Best Way to Cook Frozen Chicken Wings: Oven, Air Fryer, Toaster Oven, or Microwave?

What’s the best way to cook frozen chicken wings? We were wondering the same thing. So I picked up a bag of Foster Farms Hot & Spicy Wings (the best frozen chicken wings, as decided by us in our most recent taste test) and cooked them four different ways in order to find the optimal cooking method. I cooked them in the oven, in our Black + Decker toaster oven using the toaster oven setting, in our toaster oven using the air fryer setting, and in the microwave. 

Please note: I am not a professional chef or recipe tester. I’m a writer and a food taster—that means I eat food for a living. Now, I think I’m a decent home cook. I can certainly follow a recipe and I can come up with my own dishes on the fly. But I’m no expert. I think that actually makes me more qualified to find the best way to cook frozen chicken wings because I’m more like you than a professional cook (unless you’re a Michelin-starred chef or something). So, whatever works best for me should probably work best for you.

So, let’s get to the testing. I only almost burned down the kitchen using one method. 


450° for 25 min

how to cook frozen chicken wings: oven
Liv Averett / iStock

The wings came out of the oven with very crispy skin—something I look for in a good chicken wing. I really don’t like soggy skin. The oven also imparted a nice charred flavor. The meat itself was a little dry, but it was flavorful and juicy enough—nothing a little dip into some blue cheese dressing or more Buffalo sauce couldn’t solve. If someone served me a platter of these oven-cooked wings, I’d be very pleased and have no problem polishing them off. In the future, I might take a couple of minutes off the cook time to ensure a slightly juicier wing, though. 

Toaster Oven 

450° for 20 min 

how to cook frozen chicken wings: toaster oven
Liv Averett / iStock

I thought these would come out extra crispy since they cooked closer to the heat source than in the oven, but I was wrong. The skin wasn’t nearly as crispy as it was on the oven-cooked frozen wing. It was chewy and soft. But the meat was definitely juicier. This method enhanced the chicken flavor of the meat. If you were cooking frozen chicken wings for one, the toaster oven is an okay option if you don’t mind a chicken wing that isn’t crispy. 

Air Fryer

14 min 

how to cook frozen chicken wings: air fryer
Liv Averett / iStock

I definitely thought air frying would be the best way to cook frozen chicken wings. I thought the skin would be extra crispy. But the whole thing wound up being chewy—both the skin and the meat. I even tried leaving the wings in the air fryer setting for extra time (more than the wings packaging recommended), but it didn’t help. The wings turned spongy. This is definitely not the best way to cook frozen wings. 


6 min 

how to cook frozen chicken wings: microwave
Liv Averett / iStock

I knew microwaving wouldn’t be the best way to cook frozen wings, but I thought it would be because they would come out wet and soggy, not because it would almost burn down the Sporked kitchen. I followed the directions on the package, putting the wings in the microwave on high for six minutes. I sat down to do some writing. And then a few minutes later I smelled smoke. I looked up and saw smoke billowing out of the microwave. Do you know what melted chicken wing bone smells like? I do. It smells like wet dog. The wing fully melted to the plate and left the office smelling strangely canine for the rest of the day. Do not, I repeat, do not try to microwave frozen chicken wings. 


If you’re looking for crispy skin and evenly cooked meat, then the oven is the best bet by far. If you really want juicy wings and don’t care about crispy skin, go ahead and use the toaster oven. But I will be using the oven and only the oven to cook my frozen wings from here on out. And I will never, ever, ever try to cook frozen chicken wings in a microwave ever again. 

About the Author

Justine Sterling

Justine Sterling is the editor-in-chief of Sporked. She has been writing about food and beverages for well over a decade and is an avid at-home cook and snacker. Don’t worry, she’s not a food snob. Sure, she loves a fresh-shucked oyster. But she also will leap at whatever new product Reese’s releases and loves a Tostitos Hint of Lime, even if there is no actual lime in the ingredients.

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