Here’s the EASY way for how to bake chicken wings (and they really do turn out crispy)!
I’m interrupting my regularly scheduled posting (sorry, hot dog lovers, the four I’ve posted this week will have to do) to bring you these freaking AMAZING wings. It couldn’t wait and nothing this delicious should have to.
First, I feel that I should offer you something to back up my claim that you’ll never need another recipe for truly crispy, delicious baked chicken wings. After all, with the vast number of chicken wing recipes out there, it’s a bit brazen to suggest that mine is the absolute best. Yet that is, in fact, what I’m claiming and I stand behind it. Never again shall you have to ask how to bake chicken wings, friends.
It began a couple of years ago with an asian chicken drumstick recipe (the sauce would be great on wings)! The method is simple and it’s the base for how I make all of my skin-on chicken: toss with a little oil then bake at a high heat on a wire rack set on a sheet pan. The skin crisps up beautifully this way and it couldn’t be simpler to do. You could season the chicken beforehand and eat as-is or toss it with a delicious sauce (pre-seasoning dependent on how salty and flavorful your sauce will be).
Once I had the method down I began my quest for the perfect baked chicken wing. Tossing the wings in a sauce after definitely works (and it’s how I make my Crispy Baked Buffalo Wings) but what if you want a flavor that isn’t really a sauce? As in, say, a rub? Or as in my case, I wanted some good Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings and a truly good recipe that wasn’t fried had eluded me.
So after some trial and error, I decided that I would simply mix the lemon pepper seasoning with some melted butter and baste the wings with that once they were good and crispy. Essentially the same method as tossing with a sauce, I was just making my own sauce out of butter and spices. Ding, ding, ding!! We had a winner folks. It’s become one of my most popular recipes of all-time and it’s one of the easiest!
So why am I posting about how to bake chicken wings now, if I already have a recipe for it? The answer is because I am so in love with this simple method and the way it transforms chicken into something AMAZING with VERY little effort! I even branched out to crispy chicken thighs with this simple, one-pan meal that easily allows for a different flavor for every family member!
But it wasn’t until a few nights ago when I was making my Lemon Pepper Wings for the bazillionth time that this new flavor came about. I’d decided to make two flavors and was running some ideas around my brain when I spied some Smoky Honey Habanero rub on my counter. My insanely brilliant blogging friend Heather started a company a few years ago and it’s absolutely exploded (it’s also where I bought this amazing spice “rack” when I backed her on Kickstarter)! I hadn’t gotten the chance to try the spices so I decided to give the Smoky Honey Habanero a shot on my baked chicken wings.
Friends…these are the BEST wings. They’re crispy, of course, but this rub – THIS RUB!! – makes them sweet and spicy and sticky and so addictive that you just can’t quit. I loved them so much that I made them again the next day. The next day, people!! And as someone who never spends a dime on rubs because I figure I can make my own at home, I’m already planning to place an order for a gajillion jars. Because I must have these wings for the rest of my life!
A few things to note about how to bake chicken wings:
- You really must have a wire rack on which to cook them. Is it absolutely essential? Well, no, you could certainly bake them directly on a sheet pan, they just won’t get as crispy. You want air underneath as well as above. Here’s a good choice from Amazon but I’ve been told you can pick one up for cheap at the Dollar Store, too. Just be certain it’s oven-safe and you’re good to go.
- You don’t always need to season your chicken before baking. Yes, seasoning is almost always essential but with this method you don’t want to risk your chicken being too salty. The seasoning you choose and how salty it is will determine whether or not it’s a good idea to season first.
- You can use any rub or seasoning to make as many flavors as you like! I would caution you to adjust amounts as needed based upon how strong the flavor of your seasoning. For example, I love to pile on this Smoky Honey Habanero rub and can’t get enough! Same with me and lemon pepper seasoning. But with something more salty or spicy I’d scale back a bit. When in doubt, go light and serve extra butter/seasoning mixture at the table for those who’d like more. You shouldn’t need to increase the amount of butter; it will just be a little thicker which is fine (in fact, it’s preferable).
- A few people have commented on the lemon pepper wings post that their oven has smoked and it’s made a mess. This has never happened to me, not once. My suggestion is to be sure to only lightly coat your wings with oil; it doesn’t take much to coat them and too much will make them pop and splatter. While a few people have had that experience and commented as such on the actual blog post, MANY more have commented that they’ve made them without issue on the Facebook video (it can be found here on my Facebook page).
Speaking of videos, I made this one for you so you can see for yourself how to bake chicken wings and that it’s really just this simple. And if you make them, be sure to take a snapshot and tag it with @thewickednoodle so I can see it!
- 4 pounds chicken wings
- 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 2-4 tablespoons of your favorite spice mix, rub or other seasoning (amounts dependent on how strong and flavorful your spices are; can also use a sauce such as Buffalo)
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Toss chicken wings and oil. Place wings on a wire rack set on a baking sheet, taking care not to crowd wings. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
- Remove wings from oven. Mix melted butter and seasoning together. Brush liberally onto wings (stir butter mixture as you go to make sure you have plenty of seasoning for each wing).
- Place on platter and serve immediately.