There’s a reason why crispy baked chicken wings are so popular. Simple to make at home they work as an appetizer, as party food, or as a main course, they can be seasoned with flavors from anywhere in the world, aren’t very expensive, and are the type of finger food everyone loves.
This crispy baked chicken wing recipe has been evolving for years, changing slightly as we figured out how to infuse the chicken wings with as much flavor as possible while simplifying the cooking process to get rid of anything that didn’t make the wings more delicious.
Our goal was to find a balance between plump and juicy chicken on the inside and crisp chicken skin on the outside. A lot of other recipes try to recreate the deep fried wings served at bars by using high heat and long cooking times which turns them into chewy little mummy wings.
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How to get Baked Chicken Wings Crispy
One of the reasons why chicken wings are so popular at bars is that they deep fry their wings to a crisp golden brown and then dress them with a myriad of sauces that range from cloyingly sweet to excruciatingly hot.
Since most of us don’t have or want a deep fryer it’s not a very practical approach to making wings at home. Bathing the wings in hot oil also limits your ability to infuse the wings with flavor, making them somewhat one-note.
When you’re cooking chicken wings at home you have the opportunity to use a dry rub to develop layers of flavor and still get the outside of the wings nice and crispy.
The secret to getting baked chicken wings crispy is to bake them on a rack. We use a cooling rack, like the ones used for cookies, set in a regular baking sheet that has been lined with foil.
We also add a little bit of corn starch to the dry rub to help take some of the moisture out of the chicken skin. If corn starch isn’t available baking powder will also work.
Baking the wings on a rack allows the hot air from the oven to circulate around the wings, allowing them to cook evenly, and crisping up the skin. It also keeps any fat that renders out during the cooking process away from the wings, which it can make them soggy and greasy. Another advantage to using a rack is it eliminates the need to flip the wings while they’re cooking.
Tips for crispy baked chicken wings
- Drain any liquid and dry the wings before seasoning by patting them dry with a paper towel.
- Add a touch of corn starch or baking powder to the spice rub.
- Preheat the oven to 350℉ before cooking the wings.
- Bake the wings skin side up on a rack so the hot air can circulate around them as they cook.
- Put a piece of aluminum foil under the rack, it helps to crisp up the underside of the wings and makes clean up a breeze.
If you’ve been researching oven roasted chicken wing recipes you may have noticed that a lot of them tell you to start the wings out in a low 250℉ oven for 30 minutes or so and then blast them in a 425℉ or 450℉ oven for an hour. This will produce crispier wings. It will also render out all of the flavors and emancipate the wings to such a degree that most of these recipes have a note apologizing how much smaller they look after cooking.
The approach we use is simpler – one temp, no turning, deep flavors, and a touch of heat, to cook plump juicy wings that still taste like chicken.
Baking Chicken Wings in the Oven
The key to delicious baked chicken wings is a great dry rub – one that balances sweet and spicy and adds depth of flavor so each bite lingers on your pallet.
This recipe goes a step further and bathes the wings in a combination of apple cider vinegar and hot sauce before adding a rub that uses brown sugar, smoked paprika, chili powder, and cumin to create a robust flavor profile that has hints of the southwest and a touch of smokiness to it.
Chili powder and smoked paprika add a little heat and smokiness in the dry rub
The apple cider vinegar and hot sauce bath help to add another dimension and make it easier for the spice rub to stick to the wings. The dry rub for this recipe will cover anywhere from 2 to 3 lbs of wings and will also work for thighs, legs, and quarters that are cooked on the grill or roasted in the oven.
This recipe is designed for wings that have been cut up into drummettes and wingettes. It also works for whole chicken wings, which may require a slightly longer cooking time depending on size.
A standard baking sheet with a rack holds around 2 pounds of chicken wings. The wings should be defrosted before being cooked. Defrosting the wings makes it easier to get rid of any excess liquid and allows them to cook evenly.
In our testing, we tried all sorts of different time and temperature combinations. What we found is that 350℉ hit the sweet spot where the wings were both plump and juicy on the inside and still nice and crisp on the outside. We also found that it only takes 35 to 40 minutes to cook the wings to an internal temperature of 165℉ which is the temperature recommended by the FDA.
Just as crispy as bar wings with lots more flavor
The best way we’ve found to reheat chicken wings is to place them in a 350℉ oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
Winner Winner Chicken Wing Dinner
We’re such big fans of chicken wings that we wrote an entire piece about All the Best Chicken Wing Recipes we could find on the internet. It’s filled with tons of ideas and unique flavor combinations.
A few of our favorite chicken wing recipes are:
Smoked Chicken Wings – These tasty smoked chicken wings use Tabasco and a homemade spice rub with deep smoky flavors and some heat to create bold, flavorful smoked wings that are nice and crisp on the outside and tender and juicy on the inside.
Korean Chicken Wings – These Korean chicken wings are full of ginger, garlic, and the deep umami flavors that make Korean BBQ so delicious.
We like to serve them dry with some blue cheese dip for dunking
- 2 lbs chicken wings
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp Chipolte Tabasco
- 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp corn starch
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- Start by combining the brown sugar, smoked paprika, cumin, corn starch, salt, and pepper with the chili and garlic powders.
- Place the wings in a large bowl, add the Tabasco sauce and apple cider vinegar, mixing the wings and the sauce together.
- Add in the dry rub and mix it thoroughly with the wings, making sure the wings are evenly coated.
- The wings should be cooked on a baking sheet that has been lined with aluminum foil and had a rack set on the inside.
- Spray the rack with cooking spray and set the wings skin side up on the rack, leaving a little space between each wing.
- Bake the wings at 350℉ for 35 to 40 minutes.
- The wings are done when they’re cooked all the way through and have an internal temp of 165ºF.
- Let the wings rest for a few minutes before serving.