No disrespect to your local pitmaster, but this Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Wings is to die for. Bonus: It’s super easy to make! Fry it, to believe it!
Like Buffalo wings, air fryer barbecue chicken wings are immensely popular throughout the US. They have all the flavor of delicious, saucy barbecue, but in the fun and convenience of chicken wings.
Wings are a perfect food for the air fryer, and tossing them in spicy sweet BBQ sauce makes them even better.
In this recipe, you use the air fryer to make some awesome crispy wings, and then toss them into a warm, homemade BBQ sauce!
Table of Contents
Air Fryer Barbecue Chicken Wings Ingredients
Here are everything you need to make sticky yet uber delicious honey bbq chicken wings.
- Chicken wings
Homemade BBQ Sauce:
- White vinegar
- Brown sugar
- Cayenne pepper
- Smoked paprika
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
📣 You can find the exact measurements and adjust the number of servings in the recipe card down below.
The sauce we make in this recipe is a sweet and spicy honey barbecue. If you prefer your barbecue sauce less sweet, you can omit the honey, or purchase any sauce that fits your preferences at the grocery store.
There are usually dozens of options to choose from, ranging from smokey to super sweet, and everything in between!
How to Cook BBQ Chicken Wings in an Air Fryer?
Making barbecue chicken wings in the air fryer is simple, and the results are crispy and flavorful! The air fryer cooks the wings quickly and the whole recipe won’t take you more than 30 minutes! If you decide to use premade sauce, then it’ll be even quicker.
1. Thaw your frozen chicken wings overnight or use fresh ones.
We prefer fresh chicken wings, when possible!
The frozen ones can sometimes hang on to a lot of water, which can make it hard to get them crispy, especially if they’re not totally defrosted.
If your chicken wings are frozen, the best way to thaw them is in the refrigerator overnight.
If you don’t have the time for that, the next best way to thaw frozen wings (or meat of any kind) is by putting the sealed package into a large bowl and filling it with cold water, ensuring the wings are fully submerged. Change the water every 30 minutes until the chicken no longer feels frozen, about 2-4 hours.
2. Preheat the air fryer to 400°F (204°C).
If your air fryer doesn’t have a preheating option, you can set the temperature to 400ºF (204ºC) and then let it cook for 5 minutes.
Please don’t skip this step.
Prolonged cooking time is one reason why air fryer chicken wings can become dry. To prevent this, it’s important to cook the wings for the shortest amount of time possible.
3. Pat the chicken wings dry and lightly season them.
If your chicken wings are connected (rather than the pre-cut version often labeled “party wings”), carefully cut apart the drum portion of the wing from the wingette, at the joint.
Then, find the joint between the wing tip and the wing, remove the wing tip and discard.
Add the chicken wings to a medium-sized bowl and thoroughly pat dry with a paper towel.
💡Pro Tip #1: Water is the enemy of crispiness! Frozen wings tend to be more wet, so be sure to really dry them before adding salt.
Sprinkle with salt, about ½ tsp per pound of wings, depending on your preferences. Toss well to ensure the salt coats all the wings.
😎 Pro Tip #2: For a little extra crispness, toss with 1-2 tsp of high-heat cooking oil, such as canola or vegetable oil.
4. Air fry the chicken wings for 20-25 minutes.
When the air fryer is fully preheated, add the wings in a single layer and cook for 18-20 minutes or until thoroughly crispy and golden, flipping them at least once during cooking.
To check if the wings are totally cooked, insert a meat thermometer into the largest wing, close to the bone: the temperature should be at least 165°F (74°C) or higher.
I used a 6-quart air fryer to test this recipe. Cooking time and temperature may vary depending on your air fryer and the number of servings you are making. For optimal results, begin with the lower end of the suggested cooking time.
5. Prepare honey barbecue sauce.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the sauce ingredients: ketchup, honey, brown sugar, white vinegar, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and salt.
Whisk to combine and bring to a boil. Once the mixture is boiling, lower heat to a simmer. Reduce mixture, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens significantly, about 20 minutes.
Set aside and keep warm until ready to use.
6. Coat air fried chicken wings with honey barbecue sauce.
When the wings are totally cooked and crispy, carefully transfer them to a clean, medium-sized bowl. Add the sauce, about ¼ cup at a time, tossing with the wings until you get the desired level of sauciness!
7. Serve & enjoy!
That’s how you make BBQ wings in the air fryer!
Serve wings immediately with more barbecue sauce and other dippers of choice.
Air fried fries or onion rings (link to recipe) would be delicious served alongside these saucy wings!
This barbecue sauce is packed with flavor and would be good applied to more than just wings!
Double the sauce recipe and use it on other cuts of chicken, pork, and even salmon! The sauce (before it comes into contact with chicken) can stay in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Freezing & Storage
The best way to store chicken wings (in the fridge or freezer) is without the sauce, so if you’re not planning on eating all the wings, set some wings aside before tossing in BBQ sauce.
Freezing: Once the wings have cooled completely, add to a freezer-style zip-top bag or airtight container and freeze for up to 2 months. To reheat, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and then follow the instructions below.
Fridge: Once the wings have cooled completely, add to a zip-top bag or airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Reheating: To reheat wings without sauce, add to an air fryer preheated to 350°F and air fry for 4-5 minutes or until heated through. Do not overcook to avoid drying out the wings.
To reheat wings that already have sauce, microwave at 50% power for 2-3 minutes or until fully heated through. Alternatively, microwave for 1 minute on high power and then transfer to an air fryer at 350°F for 2-3 minutes or until crisped again.
BBQ Chicken Wings Air Fryer FAQs
How to make barbecue chicken wings in the air fryer?
To prepare barbecue chicken wings from scratch in the air fryer, begin by lightly seasoning them with salt and pepper. Next, preheat your air fryer to 400°F (204°C) and cook the wings for 20-25 minutes, until crispy and golden. Finally, coat the air fried wings with the barbecue sauce.
How long does it take to cook frozen BBQ wings in an air fryer?
Cooking frozen BBQ wings in the air fryer may take 25-30 minutes at 400°F (204°C). However, cooking time and temperature will depend on your air fryer and the number of chicken wings you’re making.
How to cook Tyson Honey BBQ wings in the air fryer?
To prepare Tyson Honey BBQ Wings in the air fryer, cook them at 400°F (204°C) for 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway. Cook until the wings are golden and crispy. It is recommended to add the sauce after air frying. Preheating is not required.
Can I air fry barbecue wings with sauce?
Avoid air frying barbecue wings with the sauce on them as the high cooking temperatures could burn the sugars in the sauce, resulting in burnt chicken wings and potentially causing smoke.
Simply Irresistible Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Wings
- 1 pound chicken wings 10-12 pieces
- 3 tablespoon barbecue sauce ready-made
Homemade Barbecue Sauce (Optional)
- ½ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1½ teaspoon brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ⅛ teaspoon onion powder
- ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
- Thaw your frozen chicken wings overnight or use fresh ones.
- Preheat the air fryer to 400°F (204°C).
- While preheating, pat the chicken wings dry with paper towels. Then, lightly season them with salt. You can also add pepper if you want.
- Once the air fryer is preheated, place the chicken wings inside and cook them for 20-25 minutes, or until they are golden and crispy. For even cooking, be sure to space the wings out and flip them halfway. If air frying from frozen, add 3-5 minutes.
- Prepare honey barbecue sauce from scratch or use a ready-made one. To make fresh BBQ sauce: combine ketchup, honey, white vinegar, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
- After air frying the chicken wings, coat them with honey barbecue sauce. Toss until the wings are fully covered.
- Serve with celery and carrots on the side, ranch dipping sauce, fries or onion rings. Enjoy your Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Wings!
- For optimal results, it is recommended to use fresh chicken wings.
- The best way to thaw your chicken wings is to leave them in the refrigerator overnight. Another effective method for thawing wings is to place them in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes. It typically takes 2-4 hours for the wings to fully defrost.
- We do not recommend defrosting them in the microwave as it may dry out the meat and potentially make it unsafe to eat.
- If you air fry wings directly from frozen, it will have a dry texture and require a longer cooking time (additional 3-5 minutes).
- If your air fryer doesn’t have a preheating option, you can set the temperature to 400°F (204°C) and then let it cook for 5 minutes.
- Preheating and thawing your chicken wings properly will yield juicier results. Based on our tests, the longer you cook your chicken wings, the drier they will become.
- It’s not ideal to wash your chicken wings as it may contaminate your kitchen.
- Chicken wings are considered as white meat and should be cooked to a temperature of 165°F (74°C) or higher.
- Since the honey barbecue sauce is already flavorful, you can skip seasoning the chicken wings before air frying.
- For a little extra crispness, toss with 1-2 tsp of high-heat cooking oil, such as canola or vegetable oil.
- It’s ideal to add the honey barbecue sauce after air frying. It can get burnt at high heat, and may even produce smoke.
- I used a 6-quart Instant Pot Vortex Plus to test the air fryer barbecue chicken wings recipe. Cooking time and temperature may vary depending on your air fryer and the number of servings being prepared. For best results, start with the lower end of the suggested cooking time.
Share or save this recipe for later:
Have you tried making the honey BBQ chicken wings air fryer recipe?
Leave us a note, and give this recipe a star rating. Good or bad, we appreciate your opinion. Let’s improve this air fryer recipe as a community!
Or you can also subscribe to our Youtube Channel. We’re constantly uploading easy and tasty air fryer recipe videos, ASMR style.
Thank you for your support!