Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Wings with Homemade BBQ Sauce

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Air fryer BBQ chicken wings with homemade BBQ sauce are finger-lickin’ good! These crispy and juicy chicken wings are perfectly seasoned, air-fried until crispy then smothered in a homemade sweet, tangy, and sticky BBQ sauce. Air fryer wings are the ultimate party food or dinner-time favorite and they are perfect for any occasion!

BBQ wings on a plate with celery sticks.

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Love your air fryer? Check out these other family-favorite air fryer recipes!

What can be better than a perfectly cooked, well-seasoned BBQ chicken wing? This recipe shows you how to make just that using your air fryer!

This game day favorite is made with a mix of flats and drumettes and a homemade BBQ sauce made with tomato sauce. You could just as easily use either all flats or all drumettes based on your preference!

A store-bought sauce will make this recipe a bit faster to make, but I love to make it homemade whenever I can. If you are using storebought, I would recommend picking either your favorite BBQ sauce or a healthier variety, low in sugar or made with natural ingredients, preferably non-GMO or organic. 

Either way, these BBQ chicken wings in the air fryer will turn out amazing. They are just waiting to be served for game days, weeknight meals, or summer cookouts! There’s no need to stand over a hot stove or heat up your oven because the air fryer is so convenient and requires minimal effort to use. These air fryer wings have the best crispy crunchy texture with perfectly charred and sticky BBQ sauce. 

Overhead image of bbq chicken wings.

Serving suggestions

Pro Tips

For air-frying chicken wings

  • If using frozen wings, make sure they are completely thawed before cooking. Frozen wings have a different taste once cooked than fresh or thawed wings and they will take longer to cook and to crisp up. 
  • Use split wings or split them yourself. Remove the tips or make sure to keep an eye on these as they cook because the tips can easily burn inside the air fryer. 
  • Don’t forget to cook the BBQ wings for a second time after they are coated in BBQ sauce. This helps the sauce become sticky and slightly charred on the edges = extra deliciousness!
  • For best results place your BBQ chicken wings in the basket of your air fryer in a single layer. They shouldn’t be stacked or overlapping each other, because then your wings won’t get nearly as crispy.
  • If you decide to rinse your chicken wings, make sure to pat them dry with a paper towel before adding the oil and seasonings. Otherwise, they will start to steam in the air fryer instead of getting a crispy exterior.

For the homemade BBQ sauce 

  • This BBQ sauce is made using tomato sauce and tomato paste instead of ketchup as a healthier alternative. If you decide to use ketchup instead make sure to reduce the amount of brown sugar, molasses, and apple cider vinegar used so it doesn’t end up overly sweet or tangy. 
  • You can add liquid smoke or smoked paprika to increase the smokiness of the sauce. 
  • Add hot sauce to give an extra kick of spice or use more cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes. 
  • Red wine vinegar can be used instead of apple cider vinegar if you have that on hand instead. 
Air fryer wings on a football plate.

How To Store/ Reheat

Store any leftover wings inside an airtight container for up to 5 days. When you are ready to reheat them place the wings inside your air fryer at 400 degrees for 5 minutes or until they are heated through. Serve with more sauce if you like.

To reheat in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 – 15 minutes. If you have a “QUICK BAKE” setting on your oven, set it to 375 degrees for 8 – 12 minutes. 

The homemade BBQ sauce can last for 7 – 10 days in the refrigerator inside of an airtight container.

Frequently Asked Questions  —

Why are my wings not getting crispy in the air fryer?

Your wings might not get crispy if too many wings were placed inside the air fryer basket or they were stacked on top of each other. Leave room for the circulating hot air of the air fryer to move around each wing. Also, make sure to cook them at a high enough temperature. Low temperatures will cause the wings to take longer to crisp up.

Can you put aluminum foil in the air fryer?

This will depend on the instruction manual of your air fryer, but it is generally fine to use it as long as the foil is secured at the bottom of the air fryer basket and doesn’t float up to the heating element. 

Looking For More Game Day Recipes?

Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings

Crispy Breaded Air Fryer Buffalo Wings

Air Fryer Potato Skins

Smashed Potatoes with Cheese

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BBQ chicken wings on a plate with celery sticks.

Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Wings with Homemade BBQ Sauce

Air fryer BBQ chicken wings with homemade BBQ sauce are finger-lickin' good! These crispy and juicy chicken wings are perfectly seasoned, air-fried until crispy then smothered in a homemade sweet, tangy, and sticky BBQ sauce. Air fryer wings are the ultimate party food or dinner-time favorite and they are perfect for any occasion!
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 24 wings
Calories: 117kcal
Cost: $20

Equipment

Ingredients

Chicken wings

  • 2- 2 ½ lb split chicken wings thawed, about 24 wings
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil avocado oil or olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder aluminum free, not baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¾ teaspoon ground paprika
  • teaspoon cayenne pepper or to your liking
  • cup BBQ sauce homemade or storebought, plus more for serving

Homemade BBQ Sauce

  • 1 (15) ounce can of tomato sauce plain
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 tablespoon yellow mustard or whole-grain mustard
  • 2 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Instructions 

  • If you are making the homemade BBQ sauce, start on it first so the sauce has time to cool and thicken before combing with the cooked chicken. If not, skip to the chicken wings section.

How to make homemade BBQ sauce:

  • Add all of the ingredients in a medium sauce pot. Whisk everything together until combined. 1 (15) ounce can of tomato sauce 2 tablespoons tomato paste ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce ¾ cup brown sugar 2 tablespoons molasses 2 tablespoon yellow mustard 2 teaspoon ground paprika 1 teaspoon onion powder 1 teaspoon garlic powder ½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon ground black pepper ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Simmer on low heat for 15 – 30 minutes or until your BBQ sauce has thickened and it doesn’t have a strong apple cider vinegar flavor.
  • Allow to cool for 30 minutes so it can thicken even more and the flavors can meld to together.

How to make air fryer chicken wings:

  • Preheat the air fryer to 385 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 – 10 minutes.
  • While the air fryer is preheating, start on the chicken. Rinse and pat your chicken wings dry. Next, transfer wings into a large mixing bowl or large gallon bag, then add vegetable oil and seasonings. Close and seal the bag then mix to coat. 2- 2 ½ lb split chicken wings 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon onion powder 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 3/4 teaspoon ground paprika 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Carefully add as many chicken wings as can comforting fit into your air fryer with a little space in between using a pair of tongs or a fork. We don’t want them stacked or too close together otherwise they won’t get crispy.
  • Air fry for 10 – 12 minutes or until crispy, making sure to flip after 10 minutes.
  • With a separate pair of tongs, transfer cooked chicken wings to a large bowl. Repeat with any remaining chicken wings.
  • Add ⅔ cup of BBQ sauce to the wings mixing to coat. Add the wings back to the air fryer. Increase the temperature to 400 degrees. Air fry for 3 – 5 minutes or until the BBQ sauce is sticky and slightly charred on the chicken. 2/3 cup BBQ sauce
  • Serve immediately with more BBQ sauce if you like and celery sticks. Enjoy!

Notes

Store any leftover wings inside an airtight container for up to 5 days. When you are ready to reheat them place the wings inside your air fryer at 400 degrees for 5 minutes or until they are heated through. Serve with more sauce if you like.
To reheat in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 – 15 minutes. If you have a “QUICK BAKE” setting on your oven, set it to 375 degrees for 8 – 12 minutes. 
The homemade BBQ sauce it can last for 7 – 10 days in the refrigerator inside of an airtight container.
All nutrition information is only an estimate and will depend on the ingredients used. 
The recipe card may contain affiliate links.

Nutrition

Calories: 117kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 270mg | Potassium: 137mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 205IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 1mg

All nutrition information is automatically generated and should be only used as a rough estimate. This recipe card may contain affiliate links.

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