Our Asian Air Fryer Chicken Wing recipe will show you how to make great wings with an Air Fryer in just 45 minutes. Once you try it, you may never cook chicken wings any other way. Consider yourself warned!
We admit it. We have an Air Fryer.
We would have never acquired the trendy appliance without prodding by Mindi’s mom who eventually bought us one for an anniversary gift. And, to be honest, we weren’t initially impressed with the generous gift.
We opened the box, placed the big, black monolithic Cosori Air Fryer on the counter, made some broccoli with the consistency of shoe leather and placed the bulking appliance in the rear of our inordinately large bottom kitchen drawer. And that’s where it sat for over a year.
But sometimes it takes a little forethought to properly utilize an appliance. And, as we’ve noticed, just because we don’t use a bought object immediately doesn’t mean that we won’t use that object after a year or more of storage. Such was the case with this appliance that doesn’t really ‘fry’ at all.
What Is An Air Fryer?
An Air Fryer is a convection oven – a heating system that uses fans to circulate air around and on food to create an evenly heated environment. The major difference between this small convection oven and larger kitchen convection ovens is the size of the heating chamber. The smaller size allows food to heat quicker and more evenly.
We’ve had mixed results with our Air Fryer’s dry, non-oil immersive method of frying. Vegetables can be papery. Potatoes, unless they’re soaked in oil, don’t brown the same uniform way as in a deep fryer.
Through trial and error, we’ve learned that it’s essential to have fat on the surface of whatever we’re cooking which can adhere and fully immerse that protein or vegetable. There’s no better medium for this than chicken skin.
Buy an Air Fryer from Amazon if you’re curious to try this cooking style for yourself.
Why Use An Air Fryer To Cook Chicken Wings
With an Air Fryer, heat flows evenly and immersively enough to make blisteringly brown wings and the flappers don’t have to be dried like in an oven. The small air fry chamber insures less mess and creates even browning.
Cooking chicken wings in an Air Fryer is about as simple as it gets. You just place the wings in the fryer, flip them once to insure the heat hits both sides, soak them in the sauce of your choice and serve.
In this recipe, we make a sauce with Asian ingredients but you could easily finish your wings in Buffalo sauce as we did in our Buffalo-Style Baked Chicken Wings recipe.
Asian Air Fryer Chicken Wing Ingredients
You don’t need a lot of ingredients to prepare tasty Asian Air Fryer Chicken Wings at home. Our recipe requires the following items:
You could argue that this particular blend of ingredients skews Korean and we wouldn’t disagree. However, that wasn’t our goal.
We were looking to achieve big flavors as we rummaged through the ingredients in our Asian pantry. The key, like many sauces in Asian cookery, is to create a balance of flavors from sweet to salty to sour and umami. These ingredients made that happen.
We typically buy chicken wings in packages of 6 (about one pound). We then use a sharp knife to separate the drumettes from the flats, trimming the tips and freezing the tips for later use in chicken stock.
Sometimes, the wings form a double stack in the Air Fryer. That’s okay so long as you flip them before browning the other side.
Soy sauce, with its unique blend of salt and umami, provides the backbone in Asian cooking.
We use Chinese light soy sauce in this recipe. However, you can use any grocery store brand of soy sauce that you have on hand.
Chinkiang vinegar or Chinese black vinegar provides the sour hit in this recipe. You should be able to easily fird Chinkiang vinegar at your local Asian market. If not you can buy a bottle of Chinkiang vinegar from Amazon.
You can use balsamic vinegar as a Chinkiang vinegar substitute.
Most Asian sauces have a good amount of sugar in them and this recipe is no exception. Sugar provides most of the sweet in the dish’s sweet and sour flavor profile. A little comes from our next ingredient…
Nothing brings the unique combination of piquancy and umami like Gochujang – a combination of fermented bean paste, chili pepper, glutinous rice, salt and barley malt. Gochujang brings more flavor and heat to the party along with fermented flavors that beef up this sauce’s umami. And, yes, it adds some sweetness too.
Buy a small tub of Gochujang from Amazon if you can’t find the fermented condiment at your local Asian market.
Toasted Sesame Oil
Sesame oil blends with soy sauce and sugar to create a unique combination of nutty, salty, umami and sweet.
Buy a bottle of sesame oil from Amazon if you can’t find this ingredient at your local Asian market.
Toasted Sesame Seeds
Adding toasted sesame seeds gives your wings a great appearance while adding a light crunch.
You should be able to buy toasted sesame seeds at your local supermarket. Another option is toast sesame seeds in a stainless steel pan for about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes until they’re light brown and fragrant.
Garnishing the wings with fresh cilantro adds both color and flavor. However, feel free to omit the verdant herb if you’re not a cilantro fan.
Some people taste soap when they eat cilantro.
How To Make Asian Air Fryer Chicken Wings
We like to call this a ‘plug and play’ recipe. You’ll only need to plug in the Air Fryer, place the wings in the tray, flip once and then stir/flip with the sauce. There’s a little skill involved in completing the sauce but that only involves knowing when to pull the finished sauce from the flame.
First, place the wings in the Air Fryer and set it for 400°f / 200°c for 25 minutes.
If your Air Fryer is large enough, attempt to place the wings in a single layer. Otherwise, you can double stack them.
While the wings are cooking, whisk the sauce ingredients together until they’re well combined.
After 25 minutes, flip the wings.
Cook the wings for an additional eight minutes or until they’re well browned.
While the second side of the wings are cooking, place the sauce over a medium fire and cook at a steady simmer until the sauce becomes the consistency of syrup. When you lift the spoon from the sauce, the liquid should drip slowly.
You can check the sauce’s thickness by running your finger on the back of a wooden spoon but be careful. The syrupy, hot sugar mixture can be burning hot.
Another option is to drag a wooden spoon or rubber spatula across the bottom of the pan. This method will easily reveal the sauce’s consistency.
If the wings finish while the sauce is cooking, you can leave them in the fryer (while it’s off) for a few minutes until the sauce is done.
Once the sauce is cooked, finish the wings in a large steel mixing bowl by either flipping them or mixing them with a spoon until the sauce is incorporated.
Slowly pour the sauce until there’s enough to coat the wings.
You can refrigerate any extra sauce for up to a week. Once reheated, it’s an excellent topping for cooked chicken or a great dip for crunchy vegetables like carrot or celery sticks.
Carefully spoon the finished wings on a large serving plate. Garnish them with toasted sesame seeds and optional cilantro leaves.
Asian Air Fryer Chicken Wings FAQs
The Air Fryer’s consistent heat and small, closed heating chamber insures even browning and crispness.
Cooking wings takes about 35 minutes.
Never sauce chicken wings before cooking them in an Air Fryer. This step should occur after the wings are cooked.
Chicken Wings, Chinkiang Vinegar (Chinese Black Vinegar), Gochujang, Sesame Oil, Soy Sauce, Sugar, Toasted Sesame Seeds and Cilantro (Optional Garnish)
Asian Air Fryer Chicken Wings Recipe
- 12 whole chicken wings, drumettes and flats separated with wing tips discarded
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Chinkiang vinegar
- 4 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons gochujang
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
- cilantro leaves, optional garnish
- Set the Air Fryer at 400°f /200°c for 25 minutes. Place the wings in the Air Fryer and start cooking them.
- While the wings are cooking, mix all the sauce ingredients in a two quart saucepan and place on the stove.
- After 25 minutes,, flip the wings and continue cooking them for eight more minutes.
- Once the wings are flipped, place a medium fire under the sauce. Cook the sauce, mixing every couple minutes, until it's thick and syrupy. You should clearly see the bottom of the pan when mixing with a wooden spoon. You can also test the thickness by seeing how the mixture drips off the spoon or by running your finger across the back of a wooden spoon. Be careful - the sticky syrup mixture will be hot.
- After eight minutes, the wings should be brown and the skin lightly crisp. Remove the wings from the Air Fryer and place them in a large steel mixing bowl.
- Gradually pour the sauce over the wings and flip/stir until they're well coated. There may be a little sauce left over which you can refrigerate for up to a week.
- Serve the wings on a large platter and sprinkle them with the sesame seeds. You can also, optionally, garnish the finished wings with cilantro leaves.
- You can replace the Chinkiang vinegar with balsamic vinegar.
- You can halve this recipe to serve less people.
- Any leftover sauce can be refrigerated for up to a week, reheated and served with any protein or vegetable you like.
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All-Clad Sauce Pan with Lid, 2-Quart, Silver
Magnetic Measuring Spoons Set of 8 Stainless Steel Stackable Dual Sided Teaspoon Tablespoon for Measuring Dry and Liquid Ingredients
All-Clad Stainless Steel Dishwasher Safe Mixing Bowls Set Kitchen Accessorie, 3-Piece, Silver
Shun Classic 8” Chef’s Knife with VG-MAX Cutting Core and Ebony PakkaWood Handle; All-Purpose Blade for a Full Range of Cutting Tasks with Curved Blade for Easy Cuts; Cutlery Handcrafted in Japan
Rachael Ray 55780 Silicone Spoonula, Red
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About The Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on their website 2foodtrippers. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers a unique taste of the world.
Original Publication Date: February 5, 2023