Sweet Habanero Air Fryer Chicken Wings Recipe

If you love spicy foods, these sweet habanero air fryer chicken wings belong on your must-try list! The recipe, created by developer Kate Shungu, is a simple appetizer or light dinner for heat seekers looking to set their taste buds ablaze.   

The chicken wings cook up perfectly crispy in the air fryer using a secret ingredient: baking powder. Then, the wings are topped with a sweet and fiery homemade habanero glaze. Honey lends the sweetness, and the key to the heat is a few habanero peppers, which pack in a pretty significant punch of heat. While habaneros are not the hottest pepper in the world, they are distinctly hotter than a jalapeño, which can also be pretty spicy when they want to be. So while spice level can be subjective, we think you'll agree that these wings bring the heat, and we'll also provide ways to increase (or lessen) the heat, should you want to pack in even more flavor.

The wings are a great appetizer for watching sports. We love pairing them with a meaty Rotel queso and a slow cooker white chicken chili to round out the spread, though they also work well as a main course paired alongside a creamy homemade ranch dressing. 

Gather the ingredients for sweet habanero air fryer chicken wings

This recipe starts with chicken wings, separated into flats and drumettes. You can buy the wings separated already (often called "party wings") or you can separate them yourself with a sharp knife. The wings are seasoned with salt, and a little baking powder helps them crisp up in the air fryer. The glaze is made with habanero peppers, honey, garlic powder, lime juice, and fresh cilantro. 

Step 1: Dry the wings

Pat the chicken wings dry with paper towels.

Step 2: Season the wings

Place the wings in a large bowl and sprinkle the salt and baking powder on top. Toss to coat.

Step 3: Air fry the wings

Place the chicken wings in a single layer in the air fryer with a little space in between each one (you may need to do this in two batches). Air fry for 10 minutes at 400 F.

Setp 4: Continue cooking the wings

Flip the wings and air fry for another 5-8 minutes at 400 F, or until the wings are cooked to at least 165 F.

Step 5: Make the glaze

While the wings are cooking, place the habanero peppers, honey, garlic powder, and lime juice in a blender. Blend until smooth.

Step 6: Stir in the cilantro

Stir in the chopped cilantro.

Step 7: Toss the wings with the glaze

When the wings have finished cooking, place them in a large bowl. Pour half of the honey habanero sauce over the top and toss to combine.

Step 8: Serve the wings

Serve warm with the rest of the honey habanero sauce for dipping.

What are tips for ensuring the wings get crispy in the air fryer?

Crispy skin on chicken wings is key to making a restuarant-quality appetizer at home. We'll use three techniques to get extra crispy wings in the air fryer. The first involves patting the chicken wings dry with paper towels. The less moisture they have on them, the crispier they will get, so do your best to get them as dry as possible with a paper towel or two.

The next crispy key involves tossing the wings with baking powder. The baking powder creates tiny air bubbles on the skin of the wings and raises the pH level, both of which contribute to the skin getting extra crispy. Finally, give the wings lots of room in the air fryer. Crowding the wings will often result in soggy skin. Leaving enough space between the wings lets the hot air circulate around them, creating even cooking on all sides. We suggest standing the wings on their ends, leaning against the side of the air fryer. This allows you to get the maximum number of wings in the air fryer. Depending on the size of your air fryer, this cooking process will likely require a couple of batches, but those crispy wings will be well worth it.

Can you make these chicken wings more or less spicy?

When the recipe is made as written, the average heat seeker would agree that these wings pack a spicy kick. If you'd like to decrease the heat level, you have a few options. The first option is to use a single habanero pepper in the sauce instead of three peppers. Option two is to slice open the peppers (wear gloves for this to protect your hands from the oils in the peppers) and use a paring knife to remove the seeds and membranes. Most of the heat lives in these parts of the pepper, so removing them will decrease the spice level while still leaving some spice.

Naturally, increasing the heat calls for either using more peppers and/or keeping the membranes and seeds in the mix. Other ways to increase the heat level include adding another type of pepper, drizzling hot sauce into the glaze mix, or even adding in some cayenne pepper to pack in a different level of complexity in the heat profile.

Sweet Habanero Air Fryer Chicken Wings Recipe
5 from 6 ratings
Pack a little heat into your chicken wings with this sweet habanero-glazed recipe.
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
15
minutes
Servings
4
servings
habanero glazed chicken wings
Total time: 25 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 pound chicken wings, flats and drumettes separated
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 habanero peppers, stems removed
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
Directions
  1. Pat the chicken wings dry with paper towels.
  2. Place the wings in a large bowl and sprinkle the salt and baking powder on top. Toss to coat.
  3. Place the chicken wings in a single layer in the air fryer with a little space in between each one (you may need to do this in two batches). Air fry for 10 minutes at 400 F.
  4. Flip the wings and air fry for another 5-8 minutes at 400 F, or until the wings are cooked to at least 165 F.
  5. While the wings are cooking, place the habanero peppers, honey, garlic powder, and lime juice in a blender. Blend until smooth.
  6. Stir in the chopped cilantro.
  7. When the wings have finished cooking, place them in a large bowl. Pour half of the honey habanero sauce over the top and toss to combine.
  8. Serve warm with the rest of the honey habanero sauce for dipping.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 365
Total Fat 14.7 g
Saturated Fat 4.1 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 125.9 mg
Total Carbohydrates 39.6 g
Dietary Fiber 1.6 g
Total Sugars 37.0 g
Sodium 576.4 mg
Protein 20.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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