The easiest and crispiest air fryer chicken wings you’ll ever make. These are seasoned with paprika to give them a little heat, crispy outside, juicy inside, and taste so good you’ll be making them on repeat! Since they’re gluten-free, dairy-free, and paleo-friendly too, these wings make the perfect snack or appetizer. Best eaten with our homemade Sriracha chili sauce or this 5-minute easy garlic aioli.
We finally bought an air fryer!
This year seems to be the year of kitchen appliances (for us at least). In a short span of a couple of months, we’ve bought a slow cooker (I know, we were super late to the slow cooker game, and we love it – especially because this slow cooker lentil curry makes dinner such a breeze) and most recently, we finally purchased an air fryer after debating for the longest time.
We were first introduced to the concept of the air fryer two years ago when we were living in Washington D.C., and our friends Cat and Luis raved about their latest kitchen acquisition. At that time, we weren’t very convinced, but two years later, on a quest to eat better and healthier, with less oil in our foods, we decided it was time to give the air fryer a try.
What is an Air Fryer? How does it work?
Basically, an air fryer is a smaller version of the convection oven, and cooks by circulating hot air around the food using the convection mechanism. A mechanical fan circulates the hot air at high speeds, producing a crispy layer on the food via the browning mechanisms of caramelization and the Maillard reaction.
Because of the hot air circulating, significantly less oil is required to achieve the same crispy and browning effect that the oven or the deep fryer would require. Which means that you’d use less oil, foods cooked in the air fryer are healthier compared to other methods of cooking.
The Easiest Fried Chicken Wings
When I was young, one of my favorite foods was fried chicken wings – and the best part about the wings was the crispy skin that had browned to golden perfection. Yet because I don’t like deep frying foods (it makes the house smell like a fast food restaurant, and uses copious amounts of oil), I’ve never actually made fried chicken wings at home.
When our air fryer arrived, one of the first recipes we tested was this one for air fryer chicken wings, and these turned out so good even Juan was hooked! These chicken wings are so easy you can whip them up in literally less than 15 minutes for a small batch, and 30 minutes for a double batch.
All you need are chicken wings , ground paprika (for a little heat), salt, and pepper. Depending on the size of your air fryer, you could leave the entire wing intact, but since my air fryer is rather small (slightly more than 3 quarts), I prefer to cut the wings into flats and drums (you can use both flats and drums, but I personally prefer the flats – I leave the drums for making chicken broth).
Tip for Extra Crispy Wings
As with any method of cooking, to get chicken or any meat crispy, you need to make sure to dry it of any water. So the first thing you’ll have to do is to pat the wings dry.
Pro Tip: Don’t skip this step! It’ll really bring out the crispiness, and is totally worth the extra 2 minutes of time to pat the wings dry.
Season the Chicken Wings
When you’ve finished patting the chicken wings dry, mix the paprika, salt and pepper together and sprinkle the mix all over the chicken wings. Use your fingers to season the chicken with the dry rub all over.
The chicken wings naturally contain fat, so we don’t need extra oil to cook them (unlike deep frying, which requires a lot of oil).
How to Air Fry Chicken Wings?
First up, you’ll want to spray the surface of air fryer basket with non-stick cooking spray. This is to prevent the chicken from sticking to the basket, since we’re not using oil to cook the chicken.
Once the basket has been sprayed with oil, return the basket to the air fryer and set it in place.
Just like you would for a normal oven, make sure to preheat the air fryer to the desired temperature for at least 3 to 5 minutes so that the air fryer is already hot and ready for cooking when you place the food in the basket.
In this case, preheat the air fryer to 400F for 3 to 5 minutes before placing the chicken wings in.
The best thing would be the place the chicken wings in one single layer (as opposed to variously layers) so the wings crisp up evenly and quickly.
However, if your air fryer is smaller (as in my case – my air fryer has a capacity of just slighly over 3 quarts) and you need to cook a larger batch of wings, you can stack the wings up to 2 layers, but make sure to rotate them every 5 minutes so the wings cook evenly all over.
Note that the cook time for these air fryer chicken wings may vary depending on the size of your air fryer and the number of wings. As long as you check on the wings and rotate them every 5 minutes, they will be ready once they are golden brown and crispy on all sides.
Once the wings are golden brown and crispy all over, remove them from the air fryer basket and serve hot.
These wings are literally the best appetizer of snack because you can cook a batch in just 15 minutes with no oil required!
Plus, these turn our incredibly crispy on the outside and are still unbelievable juicy and tender inside. That’s a double whammy in my book!
If you enjoyed this, you’ll also love these other recipes:
- Crispy Baked Yuca Fries (Gluten-Free, Vegan)
- Easy Creamy Hummus (Gluten-Free, Vegan)
- 5-Minute Homemade Popcorn (Stovetop & Microwave)
- Gluten-Free Teriyaki Chicken
- Easy Garlic Aioli (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)
- 5-Minute Homemade Sriracha Chili Sauce (Gluten-Free, Vegan)
The easiest and crispiest air fryer chicken wings you’ll ever make. These are seasoned with paprika to give them a little heat, crispy outside, juicy inside, and taste so good you’ll be making them on repeat! Gluten-free, dairy-free, and paleo-friendly too, these wings make the perfect snack or appetizer. Best eaten with our homemade Sriracha chili sauce or this 5-minute easy garlic aioli.
- 1 pound fresh chicken wings (flats and drums only, remove the tail)
- 2 teaspoons ground paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Fresh chopped parlsey, for garnishing (optional)
- Sriracha chili sauce or garlic aioli for serving (optional)
- Fresh lemon wedges, for serving (optional)
- Pat the chicken wings dry with a paper towel, and place them in a large bowl.
- Mix the ground paprika, salt, and pepper together and sprinkle the mix all over the chicken wings, and then use your fingers to rub the seasoning all over the chicken.
- Spray the air fryer basket with non-stick cooking spray preheat the air fryer to 400F for 3 to 5 minutes. Once the air fryer has been preheated ready, place the chicken wings in a single layer (or two if necessary). Cook for 15 minutes, flipping the wings over every five minutes until golden brown and crispy on all sides.
- Serve chicken wings hot with a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley and our homemade Sriracha chili sauce or easy 5-minute garlic aioli.
Do Not Overcrowd: Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may need to place the wings in one or two layers. I don’t suggest more than 2 layers, and I highly recommend flipping the wings every 5 minutes so that they brown and crisp evenly on all sides.
Fresh vs. Frozen: I used fresh chicken wings in this case, but you can also use frozen chicken wings. Just make sure to defrost the chicken wings first before using them.
Multiple Batches: If you plan to cook various batches for a crowd, simply place the cooked wings in the oven at 250F to keep them warm until the rest of the wings are fully cooked.
- Category: Appetizers
- Method: Air Fryer
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: air fryer chicken wings