If my husband tells you his favorite food is anything other than Buffalo wings, he’s fibbing. Fortunately, should I ever need to bribe him, Air Fryer Chicken Wings are easy to make, have a fabulously crispy outside and juicy inside, and (my favorite part) require exactly zero deep frying.
As much as I adore cooking and—like anyone else with tastebuds—find crispy fried food addictive, I draw the line at deep frying in my own kitchen.
A fryer is a hot mess to clean.
Plus, foods cooked in a fryer are something I prefer to indulge in when I am eating out, versus a more nutritious meal that I’d cook at home.
The air fryer (this is the model I have) changes the game and brings “fried” food into the realm of everyday enjoyment.
As it turns out Buffalo chicken wings cook in an air fryer so successfully, they might just be the best of all of my air fryer recipes so far.
At least that’s what Ben—who would happily dip even Lemon Pepper Wings (and anything else) in Buffalo sauce, would say!
The Best Way to Cook Wings in the Air Fryer
Of all of the cuts of chicken, wings have the highest skin-to-meat ratio.
This makes wings ideal for air frying, because all of that skin can become deliciously crisp (just like Air Fryer Chicken Thighs).
The tricky part of making crispy chicken wings in an air fryer is ensuring that the fat can fully render (a.k.a. cook out). If it doesn’t, the wings will be soggy and greasy.
While some recipes call for making air fryer chicken wings with flour or air fryer chicken wings with baking soda to crisp them, I found this step tedious and messy.
Adding baking soda or flour also doesn’t avoid the grease-factor. Here’s what does…
The Secret to Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Wings
To ensure the fat renders and the wings crisp, we air fry them at two separate temperatures.
- First, air fryer the chicken wings at 360 degrees F for 24 minutes, turning once halfway through. This step renders the fat.
- Then, turn up the heat to 390 degrees F. This high temperature crisps the outsides of the wings, leaving the interior meat moist.
The two-temperature approach is easy, less messy than baking soda, and not only can you put raw chicken in an air fryer, this method works for frozen air fryer chicken wings too.
How to Make Air Fryer Chicken Wings
In total, air fryer chicken wings need roughly 30 minutes in the air fryer.
- If your wings are especially large or small, you may need to adjust the time by a few minutes in either direction.
- If your chicken wings are frozen, you’ll need to cook them for 35 minutes.
Once the wings are air fried, you can toss them in any sauce of your choosing (such as the slightly sweet umami sauce with these Korean Air Fryer Chicken Wings).
Buffalo sauce is hot sauce that has been doctored up with melted butter and garlic. These simple ingredients create wing magic.
- Chicken Wings. This recipe calls for 1 ½ pounds of chicken wings, which is the max amount that I can comfortably fit in a single layer in my air fryer. If you are cooking more, you’ll need to air fry them in batches.
- Hot Sauce. Frank’s RedHot Original is my go-to, though you can use a similar mildish hot sauce you prefer (something like Tabasco would be too spicy).
- Garlic. Minced garlic gives the sauce extra zip that’s a step above garlic powder. It’s worth it for these air fried chicken wings.
- Vinegar. A small splash helps cut the richness of the wings and balance the sauce.
- Butter. What makes the wings finger-lickin’ delish.
- The Fixings. Blue cheese sauce (the Greek-yogurt based one in my cookbook is perfection), Greek Yogurt Ranch Dip, and celery sticks bring the bar experience home to you.
- Cut away the wing tips and split the “drumette” side of each wing from the flat side.
- Place the wings in the air fryer in a single layer and cook at 360 degrees F.
- Flip the wings halfway through.
- After the first stage of cooking, flip the wings again, and increase the temperate to 390 degrees F. Flip halfway through.
- Stir the melted butter, hot sauce, garlic, and vinegar to make homemade buffalo sauce.
- Toss the crispy chicken wings in the buffalo sauce.
What to Serve With Buffalo Chicken Wings
- Baked French Fries. Because air fryer chicken wings and fries are a match made in comfort food heaven. You can plan these recipes so that both are ready at the same time.
- Sweet Potato Fries. Another tasty option in the fry department.
- Air Fryer Broccoli. This quick-cooking air fryer side can be ready shortly after you finish up the wings. Or try oven Roasted Broccoli.
- To Store. Refrigerate leftover chicken wings for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Let the wings come to room temperature. Mist with water to help make them juicy, then reheat in the oven at 350 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes, or the air fryer at 350 degrees F for 6 minutes, turning once halfway through.
For max flavor, toss the reheated wings in a fresh batch of Buffalo sauce.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Knife Block Set. Ergonomic and with a broader blade curve for easy rocking cutting, this knife set is worth every penny!
- Kitchen Tongs. These 16-inch tongs easily reach deep into the air fryer’s basket.
- Glass Mixing Bowls. With 10 different stackable sizes and easy to wash, they’re ideal for tossing or dipping chicken wings in any type of sauce.
Crispy, spicy, juicy, and messy: exactly what Buffalo chicken wings should be!
Air Fryer Chicken Wings Video
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Air Fryer Chicken Wings
FOR THE WINGS:
- 1 1/2 pounds chicken wings
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup hot sauce Frank’s RedHot is what I use
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/2 tablespoon white vinegar
- Nonstick cooking spray
- Blue cheese sauce The Well Plated Cookbook , page 212 or blue cheese dressing of choice
- Celery sticks
- Chopped fresh chives optional for color
- Coat the basket of a 3 quart or larger air fryer with nonstick spray.
- Trim off the wing tips (you should be able to feel the joint soft spot). It should separate fairly easily, but if not, put the blade in place, then carefully but firmly hit the top of your knife to apply extra pressure. Discard. Next, split the drumette side of each wing from the flat side at the joint: slice down through the skin feeling for the “soft spot” and wiggle your knife as needed.
- Pat the wings very dry. Sprinkle all over with salt.
- Place the wings in the air fryer in a single layer, making sure they do not touch (if needed, stand up the drumettes along the side). Set the air fryer to 360 degrees F. Cook the wings for 12 minutes, then remove the basket and with tongs, flip the wings over. Return to the air fryer at 360 degrees for 12 additional minutes.
- Slide out the basket, flip the wings once more, then return them to the air fryer. Increase the air fryer temperature to 390 degrees F. Cook the wings for 6 minutes, flipping once more halfway through. The skin should look nice and crisp (if your wings are on the larger side, they may need a few more minutes).
- While the wings finish up, melt the butter in a large microwave safe bowl in the microwave or a saucepan on the stove. Stir in the hot sauce, garlic, and vinegar until smooth.
- Transfer the wings to the bowl with the hot sauce mixture. Toss to throughly coat the wings. Transfer the wings to a serving plate. Sprinkle with chives as desired. Enjoy warm with blue cheese sauce and celery.
- Yes, you can cook frozen wings in an Air Fryer! If you are using frozen wings, air fry them for 5 additional minutes at 360 degrees F (29 minutes total at this temperature). The wings may stick together at first. Simply shake the basket after a few minutes to separate them, then use tongs to arrange them so they are not touching.
- TO MAKE IN THE OVEN: Place a broiler rack 4 to 6 inches from the broiler. Preheat to high. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place an oven safe baking rack on top. Arrange the wings on the rack in a single layer so they do not touch. Broil for 20 to 25 minutes, until the wings are browned and crisp, flipping once halfway through.
- TO STORE. Refrigerate leftover chicken wings for up to 3 days.
- TO REHEAT. Let the wings come to room temperature. Mist with water to help make them juicy, then reheat in the oven at 350 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes, or the air fryer at 350 degrees F for 6 minutes, turning once halfway through.
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