Crispy Flavorful Air Fryer Chicken Wings Recipe

Crispy, Flavorful Air Fryer Chicken Wings

Chicken wings are an all-time favorite appetizer or snack. There’s just something irresistible about that crispy exterior giving way to the juicy, tender chicken inside. My favorite way to make chicken wings is in the air fryer. Air frying gives you all the crispy, crunchy texture you want from fried wings without frying them in oil deep. Plus, air frying is fast, easy, and much healthier.

Crispy Flavorful Air Fryer Chicken Wings Recipe

These Parmesan Garlic Air Fryer Chicken Wings will become your new go-to wings recipe. They have the perfect balance of savory, salty, garlicky, cheesy flavors coating tender, juicy chicken. And because they are made in the air fryer, they take only 30 minutes from start to finish with just 5 minutes of prep time.

Even better, you only need 5 basic ingredients you likely already have on hand – chicken wings, olive oil, garlic powder, Parmesan cheese, and basic seasonings like salt and pepper. Once tossed in the simple, flavorful coating mixture, the wings cook up incredibly crispy and absurdly flavorful in the air fryer in less time than preheating your oven.

These become addictively delicious wings with very little work, thanks to the air fryer. Pair them with ranch or blue cheese dressing for dipping and some crisp celery and carrot sticks for the perfect game-day appetizer or weeknight dinner.

Benefits of Air Frying Chicken Wings

Air frying has become my preferred way of cooking chicken wings for several reasons:

1. Air frying makes the wings incredibly crisp and crunchy without deep frying them in oil. The hot, high-powered air circulating the wings in the air fryer dries them out, similar to what deep frying does, but without submerging them in hot oil. This gives you all the texture and crispy crunch you want without the excess grease.

2. Air-fried wings cook much faster than traditional oven-baked wings. Whereas oven wings can take upwards of an hour to bake at a high temp, air fried wings take only 20-25 minutes at a slightly lower temp. The powerful heat from the air fryer circulates all around the wings from all sides, cooking them through quickly.

3. Air frying uses less oil and fewer calories than deep-fried wings. You only need a small amount of oil to lightly coat the wings before air frying. The oil helps the seasoning mixture stick to the wings. But you use far less oil because the wings cook suspended in the air fryer basket rather than submerged in oil. This keeps the wings lighter and lower in calories than traditional fried wings.

4. Air frying is easier and less messy than pan frying or baking wings. There’s no need to monitor wings carefully on the stovetop to prevent burning or splattering oil. And clean-up is easier since oil isn’t splattering out of a pan. The self-contained air fryer basket catches any excess oil or drippings neatly. This makes air-fried air-fried wings an especially good choice for quick, easy weeknight dinners.

Choosing Wings for Air Frying

The best wings to use for air frying are split wings – meaning both wing segments are separated into the meatier drumette and the smaller wingette or “flat” sections. This allows the wings to cook more evenly in the air fryer.

Whole chicken wings or wings still connected can be used but may require a few minutes longer cook time and more frequent tossing and flipping to ensure even crispness.

When working with whole or connected wings, I recommend cutting shallow slashes along the thinner side of the wing segment to allow heat to penetrate better and moisture to be released while cooking. This helps the thinner wingette sections cook at the same rate as the thicker drumettes.

For the Parmesan Garlic Air Fryer Wings, I prefer plain chicken wingettes rather than drumettes. The wingette section’s wider surface area allows more cheese and garlic coating mixture to adhere. But you can certainly use drumettes or a mix of both wing segments.

No matter which wing type you use, be sure your wings are patted very dry before coating and air frying. Any excess moisture on the exterior will steam the wings rather than allowing them to get crispy while cooking.

I like to pat my washed and dried wings with paper towels right before mixing them with the oil and seasoning to ensure they are very dry. This step makes a big difference in getting ultra-crispy air-fried wings.

Seasoning and Coating Wings for Air Frying

One of the best parts about cooking wings in the air fryer is how quick and easy it is to add flavor. With traditional oven-baked wings, getting seasoning evenly distributed and a nice crispy coating can be tricky.

But air frying allows you to quickly toss the wings with oil and seasoning mixtures right in the air fryer basket immediately before cooking. As the air fryer heat swirls around, the oil and seasonings coat and adhere to the wings beautifully.

For these Parmesan Garlic Wings, the coating mixture couldn’t be simpler. Good quality olive oil provides a nice, flavorful base and helps the Parmesan cheese and garlic powder stick.

Be sure to use extra virgin olive oil rather than lighter varieties like plain olive or light-tasting oil. The extra virgin olive oil’s bolder, more peppery flavor enhances the other ingredients.

Speaking of ingredients, the garlic and Parmesan do most of the flavor work here. Use fresh, high-quality Parmesan that you finely grate yourself rather than pre-grated Parmesan, which can have added fillers and anti-caking agents.

Freshly grating your Parmesan makes a difference in flavor and how well the cheese browns and crisps on the wings. I use a microplane grater, which produces almost powdery fine Parmesan perfect for coating wings.

And don’t be shy with the garlic powder, either. This recipe calls for a generous 2 teaspoons, which may seem like a lot if you aren’t used to cooking with garlic powder.

But it provides just the right punch of garlicky flavor to complement and enhance the cheese. Basic salt and pepper are all needed for some seriously tasty, crispy wings straight from your air fryer.

Crispy Flavorful Air Fryer Chicken Wings Recipe

Air Fryer Tips and Tricks for Perfect Wings

Because air fryers cook with a powerful blast of circulating hot air rather than hot oil, getting the best results does require keeping some key tips in mind:

1. Don’t Overcrowd the Basket

Arrange wings in a single layer as much as possible. Overcrowding will prevent air from circulating properly around the wings, resulting in uneven cooking. Better to work in batches to avoid overcrowding. Overcrowding can also cause excess moisture to release from the wings, making it harder to achieve a crispy exterior.

2. Toss and Flip Frequently

Especially when working with multiple layers or a full basket of wings, toss and flip them a few times while cooking. This helps ensure even exposure to the circulating air for uniform crispness. Plan to toss the wings at least 2-3 times, but you may need to flip them as often as every 5 minutes, depending on how many you are cooking.

3. Brush the Basket with Oil

Lightly brushing the air fryer basket with oil before adding the wings can help prevent them from sticking as they cook. Any neutral-tasting oil works well for this. I also sometimes spray the basket with nonstick cooking spray instead of brushing with oil. Either method helps the crispy wings release easier when flipping or removing them.

4. Check Internal Temperature

While the cooking time range listed in the recipe is accurate, always verify wings are fully cooked by checking the internal temperature with an instant-read thermometer. Chicken should reach an internal temperature of at least 165°F. The juices should also run clear when pierced with a knife or fork rather than pink or red. Check in a few spots to confirm wings are cooked through.

5. Let Wings Rest Before Saucing

If you want to add sauce to your air-fried wings, wait until after cooking to coat them. Brushing with savory sauces like buffalo, BBQ, teriyaki, etc., too early can cause burning or make it harder to achieve crispy skins. Let the cooked wings rest for 5 minutes after air frying, then coat with your favorite sauce and serve.

Step-By-Step Instructions to Cook this Recipe

1. Pat wings completely dry with paper towels. Make sure they are very dry for the crispiest results.

2. In a large bowl, toss the wings with the olive oil until evenly lightly coated. The oil helps the seasoning mixture adhere.

3. In a small bowl, stir the grated Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

4. Add the Parmesan garlic mixture to the oiled wings and toss very well using your hands or tongs until the cheese and seasoning fully coat each wing.

5. Arrange the coated wings in the air fryer basket in a single layer, placing thicker drumette sections to the sides and flatter wingette sections in the middle using both.

6. Air fry at 375°F, flipping wings every 5 minutes, until deeply golden brown and crispy outside with an internal temperature of at least 165°F, about 22-26 minutes.

7. Transfer wings to a platter and sprinkle with more Parmesan cheese if desired. Serve hot with dipping sauces like ranch, blue cheese, etc. Enjoy!

Customize the Flavor

The simple garlic Parmesan mixture on these wings packs a flavor punch. But the air fryer coating technique also works great with all wing flavors; try these tasty variations:

Southwest Style: coat wings with olive oil, then top with chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne, and salt

Lemon Pepper: mix lemon zest with black pepper, thyme, salt, olive oil

Nashville Hot: coat cooked wings with hot sauce and brown sugar butter mixture

Asian Ginger Sesame: combine toasted sesame oil, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic and chili sauce

Jerk Style: blend Caribbean jerk seasoning with brown sugar and lime juice

The possibilities are truly endless when it comes to seasoning air-fried wings. Part of the fun is experimenting with different flavor combinations to discover new favorites!

Serve Air Fried Wings Five Ways

These ultra-crispy, flavor-packed wings are delicious on their own. But part of what makes wings such a popular appetizer is the fun sauces and sides that go with them. Here are 5 of my favorite ways to serve wings straight out of the air fryer:

1. The Classic – blue cheese or ranch dressing with celery & carrots

2. Asian Inspired – sweet chili and sesame ginger dipping sauces

3. Tacos – toss wings in buffalo-style hot sauce and stuff into warmed corn tortillas with fixings like avocado, Cotija cheese, shredded lettuce, etc.

4. Nachos – pile wings on top of crispy tortilla chips, beans, salsa, cheese, jalapeños, etc.

5. Sliders – tuck wings under the bun of mini sandwiches along with pickles, sauce, melted cheese, etc.

Whether you want to keep things classic with ranch or get creative with recipes like wing tacos or sliders, air-fried wings lend themselves perfectly to just about any sauce, dip, or style you love most.

Storing and Reheating Leftover Air Fried Wings

One of the few downsides to wings is that these tasty bites disappear fast! But when you have leftover wings, they store and reheat quite well.

To store wings:

Let cooked wings cool completely, then transfer them to an airtight container. They will keep crispest if stored plain without sauce. Refrigerate for 3-4 days.

To reheat:

Place wings on a foil-lined baking sheet and reheat in a 400-degree F oven for about 10 minutes if refrigerated or 15-20 minutes if frozen, until hot throughout. They will crisp as they reheat. Or you can give them a quick second pass through the air fryer again, which also helps revive the crispy texture.

Once the wings are hot, toss them again with your favorite sauce if desired.

Freezing Works Well Too

Wings also freeze beautifully either before or after they are cooked. To freeze raw wings, place them in a single layer on a parchment paper lined pan and put in the freezer overnight until hard. Then, transfer the frozen wings to a freezer bag or other airtight container. They will keep 6 months frozen.

To cook frozen wings, add a few extra minutes to the air fry time and check the temperature to ensure they are fully cooked. You can also thaw frozen wings overnight in the refrigerator before cooking.

Already cooked wings can also be frozen by spreading them out in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet to freeze solid individually for a few hours.

Then gather the frozen wings into freezer bags or containers for storage. This keeps them from freezing into a solid clump. Reheat frozen cooked wings wings straight from the freezer at 400°F in the oven or toss back in the air fryer to revive the texture.

More Air Fryer Wing Recipes to Try:

If these Parmesan Garlic Wings get you hooked on air frying (and they likely will!), then keep the wings coming with these additional flavor-packed recipes:

  • Sweet Soy Glazed Wings
  • Jerk Dry Rubbed Wings
  • Maple Buffalo Wings
  • Cajun Hot Wings
  • Thai Peanut Wings
  • General Tso’s Wings
  • Crispy Bacon Wrapped Wings
  • Mustard Fried Onion Wings
  • Jamaican Jerk Curry Wings

Crispy Flavorful Air Fryer Chicken Wings Recipe

The air fryer opens up a world of quick, easy, and healthier ways to cook wings. Ditch the deep fryer and try your new favorite kitchen gadget with one of these tasty wing recipes. Your crispy wing cravings will be satisfied!

So there you have it – everything you need to know for making the juiciest, crispiest, most flavor-packed chicken wings from your air fryer. These Parmesan Garlic Wings are just the start.

You’ll want to experiment with endless flavor ideas once you see how quick and easy air-fried wings are. Air frying is the best way to achieve tender, juicy chicken and an incredibly crisp, seasoned coating in less time and with less oil and effort. Get your air fryer out and munch on some crazy delicious wings quickly. But be warned – they will disappear fast!

If you enjoy the sweet and savory flavors of these air fried Parmesan garlic wings, try making these equally delicious Grilled Teriyaki Chicken and Pineapple Skewers for another fun and tasty chicken appetizer.

Leave a Reply