CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert deal-hunting staff showcases the best price drops and discounts from reputable sellers daily. If you make a purchase using our links, CNET may earn a commission.

Yes, You Can Make Crispy Buffalo Wings in the Oven. Here's How

Oven-baked or air-fried wings are healthier than fried wings and way less messy to make. Here's how to get them perfectly crispy for the big game.

David Watsky Senior Editor / Home and Kitchen
David lives in Brooklyn where he's spent more than a decade covering all things edible, including meal kit services, food subscriptions, kitchen tools and cooking tips. Since earning a BA in English from Northeastern in Boston, he's toiled in nearly every aspect of the food business, including as a line cook in Rhode Island where he once made a steak sandwich for Lamar Odom. Right now, he's likely somewhere stress-testing a blender or researching the best way to make bacon. Anything with sesame is his all-time favorite food this week.
Expertise Kitchen tools, appliances, food science, subscriptions and meal kits.
David Watsky
4 min read
Buffalo wings on a plate

Buffalo wings don't have to be deep-fried to be delicious.


If you want the crispiest wings ever without having to break out the deep fryer, air fryer wings are your best bet. Air fryers are easy to use, highly effective at mimicking the results of traditional frying and you don't need to pay more than $100 for a good one. If your kitchen is still missing an air fryer, check out our list of the best air fryers to buy. 

In the meantime, you can make excellent chicken wings in the oven with similar results. Oven wings take slightly longer than air fryer wings but the idea is similar. Baked chicken wings aren't dripping with oil as fried wings are, but you can still achieve crispy drumettes and flats using a trusty oven.

Here's a step-by-step guide to making perfect baked chicken wings in the oven. We've even included a list of essential tools needed for making wings along with a couple of oven-baked chicken wing recipes to get you started. 

Read also: The Best Way to Reheat Leftovers? Not a Microwave

What you'll need to make baked chicken wings


An extra-large baking sheet fits a whole flock of wings and the rack elevates above the dripping fat -- or can be used for cooling.

Porter Road

Start with high-quality chicken wings. Jolly Barnyard's pasture-raised birds have room to move, get fresh air and eat a varied diet free of added hormones and antibiotics. The shipment of 1 to 1.5 pounds of wings arrives frozen.

How to make crispy chicken wings in the oven

1. Decide how many wings you need. Generally speaking, budgeting six to eight wings per person is wise, depending on what else is being served. A variety of sauces and dips will keep things interesting.

2. Make sure the wings are washed and patted completely dry. Preparing the wings beforehand is as important as anything to achieve crispy results, so don't skip the drying step.

3. To lock in moisture and also help the skin develop crispiness, most chefs encourage a light coating of baking powder and/or white flour. If you're trying to avoid those two ingredients, trusted food nerd Alton Brown suggests lightly steaming the wings for 10 minutes to render the fat, which naturally helps to crisp skin during cooking.

4. If you're doing a dry rub like Cajun seasoning or jerk spices, apply to the wings before cooking. Otherwise, wings are tossed in a wet sauce afterward (but never before).

5. Place the wings in a single layer on a nonstick baking sheet. Feel free to line it with aluminum foil for easy cleanup, and place the wings on a wire rack set within the pan so the fat drips down (optional).

6. Bake the wings at 350 degrees for 1 hour, turning them over halfway through. This helps the skin crisp relatively quickly without drying out the inside. Optional: A good, if slightly more caloric tip comes from Mark Bittman who suggests a little extra fat to baste the wings while they cook, still flipping them partway through. Not only do they stay moist, according to Bittman, but they get beautifully browned, too.

7. For truly crispy skin, turn the oven up to 425-450 degrees during the last 20-30 minutes of cooking. Or, broil the wings for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. If you're basting per Mark Bittman or the wings are baking in some of their own juices in a tray, you may cook them for longer without the risk of them drying out. Just look for a crispy skin to develop and don't exceed 90 minutes of total cooking time.

8. You can follow these same basic rules and processes to make frozen chicken wings crispy in the oven, too. Just make sure to pat them dry especially well before cooking, as ice may have formed on the skin.

9. Once cooked, it's saucin' time. There are a million and one sauce (and dip) recipes to try, from classic Buffalo with blue cheese to international flavors like soy, garlic, teriyaki, ginger and even curry.

Here are some favorite wing recipes to get you started:

Crispy oven-baked Buffalo wings

This clip from RecipeTin Eats' Nagi Maehashi teases the use of a rack to drain juices for less fat and more crispiness. Get Maehashi's recipe for truly crispy oven-baked Buffalo wings.

Smoky rubbed wings with molasses

Smoky rubbed wings with molasses ready to be eaten

Smoky rubbed wings with molasses.

Quentin Bacon

Beauty & Essex chef Chris Santos' recipe uses molasses, honey and bourbon. A smoky spice rub and a doctored barbecue sauce make his baked-then-broiled wings irresistible.

Soy-glazed wings

Soy chicken wings on a platter

Soy-glazed chicken wings.


These sweet wings are great as is, but add some fresh chives, sesame, crushed red pepper or diced garlic for a multilayered sauce. Tasting Table's recipe uses rice flour to dredge the chicken, giving it the added bonus of being airy, crispy and gluten-free.

Maple-mustard barbecue wings

Maple mustard barbecue wings in a plastic basket

Maple mustard barbecue wings.


Christine Gallary's recipe is easily adapted to the oven-baked method. Just brush the wings with the sauce in the last few minutes of cooking so it caramelizes a bit but doesn't burn.  

How to fry foods at home perfectly every time

See all photos

Your dream home doesn't have to cost a fortune.
Use our CNET Shopping extension to compare prices, set price alerts or add coupons to your cart with a single click.
Add CNET Shopping
Shopping laptop image