I’ve tried so many air fryer recipes for breaded fried chicken wings with gorgeous pictures of the perfect fried chicken. The problem is that no matter how many times I tried, you can’t get that perfect breaded coating. It’s flaky and simply coats in patches. That’s just how air fryers work. Well, I have discovered the fool-proof method of getting the BEST crispy breaded fried chicken wings. Every. Single. Time. They are extra crispy and crunchy on the outside, and tender and juicy on the inside. You can't even tell that they are not deep fried! So so good.
The secret is that you have to precook the wings for a few minutes in the frying pan. This gets the breaded coating to stick onto the chicken. Then, when you place the wings into the air fryer, it finishes cooking them and gets the breaded coating super crispy and crunchy. And of course, no patches.
Ingredients in Crispy Fried Chicken Wings
- chicken wings - approximately 10 pieces
- olive oil - just a little bit
- soy sauce
- granulated sugar
- salt and pepper
- cayenne pepper - to give a spicy kick (completely optional)
- all-purpose flour - for the breaded coating. You can easily substitute this with panko breadcrumbs for a different texture.
- vegetable oil - for pre-cooking the chicken. You will need 1/8-inch of oil in a frying pan (unlike deep frying which needs about 3 inches). I used about 1/4 cup in my large frying pan.
How to Make the Best Fried Chicken Wings in the Air Fryer
- Marinate the chicken. Place chicken wings in a Ziploc bag. Add olive oil, soy sauce, sugar, salt and pepper (and cayenne, if using) in the bag. Shake well to combine, press air out of the bag and seal tightly. Press the marinade around the chicken to fully coat. Place in the fridge and marinate for at least 1 hour, up to overnight.
- Coat the chicken. Add flour in a shallow bowl. Add beaten egg in another shallow bowl. Roll the chicken wings in the flour, then dip in the eggs, and then back in the flour once more.
- Pre-cook the chicken. Preheat oil in a cooking pan over medium heat for 3 minutes. Place the coated chicken wings in the pan and cook for 1 minute on each side until the flour coating turns light brown.
- Air fry the chicken. Remove from heat and place wings on a plate for 5 minutes to cool down, then place in the air fryer basket. (Note that 10 pieces of wings fit perfectly in the air fryer basket). Cook at 350 F for 20 minutes. Open and shake the basket halfway through to make sure they cook evenly.
- Season the wings. These wings are delicious as is. You could also add extra seasoning. I sometimes like to drizzle a homemade garlic sauce on top. To make, just heat some olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add garlic, Italiano seasoning, salt and chilli peppers (optional, for a spicy kick). Sauté for 1-2 minutes until garlic becomes fragrant. Remove from pan and drizzle on top of the chicken wings.
FAQ and Tips for the Best Breaded Chicken Wings
- Pre-cook the chicken. Pre-cooking the wings for a couple of minutes will not only help create a crunchy outer breading but also make the breading stick well. You can directly cook in the air fryer without pre-cooking but the breading tends to be flaky and can come off easily, leaving patches.
- Shake the air fryer basket halfway through cooking. This will ensure an even distribution of heat and even cooking.
- Can I double this recipe? Yes, you can double up the recipe, but depending on the size of your air fryer basket, I would recommend cooking it in two batches if you are doubling up. You don't want to overcrowd your air fryer, and this will ensure that all the wings are cooked evenly.
- Can I make this in advance? Wings are best served hot. You can reheat quickly in the air fryer or in the oven, if needed.
- I don't have an air fryer, can I still make this? Yes, you can make this easily in the oven at 425 F for 30-35 minutes.
More Air Fryer Recipes
- Air Fryer Spring Vegetables "Stir Fry" with Tofu
- Easy Air Fryer Lamb Chops with Dijon Garlic Marinade
- Air Fryer Black Cod with Black Bean Sauce
- 6-Minute Air Fryer Asparagus
- Honey Garlic Chicken Wings
Did you make this recipe? I would greatly appreciate a comment and rating below, letting me know what you thought of the recipe. You can also snap a picture and tag me on Instagram @aheadofthyme or share it on the Pinterest pin so that I can follow along.