Featured in 11 Wing Recipes to Make Your Super Bowl Soar
Got an air fryer? Make wings! You’ll love the results. It’s faster and crisper than oven-roasting and way less greasy and messy than deep frying. Plus, we have an optional hack that’ll get you the crunchiest, most addictive wings imaginable. Ready? Let’s take wing! Um, flight.
These wings get dredged in a killer sauce of salty-spicy gochujang, and we swap out celery and blue cheese dip for cooling cucumbers and radishes with a toasted sesame mayonnaise.
If anything about that combo isn’t your bag, keep reading, because you can use this air fryer wing technique to make awesome wings to pair with any sauce you like.
How to Make Chicken Wings in the Air Fryer
The air fryer is a hot wing machine!
Maybe you know this, but air fryers don’t really fry food. They are basically very powerful convection ovens, circulating hot air so every tidbit of your food gets exceptionally brown and crunchy. And because an air fryer is much smaller than a conventional oven, it gets very hot very fast. Plug it in, turn it on, and it’s ready to turbo-cook those wings.
Chicken wings, with their abundance of skin, baste themselves with fat as they cook in the air fryer. The wings sit on the built-in rack, the fat drips away, and in half an hour, your wings emerge from the air fryer finger-lickin’ good, without being outright greasy.
- New to the air fryer? Check out our First Timer's Guide to Using an Air Fryer.
How to Break Down Chicken Wings
One quick word on the wings themselves. You can buy a handy, giant bag of frozen wings that are already separated into drumettes and flats—the party parts—with none of the wee tips.
However, I’ve found the quality of intact, fresh chicken wings to be much better. They’re meatier and their skin is more supple.
You’ll need to do some knife work to get them ready: Use a sharp, sturdy knife to cut through two joints, separating each wing into the plump drumette and the flatter... um, flat (also known as a plank).
- For more details and photos read our step by step article How to Break Down Chicken Wings.
The tips are so tiny they’d burn in a hot wing treatment, but they are an excellent addition to stock. Better yet, add those and any leftover wings to a luscious batch of Chicken Wing Ramen!
Tips for the Best Wings
There’s always a catch. For this recipe to be worth it, you can’t crowd the air fryer drawer.
Cram in too many wings and they steam. They’ll still be edible, but one bite and you’ll learn why steamed wings are not a thing.
- A pound and a half of wings at a time works just right in my 4.5-quart capacity air fryer. I do two batches back-to-back. That makes this recipe ill-suited for big parties, but perfect for small gatherings. Or for hot wing date night at home. (What!? You’re not already doing that? Time to start!) In any case, by the time you’ve polished off batch one, batch two will be ready for you.
- For EXTRA crispy wings: Use baking powder! Yep, baking powder! A while ago, while developing an oven-fried hot wing recipe, Serious Eats’ J. Kenji López-Alt came up with a method of tossing the wings with a little baking powder a good 8 hours before cooking.
It sounds crazy, but the baking powder works on the skin to help it brown and get a bubbly-crackly texture similar to the results you’d get from deep-frying. You’ll need to plan ahead, but the tiny bit of extra effort is worth it. Give it a shot!
What About That Gochujang Sauce?
You can use this air fryer technique to cook hot wings and sauce them however you like, but given our current crush on gochujang – the earthy-spicy Korean fermented chili and soybean paste – we couldn’t help but share this sauce with you.
Gochujang is wonderfully balanced: tangy and salty and fiery and barely sweet.
You can use gochujang in a lot of recipes where you’d use chili paste or sriracha. I enjoy it in dressings for Korean-style salads a lot. It keeps for ages in the fridge, so you can work away at a tub of it for months.
If you can’t find gochujang, try another favorite sauce for chicken wings and use the same air fryer method.
P.S. This sauce recipe is adapted from Molly Stevens’ recent cookbook, All About Dinner. (It’s excellent, by the way—suitable for home cooks of all levels!)
What to Serve With Air Fryer Wings?
Instead of celery sticks and blue cheese dressing, try this with thin spears of fresh cucumber and slices of radish. To replace more common wing dips, I spike mayonnaise with a little sesame oil and use that for a final flavor kick. Heaven!
Make Ahead Tips for Chicken Wings
This whole recipe lends itself to making components in advance. When you prep the wings, you can also make the sauce (without the melted butter), as well as the sesame mayo.
Pull them out of the fridge when you cook the wings and they’ll be ready for you when you’re set to dig in!
You Can Never Have Too Many Wings!
- Old Bay Chicken Wings
- Miso Glazed Chicken Wings
- Cacio e Pepe Chicken Wings
- Bourbon Maple Glazed Chicken Wings
- Teriyaki Chicken Wings
- Classic Buffalo Wings
Air Fryer Chicken Wings
- For the wings:
- 3 pounds chicken wing drumettes and flats
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- For the sauce:
- 2 tablespoons gochujang
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted and kept warm
- For the sesame mayonnaise dipping sauce:
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 3/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon sriracha
- To garnish:
- Thinly sliced scallions, for garnish
- Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish
- Thin spears of cucumber
- Thin slices of radish
Season and rest the wings:
Pat the wings dry, if needed. In a large bowl, add the wings and toss them with the baking powder and salt until evenly coated.
Spread the wings around the bowl so they are in a single layer and refrigerate them, uncovered, for at least 6 hours and up to 24 hours.
Air fry the wings:
Heat the air fryer to 380°F. Open the drawer and fit as many wings as you can in it without crowding them (for my 4.4-quart air fryer, this was 1-1/2 pounds of wings, or half the batch). Close the drawer. Cook for 25 minutes, shaking the drawer every 5 minutes to shuffle the wings around.
Make the sauce:
As the wings cook, make the sauce. In a medium bowl, whisk together the gochujang, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, and sugar. Set aside.
Make the sesame mayonnaise:
In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, sesame oil, sugar, and sriracha until smooth. Set aside.
Increase the air fryer temp:
Once the wings have cooked for 25 minutes, increase the temperature of the air fryer to 400°F. Cook the wings for another 5 minutes. This gets them nice and brown and especially crispy.
Sauce and serve the wings:
Mix the melted butter with the sauce (it might solidify a bit, but the heat of the wings will re-melt it). Add the wings to a large bowl, pour over half the sauce and toss the wings in the sauce.
Serve and eat:
Transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with scallions and sesame seeds, if you like. Serve immediately, accompanied by the cucumbers, radishes, and sesame mayonnaise for dipping.
Cook the remaining wings:
Reduce the temperature of your air fryer back to 380°F. Repeat steps 2 and 4. Toss them with the remaining sauce.