How To Get The Crispiest Possible Wings In An Air Fryer

Pile of chicken wings
Pile of chicken wings - Bubbers BB/Shutterstock

There's nothing like biting into a plate of tasty chicken wings, whether that's during a Monday night football game, for a casual get-together, or just for an evening meal. If you're making chicken wings yourself, most recipes will instruct you to pop them in the oven or fry them in oil to get them crispy and crunchy. However, you can also throw this finger food in the air fryer.

The one catch with cooking in the air fryer is that sometimes, it can be tough to get your food to crisp up the way it would if you fry it. Often this happens due to errors such as overfilling the fryer basket or forgetting to flip your food. Other times, however, you're doing everything right, and your chicken wings still don't come out quite as crunchy as you'd like. Luckily, there are a couple of tricks that you can implement to get your chicken wings to turn a beautiful golden brown. Here's how to get crispy wings in your air fryer in just a few simple steps.

Read more: 15 Tricks For Making The Most Crispy Chicken Thighs Ever

Step One: Preheat Your Air Fryer

Person adjusting the temperature on an air fryer
Person adjusting the temperature on an air fryer - Hazal Ak/Getty Images

The first step to getting super-crispy chicken wings in the air frier is to preheat your air fryer. Most people don't realize that air fryers need to be preheated and just bung the food into the basket right away. However, just like an oven, if you really want to get well-cooked food, the key is to preheat your appliance.

Preheating your air fryer means that when you pop your chicken wings into the fryer, they'll start cooking at a higher temperature. This can reduce your overall cooking time and, more importantly, give your wings a more brittle texture and crunch. Some air fryers have a preheat setting on them. If yours doesn't have a specific button, you can perform a manual preheat on your device by setting it to the same temperature as you plan to cook your chicken wings. Either way, you'll only need to preheat your air fryer for about 3 to 4 minutes, depending on the size of the device. Larger air fryers may need a bit more preheating time, whereas smaller air fryers can get away with less time to heat up. This will get your fryer up to temperature so that when you're ready to pop your chicken wings in the machine, they'll start to cook at a higher initial temperature.

Step Two: Prep The Chicken Wings

Plate of raw chicken wings
Plate of raw chicken wings - Aleksandra Berzhets/Shutterstock

The next step to get extra-tasty chicken wings is to pat the wings dry with a paper towel. Patting the wings dry helps remove excess moisture. This is an important part of setting up your wings for the Maillard reaction since any moisture left on the meat will steam rather than brown as a dry surface would. In other words, if you really want golden, crunchy chicken wings, getting rid of any excess dampness on the wing is key.

Once you've patted the wings dry, let them sit out at room temperature for a little while. Allowing your chicken wings to come to a temperature prevents you from getting a crispy exterior and an undercooked interior. To avoid this and ensure your wings cook evenly in the air fryer, leave them out for somewhere between 15 to 30 minutes or until they've warmed up to room temperature. Then, you can move on to seasoning and getting ready to cook them.

Step Three: Season Your Chicken Wings

Person seasoning raw chicken wings
Person seasoning raw chicken wings - Yuriy Golub/Shutterstock

To season your air fryer chicken wings, toss them in a bowl. You can add whatever seasoning you'd like, but a few key ingredients include salt, pepper, and oil. You'll also need baking powder, which is the real secret to getting golden, crispy air fryer chicken wings.

Start by sprinkling baking powder on your chicken wings' skin. Baking powder helps remove additional moisture left on your chicken's skin, ultimately leading to your chicken's skin drying out and getting even crunchier as it cooks. Make sure you avoid baking powder containing aluminum, as this can give your wings an unpleasant aftertaste. You also don't want to mistake baking soda for baking powder, as baking soda can add a not-so-nice aftertaste to your wings.

Once you've added baking powder to the chicken skin, toss them with whatever other seasoning you'd like, salt, pepper, and a smidge of oil. Oil is another trick for getting crispy wings, as it helps your chicken wings get hot enough to crisp up while also ensuring your seasoning sticks to your wings, giving them that tasty flavor you're looking for.

Step Four: Cook Your Chicken Wings

Chicken wings cooking in an air fryer
Chicken wings cooking in an air fryer - Bubbers BB/Shutterstock

Your chicken wings are now prepped and ready to go into the air fryer! Arrange your chicken wings in your air fryer basket, making sure to spread them out a little bit. If your chicken wings are too crowded, take some out. You can always cook them in two batches, but overstuffing them in the air fryer can lead to uneven cooking.

Then, turn your air fryer on and cook the chicken for about 15 minutes between 250 degrees Fahrenheit and 350 degrees Fahrenheit. The exact temperature you use may vary slightly depending on what recipe you're following. However, you'll want to start at a relatively low temperature. This should be the same temperature you preheated your air fryer at in the first step. If you'd like to avoid the mess, layer your basket with foil or parchment paper, which is generally safe in an air fryer at low temperatures. Be sure to look for the maximum heat information on the box and to perforate the paper.

Step Five: Flip Your Chicken Wings

Person holding an air fryer basket with chicken wings in it
Person holding an air fryer basket with chicken wings in it - Enjoy The Life/Shutterstock

After the first 15 minutes of cook time is up, you're still not ready to eat just yet. Go back to your air fryer and turn your chicken wings over to the other side. This will help your wings cook evenly and will ensure that you get the same crispy texture on all sides of the wings. At this point, you should be looking for wings that have changed in color but haven't yet developed a crackling exterior coating.

For your next step, increase your air fryer's temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. If you used parchment paper earlier on, this is where you might consider taking it out, depending on your chosen brand. Turning up the temperature at this halfway point is what's going to help your chicken get extra crispy on the outside. Cook the chicken for another 15 minutes, but make sure to keep an eye (and nose) on things to avoid burning.

Step Six: Check Your Meat's Temperature And Serve

Plate of chicken wings
Plate of chicken wings - Josef Mohyla/Getty Images

The last step to getting delicious, crispy air fryer chicken wings is to check the temperature of your chicken meat. Use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature of your chicken wings has reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. When checking the temperature, probe the most dense part of the meat and avoid the bone, which can give false reading. This will help guarantee that your chicken really is done, even if it seems like it is from the outside.

As long as the wings pass your internal temperature check, you're ready to serve them! Pile them onto a plate and serve them with your favorite dips and sauces or a side of fresh veggies. However you choose to offer them up, such as in this jerk chicken wing recipe, you've now got the key to making extra-crunchy, pub-style chicken in your air fryer.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.