Satisfy your craving for crispy and juicy BBQ chicken wings with this easy air fryer recipe. Perfect for game day or a quick weeknight dinner!
Easy Air Fryer BBQ Wings with Dry Rub
Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Wings seasoned with dry rub and topped with barbecue sauce are delicious crispy wings that are better than deep fried. This easy air fryer chicken wing recipe is perfect for family dinner or a game day appetizer!
These crispy air fryer wings are super easy to make and so much healthier than the deep fried kind. Season them with a simple dry rub or your own seasoning blend, cook them in the air fryer and brush with your favorite BBQ sauce. So good!
I've been having the best time testing new air fryer recipes! Honestly, though, I've probably made wings more often than anything because they are super easy and so good this way. My family loves noshing on these crispy BBQ wings for a light dinner or a weekend snack. And game day? Oh, these savory barbecue wings make delicious game day appetizers!
You only need a few simple ingredients for this air fryer BBQ wings recipe. what you don't already have at home should be easy to find online or at your local grocery store. Full amounts are in the printable recipe card below.
- Chicken wings -- I use drummettes, but you can cut up whole chicken wings
- Brown sugar -- for the dry rub
- Sea salt
- Garlic powder
- Smoked paprika
- Ground black pepper
- Baking powder -- makes wings extra crispy
- Olive oil spray -- or any cooking spray to help prevent wings from drying out
- Barbecue sauce -- we like Sweet Baby Rays, but any brand will do. You can also use homemade barbecue sauce.
How to Make BBQ Chicken Wings in the Air Fryer
First, you need make the dry rub. I use this same basic dry rub recipe whenever I make my Instant Pot Baby Back Ribs or just about any recipe with BBQ sauce.
Using a dry rub adds more flavor, and it helps make the skin crispy. I also add a pinch of baking powder to help make the wings even crispier.
Next, be sure to pat the wings dry with a paper towel. You want to get rid of as much moisture as possible.
Then, season the wings all over with the dry rub, and place them on the air fryer cooking racks or in the air fryer basket. Spritz wings with olive oil spray for extra crispy skin.
Preheat your air fryer to 390 degrees, and add the chicken. I have made chicken wings in an oven-style air fryer and a basket-style air fryer, and the techniques are slightly different.
Oven Style -- If you're using an oven-style air fryer with 2 or more trays, switch the trays about halfway through the cooking time.
Basket Style -- If you are using a basket-styler air fryer like the Ninja Foodi, shake the wings during the cooking time or do them in batches in a single layer for best results.
How Long to Air Fry Wings
These air fryer wings were baked to a crispy goodness in just 25 minutes! As you can see, they've got a lot of meat on them.
If your wings are smaller, air fry the wings for 15 to 20 minutes. the cook time might be shorter.
You could even go for 30 minutes if your wings are large.
Forgot to thaw frozen chicken wings? No problem! Cook frozen chicken wings for 20 to 25 minutes or until internal temperature is 165 degrees f on a meat thermometer. If wings are precooked, air fry them for 10 to 15 minutes or until heated through.
All air fryers are different, and cooking time may vary with different brands and models.
Finish these crispy air fryer chicken wings off with a generous coat of your favorite BBQ sauce or homemade bbq sauce and watch them disappear! Add your favorite dips or dipping sauces for additional flavor.
Pro tip -- Definitely keep a stash of napkins handy -- BBQ wings are messy, but worth it!
How to Store and Reheat Leftover Wings
Store leftover BBQ air fryer wings in an airtight container or zip top bag. They will keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
Reheat leftover wings in the air fryer for best results. You can reheat in the microwave, although they won't be crispy. Or, enjoy them cold! My family loves snacking on cold chicken wings.
Variations and Substitutions
There are a few ways to customize these air fried crispy chicken wings to your liking.
Use your favorite sauce. Stick with your favorite barbecue sauce, or try a spicy barbecue sauce, Sriracha sauce, ranch dressing, blue cheese, or honey BBQ sauce.
Season wings however you like. Red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, chili powder, and onion powder go great in dry seasonings. If you want, ditch the bbq sauce completely and make some air fryer lemon pepper wings!
The great things about these super easy wings is that there are so many different flavors to choose from. The only thing you'll have a hard time doing is picking between all the different options!
Air Frying Tips
Be sure to pat wings dry before seasoning and don't skip the baking powder! This helps keep the skin extra crispy.
Spritz with olive oil spray for extra crispy skin.
Place wings in a single layer for best results. If using an oven style air fryer, switch trays half way through cooking time.
Slather on your favorite barbecue sauce after cooking the wings!
Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Wings
- 2 pounds chicken wings
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- olive oil spray
- Barbecue sauce
- Mix the spices and baking powder together in a small bowl
- Pat chicken wings dry with a paper towel
- Rub mixture over wings until well coated, and place wings on air fryer cooking racks
- Spritz wings with olive oil spray
- Preheat air fryer to 390 degrees, add wings to air fryer, and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, rotating trays about half way through cooking. Internal temperature should be at least 165 degrees according to meat thermometer
- Remove from air fryer, brush with your favorite BBQ sauce, and enjoy!
Nutrition information is estimated. Please do your own calculation to fit special diets.
Easy air fryer BBQ chicken wings are one of my favorite things to make for a quick meal. My kids say these are the best air fryer chicken wings they've tasted!
These crispy air frier chicken wings make a great appetizer and the perfect game day snack!
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Recipe published in 2019 and updated in 2024.