Baked Chicken Wings
I have tried several competing methods for making Baked Chicken Wings against mine, and these still come out as the best! There are hundreds of rave reviews in the comments too.
These Baked Chicken Wings are extra crispy thanks to a special cooking method of parboiling to get rid of excess fat, then cooking in a super hot oven.
Less fat, less calories, and healthier than deep-fried wings!
This recipe for crispy baked wings is one of the oldest and most popular on my site, and for good reason. A crackly skinned chicken wing is SO good!
I have long been enamored with wings (as evidenced by the many variations on my site, like these Garlic Parmesan Wings, Korean Chicken Wings, and Honey Garlic Chicken Wings), and I’ll use any sports event that comes up on TV as an excuse to make them.
Why This Is the Ultimate Cooking Method for Baked Wings:
In short, this two-part cooking method yields the crispiest crackliest skin, without getting out the deep fryer.
In the 8 years since this recipe has been posted, new methods for baked wings have surfaced. I thought it was time to revisit this recipe and see if those methods were better than this one.
First, there are some recipes where you simply bake the wings instead of parboiling them first, and I already knew when I originally posted this recipe that parboiling is better, because I tested them side by side.
Parboiling first is worthwhile because it renders some of the fat down, allowing for a crisper end result. I’ll talk more about this further below.
A newer popular method is to coat the wings in baking powder and bake them in a low oven (250F) for a while, then in a high temp oven (425-450F). I personally found that method to be a little bit more crackly than crispy, and the skin felt leathery to me. I wasn’t a fan.
Then I tested a hybrid of the baking powder method with my own (you can see the side-by-side of all of them above), but it wasn’t as crispy as the parboil method, and it felt more fussy than the original.
At the end of the day, the original parboil and bake method from 2012 remained king.
How to Make the Best Baked Chicken Wings:
Here’s an overview of the game plan.
- Cut the wings into drumettes and wingettes, if needed. If you buy “party wings” at the store instead of whole wings, they are already prepped for you. I recommend this to save time and hassle.
- Simmer the chicken wings in salted water for about 7 minutes, to render excess fat.
- Drain the wings and dry them thoroughly.
- Place the wings face down on a sheet pan and bake, flipping once while cooking.
- Toss the wings in whatever sauce you’d like, and serve.
Visual Step-by-Step Guide for Making This Recipe:
The first thing we need to do is parboil the wings.
If you’re not familiar with parboiling, all that means is were going to partially cook the chicken wings in simmering water before baking in the oven.
Boiling meat feels very strange, but I’ve done test batches comparing parboiling to straight baking, and parboiling is the way to go.
It helps get rid of some of the excess fat so the chicken wings are crispier.
It’s kind of like when you have to render out the fat on a duck breast in order to get it crispy. Parboiling boils away some of the excess fat so we can get a thin layer that crisps more easily than a thick and flabby layer.
After parboiling for 7 minutes, drain the wings in a colander:
Place the wings on paper towels and dry them very well, giving each one a squeeze.
It’s REALLY important to dry them well with the towels, because it has a big impact on how crispy the wings will end up later.
In order for the wings to get crispy, all the surface water must evaporate and cook off first, so you want as little there as possible from the start.
How Long to Bake the Chicken Wings:
Bake the wings in a 450F oven for about 25 minutes, until you start to see golden brown bits on the bottom of the wings.
Look closely, and you can see golden bits peeking out from the sides here:
Flip all the wings over, and you can see those caramelized parts:
This is what we want! But, we need to cook it more. Most of it is still isn’t crispy yet.
Continue baking the wings for another 5-10 minutes, until much more of the skin has crisped:
Sauce and Flavor the Wings:
At this point they’re ready to be tossed with Buffalo Wing Sauce and enjoyed.
What to Serve with This Recipe:
Serve the wings with Blue Cheese Dip if you’re doing classic Buffalo Sauce, along with celery sticks and carrot sticks.
Tips and FAQs:
How to Make Sure the Wings Don’t Stick to the Pan – A few people have reported issues with the wings sticking to the pan. This means the wings were too wet when they went into the oven. Make sure to:
- Dry the wings very thoroughly after parboiling. As stated in the recipe, let them air dry for a few minutes (you will literally see steam evaporating off the wings as they cool). Then dry them very well with towels, squeezing well.
- If you want extra insurance, you may grease the pan with a high smoke point oil, like ghee, tallow, avocado, vegetable, canola, etc. Just make sure you don’t put parchment paper or a silicone mat underneath the wings, because they won’t crisp up the same.
- Bake on an uncoated sheet pan (affiliate) for best results, and use a turner like this (affiliate) to really get under the wings and scoop the crispy bits off.
Can you freeze cooked chicken wings? I only recommend you bake these fresh. They won’t stay crispy later.
Can you make these ahead of time? Yes, go through all the steps of parboiling the wings and drying well with a paper towel, then place the wings on a sheet pan and let them sit in the refrigerator UNCOVERED for up to 6 hours. Then all you have to do is pop them into the hot oven and bake them. Because they will be cold, they will likely need to bake a little longer.
Can frozen chicken wings be baked? Never cook meat from a frozen state, always thaw first. Because you will be parboiling these anyway, you can thaw them quickly in cold water, then parboil them.
Are these gluten-free? Yes, these chicken wings are made without baking powder, without flour, without breading of any kind. They are also Paleo, Whole30, and friendly to other kinds of eating styles. You can add the sauce of your choice or eat them as is.
Are baked wings healthier than deep fried? Yes, definitely! Parboiling renders out some of the fat in the wings, and the remaining fat is used to crisp the wing naturally.
Variations on Baking Time/Dryness: The sizes of wings at grocery stores vary hugely, so the visual cues are incredibly important! Make sure to look at the photos above, and to use the baking times as estimates. If the wings turn out dry, this means they were overcooked. They definitely shouldn’t be dry on the inside.
Try to use FRESH wings instead of frozen: Frozen meats lose moisture in the freezing process, and this is true not just for chicken but also beef, pork, etc.
Baked Chicken Wings
For the Chicken Wings
- 2 lbs chicken wings "party style" (pre-cut into wingettes and drumettes)
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Heat up a big pot of boiling water. Season the water like you would for cooking pasta (taste the water, it should taste a little repulsively salty, like sea water).
- Add the chicken wings to the pot, and reduce the heat slightly to keep them at a simmer for 7 minutes.
- Drain the wings in a colander, then place them on a wire rack for a couple minutes, letting the steam evaporate from the cooling wings and also letting any excess moisture drip down. Then dry them very well with paper towels or highly absorbent kitchen towels.
- Place the chicken wings directly on a metal sheet pan, with the fattier top side down.
- Bake the chicken wings for 25 minutes on the first side, then flip the wings and bake for another 5-10 minutes on the other side, until the skin looks golden and crisp. Make sure to keep your eye on them, particularly if you have smaller wings, to check for doneness. Overcooking risks drying the inside out.
Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.
Post updated in August 2020. Originally published in 2012.