At the risk of sounding a little grandiose, I’m going to make a bold statement here: Buffalo baked chicken wings deserve a renaissance.
Because before they were considered “bar food”, and before they became staples of late-night room service, poolside dining, and 99 cent menus everywhere — they were a delicacy. A craze. A uniquely American invention.
And while scholars continue to debate the dish’s true origins, and food writers make pilgrimages in search of revelation, us regular folks tend to forget what all the fuss was about. Chicken wings have become so ever-present, so standardized, that we’ve lowered our standards. “A wing is a wing”, we tell ourselves. And all wings are more-or-less “good”.
Hot. Sweet. Salty. Snobby.
But what if I told you that you shouldn’t settle for rubbery skin, or watered-down sauce? That you, from your own kitchen, could rediscover the potential hidden in the humble wing? And that you didn’t need a deep fryer to do it?
You might just end up judging all other wings by this standard.
The Search for Superior Wings.
First things first: a lot has been learned since wings first appeared in the city of Buffalo sometime in the 1960s. A quick google search will yield literally thousands of results claiming “secret” solutions and “ultimate” recipes. Good news is, I’ve done the homework for you — in the form of countless hours of tasting, testing, and re-tasting. Poor me.
Two big takeaways from my journey to the bottom of the food internet: wings are actually better baked, and baking powder is your best friend.
- The crispiest chicken wings you’ve ever had
- The juiciest chicken wings you’ve ever had
- A newfound respect for your oven
- A newfound respect for yourself
- A thick and complex sauce
- Instant wing snobbery
*Author’s note: You’re going to want to go ahead and make some homemade ranch dressing for this one. Planning on serving these at a party? Consider a few of these low carb appetizers as well. Looking for keto wings? Check out the recommended ingredient swaps on my recipe card.
Chicken Wings Video Tutorial
Better Buffalo Wings: Crucial Tips + Tricks
- Get yourself some “party wings”. These are wings that have already been separated (the drumette from the flat, with the tip removed). I buy these in bulk at Costco. If you have whole wings, find the joint and divide the wings into pieces using a sharp knife (video tutorial).
- KEY INGREDIENT: Baking powder. Baking powder is a combination of baking soda and acid. When combined with salt, it dries out the skin of the wings, creating a deliciously crisp texture. We tested many other methods, including: 1. baking soda, which left a weird aftertaste and wasn’t nearly as crispy. 2.Oil, again, wasn’t crispy.
- No need to flip. For some odd reason, we found the baked wings without a flip were crispier — go figure!
- The wire rack is key. This allows the warm oven air to fully circulate around the wings, again, getting them crispy.
- Sauce ratio. You’ll find most recipes for buffalo wings have more butter. We much preferred this ratio of butter to hot sauce, as it was thicker, and coated the baked wings well.
- What’s the best hot sauce for chicken wings? My go-to is Frank’s Red Hot for a few reasons. Most importantly, because it’s a thicker hot sauce (again, allowing the sauce to coat the wings). I also love its combination of flavors, and it’s not crazy spicy!
Dipping Sauce Recommendations
Now, you have an incredibly difficult decision to make: will you dip your crispy baked chicken wings in ranch or blue cheese? Almost as heavily debated as crunchy vs. creamy peanut butter — this decision is on you, friend. Full transparency: I’m a ranch gal. In case you missed it at the top, my homemade ranch dressing can be found here.
Storing + Reheating Tips
Although this buffalo wings recipe is best served immediately, you can store any wing leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container. Reheat them in the oven at 400 F for 15-20 minutes, or until the wings are heated through. Be sure to toss in sauce (if you don’t have any left, make a 1/2 batch) before serving.
- Keto chicken wings? YES PLEASE! Swap the honey with confectioners erythritol. Or, skip the sweetener all together if you’re looking for spicy low carb chicken recipes.
- Add more heat to your baked hot wings by sprinkling some cayenne pepper into the sauce.
More Spicy Chicken Recipes
- Buffalo Chicken Salad
- Chicken Enchilada Soup
- Mexican Chicken Salad
- Hunan Chicken
- Low Carb White Chicken Chili
Buffalo Baked Chicken WingsPrint Recipe Pin Recipe
- 3 Pounds Chicken Wings drumettes and flats separated, tips removed (Note 1)
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons Baking Powder
- 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper freshly ground
- 2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter melted
- 1/4 Cup Frank's Red Hot (Note 2)
- 1-2 Tablespoons Honey or confectioners Swerve/Lakanto (Note 3)
- Ranch Dressing
- Blue Cheese Dressing
- Prep. Preheat oven the 425 F and place an oven-safe wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet. Dry wings (3 pounds) by wrapping them in paper towels - you want their surface to be completely dry (this is key in getting them crispy!).
- Combine. In a small bowl, combine baking powder (1 1/2 tablespoons), salt (1 teaspoon), and black pepper (1/2 teaspoon). Place wings in a large bowl and sprinkle half the baking powder combo over the top. Toss a few times, then sprinkle the other half of the baking powder. Toss until the wings are fully coated.
- Bake. Spread wings onto the prepared baking sheet in a single layer. Bake in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes.
- Sauce + Serve. Combine sauce ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside. Taste, and adjust to your liking. Remove wings from the oven and brush them with the sauce. Serve warm (Note 4), and enjoy!
Fans Also Made These Low Carb Recipes:
- Dividing the wings. Don't want to bother slicing the wings? Purchase "party wings" (I do this in bulk at Costco). If that's not an option, divide the flats and drumettes by slicing at the joint. Use the same technique for removing the tip.
- Hot sauce. Frank's Red Hot is my preferred hot sauce, as it isn't too hot, has great flavor, and is thicker than most hot sauces, which allows it to coat the wings well.
- Keto wings. Swap honey for confectioners erythritol, or skip the sweetener altogether.
- Reheating. Reheat your leftovers in the oven, although these are best served immediately.