The geniuses at Cook’s Illustrated came up with this recipe for Crispy Oven Baked Wings.
As a culinary nerd, I appreciate Cook’s Illustrated explanations of the science behind why they do things the way they do.
And I honestly feel this is one of their most awesome recipes of all time, especially considering it’s so ridiculously EASY!!!
And today, I’m going to reveal the secret to you. Are you all set?
How To Make Crispy Baked Wings In The Oven
In three simple steps, you can make crispy oven-baked wings:
- Using paper towels, pat the wings dry.
- Bake the wings in a bowl with baking powder and salt;
- Bake for 30 minutes at 250°F/120°C, then for 40–50 minutes at 425°F/220°C, until golden brown and crispy.
- That’s all there is to it. It’s as simple as that.
The Key to Perfectly Crispy Oven Baked Chicken Wings
There are two very crucial things to remember in those three easy stages to get wonderfully crispy oven baked wings:
Sprinkle with baking powder – that’s right, baking powder! I won’t delve into all the nitty-gritty details, but in a nutshell, baking powder attracts moisture to the skin’s surface so it can evaporate, making the skin crispier; and
Bake on low for 30 minutes to dissolve the fat before crisping the skin in a scorching oven.
There are several scientific answers for this, but I’m not going to bore you with them! But, in general, the wings are roasted for 30 minutes on the lowest rack of the oven at a shallow temperature, which allows the fat under the skin to “melt,” after which they are moved to the top shelf, and the heat is increased, crisping up the skin.
The other point to remember is to keep the wings dry. Place the wings on the rack and chill overnight, uncovered, if well-organized.
I don’t have the space in the fridge, and I’m not very organized, so I dry them with paper towels (see photo below for how I do this).
When you tap the skin with your nail once they come out of the oven, you can quickly “hear” how crispy it is. They even appear to have been cooked! If you’re worried about the flavor of baking powder, don’t be.
You’ll be blown away by how easy it is to prepare these crispy baked wings! I’ve created a little movie for you to see how simple they are and how I manufacture them. Oh, and you can hear how crispy they are!
You’ll note that the wings aren’t as big as you’re used to. This is because so much of the fat under the skin melts off the branches, resulting in a pool of fat on the platter. As a result, they offer the extra benefit of being lower in calories!
You may toss the wings in your favorite sauce or serve the sauce separately. I’ve also used this approach for crispy oven-cooked wings to make classic Buffalo Wings.
I’ve included a couple of basic spices that I like to serve with wings in this recipe: Ranch Dipping Sauce, Honey Garlic Sauce, Honey Mustard Sauce.
Let’s Get Our Hands On These Wingtips!
- chicken wings, chopped into wingettes and drumettes, weighing 4 lbs / 2 kg (Note 1)
- (NOT BAKING SODA / BI-CARB SODA!!) Five tablespoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- a mist of oil
- Uncover the chicken wings and place them in the fridge to dry for a few hours if you’re organized. Otherwise, blot the branches dry with a paper towel.
- Place upper-middle and lower-middle oven racks in the oven.
- Preheat the oven at 250 degrees Fahrenheit/120 degrees Celsius (all oven kinds – conventional, convection, and fan).
- Place a rack (like a cooling rack) on the foil to line a baking tray. Using an oil spray, coat the rack.
- Place the wings in a big bowl or a ziplock bag to keep them fresh. Toss in the baking powder and salt, making sure everything is uniformly coated.
- Place the wings in a single layer on the baking tray, skin side up. They should be snug. Because the fat renders out while cooking will shrink, so don’t be concerned if they appear too tight.
- Bake the wings for 30 minutes on the lower center oven rack.
- Increase the oven temperature to 425F/220C by moving the wings to the top middle rack. Preheat the oven to 400°F and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, flipping the tray halfway through.
- Allow 5 minutes for the baking pan to cool after removing it from the oven.
- Toss wings in your favorite sauce or put it on the side to dip or drizzle on the wings before serving.
Notes about the recipe:
Many readers have been upset by using baking soda / bi-carb soda instead of baking powder by mistake! Please use baking powder (the substance that makes muffins and pancakes rise!) instead of baking soda / bi-carb soda; the result will be inedible!! It’s revolting! Also, see the FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS section below the recipe for more information.
- THAW THE WINGS!!! See the photographs below for step-by-step instructions on how to cut chicken wings.
- When the wings come out of the oven, you’ll notice that they’re smaller than usual. This is due to the fat under the skin melting off (rendering out) during baking at a low temperature.
- If you don’t leave the wings in for an hour or more, they won’t bake to a dark golden brown. They should be golden brown when done. The skin will be nice and crispy when they’re done, so you’ll know they’re done.
- Recipe Source: The wings recipe is from Cook’s Illustrated’s “Meats Book.” I created the sauce recipes myself.
- To reheat (for more information, read the FAQ section below): Allow to cool before covering and storing in the refrigerator. Wrinkles and softening of the skin will occur—Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (390 degrees Fahrenheit). Spread the wing’s skin side up on the baking sheet and bake for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the skin puffs up and the creases disappear. 6. APPLICATIONS:
- Honey Garlic Sauce: Combine four tablespoons, honey, two tablespoons soy sauce, two tablespoons white vinegar (or any other vinegar except balsamic vinegar), and 2-3 chopped garlic cloves. Use as a dipping or throwing vessel.
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard, 1/4 cup mayonnaise * Honey Mustard Sauce 1 tablespoon honey
- Ranch Dipping Sauce: Combine 1/3 cup mayonnaise, 1/3 cup sour cream, two tablespoons milk, one teaspoon lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon dried dill, parsley, chives, onion, and garlic powder, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- 3/4 cup mayo, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/8 teaspoon paprika, 3-4 tablespoons Sriracha, salt, and pepper
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise, two tablespoons sweet chili sauce, two tablespoons ketchup, two teaspoons garlic powder, one tablespoon sriracha (or other hot sauce)
- Nutrition: The nutrition is calculated per serving, based on an 8-serve scenario. Because so much fat is turned out (melted) and lost, the calories are more than they should be. This is not represented in the nutrition below. I once measured the wasted fat and estimated that it should be 60 calories per serving LESS (about 1/4 cup fat was eliminated in total).