Crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside, these baked chicken wings are ridiculously flavorful and tasty. The best part is, you can make even a large party batch in just 30 minutes or so.
I used to be a chicken wing snob, or traditionalist, or something like that, thinking that the best chicken wings are deep fried Buffalo chicken wings. But then I started to explore other ways to cook chicken wings and opened a whole new wing world for myself.
Traditionally baked chicken wings to me taste as if they lack flavor. There is much less in the way of Maillard reaction taking place when baking, which explains why the flavor is lacking. I tried to use brining, injections, marinades and sauces but that seemed to have the opposite effect – I would get absolutely no browning and forget about my baked chicken wings getting a crispy skin. Don’t get me wrong, the wings baked this way tasted very good, just not great.
Instead of using sauces and marinades I explored different ways to baking chicken wings, such as high heat baking. Baked at 450F, chicken wings would get some browning. I would then finish them by broiling to get even more browning and flavor. These baked chicken wings tasted really good, but still were far from perfect. There was no crispiness to the skin, no crunch. But I like my wings to have a crispy skin.
Browning when baking wings this way was somewhat tricky. The wings would get little browning during baking, so I would always need to use the broil function. On broil, the tops tend to char very quickly and you get spotty browning.
I attempted several recipes that I was able to find online but I was never completely happy with the results either. One initially promising method of baking chicken wings at 250F for 30 minutes then 50 minutes at 425F to make crispy skinned, just like deep fried, wings was a failure in my trials. Crispy skin came with pretty dried out meat for my taste. The long time it took to bake the wings pretty much killed my interest in attempting this again.
The solution came while experimenting with baking other chicken parts. It was to quickly sear the wings over high heat before baking them, just as I now do with chicken breasts, thighs and drumsticks to get a flavorful, crispy exterior and a tender interior. Just like anyone would do with a steak if cooking indoors- sear it on a pan then finish in the oven. Makes sense, right?
High heat pan searing helps render out the fat from the skin and dry it out prior to baking. This helps with getting a nicely crispy skin without using the broiler function. The browning you get during pan searing adds an immense flavor, one that you will never be able to replicate in the oven. Once pan searing is done, all the wings need is a quick 20-25 minute bake in the oven to get the meat cooked through without drying it out.
The internal temperature of the baked wings should reach about 185F-190F for best results. At 165F, chicken wings taste a little tough and under-cooked. Heat them up to 185F-190F and they become wonderfully fall-off-the-bone tender, while still being moist and juicy. If cooked past 190F the wings will start to dry out.
- 2 dozen chicken wingettes and drumettes
- 1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp granulated onions
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 tsp granulated garlic
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil for frying
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a cooling rack on top. Set aside.
- Preheat 1/4 cup vegetable oil in a large cast-iron pan over medium-high heat.
- Place the chicken wings in a large bowl. Add one tablespoon of oil and all of the spices and seasonings. Rub the spices into the wings to ensure even coverage.
- As soon as the oil barely starts smoking (325F) place the wings on the pan and sear for about 1 minute, until the skin is deep golden brown. Flip the wings and sear for another minute.
- Now transfer the wings to the baking sheet, placing them on the cooling rack. Bake on the top rack for 25 minutes, or until the internal temperature hits 185F-190F.
- Serve immediately.