Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Wings with Buffalo Sauce — You don’t have to fry chicken wings to get them extra crispy, juicy, and finger-licking good thanks to the tangy buffalo sauce! FAST, EASY, and everyone LOVES these air fried crispy chicken wings! Oven baking instructions also provided.
Crispy Air Fried Chicken Wings Recipe
Were you gifted an air fryer for the holidays and wondering what to make first with it? Or are you one of those people who does not fry anything in the house? Like me!
Or are you just someone who loves crispy chicken wings, the tangy zip of hot steamy buffalo sauce, and find them irresistible?
Look no further than this easy recipe for crispy air fryer chicken wings!
Crispy skin on the outside with tender and moist meat inside and lots of messy but oh-so-addictive buffalo wing sauce.
I included my recipe for homemade buffalo sauce. It’s a “semi-homemade” (cue the Sandra Lee vibes) sauce that starts with hot sauce and continues with butter, vinegar, and more.
It takes just minutes to melt together the butter with the handful of other ingredients and I find that the buttery sauce is silky and creates succulent chicken wings.
Make these wings for your holiday parties, New Year’s Eve parties, game day and Superbowl parties, graduation parties, or any time you’re craving finger-licking good chicken wings.
Oven baking instructions are also provided in case you don’t have an air fryer.
Ingredients in Air Fryer Chicken Wings
For these easy, crowd-favorite chicken wings and the homemade buffalo sauce, you only need a handful of easy to find fridge and pantry ingredients including the following items:
- Chicken wings
- Kosher salt
- Hot sauce
- Unsalted butter
- White vinegar
- Worcestershire sauce
- Garlic powder
- Cayenne pepper, optional
Note: Scroll down to the recipe card section of the post for the ingredients with amounts included and for more complete directions.
How to Air Fry Chicken Wings
It doesn’t get any easier to make restaurant-worthy crispy chicken wings at home than this air fryer recipe. Here’s an overview of how to make wings in the air fryer:
Step 1: Preheat the air fryer to 400F.
Step 2: Spray the basket of the air fryer with nonstick cooking spray, pat the wings with a paper towel, evenly sprinkle the wings with salt, place them into the basket, and air fry for 10 minutes.
Step 3: Open the machine, flip the wings over, spray them with cooking spray, lower the temp to 390F, and air fry for about 10 more minutes, or until the chicken wings are crispy and done.
Tip: While the wings are air frying, make the buffalo sauce so it’s ready and waiting when the wings are done.
How to Make Homemade Buffalo Wing Sauce
Making homemade buffalo wing sauce is a cinch and comes together in minutes with just a few ingredients.
Mix together the hot sauce, butter, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, and optional cayenne in a small sauce pan and heat until bubbly and butter has melted.
Trivia: Hot sauce and buffalo sauce are not the same!
- Hot sauce is just that – hot sauce.
- Whereas buffalo sauce includes hot sauce, but also includes butter, vinegar, garlic, Worcestershire, garlic powder, and optional cayenne. Mix it all together in a small saucepan and heat to melt the butter and stir until a silky sauce forms.
- I am partial to either Franks’s RedHot Original or Crystal Hot Sauce. However use your favorite!
- If you want a totally store bought option, Frank’s RedHot Original Buffalo Sauce will work in a pinch.
What Kind of Chicken Wings Are Best for This Recipe?
For these crispy chicken wings in the air fryer, I use split wings. Split wings mean the drumette (or drumstick) part of the wing is separated from the flat part.
You could use whole chicken wings, however air frying time will increase and you will only be able to fit a few wings at a time in your air fryer, so you’ll be cook many, many batches. Not ideal.
Therefore, I recommend using a small knife to separate whole wings into the flat part and the drumette if that’s what you’ve got on hand.
Can You Air Fry Frozen Chicken Wings?
I almost always use frozen wings (more economical) but if you have fresh wings, they’ll be excellent.
You’ll need to thaw frozen wings before air fryer to reduce overall air frying time. You can theoretically air fry frozen wings but you’ll need to cook them for about 5 additional minutes, plus one additional flipping over, or as necessary until done.
What’s the Best Air Fryer for Chicken Wings?
There are so many models and different brands of air fryers on the market. I’ve had mine for many years, and when I was investing in mine, I bought this 5.8 quart XL Cosori model.
I like it because the basket is big (none of them are exactly “huge” in my opinion) so I don’t have to cook in as many batches.
There are models on the market now that have double baskets like this 10 quart Ninja Double Basket. It’s basically twice as big as my Cosori. Personally, I don’t have the storage space for this but if you do, I think it could be a great option!
Can I Make Chicken Wings in the Oven?
For those of you who don’t have an air fryer, don’t worry! You can still make crispy chicken wings in the oven.
Serving and Storage Suggestions
Like any type of wings, air fryer buffalo chicken wings are best served hot and fresh for maximum crispiness and saucy perfection.
However, extra wings will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days noting they won’t have the same crispy texture as they did when freshly made.
Tradition begs that these air fryer buffalo chicken wings are served with carrot and celery sticks with some ranch of blue cheese dressing, but it’s up to you.
Looking for More Air Fryer Recipes?
In case you were just gifted an air fryer, or have resolutions to get healthier and cook in a healthier fashion, or you’re an air frying pro, I’ve got you covered with these air fryer recipes:
- Air Fryer Crispy Chicken Breast
- Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets
- Air Fryer Chicken Taquitos
- Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts
- Air Fryer Twisted Bacon
- Air Fryer Pork Chops
- Air Fryer Copycat Cracker Barrel Meatloaf
Tips for the Best Air Fryer Chicken Wings
Making air fryer chicken wings with your own buffalo sauce is easy and rewarding, especially when you bite into that perfectly crispy wing with sauce that coats every nook and cranny. Here are my take-away tips and tricks for the best air fryer chicken wings.
Nonstick Cooking Spray – Nonstick spray is your friend in any air fryer recipe. Spray the basket liberally to make sure food doesn’t stick and for easier cleanup.
Also spray the wings themselves after you flip them. Air frying works best when you have a small amount of oil. You really can’t achieve great crispy “fried” results without at least a little bit of oil. So I give a fast once-over spritzing.
I use Pam Original but you can use your favorite brand or an oil mister if you have one.
Don’t Crowd – The cardinal rule of air frying anything is do not crowd the air fryer basket. If in doubt, cook the remaining food in another batch.
This is because air fryers are really just mini convection ovens with hot air swirling around the food which is what creates the crispy exterior texture. However, if air can’t swirl because you’ve crowded the basket, you won’t end up with crispy food. And in this case, your chicken wings won’t be crispy.
Take the Temperature – Air frying little chicken wings isn’t rocket science and knowing when they’re done is no where near as tricky as knowing when your Thanksgiving turkey is done.
However, if in doubt, use a digital thermometer and make sure it reads 160 to 165F before removing the wings.
Pin This Recipe
- 2 pounds chicken wings, divided (split wings recommended, thaw if using frozen*)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup hot sauce (such as Franks Original or Crystal)
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Pinch cayenne pepper, optional and to taste
- Preheat the air fryer to 400F.
- Pat the wings with a pape towel and evenly sprinkle the kosher salt over them.
- After air fryer has preheated, spray the basket generously with cooking spray and place the wings in a single layer in the basket. Tips - For best results, add them in a single layer, not touching, and do not crowd the basket. You will be air frying in 2 batches unless you have a double basket air fryer, so no need to crowd the first batch.
- Air fry for 10 minutes.
- Open the basket, flip the wings over, lightly spray the wings with cooking spray, lower the temp to 390F, and air fry for about 10 more minutes, or until wings are lighly golden browned, crispy, and done. If in doubt, check the internal temp with a digital thermometer which should read 160-165F. All air fryers vary so air fry until your wings are done, given your machine and variables. Set cooked wings aside in a large bowl.
- Repeat the process with the remaining half of the wings (air fry for 10 minutes, flip and lower the temp, air fry again for 10 minutes). Place them in the same bowl with the other previously air fried wings.
- While the wings are air frying, make the buffalo sauce but adding the hot sauce (I like Frank's RedHot Original Sauce or Crystal Hot Sauce), butter, white vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, and optional cayenne to a small saucepan, and heat over medium-high heat for about 3 to 5 minutes, stirring nearly continuously to encourage the butter to melt.
- After the second batch of wings has been air fried and placed in the large bowl, pour the buffalo sauce over the wings as desired, tossing and flipping well to make sure all the wings are evenly coated. Tips - You may not need or want all the sauce, and if you don't that's fine. You can also simply dip the air fried wings in buffalo sauce individually while you're eating them if preferred.
- Extra wings will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days, and extra sauce if you have any leftover, for up to 10 days. Note that leftover wings will lose their crispiness and fresh and hot wings are always best. Reheat gently in the microwave or air fry again for a few minutes to try to warm them and crisp them up a bit more, if desired.
*If using frozen wings that you have not yet thawed, you can air fry them, but they will need about 5 minutes extra cooking time. After 10 minutes and flipping them and then air frying for 10 more minutes, check them. You'll likely want to flip them again, spray them again lightly with cooking spray, and then air fry for 5 more minutes, or until they're done.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 178Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 46mgSodium: 207mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 7g
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