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Third try is a charm for the PERFECT Crispy Baked Buffalo Wings recipe. I've found the secret ingredient for making buffalo wings ultra crispy in the oven. Hint: it is not baking powder. And it's exactly why I'm re-posting these with a new and much-improved recipe!
It's not that I mind eating the occasional deep fried food. Who doesn't love french fries? I just don't enjoy deep frying in my own kitchen; it's too messy, too smelly, and then there's disposing of the oil. Because of this aversion, I assumed that buffalo wings were only something to be ordered out.
But I've been enlightened; it's possible to make super crispy, utterly delicious buffalo chicken wings in your oven without baking powder! The secret ingredient? Plain cornstarch. Here me out.
Ingredients You Need to Make Baked Buffalo Wings
For the Hot Wings:
- Cornstarch: not baking powder and certainly not baking soda - read why below
- Kosher Salt: or fine sea salt
- Chicken Wings: drumettes and flats separated (look for 'party wings' at the grocery store)
For the Buffalo Sauce:
- Butter: if using unsalted butter, add ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt or ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Garlic: fresh garlic cloves
- Hot Sauce: such as Cholula Original or Frank's Red Hot
For the Easy Blue Cheese Dip
- Blue Cheese: your favorite variety
- Garlic: fresh garlic clove
- Sour Cream: ideally full fat sour cream
- White Vinegar: or white wine vinegar
- Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
How my first try went terribly wrong. (Don't make the same mistake!)
My first attempt at making these baked wings went wrong, but it was my own fault. My friend Nagi posted these Crispy Oven Baked Chicken Wings with Honey Garlic Sauce (I made that sauce btw, and you have to try it. It's awesome!). Then I came across Stephanie's Crispy Oven Sriracha Buffalo Wings. They were both using a technique from the America's Test Kitchen Meat Book; they coated the wings with baking powder before baking and, like magic, the wings came out crispy! I had to try it.
I tried it and they were HORRIBLE. It wasn't until the next morning when I awoke with an awful taste in my mouth that I took another look at the recipe and realized that I'd used baking soda not baking powder. Whoops! Do not make the same mistake. After the baking soda flavor left my mouth, which was no less than a week, I decided to give the recipe another try. And the wings were very good, crispy on the outside; tender and flavorful on the inside.
Why Cornstarch is Better than Baking Powder for Crispy Baked Wings
But I have to make a confession: there was still a hint of metallic flavor from the baking powder that I didn't care for, likely from the baking soda that is one of the ingredients. I learned that when I read the baking powder label, and the answer to the ultimate crispy chicken wings was right there. The first ingredient in baking powder is, drumroll please...
When you coat chicken wings in plain cornstarch mixed with a little kosher salt before baking, you are rewarded with ultra tasty, divinely crispy wings with zero metallic flavor. They're delicious on their own, but you can make them even better by bathing them in buttery homemade buffalo sauce and dipping them in my easy blue cheese dressing.
More Great Game Day Recipes
- Pulled Pork Nachos
- Pork Belly Sliders
- Bacon Wrapped Shrimp
- Baked Coconut Shrimp
- Baked Buffalo Chicken Tenders
- And here or a complete list of game day recipes
How to Make Crispy Buffalo Wings
Coat raw chicken wings in a mixture of cornstarch and kosher salt - 2 teaspoons of cornstarch and ½ teaspoon of kosher salt per pound.
Bake coated wings on an oven-safe rack in a rimmed baking sheet for 30 minutes at 250°F, then 40-50 minutes at 425°F, rotating the pan halfway through cooking time.
Coat in buffalo sauce and serve!
Crispy Baked Buffalo Wings
For the hot wings:
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt or ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 3 pounds chicken wings drumettes and flats separated (look for 'party wings' at the grocery store)
For the buffalo sauce:
- ½ cup butter
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ½ cup hot sauce such as Cholula Original or Frank's Red Hot
Easy Blue Cheese Dip
- ½ cup blue cheese crumbled
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
To make the wings:
- Adjust oven racks so that one rack is in the upper-middle and one is in the lower-middle.
- Preheat oven to 250°F.
- Set an oven-safe wire rack into a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. Spray wire rack with non-stick spray or brush with oil.
- In a large bowl, whisk together cornstarch and kosher salt.
- Pat chicken drumettes and flats dry with paper towels. Add to bowl with cornstarch mixture and toss to coat evenly. Arrange in a single layer on rack in baking sheet. Bake on lower-middle rack for 30 minutes.
- Increase oven temperature to 425°F and move baking sheet to upper middle rack. Bake for 40-50 minutes more until golden brown, rotating the sheet half way through.
- Meanwhile prepare buffalo sauce. Heat butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. When butter begins to melt, add minced garlic and stir. Cook and stir until butter is fully melted and garlic is fragrant; remove from heat. Whisk in hot sauce until smooth.
- When wings are golden brown and crispy, remove them from oven and allow to rest on rack for 5 minutes. Then place wings in a large bowl and pour warm buffalo sauce over; gently stir to coat evenly. Transfer coated wings to platter and serve with blue cheese dip (recipe below).
Easy Blue Cheese Dip
- Add blue cheese, garlic and sour cream to a medium bowl. Using the back of a fork, smash blue cheese crumbles into sour cream until flavors have melded. Stir in vinegar. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve.
- Keep an eye on the wings in the last 25 minutes at 425˚F to be sure that they don't get too brown for your taste. Some readers have preferred them baked for as little as 30 minutes at the higher temperature.