Recipes from The Kitchn

Recipe: The Best Air Fryer Chicken Wings

Image Credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn

Air fryer chicken wings are some of the crispiest, juiciest wings I've had outside a restaurant in a long time. While I do love the classic twice-cooked wings — either steamed and then roasted or double fried — I often avoid cooking them at home, because the preparations take the better part of a day.

With the air fryer, you'll still twice cook the wings: first at a lower temperature to render out the fat from the skin, and then at a high temperature to crisp the skin. Even with two rounds in the air fryer, these chicken wings are ready in under an hour from start to finish. And they come out so crispy, the buffalo sauce is optional!

Image Credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn

Why Twice Cooking Wings Makes Them Extra Crispy

Chicken wings are delicious because they have lots of juicy fat locked into their skin, but this same fat can make the skin soft or rubbery if it's not rendered out. Cooking the wings twice ensures that the fat is rendered (making the meat tender and juicy), while also crisping the skin.

If you plan on serving these wings to a crowd, go ahead and do the first round of cooking before guests arrive, and transfer the cooked wings to a sheet pan to cool. Then, crank the heat on the air fryer and cook the wings a second time just before serving. We love these wings tossed with Buffalo sauce and butter, but honestly they don't even need it.

Air Fryer Chicken Wings

Serves 4 to 6

Prep time: 10 minutes

  • 1 1/2 pounds

    chicken wings, flats and drumettes separated

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon

    garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    cayenne pepper

  • For coating the wings: (optional)
  • 1/2 cup

    hot sauce, such as Frank's RedHot

  • 1 tablespoon

    unsalted butter, melted

Lay the wings out in a single layer and pat them dry on both sides with paper towels. Sprinkle evenly with the salt, garlic powder, and cayenne.

Place the wings in the air fryer and turn on to 380°F. Cook 25 minutes, removing the basket and tossing the wings with tongs every 5 minutes. After 25 minutes of cooking, the wings should be tender and cooked through.

Increase the heat to 400°F and cook until the skin is crispy and golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes more. Toss the wings with the hot sauce and melted butter, if desired, before serving.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.