This air fryer firecracker chicken recipe turns out so good!! Just like a Panda Express or Yard House copycat version at home.
You know that delicious firecracker chicken recipe you love at your favorite Asian restaurant? Well, you can make it right at home now for much cheaper. Crispy chicken wings that are spicy for dinner or a killer appetizer when friends come over, it’s a real win. One of many easy air fryer recipes on our site. (affiliate links present)
Firecracker Chicken Recipe
Why do we love making it in our Ninja Foodi, AirWave or Cosori? Because let’s be honest, you can bake crispy chicken wings but it takes a lot longer. AND they never get as crunchy on the outside as it does using this quick method.
We started by making these dry rub air fryer wings and those were amazing. Sometimes you want SPICY though, so if you’re in the mood for some heat, this will knock your socks off for sure.
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- THIS is my Favorite Air Fryer!
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- Here’s a printable air fryer cook times chart here for your fridge.
- It has temp. and times for making the best frozen foods for air fryer too.
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Once you get the base down you can add really any sort of sauce to coat them at the end that you want. Use bottled teriyaki, Frank’s hot sauce, or barbecue. If you make multiple batches you can make a few of them so everyone can try different creations.
This is what you will need for the crispy coating and homemade hot wings sauce that was used:
- Defrosted chicken wings
- Garlic powder
- Salt and pepper
- Chili flakes
- Spicy sauce
- More chili or red pepper flakes
- Hot sauce comes in mild, medium heat or really spicy
- Apple cider vinegar
- Brown sugar
You will air fry the meat first and then toss those in the sauce of your choice. That way they get super crispy chicken skin. You could use this same method, but a longer cook time, for drumsticks sometime too.
It depends on what pieces you are cooking of course. Wings will take the least amount of time vs. chicken breast in air fryer that will take the longest. You always want to ensure it reaches a safe 165 degrees F in the thickest part before consuming.
What is firecracker sauce made of?
We list the ingredients used above and in the recipe card below but typically it is a mixture of chili flakes, brown sugar, hot sauce, vinegar and butter. Everyone has slightly their own version but the basics are usually as follows with small variations.
Is firecracker chicken spicy at Panda Express?
That is subjective but I would say yes. It is too much for me beyond 2 bites or so, that is why this copycat version is so much better. You can adjust the heat to your liking so it doesn’t make you cry.
Some like it beyond fiery and others just want a hint of heat. Making it at home is great to adjust it perfectly for YOU.
Firecracker Chicken Wings
If you do choose to do another cut of the bird you may need to increase the initial cornstarch mixture amounts. You want the outsides to be nicely coated as you see here. This will pull the moisture out of the skin making it really crispy.
Time needed: 17 minutes.
Air Fryer Firecracker Chicken
Lay chicken wings on a few paper towels to absorb moisture on the skin. Put into a bowl with all ingredients listed under it (sauce will be made separate)
Toss chicken wings, cornstarch and seasonings together so all are well coated. Preheat air fryer to 350 degrees F for 5 minutes.
Lay coated wings in air fryer basket without overlapping. May need to do more than 1 batch. Spray tops with olive oil. Close and cook the chicken for 10 minutes.
Flip to the other sides for another 7-8 minutes until nicely golden brown. Can spray olive oil at the very end to get them closer to deep fried crunch. Do this until all wings are done.
In a bowl mix ingredients for the firecracker hot sauce. In a large bowl add the sauce over cooked wings and toss to coat nicely. Garnish with chopped cilantro, red chili flakes and sesame seeds.
Prep for all of this is about 15 minutes, the rest is just cook time. You can just make a few for 2 of you or make multiple batches for a larger crowd. Just cook, sit on a baking sheet in the oven on warm until all of them are done. Then toss with the buffalo sauce brown sugar mix at the very end so it is all done at once.
Serve these air fryer hot wings with some fried rice if you’re using this as a complete meal. Or enjoy as an air fryer appetizer. Looking for other air fryer wings recipes? We have a few others to try like:
- Air fryer lemon pepper wings are quick to make at 400 degrees tossed with a light sauce.
- Our frozen air fryer chicken wings are handy to have when you have forgotten to defrost dinner in time.
- You can enjoy Instant Pot chicken wings too and throw them into your hot air machine when done if you’d like too.
You can jump to recipe below and get started.
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Air Fryer Firecracker Chicken
- Lay chicken wings on a few paper towels to absorb moisture on the skins. Then put into a bowl with all ingredients under it (sauce will be made separate)
- Toss wings and seasonings together so all are well coated.
- Preheat air fryer to 350 degrees F for 5 minutes. Lay coated wings in without overlapping (so may need to do more than 1 batch). Spray tops lightly with olive oil. Close and cook for 10 minutes, flip to other side for another 7-8 minutes until browned.
- Do this until all wings are done. In a bowl mix ingredients for the firecracker hot sauce. In a large bowl drizzle sauce over cooked wings and toss to coat nicely.
- Can garnish with chopped cilantro, red chili flakes and sesame seeds.