These baked BBQ chicken wings are an easy appetizer to prepare for game day and gatherings. The crispy pieces are coated with a sticky, sweet, and tangy sauce.
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A hot plate of BBQ wings is the perfect handheld snack! They are a starter that adults and kids are guaranteed to enjoy. I pair them with spicy buffalo wings or tangy lemon pepper wings for game day. Customize the flavor with your favorite barbecue sauce!
Instead of deep frying the chicken wings, which can be messy, bake them. Using high temperature and a unique seasoning mix, they will be delightfully crisp and flavorful, with no added oils. The barbecue sauce clings to the crispy skin, making each bite incredibly delicious.
Purchase two pounds of “party wings” at the grocery store. The wing tips have already been removed, and the flat (wingette) and drumette are separated. This saves a lot of time on prep! If only whole chicken wings are available, you can easily trim the sections by cutting between the joints. The baked BBQ wings recipe will yield a hearty batch of about 20 wings.
Dry the wings
The surface of the chicken will be damp from the poultry’s natural juices. The excess moisture will make the texture soggy instead of crisp. Use a paper towel to dry both sides. This will make the skin dry faster and turn golden brown.
Season the chicken
The wings are seasoned with salt and pepper to enhance the savory. If you’d like to add some allium notes, mix in ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder or onion powder, or both! The barbecue sauce has a strong flavor, so you don’t have to over-season them. Baking powder is also mixed into the seasoning blend. I use a small amount when making baked chicken wings for crunchier skin.
The alkaline baking soda helps break down the peptide proteins in the skin, so it’s easy to bite. Carbon dioxide bubbles are also created on the surface when mixed with the meat juices during baking, which hardens when dried for extra crunch. The contrast of crunchy skin with sticky BBQ sauce is incredible!
You can prepare the pieces ahead of time with the seasoning blend. Drying the wings in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours makes the skin even crispier and saves you time the next day. Just grab the tray, and bake!
Bake the chicken wings in the oven
Place the seasoned wings in a single layer on top of a greased wire rack, and set them inside a foil-lined baking sheet. This allows the rendered fat to drip down, so the wings don’t taste greasy.
The elevated meat allows that hot air to circulate for even cooking. Bake the wings at 450ºF (230ºC) in the center of the oven for 30 to 35 minutes. Flip the wings over one time so that both sides become golden brown and crisp.
Barbecue sauce selection
Choose your favorite barbecue sauce from the store to make this recipe quick and easy. My family enjoys a sweet and tangy flavor, with tomatoes as the base, which provides a nice thick coating.
Alternatively, use my homemade barbecue sauce recipe if you have extra time. Simply simmer the sauce while the wings bake. You’ll need ¾ cup of sauce for the barbecue chicken wing recipe.
Toss in the sauce
Add the hot wings to a large bowl and drizzle on the barbecue sauce. Toss until completely coated. Place the wings back on the wire rack and bake for 5 minutes. This helps to concentrate the sauce onto the surface, so it sticks better. I like to serve this meal garnished with chives or green onions.
Serve with a dipping sauce
Frequently asked questions
Add hot sauce like Tobasco, spicy chili sauce like Sriracha, or chili powder like cayenne or chipotle to the barbecue sauce. Add ¼ teaspoon at a time until the desired heat level is reached.
If you’re not a fan of thick and sweet tomato-based barbecue sauces, try a tangier vinegar sauce like North Carolina varieties or a mustard-based sauce like South Carolina style. They tend to be thinner in consistency. Brush some extra sauce on before serving.
Yes! Like my grilled BBQ chicken recipe, season the wings with salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Grill at 350ºF (177ºC), flipping every 3 to 5 minutes until fully cooked, about 18 to 25 minutes. Transfer to the indirect heat side and brush the barbecue sauce on both sides. Heat for 5 to 10 minutes until the sauce sticks but does not burn.
Wait to add the barbecue sauce
Although it might be tempting to toss the wings directly with the sauce and bake, wait to add it. Baking the chicken renders the fat first, so the skin becomes crisp. The dried surface helps the sauce stick better when tossed together. The sugar in traditional barbecue sauces will burn if cooked at 450ºF (230ºC) the entire time. Instead, bake the sauced wings for 5 minutes before serving. If you like a smokier taste, broil for a few minutes until lightly charred.
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BBQ Chicken Wings
- vegetable oil, as needed for oiling wire rack
- 2 pounds chicken wings, wingettes and drummettes
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper, coarsely ground
- ¾ cup barbecue sauce
- 1 tablespoon chopped chives, or green onions, optional
- Preheat the Oven – Adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Heat to 450°F (232°C).
- Prepare the Baking Sheet – Line a large baking sheet with foil. Add vegetable oil to a folded paper towel, then grease both sides of a wire rack—alternatively, grease with cooking spray. Set the rack inside the baking sheet.
- Dry the Meat – Line a separate baking sheet or plate with paper towels. Place the chicken wings and drumettes on top, then thoroughly pat them dry with more paper towels.
- Season the Pieces – In a large bowl, whisk together baking powder, salt, and black pepper. Add the chicken and mix to coat the surface.
- Bake the Chicken – Evenly space the chicken on the wire rack. Bake for 20 minutes. Flip and continue baking until skin is golden brown and crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes. The internal temperature should reach 165ºF (74ºC). Immediately transfer the wings to a large bowl. Reserve the baking sheet.
- Add the Sauce – Add barbecue sauce to the chicken wings and toss to evenly coat. Transfer them to the reserved baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes.
- To Serve – Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with chopped chives.
- Baking Sheet
- Serving Size: 1 wing
- Substituting Table Salt: Use ¾ teaspoon salt instead of 1 teaspoon kosher salt.
- 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.
- Baking Directly on a Sheet Pan: You can bake these wings without a wire rack, although they will be greasier from the rendered fat.
- Storing: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- Reheating: Cover and microwave on high heat in 15-second intervals until hot.
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