These air fryer chicken wings are so good that if you have an air fryer, whip it out and make these wings ASAP. If not, go buy one now! Seriously. I am a chicken wing lover and have tried dozens of amazing recipes. This one is way up there at the top of the list. The first thing that hits you is their extra crispy, extra flavorful deep golden brown skin. It’s delicious! As you bite into the wing, the second things that hits you is the explosion of juices. These wings are probably the juiciest wings I’ve ever had. They are cooked so quickly that they just don’t have the time to dry out.
These wings remind me of my Extra Crispy Baked Chicken Wings. I make them in a similar way – I use baking powder to draw out moisture and dry out the skin, and I use high heat and air movement to get that browning and crisping up of the skin.
The one thing I did differently in this recipe is salted the wings and applied the seasonings before frying. Based on my experiments, salt does make chicken skin a little less crispy, but it also significantly improves browning. I now salt my wings before cooking as I like the beautiful deep golden brown color it results in.
If you have never used an air fryer before, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. I will address them one by one, starting with what I consider the most important one.
How many wings can I cook in an air fryer?
When it comes to air fryers, size matters big time. In general, there are 3+ quart and 6+ quart units. Mine is a 6.5-quart one and it comfortably fits 12 chicken wings, which is about 1 pound and 2 ounces of wings. Chicken wings shrink as they cook, so technically you could ft in more, crowding them slightly initially. I’ve gone as high as 16 wings and did not notice a big difference, although the wings came out just a tiny bit less crispy. Normally, I would place the wings on the rack leaving a little bit of space in between, even if it’s a quarter of an inch. Remember, for proper cooking and browning the air needs to move freely around every chicken wing.
If you have a smaller fryer, say a 3-quart one, expect about half a dozen chicken wings to fit in comfortably, with up to eight if you slightly crowd them initially.
At what temperature to air fry chicken wings?
The answer will vary on who you ask, but my experiments have proven that higher temperature results in:
- better browning
- crispier skin
- faster cooking
- incredibly juicy meat
So, there you have it. I recommend cooking your wings at 400F – 410F, which would be the highest temperature setting on your air fryer. In a convection oven, I cook my wings at 425F, which gives me best results. Longer cooks at lower temperature only dry out the meat and result in a skin that is more rubbery. You want to cook your wings quick and hot. That’s the best way.
How long to cook chicken wings in an air fryer?
In my air fryer, it’s 20 minutes at 410F. At 400F you are looking at about 22-25 minutes. Can you believe it? I was confident that cooking wings in a air fryer would take about as long as in a convection oven, about 30-40 minutes. But I was wrong!
Do you need to use baking powder when cooking chicken wings in an air fryer?
Yes! Some people will tell you otherwise but that’s just not what my numerous experiments has shown. Originally, use of baking powder was prompted by Serious Eat’s The Food Lab: In Search of the Best Oven-Fried Buffalo Wings article. A similar approach is used in the Cook’s Country Oven-Fried Chicken Wings recipe. You see, baking powder is great at drawing the liquid out of chicken skin, making it significantly drier and crispier. I’ve baked countless batches of chicken wings, followed by several batches in an air fryer. Every time when baking powder was used I would get a crispier skin. Feel free to experiment too, but my mind is made up.
With what to serve your air fryer chicken wings?
Air fried chicken wings are good with any of the usual sauces or dips you have been using before. In this recipe, I made the wings so they can be enjoyed as is. They are perfectly seasoned and are good to eat without any sauces or dips. However, here is the list of my favorite condiments for extra crispy chicken wings:
- After they are done cooking, I let the wings rest for 5 minutes. This helps them retain their crispiness better. I then toss them with one tablespoon of Buffalo wing sauce per pound of wings. Add more sauce if you like them hotter.
- A variation to the method above is to use a 50/50 mix of hot sauce and BBQ sauce. Don’t over do it, start with a tablespoon or two. Add more if needed after tasting.
- Finally, serve your wings with your favorite white dipping sauce on the side. One of my favorite fried chicken dipping sauces is this homemade ranch sauce. It’s very tasty.
Extra Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Wings
These chicken wings recipe is keto diet compliant.
- 12 chicken wings (drumettes and wingettes, not whole ones)
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt (plus more to taste)
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- 1 tsp granulated garlic
- 1/2 Tbsp baking POWDER (NOT baking SODA, it's not the same)
Dry the wings really well with paper towels and place in a medium bowl. Add the salt, chili powder, garlic and baking powder. Gently rub the seasoning all over the wings, ensuring even coverage. Set aside.
Spray the cooking rack of your air fryer with PAM, or rub with some cooking oil to reduce sticking. Arrange the chicken wings on the rack so that there is some space between the wings to allow for free air circulation.
Place the rack with the wings inside your air fryer. Set the temperature to 410F. Set the cooking time to 20 minutes. Press start.
If you air fryer goes only to 400F, set the temperature to 400F and the cooking time to 22 minutes.
If you like your wings extra crispy, add 5 more minutes to the times above.
When time is up, check your wings for doneness. They should be deep golden brown as shown on pictures. If not, let them cook for another 3-5 minutes.
Carefully remove the wings from the air fryer and arrange on a plate or a serving platter. Serve immediately.
If tossing with a hot wing sauce, or a BBQ sauce, let the wings rest for 5 minutes. This will help them retain their crispiness much better after applying the sauce.
Some people are sensitive to aluminum in baking powder and can taste it in food. If you are one of them, use aluminum-free baking powder or skip it. There is no other alternative.
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