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Finally I’ve learnt how to cook something delicious in my air fryer that are not restaurant-style French Fries: it turns out you can make crisp, juicy and delicious chicken wings in an air fryer for a no fuss lunch, starter or snack without the need for deep frying. Tossed in a delicious, tangy, slightly spicy Korean sauce, these are the reason I’ve been adding a packet of wings onto every Ocado shop.
It took me a while to develop this recipe, both to work in the two different kinds of air fryer most commonly found on the market, and to get that tangy Korean dressing just so.
What is the best air fryer to buy?
Now, my parents and I have different air fryers which work in two different ways. Theirs is a big fancy Tefal Acrifry (ad), and mine is a basket-style Andrew James air fryer I was gifted a couple of years ago. The reason why this matters is because they operate in two different ways. The bigger, rounder air fryers like the Tefal rotate inside while cooking, moving your food around for you. Cheaper ones like mine operate by air circulating around the food sitting static in the basket. Going back to basics if you’re making chips in there, in my parents fryer you don’t need to do anything during cooking, in mine you’ll need to toss the chips occasionally to make sure that they cook evenly.
You’ll get delicious wings out of both, but they’ll be a little different depending on which model you go for. If you’re asking my opinion, I don’t actually have a preference, so I’d say go for the cheapest one! Essentially, what you’re doing to get a nice crispy coating on your wings is is coating them in a little oil and cornflour before frying. In the air fryer where the food is moved around for you, some of this will fall off in the cooking and the wings will stick together a bit, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. Yes you don’t get as much crispy coating coverage, but you do get these nice crispy knobbly bits, more akin to actual fried chicken. In a basket fryer you’ll get a better coating, but you will need to go to the effort of turning your wings over half way through cooking.
What can I substitute for gochujang?
There is not really a real substitue for gochujang because it has such a unique flavour (I’ve written a whole essay on it here) but in a pinch you can substitute sriracha instead and you’ll still make delicious wings, but with less of a traditional Korean flavour.
Can I use regular mayonnaise instead of Kewpie?
Yes! If you can’t track down any Kewpie you can substitue whatever mayonnaise you have to hand but it might not add as much tang so give the sauce a taste, and add a little more rice vinegar if necessary.
One final thought before we move onto the recipe, and that is on portion size. I know cooking mostly for two I usually do smaller portion sizes anyway, but here how many wings you can make really depends on the size of your air fryer – you won’t get nice crispy, crunchy wings if you crowd the fryers. So, I’ve made this a (small) serves two that will feed one of you for an evening meal, or two for a lunchtime treat, as that is what most air fryers I’ve ever seen here in the UK can take at once. However, (and I’m looking at my American readers here) if you have one of those massive air fryers, feel free to scale it up!
Crisp, delicious air-fryer fried chicken wings tossed in a sticky Korean-inspired glaze.
For the Chicken Wings
450–500g (1 lb) chicken wings
1 tbsp light oil
freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
3 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
furikaki or toasted sesame seeds (optional for garnishing)
2 large spring onions, thinly sliced (optional, for garnishing)
For the Korean-style Glaze
1 tbsp gochujang korean chilli paste
1/2 tbsp tomato ketchup
1/2 tbsp kewpie Japanese mayonnaise
1/2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp runny honey, plus extra for drizzling
1/2 tsp rice wine vinegar
1/2 thumb size piece of ginger, peeled and grated
In a large bowl toss the chicken wings with the oil and a generous amount of salt and pepper until the wings are ell coated. Sprinkle over the cornflour and toss well again until the cornflour has stuck to the chicken wings.
Spread the wings out in a single layer on the base of your air fryer and cook for 25 minutes at 180 degrees (355 fahrenheit, though my air fryer just has settings, use the one meant for chicken), turning after 15 minutes if you have a basket style air fryer (see my notes on different models above!) – at the end of cooking the wings should be crisp and golden.
Meanwhile, in another large bowl whisk together all the sauce ingredients to make the glaze.
Transfer the wings to the glaze and toss well to make sure they’re well coated in the sauce. Serve immediately, sprinkled with furikake or toasted sesame seeds, spring onion pieces and another drizzle of honey, if desired.
I buy most of my specialist Asian ingredients from Sous Chef or Amazon, but you can find all of them in Sainsburys.
I'm a food writer living in London and the English Countryside. Welcome to my online diary where I share easy, weeknight recipes, foodie travel diaries and some of the best places I've eaten out recently.
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