The best air fryer wings recipe covered with a dry rub for chicken that is amazing! If you’re looking for healthy fried chicken, these naked chicken wings in your air fryer are the answer. Simple and flavorful without using any oil to cook them.
Ok so I got a dual air fryer/toaster oven around Christmas time and I was really curious to use the air fryer because I hadn’t used one before. My first attempt was this air fryer wings recipe using a dry rub that is fabulous and not drippy messy like some others. Air frying vs frying is a much healthier way to get food crispy but without any oil needed! Just rub your spices on your wings, throw them in the basket and in no time at all you have delicious crispy chicken wings without any oil splatters. Or that heavy feeling you get when you eat fried foods. (originally published 4/17, affiliate links present)
Are you obsessed with your air fryer too??
Here are a few details on the machine I usually use.
- This is the Ninja Cooking system we have
- You can grab a free recipe book here. 😉
- You’ll find more Ninja Foodi air fryer recipes here too.
- Join my Ninja Foodi EASY Recipes Facebook group for more recipes.
Items needed to make this air fryer wings recipe with a dry rub
- Cayenne pepper
- Chili powder
- Garlic powder
- Cinnamon is optional
If you’re new to this method of cooking it’s like eating deep fried chicken but is as healthy as baked chicken. The best of both worlds I tell you. Before we got this nifty kitchen appliance we used baking powder to make really crispy chicken wings in the oven. Now we can skip heating the whole house up and make these air fry chicken wings in about 30 minutes flat!
What does dry rubbed mean?
It just means that it isn’t a sauce. Using dry spices without any liquid is a great way to really pack on a lot of flavor without being goopy and messy. We use this flavoring method a lot when making most of our smoker recipes.
- Believe me, dry rubbed chicken wings are the bomb!!
- Of course you can omit or decrease the spice level if you wish but this comes out mild/medium.
To make things easier I just blend them all together, throw them into a gallon ziploc bag and shake!
- Adding about half at a time is best so that the outsides get a nice thick and even coat.
How many wings can you cook in an air fryer?
Well, that depends on what machine you have. If I am using my Foodi I can add 6-7 at a time without overlapping them. That is important if you really want the chicken skin to be quite crispy. Another tip is to spray the inside of your air fryer basket with non stick spray before adding your chicken pieces. That will help with cleanup.
I also have the Cuisinart air fryer toaster oven (special thanks goes out to them for the gift). We had a toaster oven forever and got rid of our toaster years ago. Having both in one kitchen appliance was a huge benefit because I don’t have a lot of counter space.
- This one has a rack as well as an air fryer pan with holes on the bottom that holds about the same number of wings. I would say that about 6 at a time is pretty common. Just coat and then cook in batches.
Most air fryers work very similarly. They just look different and may have a variety of options but the directions to cook remain the same.
If you enjoy sauce on your wings feel free to add some after they are cooked but this dry rub is plenty and extremely flavorful so it’s really not needed.
Many of you might have a traditional air fryer that looks like this. The basket is more like a bucket. No matter which style you use the main rule of thumb for cooking chicken wings is you want to put them in a single layer or the seasonings will stick and come off. But more importantly they won’t get that really crispy chicken skin you want.
- Another tip is you want to flip the wings halfway through the cooking time.
How do you make wings in the air fryer?
- Rinse and pat wings dry with paper towels
- Preheat air fryer at 400 degrees for 5 minutes
- Mix dry rub together and pour into gallon baggie
- or you can just sprinkle with salt and pepper if you’d rather
- Lightly spray chicken pieces with olive oil spray
- Put 6-7 inside bag and shake
- Spray air fryer basket with non stick spray and place wings inside
- Cook for 16 minutes, flipping wings halfway through
- Remove and enjoy immediately (put in another batch if desired immediately)
If you’re looking for the best air fryer chicken wings recipe here ya’ go!
- Total cook time for one batch is about 20 minutes including the preheating time.
- Of course time will vary slightly depending on how large your pieces are.
- Range for us has been 16-18 minutes total per batch.
Here’s a peek at our Ninja Foodi wings at the beginning.
What can I put on wings?
- Fry sauce is the bomb!
- Ranch dressing is a given
- Blue cheese dressing
- Soy sauce
- Buffalo wing sauce
- homemade recipe here
You can decide when they’re done if you think they need sauce or dip, we think they’re amazing as is.
- For us they are perfection as is and a great healthy way to get super crispy wings.
How do you cook frozen wings in an air fryer?
My preferred method is to pressure cook them first to get them nice and tender using my pressure cooker frozen chicken wings recipe, and then throw them into my air fryer. I have made Ninja Foodi chicken wings many times this way.
- You can preheat your machine to 360 degrees for 5 minutes
- Put them into your basket in one layer
- Cook for 6 minutes, flip and then 6 minutes again
Negative to this route is they will be plain, dry rub will not stick beforehand. BUT if this is all you have then just use a sauce to coat them at the end and enjoy! They will also be crispier if they are not frozen. Keep that in mind, but it is always handy to have information for both methods handy in case you forgot to thaw out what’s needed for dinner that evening.
If you’re looking for other great chicken and wing recipes here are a few other favorites
- Slow cooker teriyaki chicken wings
- Sriracha baked wings have an amazing sauce
- Here’s how to grill chicken wings
- If heating up the grill we have these other bbq food ideas to make too.
- Our air fryer chicken thighs are pretty amazing too. You can use this same rub for them.
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Air Fryer Wings Recipe
- Mix all ingredients except chicken wings in a bowl, combine well. (cinnamon is optional) Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees for 5 minutes.
- Wash and dry your chicken wings using a paper towel to pat dry. Then spray lightly with olive oil.
- Use a large freezer bag and pour about 1/2 a cup of your rub into the bag with about 6 wings or so. Shake shake until they are coated.
- Spray inside of air fryer basket once it's done preheating with non stick spray and put coated wings inside. Try to not overlap them.
- Set to 400 degrees F. for 16 minutes.
- To make them as crispy as possible flip your wings half way thru the cooking cycle.
- Remove when done, zest with lime juice if desired and enjoy...can dip in ranch dressing or other sauces.
- If making another batch, coat them with dry rub and repeat process for another 16 minute round.