Who knew the words crispy baked chicken wings could actually be spoken in the same sentence! With less than 5 ingredients, some chemistry magic, and no deep frying involved, you're going to be able to whip up crispy wings any night of the week!
Show me a plate of chicken wings and I am all over it.
I'm more inclined to have an appetizer of wings over an actual entree at a restaurant.
And if the wings are crispy, all the better!
But me deep frying wings? Or deep frying any food for that matter?
That is one skill I have not tackled yet...it scares the bejeezus out of me!
So how excited am I about these crispy wings that you bake in the oven??
Keep in mind that these are not exactly the same as deep-fried chicken wings which can have more of a crunch to them.
But the crispiness I can get from these is enough to put me in chicken wing heaven!
The Magic Ingredient
I have made many baked chicken wings in my lifetime, but they never quite turned out crispy despite trying different methods. Then I learned about baking powder.
Yes, baking powder. The ingredient most often found in baked goods like cakes and brownies and biscuits.
Believe it or not, tossing the wings in baking powder causes some amazing chemistry to happen where the alkalinity of the baking powder draws moisture out of the skin. And what happens when you draw moisture out of the wings? You get crispy skin.
Preparing the Wings
Before you get to tossing the wings with baking powder, it's good to make sure the wings are as dry as possible. If you've got time to let them sit uncovered in the fridge for an hour or two, that will help dry them out a bit. But if not, just do like I do and pat them dry with paper towels, absorbing as much of the moisture of them as possible.
I mix baking powder with salt and pepper, sprinkle it over the wings, and give it a good mix to make sure they're coated well. I then place them on a rack in a foil-lined baking sheet, making sure there's a bit of space between the wings for the hot air to circulate.
Baking and Seasoning
They go into a preheated 250F/125C oven where they will roast low and slow for 30 minutes. The reason for starting them at a low heat is to let the fat render out which then helps with the skin getting crispy.
After 30 minutes, it's time to flip the wings over and increase the oven temperature to 425F/220C. Flipping the wings isn't necessary, but I like to give the undersides of the wings some open exposure to the heat and it's also when I add some more seasoning to flavor them up.
My seasoning of choice is onion powder because of...well...it's onion-y flavor! It also has a slight sweetness that goes well with the salt and pepper that is already on the wings and the dry onion powder also lends itself to the crispiness of the skin.
The wings go back into the hotter oven and after 20 minutes, take them out and flip them back over. Season the tops of the wings with more onion powder (or your seasoning of choice), if desired, and pop them back in the oven for another 20-25 minutes or until they are at your desired level of golden brown and crispy.
Voila...crispy baked chicken wings!
Variations and Serving Suggestions
Besides the onion powder, you can season with other spices like granulated garlic powder, chili powder, paprika, etc. Or you can be a purist and leave them as they are, having already been seasoned with salt and pepper. You can even sprinkle some salt over top of the hot wings when they come straight out of the oven.
As I mentioned above, flipping the wings is an optional step that you can skip over if you wish. You can also bake the wings from start to finish in a hot oven, skipping the lower roasting temperature at the beginning. Feel free to try out different ways to see what works best for you!
If you bake the wings without a rack (if you don't have one), the bottoms of the wings will get crispy in a different way as they'll end up sitting in the fat that renders out of them, but that's okay, too.
My boys love eating the wings as they are..crisp and flavorful. I like a good dry crispy wing as well, but I also like dipping them in a sauce sometimes. Try them with a honey mustard sauce or give it an Asian twist with some sweet Thai chili sauce or Korean gochujang. Whip up some buffalo sauce and give the wings a good coating for homemade buffalo wings. Your favorite barbecue sauce is also always a good option.
Serve these along with a bunch of other appetizers like:
- Asian Pork and Shrimp Meatballs
- Chicken Skewers with Thai Curry Dipping Sauce
- Crispy Sweet Potato Fries with Chipotle Mayo
A fresh salad provides a nice balance when served with the baked chicken wings, or try some refreshing dishes like:
So if you're like me and love chicken wings but are scared to death of deep frying, give these baked chicken wings a try! You'll be surprised at the magic a bit of baking powder can do!
Crispy Baked Chicken Wings
- Preheat oven 250F/125C.
- Dry chicken wings with paper towels. Place in a large bowl.
- Sprinkle 1 teaspoon sea salt, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper over wings and toss a couple of times to bring the other wings in the bowl up to the top.
- Sprinkle remaining 1 teaspoon sea salt, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper over wings. Toss or mix well with a spoon so all wings are thoroughly coated.
- Place a rack in a foil-lined baking sheet.
- Lay wings out evenly in a single layer on the rack.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove chicken wings from oven and increase oven temperature to 425F/220C. Flip chicken wings over and sprinkle onion powder over pieces.
- Bake wings for 20 minutes. Flip wings again and sprinkle more onion powder on top.
- Bake wings for another 20 minutes or until done to your desired level of golden brown crispness.
- Sprinkle some coarse sea salt over the hot wings when they come out of the oven, if desired.
- Serve immediately with your favorite dipping sauce.
- If you have the time, refrigerate the chicken wings uncovered for a couple of hours to help them dry out. Otherwise, pat dry really well with paper towels.
- Be sure to use baking powder and not baking soda! Baking soda can impart a bad metallic taste to the wings.
- Flipping the chicken wings is an optional step.
- Sprinkling the onion powder on the wings during baking is optional.
- Sprinkle what ever dry seasoning you would like on the wings in place of the onion powder, if desired.
- You can skip the step of baking the chicken wings at a lower temperature at the beginning and bake them start to finish at 425F/220C, if you wish, but be sure to watch the progress of the browning. Flip a couple of times for even crisping.
- Recipe developed/inspired/adapted from sources including, but not limited to, Serious Eats, Kenji's Cooking Show, Marion's Kitchen, RecipeTin Eats and others.