The Easiest Frozen Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Wings

Recipes, April 25, 2023

Let’s just say I consider myself a chicken wing connoisseur and these delicious crispy air fryer chicken wings are a result of years of trial and error!

As an upstate New Yorker who migrated South, I’ve had a difficult time finding good chicken wings in our area. So I took matters into my own hands and decided to just start making my own with our Ninja air fryer! Plus, its cheaper and healthier… especially when you eat wings once a week????

My idea of a perfect buffalo wing would be crispy skin, plenty of sauce, and a nice kick! If that’s what you’re into… this recipe is for you! If not, you can easily adjust this recipe to make your perfect wings.

homemade crispy chicken wings made in an air fryer with a homemade buffalo sauce

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Tips for cooking chicken wings

There’s never a time where I don’t have frozen chicken wings in my freezer. (I wasn’t lying when I said I have them once a week????) I love that you can buy them in bulk and don’t have to mess with cutting the whole wings into sections!

Frozen wings make for a great last minute, healthy dinner! Everyone’s version of healthy is different, but I consider these decently healthy! The Ninja air fryer only requires a small amount oil, you can use an alternative sauce or dry rub, and I always have them alongside a nice salad! It’s called balance????

Do I need to thaw chicken wings before air frying?

Nope! We’ve cooked ours straight from the freezer dozens of times.

It does take a little extra work to get crispy chicken wings this way since you can’t pat them dry with paper towels and the ice creates moisture as they cook.

Here’s my favorite method for cooking frozen air fryer chicken wings:

  • Toss the frozen wings with oil
  • Cook in the air fryer at max crisp for 6 minute intervals, flipping or tossing each time, until they look crispy enough for you! (it will of course take more time than thawed wings)
  • Toss the chicken wings in a large bowl with your sauce of choice
  • Line a baking sheet with foil and place the sauced wings in a single layer
  • Broil for 3-4 minutes, flip, broil for another 3-4 min. Keep a close eye on them the whole time!
  • Enjoy!

Where can I find good frozen chicken wings?

My two favorite frozen chicken wings brands are Costco’s Kirkland Signature chicken wings (their bulk wings would be perfect for game day or a big gathering!) and Trader Joe’s organic chicken wings!

Trader Joes organic chicken wing sections

Most big grocery stores also have frozen wings and I’ve tried many of those as well! You might just have to do some trial and error in your area if you don’t have a Costco membership or Trader Joe’s nearby.

Fun fact: I impulsively signed up for Butcher Box in February because they were offering free chicken wings for life ???? That’s what I used for this batch! They’re great! They’re on the smaller side which I actually like because they get crispy skin fast!

Using the Ninja air fryer

We’ve had our Ninja air fryer for 4 years now and it’s been such a great way to enjoy some of our favorite foods guilt free!

I’ve never used any other air fryers, so I don’t have anything to compare ours to, but we’ve loved it!

ninja max XL air fryer

One of my favorite features is definitely the max crisp setting which is what we use for these crispy chicken wings! If you don’t have the same air fryer, just use the highest temperature setting on yours!

My one critique would be the size of the air fryer basket. It works fine for us as a family of 2, but if you’re cooking for a big family you would have to do multiple batches!

The homemade buffalo sauce

This my absolute favorite sauce! We use it for all kinds of recipes; buffalo chicken pizza, buffalo chicken salad, and of course my healthy air fryer buffalo chicken egg rolls!

Crispy air fryer chicken wings with a homemade buffalo sauce

Do you see that crispy skin?! Perfection! ????

Healthy homemade buffalo air fryer chicken wings using Ninja air fryer

The Easiest Crispy Frozen Air Fryer Chicken Wings

Elisha Kelly
These buffalo style chicken wings are the perfect amount of crispy and saucy. Not to mention, they only require a small amount of oil and they're so easy to make!
Prep Time 1 day
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 3 servings
Calories 670 kcal

Equipment

  • Air Fryer
  • Small Sauce Pan
  • whisk
  • Tongs

Ingredients
  

Crispy Chicken Wings

  • 2 lb frozen chicken wings thawed
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable or olive oil*
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Homemade Buffalo Sauce

  • 1/2 cup hot sauce*
  • 4 Tbsp salted butter
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp flour*

Instructions
 

Crispy Chicken Wings

  • Thaw your frozen wings for at least 24 hours*
  • Pat the chicken wings dry on both sides using paper towels to remove excess moisture (this is the best way to get crispy wings!)
  • Season both sides of the chicken wings with salt (and any other seasonings you might like… black pepper, garlic powder, etc.)
  • Preheat the Ninja air fryer for 10 minutes and allow the wings to soak in the seasoning
  • Once the air fryer is preheated, toss the chicken wings with oil
  • Place the wings in a single layer in the air fryer basket and cook on max crisp (or your air fryer's highest setting)
  • After 5-7 minutes, flip/move the wings around
  • Cook on max crisp for another 5-7 and flip/move the wings around
  • Closely monitor the wings from here on out. I usually cook them on max crisp for another 3-5 minutes
  • Cook until the wings reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F and they're the crispy enough for you! (the cook time will vary depending on the size of the wings!)
  • Remove wings with tongs, add to a large bowl, and toss with buffalo sauce!
  • Serve with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to one week

Homemade Buffalo Sauce

  • Add the hot sauce, butter, brown sugar, and vinegar to a small sauce pan on medium heat
  • As the butter starts to melt, mix the ingredients together using a whisk
  • Once the ingredients are well mixed, whisk in the flour, stirring consistently
  • Remove from heat and enjoy!

Notes

* We usually use vegetable oil, but any oil with a smoke point of 400 degrees F or higher will work!
*We use Franks red hot sauce, but you can use your favorite hot sauce or even mix a couple!!
*Use less flour (1/4 tsp) for a thinner sauce or more flour for a thicker sauce (1-2 tsp)
*You can actually make these when the wings are still frozen, they just won’t be as crispy. We’ve done it in a pinch plenty of times! Read more about that above!
Keyword air fryer chicken wings, air fryer recipes, baked buffalo chicken egg rolls, buffalo chicken wings, buffalo sauce, chicken wings, crispy chicken wings, crispy wings, frozen chicken wings, healthy chicken wings, homemade chicken wings, ninja air fryer chicken wings
easy air fryer crispy chicken wing recipe

Now I have two questions for you…

Blue cheese or ranch dressing? I’m a blue cheese girl as you can probably tell!

Wings or drumsticks? I’m wings all the way!! (But will of course eat both let’s be real!)

Let me know your votes in the comments!!

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  1. Margaret says:

    Wings & just more hot sauce for me ????

  2. Elisha Kelly says:

    And a margarita too? 😉

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