What Are the Best Tips for Preparing Crispy Chicken Wings in the Oven?

Erik J.J. Goserud

The task of creating crispy chicken wings in the oven can be achieved by controlling a few key variables. Among these are cooking time, cooking temperature, and proximity of the chicken wings to the heat source. There are other factors that may weigh in during the cooking process of crispy chicken wings in the oven, including the type of oven and specific heat source.

Chicken wings may be prepared in the oven for a healthier appetizer.
Chicken wings may be prepared in the oven for a healthier appetizer.

Chicken wings are a popular dish among many citizens of the world. Their fabled creation involves the city of Buffalo, New York, and although the exact source is unknown, most versions involve some sort of accidental or spontaneous creation. Often, cooks prepare buffalo wings in a deep fryer using heated oil; however, crispy chicken wings in the oven are also common. The deep-fried version tends to be higher in calories and fat but also holds more flavor due to the oil. The oven version is healthier but sometimes lacks the fatty flavor of its counterpart.

Cooks often prepare buffalo wings in a deep fryer using heated oil.
Cooks often prepare buffalo wings in a deep fryer using heated oil.

There are several potential players involved that may contribute to variations in crispiness. The size of the wing is the first consideration. If a chicken wing is too thick, it may be difficult to cook through without burning the outside. The best method for choosing the right-sized wing is through trial and error. Secondly, temperature needs to be perfected. Although most wing recipes give specifics regarding temperature and time, cooks can alter this variable by experimenting to find the ideal environment for flavor to flourish.

Proximity to the heat source is also important to consider when cooking crispy chicken wings in the oven. If the wings are far from the heat source, they will still cook through but will tend to be less crispy. The closer, the more crispy, but this can be overdone. Cooking too close to a heat source can burn a wing, making a delectable snack a painful endeavor instead.

Cooking time, of course, is intuitively linked to how the wings turn out. A general rule is that, the longer something is cooked, the crispier and more done it will be. There is no set time, however, as ovens vary considerably in how they perform. Perfecting crispy chicken wings in the oven is the holy grail of techniques and one that is tough for amateurs. The best way to improve this skill is through practice, practice, practice.

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Discussion Comments


It may not be the healthiest way to prepare chicken wings, but I prefer to deep fry them instead of bake them. But I can see where preparing chicken wings in the oven would be easier than making batches in a small deep fryer. My friends tend to grab a large plateful of wings, which means they'll have to wait for refills if I fry them. I could bake a lot more chicken wings at one time, so maybe I'll give these ideas a try at my next football party. Thanks.


I have seen some cooks on television put the chicken wings into the oven at a really high temperature (450 degrees or higher) for a little while, then lower the heat to a more moderate temperature for the rest of the cooking time. The high heat makes the skin become crispier, but the lower heat keeps the meat from drying out.

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