How to make crispy, delicious chicken wings in your air fryer

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How to make crispy, delicious chicken wings in your air fryer
Chicken wings can be even crispier in your air fryer.Cappi Thompson/Getty Images

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  • Chicken wings take about 25 to 30 minutes to cook in the air fryer.
  • Preheat the air fryer, place wings in a single layer, and flip them halfway to ensure even cooking.

One of Ciara Turner's earliest cooking memories is frying chicken with her grandma. "She had me standing on a kitchen table chair at the stove in front of a cast-iron skillet," says Turner, a former professional chef turned foodie influencer, who now describes herself as obsessed with her air fryer.

Often served at Super Bowl parties and tailgates, chicken wings are less meaty than other chicken parts, but the skin-on pieces easily turn crispy and are perfect for eating with your hands. And Turner says the air fryer is an excellent choice for cooking wings.

Here's why you should try air fryer chicken wings:

  • It's less messy. There's no need to contend with splattering oil, and most air fryers are a breeze to clean.
  • It can be a great way to get kids involved. "When you're dealing with a preteen/teenager… safety first," says Turner. And the small size makes it easy for kids to experiment in small batches.
  • You can use convection cooking. Also called "hot air magic" by Turner, this is what leads to extra crispy results. As hot air moves around the food in an air fryer, it leaves a crunchy exterior without drying out the meat.

How to make chicken wings in your air fryer

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How to make crispy, delicious chicken wings in your air fryer
If making full chicken wings, which include the drumette, flat, and tip, set the air fryer to a higher temperature.Robin Gentry/Getty Images
  1. Gather your ingredients. Grab everything you need to season the chicken wings. Turner recommends using fresh chicken wings instead of frozen ones for better results. Pat chicken wings dry before seasoning.
  2. Toss chicken wings with oil and seasoning. Place chicken wings in a large bowl and toss with olive oil and your favorite seasonings. "You can't forget the yellow mustard," says Turner, "That's the key to the flavor." Make sure the mustard isn't dripping off the wings before adding them to the air fryer.
  3. Air dry chicken wings (optional). Place seasoned wings on a baking sheet, uncovered, in the fridge overnight. This helps reduce moisture levels and creates extra crispy results.
  4. Set your air fryer to 380 or 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Turner recommends preheating for five to 10 minutes to make sure meat cooks evenly. "The perfect temperature for making chicken wings depends on the size," she adds. If you're using full wings, which include the drumette, flat, and tip, opt for a higher temperature.
  5. Cook wings for 25 to 30 minutes. Cook for 25 minutes at 380 degrees for smaller pieces. For whole wings, cook at a higher temperature (400 degrees Fahrenheit) for about 30 minutes. Make sure to arrange wings in a single layer. This allows air to circulate freely and ensures even cooking. Flip the wings halfway through cooking to ensure they cook evenly and get crisp on all sides.
  6. Check for doneness. Wings are ready when they reach an interior temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit and have a golden brown exterior.
  7. Sauce your wings (optional). Eat the crispy wings as-is or toss them in sauces like Buffalo sauce, sweet and sticky Korean-style sauce, or barbecue sauce for an extra burst of flavor.

Tips for making the best air fryer chicken wings

How to make crispy, delicious chicken wings in your air fryer
You can play around with spices and sauces to improve your wings.Westend61/Getty Images

Here's how to take your air fryer chicken wings to the next level:

Add baking powder. Turner suggests tossing wings with baking powder after coating them in mustard for next-level crunch. Baking powder helps a crust form quickly when cooking and keeps the inside juicy and moist.

Serve them with tasty sides. Turner likes serving wings with sweet potato fries, raw carrots, celery sticks, and ranch. Other dipping sauces perfect for wings include Sriracha, barbecue sauce, blue cheese, and Buffalo sauce.

Quick tip: Turner's go-to seasoning for air fryer chicken wings is yellow mustard, which gives it a noticeable out-of-the-fryer taste. She also likes garlic and herb seasoning, and Tony's Creole Seasoning.

Store them safely. Wings will keep for up to three days in an airtight container in the fridge, says Turner. To reheat them, set the air fryer to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and cook them for about five minutes. When reheating, it's not necessary to preheat the air fryer.

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Learn more about your air fryer. Air fryer temperatures and cook times can vary slightly, yielding different results between models. The more you cook with your air fryer, the better acquainted with its cooking abilities you'll be.

Best air fryers

How to make crispy, delicious chicken wings in your air fryer
Our guide to the best air fryers is based on hands-on testing.Jen Gushue/Business Insider

Looking to get an air fryer of your own? We tested 40+ models to find the best air fryers. Check out our favorites:

  • Best overall: Instant Vortex Plus Air Fryer Oven - See at Amazon
  • Best value: Beautiful Touchscreen Air Fryer - See at Walmart
  • Best toaster oven: Oster Digital Air Fryer Oven with RapidCrisp - See at Amazon

Insider's takeaway

Making chicken wings in your air fryer is an easy and mess-free way to create a delectable party snack or weeknight dinner.

Season with yellow mustard to inject more flavor into your wings, and make them extra crispy by coating them in baking powder and leaving them in the fridge overnight to dry them out more.

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