Baked chicken wings are the perfect game day food. Drying the meat thoroughly and adding a light baking powder coating ensures crispy bites. Delicious straight from the pan or serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
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Crispy oven-baked chicken wings are a tasty appetizer or meal to eat while watching the big game. For this recipe, we will bypass the deep fryer and use the oven instead. All you need is a little bit of oil to grease the rack to prevent sticking. That’s it!
Just because we’re not deep-frying doesn’t mean we can’t recreate a similar crispy texture. I use a simple drying method and just four ingredients that yield a culinary path to crunchiness. There’s also no flour which makes this meal gluten-free as well. So, turn up the dial on your oven, and let’s get cooking!
When you purchase chicken wings, two parts are included in a package: the meaty drummette (a mini drumstick!) and a wingette or flat. The tips are usually trimmed off. I use two pounds of wings to make a big batch, about 20 pieces. It’s easy to reduce the recipe size or double it since the oven allows for more capacity.
Dry the meat thoroughly
Achieving a crispy texture starts even before cooking. Any moisture on the surface of the wings will create steam, which makes the skin soggy instead of crisp. Instead, dry the skin thoroughly with paper towels. This process eliminates the time required for the oven to drive off the moisture and brown the meat.
I toss the chicken in a seasoning mixture of baking powder, kosher salt, and black pepper. If you’d like, you can add garlic powder or onion powder for a more robust allium flavor, about ¼ teaspoon of each.
The fine powders in the baking powder help to wick up even more moisture. To make them extra crispy, you can dry them on the wire wrack overnight in the refrigerator before baking the next day. I do this for my roast turkey. It’s delicious!
Baking powder helps the crunch-factor
Baking powder may be a surprise, as it’s typically used as a leavening agent in baked goods. For these wings, the baking soda in the powder helps to accelerate browning and forms bubbles as the juices are released from the meat during baking. The bubble mixture hardens on the skin to enhance the crispy sensation.
Set the oven at a high temperature
To kickstart the browning of the chicken skin, bake at 450°F (232°C). The goal is to create deep-fried results using a consistent high oven temperature. Baking above 400 degrees speeds up cooking.
Place the pieces in a single layer on a greased wire rack to ensure the heat freely circulates above and below the meat. The excess fat drips down to the pan and prevents greasiness. Flip the wings two times to ensure even cooking and heat exposure.
It takes about 45 to 50 minutes of baking at 450°F (232°C). The wings and drumettes contain white meat covered by skin and fat so it can handle the hot oven temperature. The skin will be super crunchy in just under an hour, and the meat will be fully cooked.
Serve with a dipping sauce
The key to making baked chicken wings crispy is drying as much moisture as possible from the skin, coating it with baking powder, and cooking at a high heat of 450-degrees.
Yes! Flip a few times to ensure even browning on both sides of the drumettes and wingettes. Baking on top of a greased wired rack helps circulate hot air beneath the pieces.
Target 165ºF (74ºC) to thoroughly cook the poultry. Use an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat. Monitoring will prevent drying out in the oven
Baking powder contains alkaline sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and an acid-like cream of tartar or sodium acid pyrophosphate to create a bubbling reaction that hardens for crunch. Cornstarch is typically a drying ingredient in baking powder to prevent caking during storage, which also helps with crispiness. Cornstarch alone is not as effective for crunchy skin unless deep-fried.
Why baking powder is the key to crispiness
Tossing the wings in a bit of baking powder does two things. First, the alkaline baking soda increases the pH level on the skin’s surface, which breaks down the proteins (peptide bonds) for quicker Maillard browning and flavor development. Second, the sodium bicarbonate reacts with moisture on the chicken—tiny carbon dioxide bubbles form, which dries and hardens. The result is crackly chicken skin.
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Baked Chicken Wings
- vegetable oil, as needed for oiling wire rack
- 2 pounds chicken wings, wings and drummettes
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat the Oven – Adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Preheat to 450°F (232°C).
- Prepare the Baking Sheet – Line a large baking sheet with foil. Add vegetable oil to a folded piece of paper towel, then grease both sides of a wire rack. Alternatively, grease with cooking spray. Set the rack inside of a rimmed foil-lined baking sheet.
- Dry the Surface – Line a separate baking sheet or plate with paper towels. Place the chicken wings and drummettes on top, then thoroughly pat dry with more paper towels.
- Season the Meat – In a large bowl, whisk together baking powder, salt, and black pepper. Add the chicken and mix to lightly and evenly coat the surface.
- Bake – Evenly space the chicken on the wire rack. Bake for 20 minutes. Flip and continue for 15 minutes. Flip again and bake until the skin is golden brown and crisp, and the internal temperature reaches 165ºF (74ºC), about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Serve – Serve plain or with dipping sauces like buffalo, barbecue, teriyaki, or ranch.
- Serving Size: 1 wing
- For Crispier Texture: Refrigerate the seasoned wings for up to 24 hours, uncovered, on top of a greased wire rack set in a foil-lined sheet pan. Remove from the refrigerator while the oven preheats, then bake in the same pan.
- For Garlic or Onion Flavor: Add ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder or onion powder for a more robust allium taste.
- Substituting Table Salt: Use ¾ teaspoon of salt instead of 1 teaspoon kosher salt.
- Baking Directly on a Sheet Pan: You can bake these wings without a wire rack, although they will be more greasy from the rendered fat.
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