You can’t have a game day without chicken wings on the table and baked chicken wings are amazing. Baking wings is healthier and easier than messing with the fryer and all the excess oil in the wings. To figure out the best way of making baked chicken wings, I’ve set out to test different methods and temperatures.
BAKED CHICKEN WINGS
After years of making my chicken wings the same way, I decided to test out some other methods to see if I can improve my recipe. There is a ton of baked chicken wings recipes out there and they all seem to variate slightly. There are different temperatures for baking wings, some recipes use baking powder to make it crispy, some simply rub in oil and season. One of my friends even recommended steaming the wings before baking them.
I’ve always made my wings with a little oil, seasoned, and baked at 400°. After spending a week (yes, a week!) making countless trays of wings and bugging my family with decisions, I think I have it figured out.
I will talk about the temperatures for baking chicken wings a little later but as far as the method, I discarded steaming wings before baking right away. First of all, it’s tedious and when making a lot of wings for a crowd, it will get exhausting. Second of all, it dried out the wings too much. Steaming gets rid of extra fat under the skin but that is what keeps the wings juicy in the middle. You do not want to get rid of that fat!
This left me with two methods: coating wings in baking powder or rubbing them in oil. For crispy skin results, baking powder was definitely the winner. I’ve tested both regular baking powder and non-aluminum baking powder just in case and it does matter. Use non-aluminum baking powder for best results.
HOW TO BREAK DOWN CHICKEN WINGS
When shopping for chicken wings, you can buy whole chicken wings or ones already separated into flats and drumettes. If you’re unable to find separated wings, don’t be scared, you can easily use a whole wings or separate them yourself.
Chicken wing consists of three parts: drumette, wingette (flat), and a tip. Drumette is the part of the wing that looks like the leg drum and is the part that is attached to the body. Wingette is the middle, flat part of the wing. The tip is the very end of the wings and it generally gets discarded. (Personally, I like to use them in a homemade chicken stock. You can just freeze the tips in a freezer bag and use in stock later.)
So if you don’t want to cook the whole chicken wings, you can easily break it down:
First, pull the wing apart to clearly see where each part is attached at the joint.
Then, make a cut through the skin and meat between the drumette and the flat, right to the joint. Pick up the wing and move it up and down at the joint to pop the bone out of the joint. Cut through the remaining meat and skin to separate the wing.
Finally, do the same at the joint of the tip and the flat. And there you have it, three separate parts of the wing. (Discard tips or save for chicken stock.)
OVEN TEMPERATURE FOR BAKING CHICKEN WINGS
I’ve tested three most recommended temperature settings and each one has its own benefit and drawback.
400°– results in the least crispy skin but the juiciest meat in the middle. Takes a few minutes longer than other cook times as well.
425°– the skin is crispier and the middle is still juicy. This is the winner for me personally because I like to have juicy chicken meat.
450°– crispiest skin but also meat in the middle is more dry. Takes a few minutes less to cook.
Personally, I found that 425° is the best result because even through the skin is not as crispy, the meat in the wing is still juicy. If the crispiest skin most important to you, then you want to cook the wings at 450°. Also remember that once you coat the wings in sauce, the skin will only stay crispy for a few minutes and then it will soak up the sauce and loose the crisp.
HOW TO MAKE BAKED CHICKEN WINGS
Make sure to preheat the oven first and prepare the baking sheet so the wings can go into the oven right after being tossed. Once food comes in contact with salt, it release moisture. Preheat the oven to 425°, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil to catch the drippings and place a wire rack inside the baking sheet. Rub the wire rack with some oil to prevent sticking.
First, make sure to blot the wings with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture.
Next, toss the wings with non-aluminum baking powder, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Spread chicken wings in one even layer on the wire rack and bake for 20 minutes.
Take the baking sheet out of the oven to turn the wings and close oven door. Flip each wing and bake for additional 15 minutes. (For small wings, bake a few minutes less and for large wings, bake a few minutes more.)
You can serve the wings naked with various sauces or toss them in your favorite one.
How Long To Bake Chicken Wings:
Depending on the size of wings, at 425° wings will bake for 35-40 minutes. If baking at 450°, wings will take a few minutes less so check them at 35 minutes. Smaller wings will be done faster and larger wings will take a few extra minutes.
If you have a wide variety of sizes, you may want to separate the wings in two batches, the smaller ones and the larger ones, that way they will be baked more evenly.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH WINGS
Get some celery sticks and carrots sticks to serve along the wings with spicy sauce. Celery and carrots help put out that “fire” in your mouth after biting into a spicy wing.
As far as coating sauces, buffalo sauce and BBQ sauce are probably the post popular ones. But there are so many wing sauce available, you can search for your favorite one on Pinterest.
MORE GAME DAY APPETIZERS TO TRY
If you made any of my recipes and shared them on Instagram, make sure to tag me @willcookforsmiles and #willcookforsmiles so I can see all the things you tried!
Connect with Will Cook For Smiles!
Be sure to click below and follow me on my social media, so you never miss a recipe.
Don’t forget to sign up for email, so you won’t miss any new recipes.
Baked Chicken Wings
- 2 lbs* whole chicken wings or a mix of drumettes and flats
- 2 tsp non-aluminum baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
- salt to taste
- oil to rub the wire rack
- Preheat the oven to 425°, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil to catch the drippings and place a wire rack inside the baking sheet. Rub the wire rack with some oil to prevent sticking.
- Blot the wings with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture.
- Place wings in a large mixing bowl and toss them with non-aluminum baking powder, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
- Spread chicken wings in one even layer on the wire rack and bake for 20 minutes.
- Take the baking sheet out of the oven to turn the wings and close oven door. Flip each wing and bake for additional 15 minutes. (For small wings, bake a few minutes less and for large wings, bake a few minutes more.)
- *Feel free to double or triple the recipe. Make sure to still bake the wings in one even layer with a little space in between each wings.