If you're obsessed with your air fryer like I am, you'll love making crispy chicken wings in the air fryer.
Air fryers have changed the way that I cook. They are a healthier alternative to frying and make things like crispy chicken wings possible without the excess oil.
In this recipe, we'll show you how to make irresistibly crunchy air fryer chicken wings using a salt brine and baking powder.
Why you'll love this recipe
You'll want to save this one for your next superbowl party.
How to Make Crispy Chicken Wings
What are the secrets to achieving crispy skin chicken wings in the air fryer?
Using a salt brine is an essential first step in this air fryer chicken wings recipe.
The overnight salt brine works by infusing the chicken wings with moisture and seasoning, resulting in a juicier and more flavorful end product.
If you don't have time for an overnight soak, aim for at least 2 hours.
When the chicken is immersed in the saltwater mixture, the salt molecules penetrate the meat, breaking down its protein structure and allowing the wings to retain more water during the cooking process.
This moisture retention not only prevents the chicken from drying out but also enables the flavors of the brine to be absorbed deeply into the meat. As a result, the chicken wings become thoroughly seasoned from the inside out.
Incorporating baking powder into the seasoning mixture is another important aspect of this air fryer chicken wings recipe that contributes to the chicken wings' exceptional crispiness.
It is important to use baking powder, not baking soda for this.
Baking powder is a leavening agent that contains both an acid and a base. When exposed to heat, it produces carbon dioxide gas, causing the wings' surface to puff up and create a light, airy texture.
This reaction occurs during the air frying process, helping to create a delicate and crispy crust on the chicken wings.
Additionally, the alkaline properties of baking powder promote browning, resulting in a beautifully golden and crunchy chicken wing.
How much baking powder for crispy wings?
For every pound of chicken wings that you're cooking, you should use 1-2 tablespoons of baking powder.
Two different temperatures
Cooking the chicken wings on a lower heat first before cranking up the temperature to a higher heat is a secret technique to achieving exceptionally crispy wings.
Starting at a lower temperature allows the chicken skin to render its fat slowly, resulting in a tender and moist interior.
As the fat renders, it also helps to create a perfect base for the desired crispiness.
After this initial cooking phase, increasing the heat to 400°F (200°C) or higher for the final cooking stage rapidly crisps up the chicken skin, giving it that irresistible crunch.
The combination of the low-and-slow rendering followed by the high-temperature crisping ensures that the chicken wings retain their juiciness while achieving a delectable golden-brown and crispy exterior.
Can I use frozen chicken wings?
For the best results, it's recommended to use fresh or thawed chicken wings. Frozen wings may not absorb the seasoning and brine as well.
Can I use other seasonings?
Absolutely! Feel free to experiment with different seasonings to suit your taste preferences. You can also add herbs, lemon zest, or other spices for more variety.
Garlic Parmesan Wings
After air frying, toss the wings in a mixture of 1 tablespoon melted butter, 1 tablespoon minced garlic, ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese, and chopped parsley for a rich and indulgent treat.
Cajun Spice Wings
Coat the wings with a blend of 1tsp Cajun seasoning, ½ teaspoon paprika, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, and ½ teaspoon onion powder for a bold and spicy Cajun-inspired flavor.
Create a mix of dried herbs with 1 teaspoon each of thyme, rosemary, oregano, and basil to sprinkle over the wings for a burst of aromatic and earthy flavors.
Smoky Chipotle Wings
Combine 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon cumin, and a pinch of cayenne for smoky and spicy wings.
What happens if you use baking soda instead of baking powder on wings?
Using baking soda instead of baking powder on wings can result in a significantly different outcome.
Baking soda is a stronger leavening agent than baking powder, which means it will create more air bubbles and cause the wings to rise more during cooking.
However, using baking soda alone can also lead to an unpleasant bitter taste in the wings.
Can I use cornstarch for crispy chicken wings?
Yes, when used on chicken wings, cornstarch can add a unique crispiness to the outer layer of the wings.
To use cornstarch on chicken wings, you can toss the wings in a mixture of cornstarch and your desired seasonings before cooking them in the air fryer. The cornstarch creates a light and crunchy coating on the wings, enhancing their overall texture.
How long do I brine the wings?
Brine the wings for at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours for the best flavor and texture.
Can I reuse the brine?
No, it's best to discard the brine after use due to potential contamination from the raw chicken.
The Crispiest Air Fryer Chicken Wings
For the Salt Brine:
- 2 pounds approx. 907g of chicken wings
- 4 cups 960ml of water
- ¼ cup 60g of kosher salt
For the Seasoning:
- 1 teaspoon 5g of garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon 5g of smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon 5g of onion powder
- ½ teaspoon 2.5g of cumin
- ½ teaspoon 2.5g of cayenne pepper (adjust according to spice preference)
- ½ teaspoon 2.5g of black pepper
- 1 tablespoon 15g of baking powder
Step 1: Prepare the Salt Brine
- In a large bowl, combine 4 cups of water and ¼ cup of kosher salt, stirring until the salt dissolves completely.
- Add the chicken wings to the saltwater mixture, ensuring they are fully submerged.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours. For even juicier wings, you can brine them overnight.
Step 2: Season the Chicken Wings
- Remove the chicken wings from the brine and pat them dry with paper towels.
- In a separate bowl, mix the garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and baking powder to create the seasoning mixture.
- Toss the dry chicken wings in the seasoning mixture until each wing is evenly coated.
Step 3: Air fry
- Preheat your air fryer to 250°F (120°C) for about 5 minutes.
- Lightly grease the air fryer basket with cooking spray or brush with a small amount of oil to prevent sticking.
- Place the seasoned chicken wings in a single layer in the air fryer basket, ensuring they are not overcrowded. You may need to cook them in batches.
- Cook the chicken wings at 250°F (120°C) for 20 minutes.
- Increase the temperature to 400°F (200°C).
- Cook for an additional 15-20 minutes, flipping them halfway through to ensure even cooking and browning.
- For extra crispiness, you can cook the wings for an additional 2-3 minutes, but be careful not to overcook.
Step 4: Serve and Enjoy!
- Once the chicken wings are cooked to perfection, remove them from the air fryer and let them cool for a minute or two.
- Serve the hot and crispy air fryer chicken wings with your favorite dipping sauce or alongside some fresh veggies for a delightful meal.
The combination of the salt brine, flavorful seasoning, and the magic of baking powder creates chicken wings that are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
This air fryer chicken wing recipe is a healthier and equally tasty alternative to traditional fried chicken wings.
If you're looking for other easy and healthy dinners, check out these recipes.