Sticky and sweet, air fryer BBQ chicken wings are a popular appetizer or a quick entree. Choose your favorite barbecue sauce (or make your own)!
Why you’ll love it: Crispy, sticky, zippy wings are always a hit!
How long it takes: 10 minutes to prep, 18 minutes per batch to cook
Equipment you’ll need: large bowl, air fryer, tongs, basting brush
Glazed with your favorite barbecue sauce, these chicken wings are finger-licking good. They’re easy to make in your air fryer and you’ll love how they turn out.
Use your favorite BBQ sauce to coat these wings. There are so many to choose from: spicy, sweet, smoky, salty. You can easily make your own barbecue sauce. We love this spicy homemade cherry chipotle barbecue sauce.
About air fryer wings
Making wings is pretty simple. You don’t need any fancy ingredients and often chicken wings are on sale, making them an economical choice. Why buy expensive frozen BBQ wings when it’s so easy to make your own?
You’ll find the complete printable recipe on the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
What you need
- Chicken Wings: Buy about a pound of wings and split them into flats and drumettes (cut at the joint, tips removed). If you’re not sure how to split the wings, take a look at this short video.
- Seasoning Blend: Use this versatile blend of garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper, mixed with a little oil, to coat the wings.
- Barbecue Sauce: Buy your favorite brand, or make your own barbecue sauce.
How to make This Recipe
First off, pat the wings dry with clean paper towels. Why dry the wings? There are a couple of reasons. First, the wings crisp up better when they aren’t wet because water produces steam. You want to “fry” the wings, not steam them. Second, the oil/spice mixture won’t adhere to wet wings.
Next, mix the oil and spices in a large bowl. Add the wings and toss them around until they are thoroughly coated with the oil and spice mixture. Get your air fryer preheating.
Arrange the wings on the rack in your air fryer in a single layer. Don’t worry if they overlap slightly. You may need to do them in batches.
Cook for ten minutes, flip the wings over, and cook an additional 3-5 minutes. Open the air fryer and coat the wings with barbecue sauce, using a basting brush.
Finish cooking the wings, another 2-3 minutes, until the sauce is caramelized and starting to bubble a little.
If you are adding another batch of wings to the air fryer, wipe it out the excess grease with paper towels so your kitchen doesn’t get smoky.
Serve the wings with more sauce on the side, if you like. So good!
If you are serving wings for a main course, this vinegar coleslaw with no mayonnaise is a great side, or maybe you prefer a more creamy coleslaw. Roasted sweet potatoes or baby potatoes are delicious, too.
Temperature controls of air fryers vary quite a bit. I’ve found that 375ºF to 400ºF works best for wings in my air fryer. You may have to experiment just a bit to find the perfect temperature for your air fryer model.
I like to flip them once, halfway through the cooking time, ensuring that both sides will be equally crispy.
Any time you layer, or put food on top of each other in the air fryer, it won’t get as crispy. However, if they slightly overlap, that’s not a problem. The wings do shrink as they cook.
I usually cook wings for ten minutes, flip them, and cook an additional five to ten minutes. Cooking time depends on the size of the wings and how crispy you like them. Because these wings have barbecue sauce on them, they are glazed and not as crispy. Watch closely towards the end of the cooking time so that the sauce doesn’t burn.
Make It Your Own
- The simple spice mixture I use on these wings can easily be adjusted to reflect your tastes. Use smoked paprika instead of regular paprika. Try adding more garlic powder, or a touch of cayenne.
- Marinate wings instead of rubbing the wings with the oil/spice mixture. Take a look at my easy chicken marinades.
- Experiment with different sauces. Try hoisin sauce, spicy gochujang, sweet and sour, teriyaki, or whatever you like best. So many sauces to choose from! Try keto friendly BBQ sauces.
- If you don’t care for wings, make drumsticks. Add a few minutes to the cooking time.
You can get the wings all ready to air fry up to a day in advance. Coat the wings with the oil/spice mixture, cover the bowl, and place it in the fridge. Take the wings out of the fridge to warm up a little while the air fryer preheats.
Storage & Reheating Suggestions
Cooked wings, properly wrapped, will keep up to four days in the fridge and 3 months in the freezer.
To reheat, put them into your air fryer at 350ºF for five minutes. If desired, turn the air fryer up to 400ºF, and cook for an additional 3 minutes to crisp them up.
Frozen wings will take longer but there’s no need to thaw them. Cook them for ten minutes at 350ºF, flip them, and cook an additional 10 minutes.
More air fryer recipes
If you aren’t excited about your air fryer yet, you should be! Try a few of these recipes and I’m sure you’ll be convinced that your air fryer is indispensable.
- Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Tenders
- Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp
- Air Fryer Crab Rangoon
- Air Fryer Chicken Breasts – juicy every time, no need to bread them.
- Air Fryer French Fries – so crispy!
- Air Fryer Potatoes – crispy with hardly any oil!
- Air Fryer French Toast Sticks
- Air Fryer Falafel – so crispy!
- Air Fryer Salmon – this may be our favorite way to make salmon!
- 1 pound chicken wings, split into flats and drumettes
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon canola, vegetable, or avocado oil
- ¼ cup barbecue sauce (plus more for serving, if desired)
- Preheat air fryer to 375ºF.
- Pat dry wings and add to a large bowl. Toss wings with oil and spices until evenly coated.
- Add wings to the air fryer, in an even layer. Depending on your air fryer size, you may need to do more than one batch (see note).
- Air fry for 10 minutes, flip the wings over, and cook for 3-5 minutes more or until the wings are cooked through (165ºF when measured with an instant read thermometer), golden brown, and crispy.
- Brush the cooked wings with barbecue sauce, flipping to coat both sides.
- Air fry again for 2-3 minutes until the barbecue sauce is caramelized and slightly bubbly.
- If making multiple batches, clean excess grease from the air fryer in between batches to avoid smoking.
- Experiment with different sauces. Try hoisin sauce, spicy gochujang, sweet and sour, teriyaki, or whatever you like best.
- To reheat: Put wings into air fryer at 350ºF for five minutes. If desired, turn the air fryer up to 400ºF, and cook for an additional 3 minutes to crisp them up.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.