This air fryer chicken wings recipe makes crispy, succulent, saucy, and satisfying buffalo wings. They may not look like the ones you’re used to, but trust us when we say they taste like the real deal.
Whether you’re looking for a quick meal, or are not a patient person who enjoys cooking, or need a winning dish for National Chicken Wing Day (July 29), this recipe is for you. Once the buttons are pressed, these wings will cook and automatically turn out amazing with or without your presence.
Are Air Fryer Chicken Wings Healthy?
By making these treats in the air fryer instead of a deep fat fryer, you’re doing your body a big favor.
For starters, air-frying requires very little oil (no oil in this recipe). This allows you to cut out a large portion of potential calories from your diet, making calorie management easier.
If you’re worried about the wings not turning out crispy, fear not. Under the intense and constant heat, the fat inside the wings leaks out and fuses with the coating, making it crispy without any oil.
Plus, by making fried foods in an air fryer, you’re avoiding consuming cancer-promoting substances. These can be formed as the starch in the food reacts with the hot oil for a long time.
How Our Chicken Wings Are Different
Watching calorie intake isn’t the only factor making up a healthy diet, and this is supported by the USDA in their latest guidelines. Other nutrients need to be taken into consideration too, such as sodium, saturated fat, and added sugar, all of which buffalo wings tend to have plenty of.
Seeing this but loving the dish, we began our journey of making a healthy buffalo wings recipe, and it started with the sauce. The buffalo coating and the blue cheese dip tend to be salty, with the blue cheese dip also piling on plenty of saturated fats.
Realizing there’s no healthy (and tasty) way to have both in one dish, we decided to skip the dip. Plus, we made our own buffalo sauce, which shares the same flavors as the store-bought but not the saltiness.
If you can’t do without the dip, a well-seasoned yogurt and herbs would do. It does a great job cutting right through the heat of the buffalo sauce.
As a result, each portion of our air fryer chicken wings recipe has the right amount of calories and the aforementioned nutrients.
We flavored the flour that coats the wings with the most basic seasonings: salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, and onion powder. Most of the time, you can use this combination to season any kind of food.
The buffalo sauce is also pretty simple: chili, cumin, vinegar, sugar, butter, and Worcestershire sauce. It’s mildly hot, tangy, salty, sweet, and glossy red, making it look exactly like the real deal, but homemade.
You can check out the recipe for our buffalo sauce here. It won’t take long to make (we made ours while the wings were cooking).
How to Cook
Begin by making cuts right in the joints, and once the wings are divided into three, discard the tip. Wash the drumette and wingette clean, and pat them with a paper towel.
Be sure not to pat them too dry. A little bit of moisture helps the coating stick.
After that, it’s pretty straightforward: flour the wings, air-fry them, then toss them with the buffalo sauce.
We realize it can be messy to eat, so we didn’t toss ours but served the sauce on the side instead. You can serve it however you like.
While the wings are cooking, feel free to do other stuff. We used that time to mix the sauce and make the salad, which is also quick and easy to make.
As promised, we’ll show you how to store the wings in the freezer. By doing this you’ll be able to have crispy wings anytime you want, after just 15 minutes.
How to Store and Reheat
A rule of thumb when it comes to fried food is to leave no leftovers. Refrigerated fried foods aren’t the same when reheated — losing moisture and texture.
What you can do instead is as soon as you flour the wings, place them in a Ziploc bag and freeze them. You can add the frozen wings straight to the air fryer — they’ll thaw in there and cook as if they’re freshly prepared.
How Long Do You Cook
1. Fresh Chicken
The wings need exactly 13 minutes in the air fryer. Longer than that and they’ll burn.
2. Frozen Chicken Wings
Frozen wings need 15 minutes to cook in the air fryer. They’ll thaw and turn crispy without additional thawing.
Tips for Cooking
To save time individually coating them, fill a large paper bag or Ziploc bag with the flour and seasonings. Prep the wings, then add them to the bag and give them a good shake.
Doing this should have the wings all coated in less than 2 minutes.
The wings are succulent, flavorful and hot, so we paired them with other foods to help balance them.
First, some garden freshness from tomatoes, lettuce, and red onion on the side. You can make a tangy salad by squeezing some lemon juice on top if you want.
Then, a little creaminess from our loaded potato salad. It’s really comforting to eat, and most importantly, it mellows out the heat.
To round things up, a cool, thirst-quenching glass of simple lemonade. This adds a satisfying and cleansing feel to round up the meal.
This might seem like a lot of work, but we promise that each element is easy and quick to make. Health-wise and taste-wise, they’re the perfect companions to go with these fried wings with buffalo sauce.
Explore These Air-Fried Dishes
Chicken Milanese is one of our favorite healthy meals. The meat is thin, nicely spiced, and so crispy it’s almost impossible not to crave a second helping. When chicken parmesan just seems too heavy, chicken Milanese is indeed what to look for.
With juicy chicken thighs wrapped in savory bacon, today's bacon wrapped chicken thighs recipe makes a delicious meal. It's a simple dish to prepare, but it's memorable to serve and delicious to eat. Combine it with creamy mashed potatoes and boiled green beans for a well-rounded meal full of goodness!
Toss the wings with 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/4 tsp chili powder, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/4 tsp salt, 2 tbsp flour, and 1 tbsp olive oil. You can store these wings in the freezer for later use, or fry them right away.
Preheat the air fryer to 375°F.
Meanwhile, make the buffalo sauce (if you haven’t) and mix it with 1 tsp honey, 1tsp mustard, 1 tsp cilantro, and 1/4 tsp salt.
Add the wings to the frying chamber and cook for 10 minutes. Flip and cook for another 3 minutes (5 if they’re frozen).
Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables (4 oz cherry tomatoes, 3 oz Romaine lettuce, 1 oz red onion, 2 tbsp parsley), make the potato salad, and lemonade.
Remove the wings and serve with the sauce and sides. You can toss the wings with the sauce for an authentic experience or keep it on the side for dipping.
Air Fryer Chicken Wings
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 468Calories from Fat 297
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 8g
Polyunsaturated Fat 6g
Monounsaturated Fat 16g
Vitamin A 2455IU
Vitamin C 22mg
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef who believes that joy is the secret ingredient to delicious food. At Healthy Recipes 101, Tuyet personally tests and simplifies every recipe, ensuring maximum flavor with minimal effort. With a background at prestigious French restaurants P’TI Saigon and Le Corto, Tuyet knows how to make every dish exceptional.
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.
Lizzie Streit is a Minneapolis-based dietitian and founder of It’s a Veg World After All. She completed her MS in Human Nutrition from Drexel University, and is an expert in culinary nutrition, recipe development, and nutrition communications. Lizzie’s philosophy is centered around making nutrition recommendations, and especially the advice to eat more vegetables, approachable and realistic. She is excited to be working with the team at Healthy Recipes 101 to ensure that their recipes are both nutritious and delicious.
The air fryer chicken wings turned out great! The flavor was so nice, with the perfect balance of savory and spicy.