air to circulate all over their skin.
- Don’t skip turning the wings. You turn food over in an air fryer so both sides have equal exposure to the heating element. That way, they’ll cook and brown evenly which gives you superior results. You don’t want your wings looking like they fell asleep on the beach during spring break, all burnt on one side and pale on the other. Trust.
Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Wings
- 1 lb chicken wings ($4.29)
- 1 tsp coarse salt* ($0.06)
- 1 tsp baking powder* ($0.02)
- 1 tsp cornstarch ($0.01)
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder ($0.05)
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika ($0.05)
- 1/4 tsp onion powder ($0.03)
- 1/8 tsp black pepper ($0.01)
- 1/8 tsp cooking oil for greasing ($0.01)
- Pat the chicken wings dry with a paper towel. Make sure to get as much moisture off the skin as possible.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of salt with 1 teaspoon of baking powder per pound of chicken. Toss the dried chicken wings in this mixture until evenly coated. Place the wings on a rack set over a sheet pan and refrigerate for at least an hour.
- Remove the wings from the fridge and pat them dry a second time. Mix the cornstarch, garlic powder, smoked paprika, onion powder, and black pepper called for in the recipe for every pound of chicken. Toss the wings in this mixture until thoroughly coated.
- Grease your air fryer basket and preheat it to 300°F. Arrange the wings in a single layer, making sure they do not touch. Cook for 15 minutes.
- Flip the wings over, raise the temperature of the air fryer to 450°F, and cook for 10 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to make sure the wings have an internal temperature of 165°F before serving.
See how we calculate recipe costs here.
What To Serve With Chicken Wings?
If your wings are just an appetizer, you should serve them with celery and carrot sticks and classic dipping sauces like ranch and blue cheese. Beth’s recipes for Comeback Sauce and Buffalo Sauce are also amazing choices. To make a meal out of it, try serving your chicken wings with these dishes:
How to Make Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Wings – Step by Step Photos
Pat the chicken wings dry with a paper towel. Make sure to get as much moisture off the skin as possible.
In a small bowl, mix 1 teaspoon of coarse salt with 1 teaspoon of baking powder per pound of chicken. Place your dried chicken wings in a bowl large enough to hold them and sprinkle them with the salt mixture. Toss them to ensure they are evenly coated, and then place them on a rack set over a sheet pan. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least an hour and up to a day ahead.
In a small bowl, mix a teaspoon of cornstarch, ½ teaspoon of garlic powder, ½ teaspoon of smoked paprika, ¼ teaspoon of onion powder, and ⅛ teaspoon of black pepper per pound of chicken. Take the chicken wings out of the fridge, and pat them dry with a paper towel again. Place the wings in a bowl large enough to hold them, sprinkle them with the spices and toss them until they are thoroughly covered.
Grease your air fryer basket with a little cooking spray or cooking oil. Preheat it to 300°F. Depending on the size of your air fryer and the number of wings you’re making, you’ll probably need to cook your wings in batches. Place the wings in a single layer in the basket of the air fryer, making sure they are not touching. Cook for 15 minutes.
Use tongs to turn your wings over in the basket. Raise the temperature to 450°F. Cook for 10 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to make sure the wings have an internal temperature of 165°F. Keep them warm on a sheet pan in a 200°F oven while you cook another batch. Or do what I do, and serve them up immediately with some of your favorite sauces while the next batch cooks!
Beth and I devoured about two pounds of chicken wings each when we were testing this recipe. My mouth literally watered as she took pictures of the finished wings. Make this recipe today!
What is the purpose of the corn starch?
Cornstarch is the “flour” element of breading. (Really it is flour, made from corn instead of wheat, and ground more finely.) Like plain flour, it will reduce the level of moisture on the surface of the chicken and ensure the skin extra crispy! It’s preferable to flour in this case because it does make the wings slightly more crispy, requires a smaller amount to achieve the same effect, and it’s gluten-free! It’s a very important ingredient in this recipe that I wouldn’t totally omit — although it could be substituted with the same amount of another type of starch (like potato starch, rice flour, or tapioca starch/flour) or double the amount of plain flour. ~ Marion :)
i don’t want to read the recipe in ”pieces” give it to me in ONE PIECE not worth my time ”searching”
Great recipe! The wings were nice and crispy. This was my first time using my air fryer and I’m very pleased with this recipe, thank you!
Best wings I’ve ever had, even better than restaurants with the word “Wings” in their name. I did throw in some Franks’s and butter but they would have been great either way
Excited to try different recipes.
Great recipe! I just got my first air fryer and used this recipe to make my first air fryer batch of wings. My fryer’s temp goes to 400, not 450, but that didn’t matter – the wings were still crispy and delicious! I didn’t plan to refrigerate the baking powder and salt coated wings for an hour, so I only did this for 20 minutes, but that didn’t have an impact that I could tell. I will definitely be making these again.
I’m seeing some delicious looking recipes that I’m excited to try. Thanks for the freezing lemons info, too.
Do you think this is something that can be made with drumsticks instead as I’m not a wing person? Thank you.
Hi, Nancy! Since we only tested this recipe with wings, I can’t promise you will have equally-successful results with drumsticks. They will definitely take longer to cook all the way through and won’t be quite as crispy. Considering this, and still making sure the drumsticks reach an internal temperature of at least 165* (but ideally closer to 180*F) before removing them from the air fryer, you should give it a shot! Also, as Monti suggests in the blog post under the headline, “Can I Use Boneless Chicken Wings?,” substituting with “boneless wings” (which are actually made with white breast meat) is an excellent choice. The cooking instructions for boneless wings are included in that same section of the post. ~Marion :)
I wonder if it’s possible to do this in a regular oven (it does have a convection bake setting) since we don’t have an air fryer. I might try it.
Hi, Jami! While we haven’t tested this recipe using any other equipment and can’t promise equally successful results…it will probably work out fine if you bake the chicken wings with the convection setting on your oven! Air fryers are essentially convection ovens because both appliances cook things by circulating hot air around them. If you have one, using a roasting tray or sheet tray fitted with a stainless steel wire grate will help achieve the even crisping you would get with an air-fryer without needing to flip all the wings over mid-bake. ~Marion :)