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Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Wings

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These Air Fryer BBQ Chicken wings are perfect for a game day snack or a simple dinner! Sweet and sticky honey barbecue sauce coats the wings and caramelizes on them for a delicious, crispy appetizer.

And you will love how easy they are to make in your air fryer! If you love wings, try these for an explosion of flavors and crunchy, crispy goodness.

Use my included recipe for a sweet homemade honey barbecue sauce or use your own favorite one. My homemade BBQ sauce has a secret ingredient that makes it simple but extra delicious!

plate of bbq wings

Why You Will Love Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Wings

  • They have crispy skin outside and juicy meat inside.
  • These aren’t just a game day appetizer, you can serve these kid friendly BBQ wings as a fun meal.
  • The sweet sauce caramelizes on the wings for amazing flavor.
  • You can make a homemade sauce with simple ingredients quickly while the wings cook.
  • Or you can use your favorite store bought honey BBQ sauce and make this recipe even simpler

Find more Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Wing Recipes! Check out my recipes for air fryer lemon pepper wings or air fryer ranch wings or sweet chili wings.

Secret BBQ Sauce Ingredient

My secret ingredient is Cherry Coke! Just get a bottle at a convenience store or gas station and pour in into a pan.

The cherry flavor deepens the sauce taste and the acidity of the soda helps keep the wings tender. Try it and let me know what you think!

air fryer bbq chicken wings on a plate

Other Ingredients

Chicken wings – It is easiest to buy wings that are already cut apart into drumettes and wings. You can also cook the wings unseparated, but you won’t be able to fit as many in the basket.

Baking powder – Coating the wings in baking powder helps make them extra crispy.

Honey and brown sugar – Did I mention this is a sweet sauce? Between the Coke, honey and brown sugar there is all the sweetness you could want!

Tomato paste – This gives the sauce a nice tomato flavor without overwhelming the other ingredients. It also helps it thicken.

Seasoning – Garlic, hot sauce, paprika, dry mustard, salt and black pepper all add flavor to the wings and the sauce.

top view of bbq chicken wings

How to Make Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Wings

1. Prep

If the raw chicken wings aren’t cut into wings and drumettes then cut them apart. If you’ve never done this check out this blog post for simple instructions.

Once they are separate use paper towels to dry them off and get rid of any excess moisture. This will help them stay crisp.

2. Coat

Combine the salt, pepper. garlic powder and baking powder in a zippered bag or a mixing bowl. Add the wings and toss to coat them with everything.

coating the wings with seasoning
Seasoning the wings

3. Air Fry

Put the wings in the basket in a single layer. I can fit about 2 pounds of chicken wings in my 5.8 quart air fryer, but yours might fit more or less. Cook them in batches if you need to.

wings in basket
Wings in basket

Don’t crowd the wings, they need to be in a single layer. Set the air fryer for 360 degrees F and air fry the wings for 18 minutes.

4. Make the Sauce

While the wings cook there is plenty of time to make a sauce. In a large pan combine the cherry Coke, honey, brown sugar, tomato paste, minced garlic, hot sauce, paprika and dry mustard.

making the honey bbq sauce
Making the BBQ sauce

Bring the mixture to a boil and let it boil, stirring, for 1 minute. Take the pan off the heat and let it cool a bit while the wings finish cooking.

5. Dip

dipping the wing
Dipping a wing

Once the 18 minutes is up take the wings out of the basket one at a time wing cooking tongs and dip them in the sauce. Coat each wing, then put it back in the basket.

wing after dipping in sauce
Sauce covered wing

6. Air Fry Again

Set the air fryer at 400 degrees F and cook the wings for another 6-8 minutes. They are done when they have caramelized on top and are a little bit browned. 

basket full of chicken wings

Find More Air Fryer Recipes!

How to Serve

Serve these air fryer bbq chicken wings with the extra barbecue sauce along with a bowl of your favorite dip. Ranch dressing  or blue cheese are traditional, but you can also use a garlic dip, Korean gochujang sauce  or whatever sounds good to you.

Variations and Tips

This recipe will get the basket a bit messy. Also make sure you put the pan right next to the air fryer when dipping the wings so you don’t drip barbecue sauce everywhere.

This is a kid friendly sauce that is more sweet than spicy. You can add hotness by using chili powder instead of paprika.

dipping the wings in ranch sauce

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have to flip wings in air fryer?

Flipping the wings over halfway through the cooking time is good to do if you are cooking wings with a dry rub or breading. Wings that are sauced don’t need to be flipped, although it certainly won’t hurt if you do.

Why should you add baking powder to air fryer wings?

The baking powder helps dry the wings out. It also interacts with the proteins in the meat to make it more tender. Using baking powder will give you crispier wings with more tender meat inside.

Are air fryer chicken wings healthy?

Healthy is a relative term, which means different things to different people. Air frying chicken wings makes them better for you than deep frying chicken wings. But I wouldn’t say they are healthy.

Can you eat the chicken wing tips?

There isn’t much meat to eat on the wing tips, since they are mostly bone and skin. There really isn’t much there to eat. So it isn’t worth the effort to fry them.

Find More Air Fryer Recipes

Yield: 4

Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Wings

basket full of chicken wings

These Air Fryer BBQ Chicken wings are perfect for a game day snack or a simple dinner.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

Wings

  • 2 pounds chicken wings
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder

Sauce

  • 1 20 ounce bottle cherry coke
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3-4 drops hot sauce like tabasco
  • 1 Tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/3 cup honey

Instructions

  1. Separate the wings into drums and wingettes if they aren't separated. Discard the wing tips. Use paper towels to dry the wings well so they will crisp nicely.
  2. Combine the salt, pepper, garlic powder and baking powder in a bowl or a zippered bag. Add the wings and toss them until they are coated well.
  3. Put the chicken wings in an air fryer basket, making sure not to overcrowd them. Keep them in a single layer. Air fry them at 360 for 18 minutes.
  4. While the wings cook make the barbecue sauce. In a heavy sauce pan mix the cherry Coke, brown sugar, tomato paste, minced garlic, hot sauce, paprika, mustard and honey.
  5. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat and let it boil for 1 minute. Then take it off the heat to cool while the wings continue to cook.
  6. Once the wings have cooked 18 minutes take them out of the basket one by one and dip them into the sauce pan. Swish them around so they get covered in sauce. Put the wings back in the basket continue until all of them are coated in sauce.
  7. Set the air fryer at 400 degrees F and air fry them for another 6-8 minutes.
  8. Serve with ranch or Buffalo sauce and celery sticks.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1038Total Fat: 56gSaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 31gCholesterol: 186mgSodium: 1859mgCarbohydrates: 97gFiber: 4gSugar: 68gProtein: 41g

Nutrition facts are estimates.

closeup of wings in front of air fryer
collage pin for pinterest air fryer bbq wings
By on August 23rd, 2021

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