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Air Fryer Chicken Wings

5 from 4 votes
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posted: 01/31/21

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This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

Air Fryer Chicken Wings are a great way to make your favorite game day food a little lighter. This Chicken Wings recipe has the most amazing chicken rub that takes it over the top. Use your favorite wing sauce, or several different sauces to make all your guests happy!

If you don’t have an air fryer but still want to make this great recipe, make my Crockpot Chicken Wings.

overhead view of air fryer chicken wings that have been tossed in sauce and are in a basket for serving

If I acted like an unsupervised 10 year old at a birthday party, my plate would overflow with all the deep fried appetizers I could get my hands on. I’m not sure I’ve met an appetizer that I didn’t like.

Obviously at the top of that list is Buffalo Chicken Wings. I could eat endless baskets of them dipped in Ranch Dressing. Given that we aren’t eating out anymore, and that we are trying to eat healthier, making chicken wings in the air fryer seems like a great alternative.

Starting with Chicken Rub

As I mentioned above, I like to start my chicken wings by rubbing them with my chicken rub recipe. It is a simple recipe to make with ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. We love it on grilled chicken legs.

The extra time it takes to make the rub will be well worth it. The sweet, slightly smokey rub, with just a hint of spice, compliments sauce recipes perfectly. It is amazing on these chicken wings and drumettes as they crisp up in the air fryer.

If this step seems like too much to you, just skip it. The recipe will still work as written.

overhead view of chicken wings in air fryer

How to Cook Chicken Wings in Air Fryer

This recipe is just a few simple steps, and you are left with crispy irresistible chicken wings. The full list of ingredients and instructions is at the bottom of the post in the recipe card.

Please note that the instructions listed here are for fresh wings, but I have a section below for frozen chicken wings in the air fryer.

  1. Pat Dry: Start by patting down your chicken wings to get rid of excess moisture.
  2. Add Rub: Coat the chicken wings throughly in the chicken rub.
  3. Put in Air Fryer: When adding the wings to the air fryer, it is important that they do not touch. Stand up the drumettes to create more room. You will likely need to cook them in two batches.
  4. Cook: Once your air fryer is preheated, cook these for 15 to 20 minutes or until they are 165 degrees. (See more about cook times below.)
  5. Toss with Sauce: Once cooked, toss the wings and drumettes with your favorite wing sauce!
bowl of chicken wings being tossed with buffalo sauce

Frozen Chicken Wings in Air Fryer

Often, grocery stores only sell their chicken wings and drumettes in the frozen section. You can either thaw the chicken wings overnight in your refrigerator or you can cook them in the air fryer right from frozen.

Frozen chicken wings need just a few extra minutes in the air fryer. Instead of cooking for 15 to 20 minutes, we are going to cook for 18 to 22 minutes. See more about cook times below.

Even though you won’t be able to fully coat a frozen chicken wing, I would still encourage you to toss them in a little of the dry rub.

side view of a basket of chicken wings

Air Fryer Chicken Wings Cook Time

The time it takes to cook your chicken wings will vary depending on their size. Smaller wings and drumettes will be done in just under 15 minutes. Larger wings will take closer to 20 minutes.

Wings that are cooking from frozen will take 18 minutes for small wings and closer to 22 minutes for large wings and drumettes.

Additionally, the more wings and drumsticks that you put in your air fryer the longer it will take.

Play it safe by checking the temperature of the largest wing or drumstick and make sure that it is 165 degrees with an instant read thermometer.

air fryer chicken drumstick being dipped in ranch dressing

Wing Sauce

I love sticking with traditional Buffalo Sauce for these, but you can grab any wing sauce you like to toss them in. That is one of my favorite parts about this recipe. My husband doesn’t love Buffalo flavor, so I always buy different sauces and we have multiple different flavors.

Crockpot Chicken Wings

If you don’t have an air fryer, you can make these in your slow cooker instead! Check out my recipe for Crockpot Chicken Wings. It is nearly identical to this.

up close of a buffalo chicken wing

Other Game Day Food

If you are like me, you only turn on football games so you can have an excuse to make great game day food – I would argue the best type of food.

Here are some of my other favorite recipes:

If you make this air fryer chicken wings recipe or any of my other recipes, please leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

overhead view of chicken wings in air fryer
5 from 4 votes

Air Fryer Chicken Wings

Serves: 4 people
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Air Fryer Chicken Wings are a great way to make your favorite game day food a little lighter. Top this easy appetizer with your favorite wing sauce!

Ingredients

Chicken Rub

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar packed
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 3 pounds chicken wings (fresh or frozen)
  • 12 ounces Wing Sauce

Instructions

  • Preheat your air fryer to 375. (No air fryer? Make Crockpot Chicken Wings.) Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel.
  • In a small bowl combine the brown sugar, kosher salt, paprika, ground cumin, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Rub the chicken liberally with the spices. (Note: If you choose to skip the rub, the rest of the recipe will still work as written.)
  • Spray the inside of the air fryer basket with cooking spray.
  • Add the chicken to the basket of the air fryer so that they aren't touching. You may need to work in batches. It helps to stand the drumettes up in the basket. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until an instant read thermometer registers 165 degrees. (Read about frozen wings in the air fryer.)
  • Remove from the air fryer and toss with your favorite wing sauce.
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Appetizer
overhead view of chicken wings in air fryer

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Air Fryer Chicken Wings

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Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

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  1. Vicki says

    The picture looks like the wings are touching. Is that just for the picture? Or is that the way you cooked them?

    • Lisa Longley says

      Good catch Vicki! That is just for the picture.

  2. clarissa perez says

    Hi thank for your recipe my air fryer is small because we are 2 person ut i will try it.

    • Lisa Longley says

      I hope you enjoy it!

  3. Stephanie says

    Ok, I dont understand how to stand up the drummies. If I do that, they will be touching right? I’m just thinking this will take over an hour to cook 3 lbs in my 6 quart air fryer. Am I missing something?? Thanks in advance!!

    • Lisa Longley says

      Hi Stephanie! I stood them thick side down against the edge of the air fryer, and this allowed me to fit in a lot more without them touching. I hope that helps.

  4. cheryl says

    I have never cooked with an air fryer but my new oven has one. Do you have to turn things over?

    • Lisa Longley says

      A lot of air fryer recipes call for turning things over. I didn’t in this recipe about of laziness, and they turned out great.

  5. Bruce Kohler says

    How do you stand up drummettes without them touching others or falling over from the rapid hot air circulation? Picture?

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m sorry I don’t have a picture of it Bruce. I stood them thick side down agains the edge of the air fryer, and this allowed me to fit in a lot more.

  6. Linda Fodiman says

    Gonna try the wing recipe for super bowl Sunday. Will let you know how it was 😊.

  7. Cookie Singhose-Allison says

    5 stars
    I made 9lbs of wings! They were delicious too. I used half real maple syrup half Sweet Baby Rays.

    • Lisa Longley says

      So glad to hear this!

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