Ready in minutes, these air fryer turkey wings are dry-brined with savory and sweet seasonings. Serve these as a main dish for a family dinner or appetizer for game day or the holiday season.
Meaty and packed with protein, this healthy way to cook wings is much better for you than deep-fried wings! And they are a great alternative to the usual chicken wings, especially during the turkey-crazy months!
I enjoy giving precise details in my recipe posts to lead my readers through any questions. If you’re just here for the printable recipe, you can Jump to Recipe to head straight there!
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- 30-Minute Meal – This dish only takes 30 minutes to complete!
- Healthy – Skip the greasy traditional fryer and use the air fryer instead, still producing crispy skin and tender insides.
- Game Day Appetizer – Delicious air-fried turkey wings are an easy, crowd-pleasing appetizer or finger food for game day!
Turkey Wing 101
A turkey wing comprises three main parts: the drumette, the thickest part of the wing with a single bone; the wingette (or midsection), an elongated portion with two parallel bones; and the wing tip (flapper), a thin, pointed end with minimal meat. These parts offer versatility in cooking, from roasting and grilling to making soups or traditional buffalo wings.
If your wings come with wing tips (typically they are removed), freeze them and use them when making your giblet turkey gravy.
Simple Ingredients for Air Fryer Turkey Wings
- Turkey wings | Find split turkey wings at the store; they will provide thicker drumette portions, the wingette, and the wing tip (not the shoes – haha); use the wing tips to make this amazing turkey giblet gravy.
- Oil | I prefer avocado oil, but extra virgin olive oil is another excellent choice.
- Turkey Spice Blend | Combine kosher salt, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder for a well-balanced flavor blend. Then, mix in brown sugar for a touch of sweetness. Add dried thyme and oregano for a fresh taste and sprinkle in some cayenne pepper for heat, if desired.
- If you can only find the whole wing, they are pretty easy to cut. Using a sharp knife, get the tip of your blade between the bones at the knuckles/intersections, cut the drumette, wingette, and wing tip. Your butcher can do this for you too!
Simple Steps to Make Air Fryer Turkey Wing Recipe
Dry-brine wings (Optional, up to 24 hours ahead)
Adding this quick extra step to your wings will create so much flavor! Put the wings in a large bowl, and mix the spice blend and rub all over the wings. Coat the turkey wings with the dry rub and let them sit for about 24 hours in the fridge. Be sure to spray with some olive oil or avocado oil before air frying.
Bring them out 30 minutes before starting the recipe, allowing them to come to room temperature.
- A trusted instant-read thermometer is a must for recipes liek these and this one is wireless, making it so much easier.
Step 1 | Preheat and prep
Preheat the air fryer to 370° F (188° C) with the basket is inside. Then, pat the wings of any excess moisture with paper towels and set them in a large bowl, drizzling with oil or spraying with oil (pure oil) and turning to coat thoroughly.
Step 2 | Coat with seasoning
If you didn’t dry brine your turkey wings in the spice rub, then do it now. Pour a little oil and rub them over the wings.
Mix the dry rub ingredients in a small bowl and sprinkle them over the wings. Turn the wings with your hands as you rub the seasoning into them, coating all sides.
- Cook the wings in batches to avoid overlapping them in the basket, causing uneven cooking.
- The exact cooking time will vary depending on the air fryer brand and model and the size of the wings. Using a meat thermometer (my favorite, it’s wireless) is the best way to determine if they are done cooking.
Step 3 | Cook, rest, and serve!
Next, arrange the wings in a single layer inside the air fryer basket. Air fry for about 10-15 minutes, flip the wings and continue cooking for about 5-7 minutes. Use an instant-read thermometer to measure the internal temperature of the wings.
They are finished cooking when the temperature reaches 165 degrees F and they are golden brown. Then, let them rest lightly tented in foil for five to ten minutes, then enjoy!
Make these juicy turkey wings for an easy weekday dinner, as a great game day snack or a fun addition to your holiday meal.
- The turkey wings give off a lot of grease, so place a small tray under the wings on the lower rack to catch the drippings if you use a countertop-style air fryer. Then, use the dripping to make a delicious gravy!
- Remember that all air fryers heat differently, so you may need to increase or decrease the heat accordingly.
How to make Air Fryer Turkey Gravy from Drippings
To make a tasty turkey gravy from the excess drippings, use a tray or something similar to collect them as the turkey cooks. Then, add the following ingredients and combine them well to make a delicious gravy worthy for a Thanksgiving dinner:
- ⅛ cup turkey drippings
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup turkey or chicken Broth
- ½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon butter
First, add the drippings to a small saucepan, whisking with all-purpose flour for a couple of minutes over medium heat. Next, slowly whisk the broth, stirring until the gravy thickens. Then, add apple cider vinegar and butter, whisking until combined, and taste to adjust the recipe with salt and pepper.
Our favorite air fryers
- Turn your Instant Pot into an air fryer with this air fryer lid — one less appliance!
- Cosori Air Fryer is the next up, a dedicated air fryer with a larger square basket.
- Ninja Foodi Air Fryer & Indoor Grill — a nice wide and easy-to-operate air fryer.
- My favorite Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer Pro (it does it all!), love, love this air fryer, countertop oven.
Should you use whole or split turkey wings?
I prefer split turkey wings for this air fryer recipe because they fit better in the basket or tray. The local grocery store should have whole turkey wings, including the drumette part, and split wings where the wings and drumette are separated. If you need help locating your desired product, check with your local butcher.
Variations & Substitutions
- Cajun Spice Turkey Wings: Use a Creole or Cajun seasoning blend or combine paprika, cayenne pepper, dried oregano, thyme, garlic powder, and onion powder for Creole Turkey Wings!
- BBQ Turkey Wings: Like this simple air fryer wings recipe, combine brown sugar, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and paprika, then add liquid smoke and a bit of cumin for that classic BBQ flavor.
- Citrus Rub Wings: Mix fresh lemon zest, rosemary, thyme, garlic, and black pepper for a lemon pepper herb blend.
- Honey Mustard Glazed-Wings: With Dijon mustard, honey, fresh garlic, some cayenne, and a touch of soy sauce, make a sweet and tangy glaze.
- Garlic Parmesan Rub: Freshly grate parmesan cheese, mince garlic, and add dried oregano, salt, and black pepper, combining well.
- Maple Bourbon Glaze: Blend maple syrup, your favorite bourbon, smoked paprika, Dijon mustard, and brown sugar for a smoky, sweet glaze.
Refrigerate Turkey Wings – First, allow the wings to cool completely, then store them in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Freeze Leftover Turkey Wings – To freeze them, wrap the cooled turkey wings in plastic wrap and place them in an airtight container for up to four months.
Reheating Air Fryer Turkey Wings – Next time you’re craving delicious turkey wings, just reheat the thawed wings in the air fryer by setting it to 350 degrees F and cooking for about 4-8 minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you don’t have an air fryer, make oven-baked turkey wings by laying the wings on an °aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Bake the wings in the oven preheated to 400° F (205° C) for about 30 minutes. Then, let them rest for 5 minutes and serve!
One of the most common reasons for this is that there were too many wings in the air fryer basket at once, disturbing the hot air circulation that crisps the outside.
While baked wings are certainly delicious, just something about air frying takes them to the next level. The high-powered convection circulates hot air around all sides of the wings, resulting in deliciously crisp skin.
Why are my turkey wings tough?
Air fryers can be a convenient way to cook turkey wings, but if your turkey wings turn out tough, several factors may be contributing to this issue. Here are some common reasons:
- Overcooking: Overcooking is a common reason for tough turkey wings. Check the cooking time and temperature to ensure they match the recommended settings. Overcooking can dry out the meat and make it tough.
- Lack of moisture: Turkey wings can become tough if they are not properly seasoned or marinated before air frying. Marinating them in a flavorful liquid or sauce can help retain moisture and tenderness.
- Inadequate seasoning: Turkey wings benefit from seasoning with spices, herbs, and flavorings. Make sure to season them adequately before air frying to enhance their taste and texture.
- Low-quality meat: The quality of the turkey wings matters. Choose high-quality, fresh wings, as lower-quality meat can be tougher.
- Not using oil or fat: A light coating of oil improves the texture and flavor of the turkey wings. Without any oil, the wings may turn out dry and tough.
- Incorrect temperature and timing: Follow the recommended temperature and cooking time for turkey wings in your specific air fryer model. Different air fryers may require adjustments.
- Crowding the basket: Overcrowding the air fryer basket can lead to uneven cooking. Make sure there’s enough space between the wings to allow for proper hot air circulation.
- Preheating: Preheating your air fryer is important to ensure even cooking. Not preheating may result in uneven cooking and tougher wings.
What to serve with Turkey Wings in Air Fryer
Best side dishes for air fryer turkey wings
Southern-Style Green Beans
Homemade Southern-style green beans are a staple of the holiday celebrations in my home. Parmesan makes them rich and cheesy, and they have just the right amount of crunch from fried onions and toasted almonds. It's my take on green bean casserole with bacon!
Best Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad Recipe
This Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad recipe is loaded with chicken, bacon, vegetables, ranch dressing, and perfectly cooked farfalle pasta.
Fresh Cranberry Relish
A delicious variation on cranberry sauce, this fresh relish is bright, sweet and sour and so pleasant on the tummy!
Easy Air Fryer Steak Fries Recipe from Scratch
Experience the delicious crispiness of air fryer steak fries – golden wedges with a perfect balance of crunch and tenderness. Elevate your meal or snack time with these irresistible treats.
Cheesy Broccoli Cauliflower Casserole (Vegetable Au Gratin)
As we enter the holiday season, easy side dishes are a must and slam-dunk recipes like this vegetable au gratin are always a winner. You will also love my broccoli gratin, potatoes au gratin and this not your Grandma’s Green Bean Casserole.
Best desserts to serve with turkey wings in air fryer
Add to the festive meal with these favorite desserts during the holiday season.
Easy Hot Chocolate Fudge Recipe (Microwave)
The holidays call for rich and delicious sweets, but we don’t always have the time to create complex masterpieces. This easy hot chocolate fudge recipe is an excellent option when you’re limited on time but still want to enjoy a sweet seasonal treat!
Best Copycat Crumbl Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
This classic Crumbl chocolate chip cookie recipe is a perfect copycat of the real thing. Packed with milk chocolate chips, this no-chill copycat Crumbl cookie recipe will become a family favorite. Learn how to make these incredibly popular cookies right at home!
Cranberry Christmas Cake Recipe with Butter Sauce
I can’t imagine the holidays without this easy Cranberry Christmas Cake! It’s a doubly good dessert or breakfast treat with tangy cranberries and a rich, warm vanilla butter sauce. This cranberry cake is sweet enough to tantalize a smile out of any grinch. Plus for those baking a high altitude cake, I've got the perfect adjustments for you!
More Turkey Recipes for the Holidays
- Easy Juicy Air Fryer Turkey Thighs Recipe
- Oven Baked Turkey and Cheese Sliders Recipe
- Crispy Air Fryer Turkey Legs
- Best Turkey Giblet Gravy Recipe Without Drippings
- Simple Tender Tasty Turkey
- Best Instant Pot Turkey Breast Recipe
Turkey like, people come in different shapes, sizes, and weights. Watch your turkey wings by using an instant-read thermometer and watching closely. Plus every air fryer heats differently, so adapt to your air fryer.
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Easy Crispy Air Fryer Turkey Wings Recipe
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- 2-3 pounds turkey wings purchase split turkey wings, or cut whole wings up
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil
Optional: Add Dry Rub 24 hours ahead
- If desired, pat dry the turkey wings, then in a large bowl rub them with oil and sprinkle with spices up to 24 hours ahead of time, keeping them covered in the fridge and bringing out 30 minutes before air frying.
- Preheat air fryer to 370° F (188° C) and make sure the air fryer basket or tray is in the air fryer. *Note that all air fryers heat a little differently, if using a countertop-style air fryer, you may need to increase the heat slightly and bake a few minutes longer.
- Pat turkey wings dry with paper towels and place in a large bowl. Drizzle with oil and turn to coat.
- Combine turkey wing rub ingredients in a small bowl, sprinkle turkey rub all over wings, then turn with your hands rubbing the turkey seasonings all over the wings. (At this point, the wings may dry brine in the fridge up to 24 hours.)
- Place wings in a single layer (do not overlap, they won’t crisp or cook accurately) doing in batches if necessary. Air fry for 10-15 minutes, flip, and continue cooking for another 5 minutes or so.
If you have more turkey drippings, feel free to double this recipe:
- ⅛ cup turkey drippings
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup turkey or chicken Broth, or one cup water and one teaspoon better than bouillon (chicken or turkey)
- ½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon butter
Slowly whisk in the turkey or chicken broth until thickened to desired consistency. Add ½ tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and butter, whisking until combined, taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Whole or Split Turkey Wings
I chose split turkey wings for this recipe because they fit easier into the air fryer and are more accessible.
At your local supermarket, you’ll discover whole turkey wings and those conveniently split into wings and drumettes, which are the uppermost and meatier section of the wing. If your wings come with wing tips (they are typically removed), freeze them and use them when making your giblet turkey gravy. If you have trouble finding turkey wings, check with your local butcher. Variations & Substitutions
If you are in a hurry and don’t want to measure out the seasonings to make your turkey wing rub, then use your favorite seasoning blends in place of the rub, such as Creole seasoning, Steakhouse seasoning, try this Carrabba’s grill rub. Storage Tips
Fridge | Store cooled turkey wings in an airtight container for 3-4 days, freeze up to 4 months.
Reheat: To reheat in the air fryer; preheat air fryer to 330-350° F and cook for about 8 minutes until warmed through. No Air Fryer? Oven Baked Turkey Wings
Lay turkey wings on a aluminum foil lined rimmed baking sheet and bake in a preheated 400° F (205° C) oven for about 30 minutes. If desired, place wings on an oven-safe baking rack or roasting rack.
Serve with hot honey, regular honey, pan gravy, honey mustard, homemade chunky blue cheese or your favorite dipping sauce.