The air fryer makes the BEST chicken wings. They are super crispy and ridiculously easy to cook making it the perfect snack for a football game or get together. These wings were cooked directly from frozen so there is no need to thaw the chicken beforehand. This is the reason why I bought my first air fryer and I have perfected my recipe and process for the most delicious air fryer buffalo chicken wings. Keep reading below to get the down-low on how to make them extra crispy!
You can cook frozen chicken wings in the air fryer
I like easy recipes, especially when I am preparing for a large get-together. For this recipe, I simply buy a large bag of frozen chicken wings from my favorite big bulk store. Then I can simply dump them in the air fryer and work on other snacks while they cook.
I am a University of Washington Huskies fan and yesterday was the Apple Cup, the big rivalry football game between the two-state school. I had a large group of people coming over to help cheer on the Huskies so I needed a lot of chicken wings, and fast! These air fryer buffalo chicken wings made it easy to cook them up in and since they came out in batches we were able to snack on fresh, hot wings throughout the game.
- Weigh out about 1-1.5 pounds of frozen wings
- Toss the wings in olive oil
- Toss the wings in garlic, salt, and pepper spice blend
- Spray the air fryer basket with non-stick (I like this avocado spray)
- Place the wings in the basket
- Cook at 360°F for 10 minutes or until thawed, shake and flip the wings
- Cook at 400°F until crispy
How long to cook frozen chicken wings in the air fryer
I like to use the air fryer to thaw the frozen chicken wings before cranking up the heat to crisp them up. First, cook the frozen wings at 370°F for 10 minutes or until visibly thaw. Then cook at 400°F for 15-20 minutes. Shake the basket or flip the wings halfway through the cooking process to ensure they are fully crispy.
How many wings to cook in the air fryer?
The number of wings you can cook at one time will depend on the size of your air fryer. Ideally, you will want to space the wings out into a single layer in the air fryer. For ultimate crisp skin on the chicken wings, I would recommend to arrange them into a single layer.
Chicken wings do shrink in the air fryer
Chicken wings shrink quite a bit in the air fryer, especially frozen wings. I saw about a 50% reduction in volume of the wings throughout the cooking process. So, you could certainly overfill your air fryer basket with chicken wings.
Can you layer chicken wings in the air fryer?
Since the frozen chicken wings shrink so much in the air fryer, you can arrange them into two layers. Then by the time you need to flip the wings halfway through the cooking process, you should have enough space to arrange them into a single layer as they finish cooking and become crispy.
If you have a smaller air fryer basket then you should cook the wings in batches. They will get crispier if they are not layered. We have cooked larger batches and they cooked thoroughly but they needed a longer cook time and more stirring. The larger batches also did not get as crispy.
How to get that extra crispy chicken skin
Baking powder is the secret sauce, or powder, to make your chicken super crispy. Before cooking the chicken, I coat it with a blend of spices and baking powder. The baking powder works its magic by helping to break down the proteins in the chicken more efficiently and allowing for the most brown and crispy chicken you have ever had.
If you want to take your crisp adventure to another level, you can store the chicken uncovered on a wire rack and baking sheet in the fridge overnight after coating it in baking powder. This will help to dry the skin out even more and cause the skin to become airier and lighter. You may even see what looks like air bubbles in the skin.
Can you make crispy chicken wings in the oven?
YES! You will definitely need to coat your chicken wings in baking powder and allow them to sit on a wire rack on a baking sheet in the fridge overnight. This will allow the skin to dry out and the proteins in the chicken skin to breakdown. I would also recommend cooking the wings on a wire rack to keep the juices form making the wings soggy as they cook.
Simply place in the oven at 400°F for 25 minutes, but be sure to flip the wings halfway through.
The best sauces for you air fryer chicken wings
- This delicious buffalo sauce from Savor the Best
- Sriracha sauce
- Maple chipotle BBQ sauce
- This amazing pumpkin spice BBQ sauce from A License to Grill
- Pineapple teriyaki
Air Fryer tips and tricks
Help, why is my air fryer smoking?
When cooking high fat foods in the air fryer, you may experience a cloud of white smoke develop in the device. Don’t panic, this can be managed. And there are even some tips which can help prevent this from happening.
To prevent smoke in your air fryer you can add a couple of tablespoons of water to the bottom of the basket. If you are cooking especially greasy foods, like bacon, you can also put a piece of bread in the bottom of the basket, just take out the removable rack at the bottom of the basket and place a piece of bread down there and replace the rack. The bread will soak up the excess grease and prevent the air fryer from smoking.
Evenly cook your food by preheating the air fryer
The air fryer can cook quickly, but you also want even and thoroughly cooked food. I would suggest preheating your air fryer for the best results. Some air fryers do not have a preheat setting. If yours doesn’t have a preheat setting then you can set your temperature and run the air fryer for 2-5 minutes to bring it up to temperature before adding your food to the basket. The smaller your air fryer, the less time you will need to preheat it.
Should you use oil in your air fryer?
I almost always use oil in my air fryer, but you don’t have to! Oil coats your food and allows the seasoning to stick to it. It also prevents your food from sticking to your air fryer basket. However, if you want to cook low fat and leave the oil out of the recipe you can always use parchment paper to prevent sticking. And, if you are cooking high-fat foods, like bacon, you will not need to include oil in your air fryer.
Leave space in your air fryer basket. Space it out, man!
Air fryers work by circulating air around the basket and as it circulates, oils and fats are also circulated and deposited onto the food. If you overcrowd your basket then you will have disappointingly un-crispy food. Space everything out in your air fryer basket and you will have a much crispier result.
Flip and shake the air fryer basket
Similar to the tip for leaving plenty of space for your food to achieve a good crisp, you will also want to shake the basket periodically or flip the food halfway through cooking. This will allow the food to cook well on both sides and you will have a crispy result.
How to modify a recipe for an air fryer
Air fryers are often much more efficient at cooking foods. Since the air is circulating air, similar to a convection oven, I always recommend setting your air fryer to a lower temperature and monitoring the cooking progress throughout the cooking time. Even at lower temperatures, your items may finish cooking sooner than expected. As a rule of thumb, adjust the cooking temperature about 10% lower and the cooking time about 25% shorter.
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- 1-1/2 pounds frozen chicken wings
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Buffalo sauce
- Spray the air fryer basket with non-stick spray or cooking oil.
- Toss the frozen chicken wings with olive oil.
- Combine the baking powder, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt.
- Toss the chicken wings with the seasoning and place them in the air fryer.
- Set the air fryer to 360°F and cook for 10 minutes.
- Open the air fryer and stir the chicken wings, separating any of them that were stuck together while they were frozen.
- Increase the temperature to 400°F and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir or shake the chicken wings every 5 to 6 minutes so they cook evenly.
- Toss the chicken wings in the buffalo sauce.
- We used a larger air fryer. If you have a smaller air fryer then cook the chicken wings in batches.
- Chicken wings are naturally fatty and release the fat as they cook. We still recommend spraying the air fryer with non-stick cooking oil because they can still stick to the basket without the oil
Amount Per Serving Calories 258Total Fat 12gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 34gCholesterol 100mgSodium 683mgCarbohydrates 3.8gFiber 1gSugar 1gProtein 33g