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The most perfect, crispy baked buffalo wing with all the flavor and crunch of a deep fried wing but made healthier in the oven. If you love buffalo sauce as much as we do, you should defintiely try these Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas and Buffalo Chicken Celery Bites.
Buffalo wings have been my arch nemesis for quite awhile. I have tried making them so many times with various wings and sauces and even though they taste good, they are never crispy enough. I have tried recipe after recipe, but every batch comes out missing that yummy crispy outside that any good wing has…until now.
I am actually going to share three methods with you today for getting super crispy baked wings every time. One works best for fresh wings but is the most time consuming, one is best for frozen wings, and the third is the least labor intensive. All three work amazing well.
When it comes to serving buffalo wings, I am all about the classic combination of blue cheese with celery sticks and carrot sticks. The cool creamy dressing cools down the heat of the wings and the veggies make it feel healthier, wink. If you don’t like the funkiness of blue cheese, many people reach for ranch dressing. Either way, I will share some quick recipes for healthier blue cheese and ranch since dipping sauce is essential.
Quick story, why are they called buffalo wings? I am always one for history, so in case you are wondering, buffalo wings got their moniker from their place of origin, Buffalo, New York. They were created in the 1960’s at a local bar named Anchor Bar.
How to Bake Crispy Baked Buffalo Wings
After testing and experimenting with all types of different baked wing recipes, three resulted in ultra crispy wings that rivaled any deep fried wing with had seriously crispy skin. In my opinion, the baking powder method from Cooks Illustrated is the gold standard for baked crispy wings. However, the second method is amazing is you are starting with frozen wings and don’t have the time to wait for them to defrost. And Method 3 is the easiest.
No matter what method you choose, I can’t stress the importance of drying your wings. The more you dry the wings before they go into the oven, the crispier the wings will become.
Method 1: Baking Powder + Low Heat First
This method is the most labor intensive but it will result in the crispiest baked wings possible. It was created by Cooks Illustrated and has thousands of devoted followers.
- If possible, place the wings on a baking sheet and dry with a paper towel. Then place them in the fridge to air-fry overnight or even for a couple of hours. If you don’t have time to do this, dry them really well with paper towels, blotting out as much moisture as possible. The drier the wings, the crispier the results.
- Toss the wings with baking powder and salt. The easiest way to do this is in a ziploc bag to make sure the wings get fully coated. The baking powder and salt help to draw out even more moisture and ensure crispy baked wings. You will need 1/2 tablespoon of baking powder for every pound of wings.
- Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray. Place the wings on the sheet in a single layer. It is fine if they are close together but they shouldn’t be on top of each other.
- Cook on the lower rack for thirty minutes. This process helps draw out some of the fat, resulting in a crispier wing.
- After thirty minutes, turn the oven up to 425 degrees and move the baking sheet to a higher oven rack. Cook for 30-40 minutes until the wings are golden brown. There is no need to flip the wings when cooked this way.
Method 2: Microwaving First – Best for Frozen Wings
If you are starting with frozen wings and don’t have time to defrost them, this method will help you to still get super crispy wings without having to defrost the wings overnight. I learned the secret is actually par-cooking the wings in the microwave and then getting them nice and dry before sticking them in the oven. This allows the skins to get really crispy and delicious. You could also par-cook them in a steam basket if you don’t like to use a microwave.
- Place your wings in a microwave safe dish and fill the container with water so half the chicken wings are covered. Microwave on high for ten minutes and then stir. Microwave on high for another ten minutes. If the wings aren’t frozen, cut the time down to two 5 minute sessions. Alternatively, you can steam the wings in a steamer basket for ten minutes if they are thawed and twenty minutes if they are frozen.
- Carefully remove the wings from the container, they will be hot. Dry really well using paper towels, removing as much moisture as possible.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with tinfoil and spray with a liberal amount of cooking spray.
- Arrange wings in a single layer and bake for 40 minutes. Flip wings over and bake for an additional ten minutes.
Method 3: Flour + All High Heat
This is the fastest way to cook the wings and the least labor intensive. The wings will still turn out great and this is actually the method I use most often.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with foil and spray with an ample amount of cooking spray.
- Use paper towels to dry the wings, removing as much moisture as possible.
- Then toss the wings with flour. You will need two tablespoons of flour for each pound of wings. Let the wings air dry for at least 10 minutes. If you have time, you can let them air dry in the fridge a couple of hours.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes, flipping halfway.
How to reheat buffalo wings?
If you are making a big batch of wings and think you might need to reheat some of them, do not toss them with the buffalo sauce. Serve it on the side or only toss the wings in the sauce that you know you will eat. Buffalo wings come out much better reheated when they haven’t been covered in sauce.
To reheat, remove them from the fridge and let them come to room temperature for at least 10-15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and place on a sprayed baking sheet in a single layer. Cook for 8-10 minutes until the wings are hot to the touch and warmed through. Then toss with sauce. If you made the sauce in advance, you can heat it in the microwave or on the stovetop.
What to serve with buffalo wings?
If you are a traditionalist, you will want to serve your baked buffalo wings with blue cheese dressing, celery sticks, and carrots sticks. Since we are trying to make a healthier wing, consider making this lightened up dressing using blue cheese in place of the gorgonzola cheese. If blue cheese isn’t your thing, ranch dressing is also served with wings. You can make this skinny ranch to serve with your wings as well.
How many calories are in baked buffalo wings?
Many people want to know how much better baked wings are than standard deep fried wings. Generally, restaurant-style deep fried buffalo wings have between 130-165 calories per wing. Baked buffalo wings. made in the traditional style with a sauce heavy with butter, have between 110-150 calories per wing, This version, using a baked wing with a healthier sauce with less butter, has about 90 calories per wing.