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air fry chicken wings and basil on parchment paper in a black skillet.
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5 from 7 votes

Extra Crispy Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken Air Fryer Chicken Wings

Crispy and flavorful fried chicken wings with classic Taiwanese popcorn chicken flavor cooked in an air fryer.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Marinate time30 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Taiwanese
Calories: 668kcal
Author: Edwina

Equipment

  • Air fryer

Ingredients

  • 5 chicken wings split into flats and drumettes (see note)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp white pepper powder
  • 1 pinch Chinese five spice powder optional
  • ¼ tsp sugar
  • 1-2 clove garlic minced

Coating

  • ¼ cup coarse sweet potato / tapioca starch see note
  • ½ tsp baking powder

Aromatic herbs

  • 1 hand full Thai basil can be replaced by other kinds of basil that's available to you
  • 2 clove garlic sliced or roughly chopped
  • vegetable oil

Sprinkling Seasoning (optional)

  • sea salt
  • white pepper powder
  • chili powder

Instructions

Prepare the wings

  • Put chicken wings in a bowl or Ziploc bag with soy sauce, salt, white pepper powder, five spice powder, sugar and minced garlic. Marinate for at least 30 minutes, preferably over night, in the fridge.
  • Mix sweet potato / tapioca starch with baking powder before placing on a big plate.
  • Coat each wing with the starch mix and squeeze it gently to help the starch adhere to the wings better.
  • Let the wings sit for 3-5 minutes to allow the starch coating to absorb some moisture from the wings, which will prevent the coating from falling off during cooking process.

Cooking

  • Toss basil and garlic with a little bit of the oil and set it aside.
  • Place the wings in the air fryer, cook it for 10 minutes on 350°F, toss the wings and then turn the heat to 400°F and continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes until it's golden brown and crispy.
  • Mix in basil and garlic in the air fryer, and cook for 1 more minute.
  • Transfer the wings out from the air fryer with a pair of tongs, season with more sea salt, white pepper powder or chili powder based on your taste and enjoy!

Notes

The amount of chicken wings you can fry each time depends on the capacity of your air fryer.  Fry the wings in two batches if cooking more, as crowding the air fryer will greatly increase the cooking time and the wings will end up being less crispy. 
Coarse sweet potato starch is what's used for making Taiwanese popcorn chicken in Taiwan traditionally; however, most of the so called sweet potato starch you can find these days is actually tapioca starch, which also works very well. 
The coarse starch gives the chicken a crunchier texture, but if you really can't find the coarse sweet potato/tapioca starch, you can just use regular tapioca starch.  I wouldn't replace it with other kinds of starch like corn starch or potato starch as the texture will be different.

Nutrition

Calories: 668kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 47g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 185mg | Sodium: 1976mg | Potassium: 413mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 406IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 157mg | Iron: 4mg