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How Long to Air Fry Chicken Wings for Ultra-Crispy Results

how to air fry chicken wings: crispy chicken wings in the basket of an air fryer
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ICYMI, frying in hot oil is out—"frying” in an air fryer, on the other hand, is totally in. For those who love crispy foods like French fries and chicken wings but hate the thought of dealing with a greasy mess, the appliance is a godsend. And speaking of, if you’re wondering how long to air fry chicken wings, you’re in the right place.

In short, it’ll take about 30 minutes of your time, but there are a few important tips to follow to get crispy-on-the-outside, juicy-on-the-inside results. Read on before you start cooking (oh, and grab some Buffalo sauce while you’re at it).

The 55 Best Air Fryer Recipes, from Chicken Wings to Brussels Sprouts


How Long to Air Fry Chicken Wings

Quick primer: An air fryer isn’t a fryer at all, but a countertop convection oven that circulates hot air around the food inside, rendering foods impossibly crisp on all sides (not unlike the results of frying). Aside from the textural benefits, this also decreases the food’s overall calories and mess, because very little oil is needed.

If you’re baking chicken wings in a standard oven, it can take anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes, but the results won’t be crispy without a few extra steps—namely, flipping the chicken wings throughout the cooking time like your life depends on it. You can also bake them on a wire rack to help crisp the skin up (or try the nifty baking powder trick). But that’s all more work than you’re interested in, right?

With an air fryer on board, you can cook chicken wings to crispy perfection for about 12 minutes on one side and 12 minutes on the other side at 350°F, then turn up the heat to 400°F for about 5 minutes more, depending on the side of the wings and your model of air fryer.

How to Cook Chicken Wings in the Air Fryer

According to food blog Well Plated by Erin, the key to rendering the fat out of that chicken skin without drying out the meat is to use a two-step approach. You’ll start at a lower temperature, then turn it up for the final countdown. The method checks out—think about when you cook chicken thighs: You start with a cold pan, using low heat to slowly draw out the fat, which is essential to crisping up the skin. The final blast of higher heat ensures the meat is fully cooked yet still moist, and the skin is deliciously golden brown.

Aside from that, here are a few tips for cooking chicken wings in the air fryer:

  • Preheat the air fryer. Just like you would preheat your conventional oven, you should always preheat your air fryer. This ensures even cooking. If your appliance doesn’t have a preheat function, simply set it to the desired temp for 5 to 10 minutes before you add the food.
  • Ensure the wings are dry. Before you even think about popping those wings in the air fryer, pat them dry with paper towels on all sides. This will encourage browning and eliminate the risk of steaming.
  • Don’t overcrowd the tray. Overcrowding the tray won’t speed anything along, but you’ll probably end up with flabby wings. Save your tears and cook the wings in batches. For a standard air fryer, you should be able to fit about 1 to 1½ pounds of wings inside.
  • Cook in a single layer. Just like crowding the tray, piling the wings on top of each other will inhibit even cooking. Lay those drumettes and flats, um, flat!
  • Use minimal oil. You won’t need gallons of oil to cook the chicken wings, but you will want to lightly coat the air fryer tray to prevent sticking. Either brush on an oil with a high smoke point (like vegetable oil) or use a few spritzes of nonstick spray.

Can You Air Fry Frozen Chicken Wings?

If you stocked up on wings in advance (smart), you can totally air fry them from frozen. You’ll need to add approximately 5 minutes to the first cooking time—try 30 minutes at 350°F before upping the temperature. (And it couldn’t hurt to use an instant read thermometer to ensure the wings reach an internal temp of 165°F.)

Ready to Wing It? Here Are 4 Chicken Wing Recipes to Try:

The 40 Best Chicken Wing Recipes for the Super Bowl (or Any Old Weekday)


Katherine Gillen is PureWow’s senior food editor. She’s a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City restaurants. She used to sling sugary desserts in a pastry kitchen, but now she’s an avid home cook and fanatic baker.