A slightly healthier take on classic deep fried buffalo wings, these are oven baked, but every bit as crispy and delicious as fried wings.
Before we had kids my wife and I would go almost every week to a local sports bar for their Wednesday night buy one-get one free wing special. I never tried making them at home because I thought a good wing needed to be deep fried.
Nowadays with two kids I don’t get out too often for wings. So a few years ago I started looking at recipes for making them at home. I didn't want the mess of deep frying so I tried several baked recipes. Most that I tried were either sad and soggy, without that delicious crisp skin you get on a fried wing, or had a breaded coating like fried chicken.
Then I came across an old post from Serious Eats that changed the game. They had two keys, one is the putting the wings on a wire rack when baking to get good air circulation around the wings. The second is the use of baking powder to help crisp up the skin. Just look at that beautiful blistered, crispy, crackly skin!
In the Serious Eats recipe they toss the wings in a baking power and salt mixture and put them onto wire racks to air dry in the refrigerator overnight. That does get a super crispy skin, but takes some planning. It also a lot of fridge space, which I rarely have! To be honest, I don’t find it totally necessary either. You can still get crispy delicious wings without the overnight drying.
How to make crispy baked buffalo wings
For this recipe you'll need about 3 pounds of fresh chicken wings. In my supermarket fresh wings come whole. They're not too easy to eat that way so I split the drums and flats by spreading them apart and cutting between them with a chef's knife. I also like to cut the wing tips off the flats.
Next give the wings a good rinse and then dry them very thoroughly with paper towels. Then add 3 teaspoons of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, ½ teaspoon of garlic powder, ½ teaspoon of onion powder, and ¼ teaspoon of black pepper to a large bowl or a large zip top bag. Add the wings and toss until well coated.
Then line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place a wire rack inside. Put your wings on the rack leaving about an inch of space between each one. Bake the wings at 450 degrees F for 20 minutes and then flip them. They will still be pretty pale at this time but don't worry if they don't look too good yet! Let bake for another 20 minutes then flip again and bake for about 5 more minutes. Remove the wings and let cool for around 5 minutes.
For the wing sauce
I like a medium level of heat on my wings. For that you'll melt 3 tablespoons of butter and mix with 3-4 tablespoons of Frank's Red Hot Sauce in a large bowl. Add the wings and toss until well coated. Then serve with celery and your favorite dipping sauce.
If you like spicier wings you can reduce the amount of butter to 1-2 tablespoons and add additional hot sauce or use a brand of hot sauce with a higher heat level. You can also add some cayenne pepper to the sauce mixture.
Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings
- 3 pounds chicken wings
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tbsp melted butter
- 3 to 4 tbsp Frank's Red Hot sauce
- Preheat oven to 450°F
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil then set a wire rack inside and spray rack with cooking spray.
- Dry chicken wings thoroughly with paper towels to remove as much moisture as possible.
- Mix baking powder, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and pepper in a large bowl or zip to plastic bag then add chicken wings and toss to coat.
- Place wings on rack leaving about 1 inch of space in between each wing.
- Bake wings for 20 minutes then flip and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
- Flip again and bake for about 5 more minutes until the wings are cooked through and skin is crispy and light golden brown.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
- While the wings cool melt the butter in a microwave safe dish and then add to a large bowl with the hot sauce and stir to combine.
- Add cooled wings to the bowl with the sauce and toss until thoroughly coated.
* All nutrition information we provide are estimates based on third party calculators. We encourage you to calculate these on your own for accurate results.