Get your game face on! (And by “game face,” I mean that covered-in-wing-sauce-while-watching-the-game face.) And speaking of games, Instant Pot Chicken Wings are a game changer – super-duper extra crispy on the outside; tender and juicy on the inside. Toss ’em in my mama’s “famous” Buffalo Sauce and you’re gonna be the game winner!
An Instant Pot? For Buffalo Wings?
I’ve made Buffalo Wings so many times, in so many ways, despite the fact that they’ve never been a great love of mine. (Though that might be changing… so read to the end.)
Back to methods – I have tried all. of. the. ways. Deep-fried? Done it. Oven baked? Been there. Boiled, then broiled? Been there too. Grilled? Close, but no cigar. I’ve also worked in various restaurants ranging from the pub to the kitschy cafe to the celebrity chef. Most served some form of wings, though some were fancier than others. The #1 customer request/complaint/feedback? “Can I get my wings extra crispy?”
Here’s the thing with wings. If you ask for extra crispy wings in a restaurant, you’re going to get quite a bit of crunch on the outside, but some stringy, tough grossness in the middle. Because the only way to make them “extra crispy” is to keep ’em in the deep fryer longer. If you make no such special requests, you’ll probably get a pile of well-cooked wings with skin that can be, from time to time, a bit slimy.
So, this is the conundrum, right? Everyone wants a wing that is perfectly crispy on the outside, because hot damn it’s delicious that way, that is also moist and tender on the inside. The closest I’ve tasted to “perfect” was a low-and-slow smoked chicken wing that took *wait for it* 5 hours. (I know I have neither the time, inclination, or a converted 55-gallon oil drum smoker in my backyard to get into that, but peace and blessings if you do…)
Enter – the INSTANT POT. It’s the magical solution we never knew we needed to achieve that perfect texture combination that makes our mouths drool and out bellies clamor for more, more, more!
How to make perfect instant pot buffalo wings
Steam your wings to tender perfection in the instant pot, then broil them in the oven for that impossibly perfect combination of juicy meat and super crisp skin. You’ll never make buffalo wings another way ever again!
- Pour a cup of broth into the instant pot, then add a trivet.
- Layer the wings onto the trivet. Program to high pressure for 8 minutes. Allow for a 5-minute natural pressure release, then release the remaining pressure manually.
- Remove the chicken wings using tongs, then place into an even layer on a wire rack nested into onto a baking sheet.
- Allow the wings to air dry for 5 minutes. This is crucial! Moisture is the enemy of crispy. The cool air will dry the wings pretty quickly. The skin should be dry to the touch, but it will be a little tacky.
- Season with pepper, then place the wings into the oven set to High Broil. Broil 5 minutes, flip ’em, and broil on the other side.
- Transfer to a bowl and toss with buffalo sauce. Stuff them into your face immediately.
Some additional waxing on when to add the sauce: many recipes will tell you to toss the wings in half the sauce before broiling. I beg you, please don’t do that. Moisture is the enemy of crispiness! For the crispiest wings possible, just toss ’em once, after they’re nice and golden brown. If over-saucing is your concern, toss with about half to two-thirds of the sauce to start, and add more as-needed.
Tips for making this recipe perfectly
- Use homemade buffalo sauce. There is no good reason not to make your own and it takes all of 5 minutes.
- Cut your wings properly using a sharp knife (dull knives will slip!) or a pair of good quality kitchen shears. Check out this illustration from Cook’s illustrated.
- It’s not easy to overcook the wings this way, but it can be done. Therefore, do keep an eye on them as they broil and flip/remove once the skin is sizzling and crispy but not burnt.
- Moisture = not crispy, so follow these 2 key tips: air dry the wings after steaming in the Instant Pot, and toss in the sauce after the wings have browned under the broiler.
How long to cook wings in the Instant Pot?
These times were tested in my 6-quart Instant Pot. Allow for a 5-minute natural pressure release, then release the remaining pressure manually.
- Up to 2.5 lb, fresh: 6 minutes
- Up to 2.5 lb, frozen: 11 minutes
- 2.5 – 5lb, fresh: 8 minutes
- 2.5 – 5lb, frozen: 13 minutes
What size Instant Pot?
My 6-quart Instant Pot accommodated 5 pounds of wings – I wouldn’t cook a quantity larger than that.
Can I cook these from frozen?
Yes, as long as the chicken pieces have already been divided into wings and drums. It also helps if they’re not in a solid block, because they won’t fit well into the Instant Pot. Add five minutes to the cook time for an equal number of frozen wings.
- Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
- Buffalo Chicken Wraps
- Buffalo Chicken Bites
- Buffalo Chicken Salad
- Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
Did you make these Instant Pot Chicken Wings?? I’d love to know how they turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below
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- 5 lb buffalo wings
- 1 c water or chicken broth
- 1 tsp ground pepper
- Blue cheese dressing, for dipping
- Celery sticks, for serving
- Make the buffalo sauce. Combine the hot sauces, butter, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika in a 2-quart saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a simmer. Cook, whisking frequently, until the butter melts and the sauce slightly thickens, 2-3 minutes.
- Pour chicken broth into the inner pot, then place a trivet into the pot.
- Layer the wings on top of the trivet. Seal the pot and ensure the pressure valve is set to “Sealing”. Program to High Pressure for 8 minutes. Allow for a 5 minute natural pressure release, then release the remaining pressure manually.
- Nest a cooking rack into a baking sheet and set aside. Position a rack in the upper third of the oven then set to High Broil.
- Remove the Instant Pot lid, then remove the wings from the pot using tongs and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Allow the wings to air dry for 5 minutes (see notes), then season with pepper. Broil 5-7 minutes or until the skin is golden brown and crisp. Flip each wing using tongs, then broil a further 3-4 minutes until crisp on the other side.
- Transfer the wings to a large bowl. Pour the sauce over the wings, then toss until well coated. Serve immediately with blue cheese dressing and celery sticks.
- Moisture is the enemy of crispiness, so follow these 2 key tips: air dry the wings after steaming in the Instant Pot, and toss in the sauce after the wings have browned under the broiler.
- Up to 2.5 lb, fresh: 6 minutes
- Up to 2.5 lb, frozen: 11 minutes
- 2.5 - 5lb, fresh: 8 minutes
- 2.5 - 5lb, frozen: 13 minutes