So you bought yourself one of those nifty air fryer gadgets during Black Friday steals and deals online? Like many others the first thing you think to make is air fryer chicken wings, right? Awesome, cause that is exactly what my nerdy self did. Let me tell you that the first time I made air fryer wings I was not really impressed which kinda bummed me out. I put this air fryer away to the basement. Good grief.
I definitely followed the instructions to the letter, did my best to not put in too many chicken wings. I then set the darned thing to the right temperature and let it cook for 20 minutes. Yeah, golden brown would not be the words I would have chosen for the coloring of these wings. They turned out pale yellow, kinda vampirish looking. Back in the air fryer the chicken wings went for another 12 minutes as I kept checking. After all that, I was left with 8 – 10 wings that were not crispy but cooked and meh ok. The sauce I chose definitely was the star of the dish!
Well I am never one to be defeated when it comes to anything, especially cooking food for myself. I am absolutely going to figure this air fryer out, the wings were not as “crispy” as they should be.
Time to Science These Air Fryer Chicken Wings with My Nerdy OCD self.
Air fryers are just that , hot air that blows your food until its cooked. Lacking oil you automatically think no way it will be crispy. Fear not there is science behind this new fangled cooking method. Using my experience with cooking meats there is one demon that steals away anything from being crispy. Can you guess it? It is one of the reasons that they say you should always preheat and never overcrowd your pan when cooking.
Steam = Not Crispy
So now that you know what this demon is that makes things not crispy, I will tell you our super nerdy secret for making extra crispy wings in an air fryer. If you follow the science, this also works well on cooking on a grill oven or smoker too.
Steam is a by-product of you guessed it, moisture. So what you want to do is super simple to get the most crispiest wings possible in an air fryer is to do the following.
Take out your wings and break them down if you bought wings that were full wings and not already cut up. If frozen, let them thaw overnight in the fridge. Now this is the important step. Lay your wings out on a lined backing sheet pan with a baking rack so that air can get underneath the wings.
Take your wings one at a time and using a paper towel dry as much of the moisture you can off of the wings and place them on the rack. Continue this process until you have a full sheet pan of wings. This is step one of the secret to crispy air fryer wings.
Next, and here is the big nerdy secret to perfectly crispy air fryer wings. Yes they get put into the refrigerator for a few hours to help dry them out some more uncovered. There is one last thing you need to do.
Suspense is Killing Me – Get On With It!
I like to save an empty spice jar with a lid and medium size holes in it for this application and label it as such. Ok, ok, the secret is baking powder. Yep, baking powder. Why you ask? Well baking powder is kinda magical when it comes to absorbing moisture. So when you put baking powder on the chicken wings, it draws the moisture out of the chicken skin and it evaporates into the air. This extra step is what helps the fat content of the chicken skin to cook it the wings. Your air fryer is not wasting time evaporating the water content in the skin, aka steam, aka rubbery chicken skin.
So fill up your empty spice jar with some baking powder (make sure it doesn’t contain aluminum) I like to use Rumford brand. Next sprinkle the powder on top of your chicken wings, a lite coating do you not need much. Then you can add your dry spice rubs or what have you to the wings before placing them in the refrigerator. Let them sit in the fridge for 2-3 hours before you intend to fry them up.
Typically the recipe calls for about 20-25 Minutes for about 12 wings in the air fryer, and half way you toss them around to let them fry evenly.
Voila! Nerdy Extra Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Wings. Now my only conundrum is finding an air fryer than can cook more than 20 wings per batch! I have my eyeball on this one! NuWave Bravo XL, Its Huge!