When it comes to pub grub, finger foods, and game day goodies, chickenwings always reign supreme. Deep-fried wings were once king, but a new air-fried contender has come to challenge the crown. To air-fry foods successfully, you need to play to your air fryer’s strengths. You can’t prepare foods the same way you would if you were deep-frying—at least not if you want the same kind of crispy, crunchy, tender, and juicy results. To do this, we first dredge and prebake the wings. The breading mixture contains baking powder, which raises the pH of the skin, breaks down the proteins, and enhances the Maillard reaction (it will amp up browning when the wings are “fried”). Baking powder also makes the air frying more efficient, because it pulls moisture from the skin. This dries out the surface of the chickenwings, enhancing the final texture and increasing crispiness. Baking hydrates the starches in the flour so they gel—this means that crust will get crispy when air-fried, instead of dried out and sandy. Baking also breaks down collagen, turning it into gelatin. This makes the wings succulent and nearly fall-off-the-bone tender. While it’s a little extra effort, compared to popping some wings into the fryer, knowing the different types of heat and how an air fryer works will help you to get the most out of your air fryer—and make these insanely delicious wings.