Crispy BBQ Glazed Chicken Wings (Air Fryer)
- 14 wing sections
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tbsp paprika
- vegetable oil spray
- BBQ sauce of your choice
Place fresh (thawed) wing sections in ziplock bag.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, salt, pepper and paprika.
Dump seasoned flour in ziplock. Close ziplock and shake well, getting all the chicken coated.
Spray light coat of vegetable oil in bottom of air fryer basket.
Using tongs, pick wing sections out of bag, shake off excess flour, and lay in basket, doing your best to keep them to one layer and touching as little as possible.
Spray a light coat of vegetable oil on the top of the wings in the basket. You do NOT have to flip them or spray the other side right now. You just want the flour moistened on top a bit before cooking.
Cook the wings for 20 minutes at 370 F, flipping them over at the halfway point and spraying vegetable oil VERY lightly on any dry spots.
Once the wings have cooked for 20 minutes, using a basting brush, LIGHTLY baste your choice of BBQ sauce on the top side of the wings. This moistens any flour that remains a little dry. The thicker the sauce is, the less likely it will be a beautiful caramelized glaze, so go light.
Cook wings BBQ sauce side up for 2 minutes at 400 F.
Flip wings over, baste with BBQ sauce, again going lightly and making sure any dry patches of flour are moistened. Cook at 400 F for 2 minutes.
More detailed instructions
First, if you’re wondering about tools, air fryer I’m using, etc, please check out this blog post.
Place the wing sections in a ziplock bag. Mine are already in one, because that is how I store them after breaking down a flat from the supermarket. I do not pat them dry, having them be slightly damp helps the flour adhere AND cook.
In a small bowl, dump the flour, salt, pepper and paprika, and whisk so it’s very well blended. I use a lot of paprika, because I like that heat underlying whatever sauce I use, which to be honest is whatever I have a partial of lying around. From the cheap generic BBQ sauce from Aldi’s to something nicer like a Sweet Baby Ray’s, any glaze can go over the base wings. If you don’t care for it being too spicy, you can reduce or leave out the paprika entirely. I do not season this chicken directly because the seasoned flour does a very nice job of staying on the chicken.
Dump the seasoned flour right in your chicken bag, seal up with an air pocket trapped inside, and shake the heck out of it, moving the chicken pieces around so everything gets nicely coated.
Now spray vegetable oil in the bottom of your air fryer basket to give it a nice light coating. This prevents sticking, helps prevent losing flour coating off the chicken bottoms, and also helps moisten the chicken bottoms as it cooks the first 10 minutes.
Pick out chicken wing sections from the bag with tongs, shaking all the excess flour off of them. The thicker your flour is, the gummier it will likely be. A nice thin coating will crisp up well.
Lay the wings as carefully as you can in the basket, keeping it to one layer and trying not to crowd it. The whole point is to have that hot air blasting every bit of surface area it can reach. That is why I don’t use paper liners or second level trays or anything else in the basket. You want as much air flow as you can get.
I’m actually not too happy with this. It’s crowding a lot, but that’s because this half flat of wings was very fresh and plump, lot more meat than usual. I know, terrible problem, too much yummy chicken, how horrible. It’s okay, it turned out fine. The chicken does firm up and shrink a little while cooking.
Spray the TOP of the floured wings with more vegetable spray. A very light spray, if you have a mister that works with vegetable oil that’s even better. You just want the flour to be slightly moist, not soaked. Remember, as the chicken cooks, natural fat and juices will be released that self-moistens the flour, more on the bottom than the top.
This is what mine looked like after spraying the top. You can see there are still dry patches of flour, because I’d rather go light on oil. Later on, you will be lightly basting BBQ sauce on the wings and that will moisten any dry patches.
Okay. Time to cook. Put the basket in and cook the wings for 20 minutes at 370 F. At the ten minute point, you’ll flip the wings over. Spray any super dry patches very, very lightly with oil.
You can see, even here at the halfway point they’re looking like they’re getting nice and golden brown.
Finish cooking the remaining 20 minutes.
Get your BBQ sauce of choice and a basting brush ready.
After the 20 minutes of cooking are over, it’s time to get the glaze on and caramelized. Baste the tops of the chicken lightly with your BBQ sauce. You shouldn’t need that much, because you want a thin coating. It’ll caramelize under high heat without losing the crispiness you just built up with the flour. If you use too much sauce, it’s not a bad thing, but the wings will be more towards the sticky side.
There, that is the top side sauced prior to cooking.
Cook that top side at 400 F for 2 minutes. You’re looking for high heat to caramelize the glaze.
At the end of two minutes, pull the basket out, flip the wings over and baste the bottoms, and cook for another 2 minutes at 400 F.
Done! Overall cooking time 24 minutes at no less than 370 F. Even with these super thick and juicy wing sections, they were cooked thoroughly all the way to the bones.
Last thoughts. This time (as shown in this picture) I did NOT cook them at 400 F for the last four minutes. I cooked them at 370 F because, as I mentioned in the previous Tips blog post, my air fryer does not like cooking at 400 F. The control panel goes wonky. So this time I tried it staying at 370 F just to see how they would turn out. As you can see from the picture, they are NOT all beautifully caramelized. They’re more on the crispy/sticky side. Still darn yummy, but not quite how they usually turn out.
I do this all the time, every batch of wings I make I’m trying something different, just to see what happens. The only hard and fast rule is to always make sure you cook the wings through. Never risk eating under-cooked chicken. But if you want to try more or less salt or pepper in the flour, add some cayenne pepper, use Heinz 57 sauce for your glaze instead of BBQ or maybe even some tikka masala, go for it. Worse that happens is that you’re eating wings that aren’t quite what you were expecting, and that’s never that bad a thing.