These Air Fryer Honey Garlic Chicken Wings are perfect for game day! Party wings are air fried until golden and crispy, then slathered in a sticky and sweet honey sauce. Plus, they only need 6 ingredients and 30 minutes!
Everyone's Favorite Party Food
Is there anything better than chicken wings? Who can resist that juicy dark meat and golden crispy skin? Drizzle over a honey garlic sauce and you’ll be in heaven!
Did you know that a single chicken wing is actually made up of 3 parts?
Drumette: The piece of the wing with the most meat. It’s at the opposite end of the wing tip and is attached to the flat. It got its name because it looks like a mini version of a drumstick. But don’t get the two mixed up! Drumsticks are larger than drumettes and have more meat. But drumettes are tastier and crispier.
Flat: The flat piece of meat in between the drumette and the wing tip. Although it has less meat than a drumette, it has more crispy skin and soaks up sauce better.
Wing tip: The pointy bit at the end with hardly any meat. It can turn out very chewy after cooking and is best for making bone broth.
Which part of the chicken wing is best is really up to you. I prefer the drummettes because they’re the meatiest part. But I can never say no to the crispy skin of a flat! Which is your favorite?
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- These air fryer honey garlic chicken wings are great for sharing with friends while watching the game. They’re just as good as an appetizer or even a main course if you serve them up with a side dish.
- The honey garlic sauce isn’t just for chicken wings - it goes with everything! Chicken thighs, breast, pork, fish, vegetables… you name it!
- It's on the table in less than 30 minutes. You can make the sauce while the honey garlic wings are in the air fryer, saving even more time.
- The flavors are perfectly balanced. The zestiness of the lime cuts through the sweetness of the honey. And the heat from the red pepper flakes brightens up the garlic flavor.
- Air frying the chicken wings means much less oil and splatter. It's easier and faster than traditional deep fried or baked wings!
- Chicken wings: To keep things simple, buy a pack of “party wings'' which are already cut into flats and drumettes. If you’re buying your chicken from a butcher, you can also ask them to separate the different parts of the wing for you.
- Honey: Essential for making a great sauce that really sticks to the chicken wings.
- Soy sauce: A quick way to add umami and salty flavor. I recommend using a low sodium soy sauce.
- Lime juice: Adds a tart balance to the sweet honey. Fresh is always best if you have it.
- Garlic: Adds a ton of flavor to the glaze.
- Red pepper flakes: For a hint of heat. And an extra ¼ teaspoon if you like things spicy, or omit if you prefer it without heat.
- Oil spray: Choose an oil spray with a high smoke point, such as avocado oil.
How To Make It
- Split the chicken wings. If your chicken wings haven’t been separated already, it's easy to do it yourself. Spread the wing out and you should be able to see the drumette on one side, the flat in the middle, and the wing tip on the other side. Place your knife between each part, apply pressure around the bone, and cut through the joint. Then set the wing tips aside (save it to make broth!) and season the drumettes and flats generously with salt and pepper.
- Air fry in batches. Preheat the air fryer to 400°F. If yours doesn't have a preheating function, let warm up for 5 minutes first. Spray the basket with oil and add half of the chicken wings, leaving space between each one. Spray the tops of the wings, then air fry for 10-15 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165°F. Make sure to air fry in a well-ventilated area as the chicken fat smokes at high temperatures.
- Whisk together the honey garlic sauce. To a bowl, add the honey, soy sauce, lime juice, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper and whisk.
- Brush the glaze onto the wings. Once the wings are cooked, place onto a wire rack to let cool for a couple minutes. I recommend a wire rack to prevent steam from making them soggy. Then generously brush the glaze onto each piece. Alternatively, you could place the wings and sauce together in a large bowl and stir well to coat. I also like to serve leftover honey garlic sauce on the side - it's that good!
- Each air fryer is different. I have a 6-Quart Instant Vortex and cooking the wings at 400°F for 10-15 minutes was perfect for me. I recommend testing one piece first to determine the best temperature and cook time.
- The cooking time will depend on the size of your chicken wings. Heavier, meatier wings will take longer to cook than smaller, thinner wings. Make sure the chunkiest part of the wing is 165°F before serving.
- Your air fryer may smoke a lot from the chicken fat. Make sure to fry these in a well-ventilated area, or even outdoors if you can. I recommend opening all windows and to turn on fans if frying indoor.
- Spray your measuring cup with oil before measuring the honey. The honey will slip out effortlessly and make for easier clean-up.
- For the air fryer honey garlic chicken sauce to stick, you need to keep the skin as crispy as possible. Do this by leaving the wings to cool slightly on a wire rack. This way, they won’t accidentally steam, making the bottom side soggy.
- You brush these air fryer honey garlic chicken wings with a generous serving of sauce at the end. But if you love chicken wings bursting with flavor, drizzle extra sauce on before every bite. That’s what I do!
- After eating, freeze the chicken wing bones. They make an amazing collagen-loaded broth that’s perfect for soups and sauces.
Substitutions & Variations
- Not a fan of raw garlic? Melt a tbsp of butter in a pan and toast the minced garlic for a minute, stirring often, before adding it to the sauce. Make sure to keep an eye on it since it can burn easily!
- Make these chicken wings gluten-free by using tamari in place of soy sauce.
- If you don't have fresh lime juice, you can substitute with a mild vinegar like apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar.
- Don’t have an oil spray? No problem. Use a brush to oil the air fryer basket.
- This is a small batch recipe, but you can easily double or triple the ingredients for a party. Make sure you cook the wings in batches and leave space in between for maximum crispiness. Don’t forget to make extra sauce, too.
- Serve these air fryer honey garlic chicken wings with your favorite dipping sauces. Ranch, sweet chili, sweet and sour, honey mustard, blue cheese - any classic wing sauce will work. Place a few dipping sauces on the table and let your guests make their own combos.
Storing & Freezing
Storing: To store cooked air fryer honey garlic chicken wings, leave them to cool to room temperature before placing them inside an air-tight container. You can keep them in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Freezing: Let your chicken wings cool completely before placing them inside a zip-loc bag. You can store them in the freezer for up to 3 months. Before reheating frozen chicken wings, make sure you leave them to fully defrost.
While it’s possible to make the sauce in advance and freeze it, I don’t recommend you do. The sauce takes less than 1 minute to prepare. It’s much easier to make it as you’re waiting for the chicken to cook.
Reheating: Reheat your spicy honey garlic chicken wings by preheating your air fryer to 400°F and cooking for about 5 minutes until warmed through. Time will vary according to the size and weight of your wings. Brush with the sauce after reheating.
You don’t need to chill the sauce for these air fryer honey garlic chicken wings. Honey, soy sauce, lime, garlic, and red pepper flakes can all be safely stored at room temperature. So if you haven’t got much space in your fridge, you can whip up the sauce and store it at room temperature. A cool, dark place (such as a kitchen cabinet) is a good place to keep it.
I find it’s best to put the sauce on after cooking. When you put the sauce on first, high air fryer temperatures can cause it to burn. It can also make the wings turn out soggy. By tossing the wings in sauce after cooking, they keep their crisp texture and golden color. The sauce also doesn’t get burnt and tastes exactly how you expect it to.
In this healthy air fryer chicken wings recipe, it’s the honey that helps the sauce stick. Make sure to let the wings cool for 1-2 minutes before glazing. If you can’t get the sauce to stick to the wings, the skin might not be crispy enough. Sauce sticks much easier to dry, crispy chicken skin.
A day before cooking, leave the chicken wings uncovered in the fridge. This will help the skin dry out and crisp up better in the air fryer. Coating the chicken in a light layer of cornstarch before cooking also helps remove excess moisture. Just make sure you don’t overdo it.
Looking For More?
The air fryer is my go-to for making delicious appetizers and party foods in a pinch! Some of my favorites are:
- Air Fryer Frozen Sweet Potato Fries
- Air Fryer Crab Rangoons
- Air Fryer Parmesan Potato Wedges
- Air Fryer Beef Taquitos
- Air Fryer Frozen Potstickers
Air Fryer Honey Garlic Chicken Wings
- If not already done, split wings into flats and drummettes. Spray with oil and generously season all sides with salt and pepper.
- Preheat air fryer to 400°F. If your air fryer doesn't have a preheat function, let warm up for 5 minutes. Add half the chicken and air fry for 10-15 minutes until golden brown and internal temperature is 165°F, shaking halfway. Let cool on a wire rack and repeat with the second half.Depending on how much fat is on your chicken, the air fryer may smoke so make sure you're in a well-ventilated area and turn on your fans.
- While the chicken is cooking, whisk together honey, soy sauce, lime juice, garlic, red pepper flakes, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Season to taste.
- Once the wings are done, let cool for 1-2 minutes on a wire rack, then brush generously on all sides with honey garlic sauce. Repeat once or twice. Alternatively, add the wings and sauce to a large bowl and stir to coat well.
- Each air fryer is different and temperature and cook times may vary. I used the 6-Quart Instant Vortex for this recipe.
- If you don't like the taste of raw garlic, toast it first. Melt a pat of butter in a pan and add the minced garlic. Sauté for 30 seconds to a minute, stirring often, until fragrant. Keep an eye on it as it can burn quickly.
- To prevent the air fryer from smoking as much, you could cook the wings at 350°F for 15-18 minutes instead. I tested both temperatures and while 350°F had no smoke, the wings weren't as crispy or golden brown. And increasing the time to make them crispier caused the meat to dry out. It's your choice!
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