The Secret Technique for Cooking the Best Chicken Wings Ever

For game days, everyone expects the best chicken wings. We have all the tips and tricks for golden brown deliciousness, plus three different dipping sauces that will impress absolutely everyone.

Three plates of buffalo wingsPhoto: Taste of Home

Fun fact: Americans tackled roughly 1.33 billion chicken wings during the 2017 Super Bowl. (The math nerd in me figured out If you laid them all end to end it would stretch 63,000 miles.)

To say we’re obsessed with these spicy pieces of deliciousness is a severe understatement. Over the years, the Taste of Home Test Kitchen has cooked them every single way you could think of. When I asked what was the tastiest way, everyone, without hesitation, said deep-frying produced the best chicken wings ever. So I gathered every tip and trick we could think of in the following steps; awesomeness is guaranteed for game day or any other day you need an excuse for wings. (If you’re a sucker for grilled chicken, read our guide on how to grill chicken wings.)

How to Make the Best Ever Fried Chicken Wings

You’ll need:
4 pounds chicken wings
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Oil for deep-fat frying

Deep-fryer or deep Dutch oven
Wire rack set in a baking pan
Sharp, thin knife

Person cutting the tip off their chicken wingPhoto: Taste of Home

Step 1: Remove wing tips

When you purchase chicken wings you’ll usually get the whole wing, which has three sections; the tip, the wingette and the drumette. While I may be called for clipping—football pun warning—there is very little meat in the tip and it easily burns, so I like to remove that piece and save it for making stock or broth. Using a sharp, thin knife, cut through the joint between the wing tip and the wingette. If you move the joints it will be easy to see exactly where to cut.

Person making a slice into their raw chicken wingPhoto: Taste of Home

Step 2: Separate wingette and drumette

Moving the joint between the wingette and the drumette will show you exactly where to slice to separate them.

Test Kitchen tip: You can purchase frozen and thawed wingettes or drumettes if you want to skip the first two steps. We won’t tell.

Step 3: Chill

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Toss wings with kosher salt and place them on a wire rack in a 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Refrigerate at least one hour or overnight.

Test Kitchen tip: Salting and chilling will dry out the skin slightly, which is key to getting that skin crispy when they’re fried. Just be sure to leave them uncovered in the fridge so the moisture evaporates.

Step 4: Fry ’em up!

A home deep fryer is great for cooking wings, but don’t worry if you don’t have one. An electric skillet works well. Or you can use a Dutch oven on the stovetop. Fill with oil so when the wings are added there will be at least one inch of oil covering them with no danger of bubbling over the top. Heat the oil to 375°. Pat a few wings dry and carefully add them to the oil. Make sure there is plenty of room between the pieces or the oil will cool down too much and they won’t cook quickly. It should take about 8-10 minutes to get nice and golden brown. Remove the wings and drain on paper towels. Let the oil heat back up to 375° before frying more wings. If you want to avoid frying in the oil, then learn how to make oven-fried chicken wings.

Step 5: Get saucy

Now is your chance to get creative and toss your fried wings with one of the sauces below.

Buffalo wings covered with sauce next to celeryPhoto: Taste of Home

Buffalo Wing Sauce

Bring ¾ cup of Louisiana-style hot sauce just to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and whisk in ¼ cup butter one piece at a time. Stir in 2 Tbsp. molasses and ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper.

Can’t get enough Buffalo chicken? Try these recipes.

Spicy thai buffalo wingsPhoto: Taste of Home

Spicy Thai Sauce

Saute 1 tsp. fresh minced ginger, 1 minced garlic clove and 1 Thai chili pepper in 1 Tbsp. canola oil until the aroma is intense, about 2 minutes. Stir in ¼ cup brown sugar and 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice. Bring to a boil; cook until slightly thickened, 5 minutes. Stir in 2 Tbsp. fresh chopped cilantro and 1 Tbsp. fish sauce (we know it smells but it adds a great flavor).

Are you ready to Thai more on?

Spicy bbq buffalo wings next to pickle slicesPhoto: Taste of Home

Spicy Barbecue Sauce

Heat your favorite prepared barbecue sauce in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in 2 minced chipotle peppers, 2 Tbsp. honey and 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until it’s slightly thickened, which should take about 5 minutes depending on how thick your barbecue sauce is.

Now the only thing you have to worry about is encroachment—last pun—from your guests looking to score a hot wing. (OK, so it wasn’t the last one.)

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James Schend
Formerly Taste of Home’s Deputy Editor, Culinary, James oversaw the Food Editor team, recipe contests and Bakeable, and managed all food content for Trusted Media Brands. He has also worked in the kitchen of Williams-Sonoma and at Southern Living. An honor graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, James has traveled the world searching for great food in all corners of life.