Making frozen chicken wings in air fryer is my newest easy-meal obsession. Taking frozen wings out of the freezer and straight into my air fryer is just so simple and fast!
We’ve been wings fans for years and I’ve made them just about every way possible. The most popular method to date is my super simple oven-baked recipe for Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings (substitute the seasonings for any flavor you like), but my air fryer is a very close second when I have frozen wings on hand.
I’ll always use the oven method when I’m making a big batch of wings since it simply just holds more wings. I adore my air fryer but it can only hold so much at one time and there’s no getting around that. But if a pound of wings will be enough for dinner, then frozen chicken wings in air fryer is even more convenient. For a quick weeknight meal I’ll throw together a salad and these frozen wings and call it a night.
Ingredients for air fryer frozen chicken wings
To make frozen chicken wings in air fryer you only need two ingredients: wings and cooking oil. Technically you could get by without the oil but it does help get that crispy texture that make air fryer wings so irresistible.
Note: If you’re not adding other seasonings with enough salt, you’ll want to season your wings with a coarse salt at the same time you add the oil.
Now for the fun part: deciding what flavor wings you’re in the mood for! If you decide to up the flavor ante by adding more seasonings, all you’ll need are two more ingredients: melted butter and the seasoning/spice mixture.
For example, let’s take my oven-baked recipe for lemon pepper wings. Whatever method you use to cook the wings – air fry, grilled, the oven, or even the Instant Pot – basting them with flavor will be the same. All you do is mix together the melted butter and seasonings then brush it onto the cooked wings once they’re fully cooked. Sounds too easy to work that well, right? I promise you that it’s not only that simple but also so delicious!
So to recap, here are the ingredients you’ll need for crispy air fryer frozen chicken wings:
- frozen chicken wings
- cooking oil, such as olive or avocado oil (cooking spray will also work)
- melted butter
- your favorite seasoning mixture (see below for suggestions)
How to make frozen chicken wings in air fryer
Although there are a few more steps involved when making wings in the air fryer straight from frozen, it’s incredibly simple to do. Make use of the timer and in less than 30 minutes you’ll have crispy wings on your dinner table!
When you buy frozen wings they’ll be in one big frozen block, so the first step is to air fry them just long enough so you can easily separate the wings. Place the frozen wings into the basket of your air fryer and set the timer for 5 minutes. Check the wings to see if they’re defrosted enough to separate; if not, air fry them for another minute until you can pull them apart.
Toss the wings with just enough oil to coat. If you’re making “naked” wings, season them with salt after coating them with oil (black pepper works too but that’s optional). Seasoning your chicken is almost always a good idea but keep in mind that if you’re adding seasoning later, you might want to skip it depending on the salt content of the seasoning mix you’re using.
Set them in one layer in the air fryer basket and air fry them for another 12 minutes, flipping them over halfway through the cooking time. Flip the wings one more time and cook for about another 5 minutes or so, or until they’re cooked to an internal temperature of 165F and as crispy as you like them!
The wings are ready to be enjoyed at this stage, however if you’re adding a flavor then you’ll want to baste them now with the melted butter/seasoning mixture (see the recipe card at the bottom of this post for more details).
Tips for the BEST frozen chicken wings in air fryer
- If your wings are coated with a lot of ice, be sure to drain any melted water from the bottom of your air fryer as they cook. Simply check for any melted ice and drain it off whenever you’re checking/flipping the wings.
- Because different brands – and even different models – of air fryers cook slightly differently, keep a close eye on your wings the first time you make them. They might take a little longer or possibly even less time depending on the model you use and even just the size of your wings.
- Use just enough oil to lightly coat the wings – they don’t need much to help them get super crispy.
- Make sure the wings are in one layer and, if possible, a little space around each one for air to circulate.
- This same method works for fresh wings, too! Skip the first step for defrosting; the remaining recipe steps will work just fine. Keep an eye on cook time though!
Any flavor will work for this recipe, whether it’s a dry rub mixed with melted butter or your favorite sauce. Here are some flavor ideas so you can enjoy something different every time! SEASONING MIXTURES (mix these with melted butter for basting)
- Lemon Pepper
- Dry ranch dressing
- Garlic Parmesan (mix a little garlic powder with grated parmesan)
- Honey and hot sauce (technically this is a wet coating but it’s mixed with melted butter)
- Jerk seasoning
- Dried chipotle powder then drizzle with maple syrup
- Garlic powder and/or onion powder
- Buffalo sauce (try this keto buffalo sauce, too!)
- Honey and Balsamic
- BBQ sauce
- Warmed cherry jam with adobo sauce (from a can of chipotle peppers)
- Curry sauce
- Straight hot sauce (such as Sriracha) for the bold spice lovers
- Whatever your favorite wing sauce is – the sky’s the limit!
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- 1 lb frozen chicken wings
- cooking oil, such as olive or avocado oil (cooking spray will also work)
- 1-2 tbsp melted butter
- 2-3 tsp of your favorite seasoning mixture OR enough buffalo sauce, etc. to coat the wings (see the post for ideas)
- Place the frozen wings into the basket of your air fryer and set the timer for 5 minutes. Check the wings to see if they're defrosted enough to separate; if not, air fry them for another minute until you can pull them apart.
- Toss the wings with just enough oil to coat. If you're making "naked" wings, season them with salt after coating them with oil (black pepper works too but that's optional). Seasoning your chicken is almost always a good idea but keep in mind that if you're adding seasoning later, you might want to skip it depending on the salt content of the seasoning mix you're using.
- Put them in one layer in the air fryer basket and air fry them for another 12 minutes, flipping them over halfway through the cooking time. Flip the wings one more time and cook for about another 5 minutes or so, or until they're cooked to an internal temperature of 165F and as crispy as you like them!
- Mix together the melted butter and seasoning mixture. Place the wings on a serving plate and baste each wing with some of the mixture or with your chosen sauce. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 511Total Fat: 42gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 24gCholesterol: 114mgSodium: 2835mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 21g
This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix.