Why Are My Wings Not Crispy in Air Fryer?

Have you ever been excited to enjoy a plate of crispy, golden-brown chicken wings cooked in an air fryer, only to be disappointed by the lack of crispiness? Many people face this issue when using an air fryer for the first time. In this article, we will explore the common reasons why your wings may not turn out as crispy as you desire in an air fryer. We will also provide you with some valuable tips and tricks to achieve that perfect crunchiness you crave. So let’s dive in!

Table of Contents

  1. Understanding the Air Fryer Cooking Process
  2. Inadequate Preheating of the Air Fryer
  3. Using Too Much Moisture
  4. Not Drying the Wings Thoroughly
  5. Overcrowding the Air Fryer Basket
  6. Not Using Enough Oil
  7. Using the Wrong Temperature and Cooking Time
  8. Skipping the Coating Step
  9. Using Frozen Wings Directly
  10. Not Flipping or Shaking the Wings
  11. Low-Quality Air Fryer
  12. Importance of Marinating the Wings
  13. Experimenting with Different Coatings
  14. Adding Baking Powder for Extra Crispiness
  15. Tips for Serving Crispy Wings

Understanding the Air Fryer Cooking Process

To troubleshoot the issue of non-crispy wings in an air fryer, it’s important to understand how an air fryer works. Unlike deep frying, where wings are submerged in hot oil, an air fryer uses rapidly circulating hot air to cook the food. This process produces a crispy texture similar to deep frying but with significantly less oil.

1. Inadequate Preheating of the Air Fryer

One of the common mistakes is not preheating the air fryer before adding the wings. Preheating is essential as it allows the air fryer to reach the desired cooking temperature. Without preheating, the cooking time may be affected, resulting in less crispy wings. Make sure to preheat the air fryer according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

2. Using Too Much Moisture

Excess moisture on the wings can hinder the crisping process. Before placing the wings in the air fryer, pat them dry with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. This step is crucial for achieving crispy wings.

3. Not Drying the Wings Thoroughly

Similar to removing moisture, it is equally important to dry the wings thoroughly after cleaning or marinating them. Moisture on the surface of the wings can prevent them from getting crispy. Take a few extra minutes to ensure the wings are completely dry before cooking.

4. Overcrowding the Air Fryer Basket

Overcrowding the air fryer basket is a common mistake that can lead to uneven cooking and soggy wings. When the wings are packed tightly together, the hot air cannot circulate properly, resulting in less crispiness. It’s best to cook the wings in batches, allowing enough space for air to flow around them.

5. Not Using Enough Oil

Although an air fryer uses less oil compared to deep frying, a small amount of oil is still necessary to achieve crispy wings. Applying a light coating of oil to the wings before cooking helps to promote browning and crispiness. Use a cooking oil spray or brush a thin layer of oil on the wings.

6. Using the Wrong Temperature and Cooking Time

Different air fryers have varying temperature settings, so it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions or recommended cooking temperatures. Cooking the wings at too low a temperature or for too short a time can result in undercooked and less crispy wings. Adjust the temperature and cooking time accordingly for optimal results.

7. Skipping the Coating Step

Coating the wings with a thin layer of flour, cornstarch, or breadcrumbs can enhance the crispiness. The coating creates a barrier that locks in moisture while allowing the exterior to crisp up. Don’t skip this step if you want extra crispy wings.

8. Using Frozen Wings Directly

If you’re using frozen wings, it’s essential to thaw them thoroughly before cooking. Frozen wings tend to release excess moisture, making it challenging to achieve crispiness. Thaw the wings in the refrigerator overnight or using the defrost function of your microwave.

9. Not Flipping or Shaking the Wings

To ensure even cooking and crispiness on all sides, flip or shake the wings halfway through the cooking process. This helps to distribute the heat evenly and promotes uniform browning. Use tongs or a spatula to flip the wings gently without damaging the coating.

10. Low-Quality Air Fryer

Sometimes, the issue may not be with your cooking technique but with the air fryer itself. Low-quality air fryers may not generate enough heat or have proper airflow, resulting in less crispy wings. Consider investing in a reliable and well-reviewed air fryer for optimal cooking results.

11. Importance of Marinating the Wings

Marinating the wings before cooking can enhance the flavor and moisture retention. A marinade containing acidic ingredients like lemon juice or vinegar can help tenderize the meat while adding flavor. However, ensure that the wings are not excessively wet when transferring them to the air fryer.

12. Experimenting with Different Coatings

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different coatings and seasonings to achieve your desired level of crispiness and flavor. Try using spices like paprika, garlic powder, or cayenne pepper in your coating mixture for an extra kick. Find the combination that suits your taste preferences.

13. Adding Baking Powder for Extra Crispiness

Adding a small amount of baking powder to your coating mixture can significantly enhance the crispiness of the wings. The baking powder helps to create a light and airy texture on the wings’ surface, resulting in an irresistible crunch.

14. Tips for Serving Crispy Wings

To maintain the crispiness of the wings after cooking, it’s essential to serve them promptly. Allow the wings to cool for a few minutes on a wire rack to prevent them from becoming soggy. Serve them with your favorite dipping sauces or enjoy them as they are.


Achieving crispy wings in an air fryer requires attention to detail and some experimentation. By preheating the air fryer, drying the wings thoroughly, using the right temperature and cooking time, and applying proper coatings, you can enhance the crispiness of your wings. Remember to avoid overcrowding the air fryer basket and invest in a reliable air fryer for optimal results. With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to enjoy deliciously crispy wings straight from your air fryer.


1. Can I use parchment paper or aluminum foil in the air fryer?

It’s generally safe to use parchment paper or aluminum foil in the air fryer. However, ensure that it doesn’t cover the entire air fryer basket, as it may obstruct airflow and affect the cooking process. It’s best to consult the manufacturer’s guidelines for using these materials.

2. Can I use the air fryer for other foods besides wings?

Absolutely! The air fryer is a versatile appliance that can be used to cook various foods, including vegetables, seafood, french fries, and even desserts. Experiment with different recipes to make the most of your air fryer.

3. How can I prevent my wings from becoming dry?

To prevent dryness, make sure not to overcook the wings. Follow the recommended cooking time and temperature, and monitor the wings closely. You can also marinate the wings before cooking to help retain moisture.

4. Can I reheat leftover wings in the air fryer?

Yes, the air fryer is an excellent option for reheating leftover wings. Preheat the air fryer, place the wings in the basket, and cook for a few minutes until they are heated through and crispy.

5. How do I clean my air fryer?

Cleaning an air fryer is relatively easy. Ensure that it has cooled down completely before cleaning. Most air fryers have non-stick surfaces that can be wiped clean with a damp cloth or sponge. The removable parts, such as the basket and tray, can be washed with warm soapy water. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for specific cleaning guidelines.

In conclusion, achieving crispy wings in an air fryer requires proper preparation, cooking techniques, and some experimentation. By following the tips outlined in this article, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying perfectly crispy wings cooked in your air fryer.

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