Best-Ever Fried Chicken Wings Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 10 min. + chilling Cook: 20 min.
Only salt and the right frying oil is needed for juicy, crispy-skinned fried chicken wings. Pair the wings with any of these three fantastic sauce options.

Updated: Jan. 31, 2024

It’s hard to beat deep-fried chicken wings. You know, the kind so crispy that the skin almost shatters at first bite, revealing the juicy meat inside. Surprisingly enough, you don’t need to do much work with tried-and-true chicken wing recipes. When tender chicken skin hits hot oil, it crisps up to perfection—no cornstarch, baking powder or flour coating required. Our deep-fried chicken wing recipe is both super simple and naturally gluten-free. Win-win.

Of course, every good chicken wing deserves a great sauce, and sometimes only one sauce won’t do! We have three saucy options for you to try at home. The Buffalo wing sauce is classic, with a tangy, spicy and slightly buttery flavor profile that’s perfect for any group gathering. For a fun twist, whip up the oil-based spicy Thai sauce with ginger and fish sauce, or try the spicy barbecue that infuses the traditional barbecue sauce recipe with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.

Ingredients for Fried Chicken Wings

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  • Chicken wings: If you buy whole wings, you’ll have the task of separating the drumette from the flat (or “wingette”). On the plus side, you’ll enjoy a perfect mix of the two types of chicken pieces. To speed up prep, look for already-separated wings at the store, sometimes labeled “party wings.”
  • Salt: You can season chicken wings with any number of seasoning blends, but we keep things simple and just use salt. The salt works as a dry meat brine, intensifying the chicken flavor without adding moisture.
  • Oil: The best oils for frying have a high smoke point (the temperature at which the oil begins to break down and smoke). Any oil with a smoke point above 400°F, such as canola oil or peanut oil, is a good choice.
  • Three sauce options: Choose one of our many chicken wing sauce recipes, or make the three listed below for a vibrant spread. Our Buffalo wing sauce features butter, molasses and Louisiana-style hot sauce. Our spicy Thai sauce is an oil-based sauce made with ginger, garlic, Thai chile pepper, brown sugar, lime juice, cilantro and fish sauce. Our spicy barbecue infuses barbecue sauce with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, honey and cider vinegar.

Directions

Step 1: Dry-brine the chicken wings

Using a sharp knife, cut through the two wing joints. Discard the wing tips, and pat the flats and drumettes dry with a paper towel. Toss the chicken wings with the salt, and place them on a wire rack set inside a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Refrigerate for at least one hour or as long as overnight.

Editor’s Tip: Instead of throwing away the wing tips, save them in a bag in the freezer. Use the collagen-rich pieces the next time you make homemade chicken stock.

Step 2: Make the sauce

You don’t have to make all three sauces—choosing just one is perfectly fine! But it’s nice to have options when preparing chicken wings for a party.

For the Buffalo wing sauce: Heat the Louisiana-style hot sauce in a small saucepan. Bring it just to a boil, then remove the pan from the heat. Whisk in the butter, one cube at a time, until it’s well incorporated. Stir in the molasses and cayenne pepper.

For the Thai sauce: Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the ginger, garlic and chile pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is fragrant, about two minutes. Add the brown sugar and lime juice, and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook until slightly thickened, about five minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the cilantro and fish sauce.

For the barbecue sauce: In a small saucepan, whisk together the barbecue sauce, chipotle peppers, honey and vinegar. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until thickened, about five minutes.

Editor’s Tip: Make the sauce(s) ahead of time, and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week. Reheat in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stovetop while the chicken cooks.

Step 3: Cook the chicken wings

In an electric skillet or deep fryer, heat the oil to 375°. If the wings released some moisture as they sat overnight (i.e., they feel damp), pat them dry before proceeding. Working in batches, fry the wings in hot oil until the skin is crisp and the meat is tender, 8 to 10 minutes per batch. Drain the wings on a paper towel or wire rack, and toss with the sauce of your choice.

Editor’s Tip: Allow the oil temperature to return to 375° between batches. Overcrowding the pan or frying at too-low temperatures can cause the chicken to get greasy and soggy. To keep the chicken warm until ready to serve, transfer the fried chicken wings to an ovenproof cooling rack set inside a baking sheet, and place it in a 250° oven.

Fried Chicken Wings Variations

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  • Air-fry the wings: Instead of making deep-fried chicken wings, make air-fryer chicken wings. Preheat the unit to 300°. Working in batches, place the wings in a single layer in an air-fryer basket sprayed with cooking spray. Cook for 15 minutes. Then, increase the air fryer temperature to 400°. Cook until the chicken juices run clear and wings are golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes, turning once.
  • Use the oven or grill: Chicken wings are inherently flavorful, thanks to a combination of tender meat and high fat content, so you can use healthy cooking methods like the grill or oven. Try making crispy grilled wings or sticky-sweet glazed chicken wings in the oven.
  • Change up the seasoning: We often pair spicy sauces with fried chicken wings, but don’t be afraid to have fun and experiment. Brush your fried wings with a ginger-orange glaze or a garlic-Parmesan sauce, or dust them with Chinese five-spice powder. Check out these game-changing chicken wing recipes for inspiration.
  • Turn them into lollipops: Yes, you read that right! Chicken lollipops are just chicken drumettes that have been reshaped, pushing the meat down over the end of the bone so the wing resembles a lollipop. They look elegant but taste just as good as the original.
  • Use up any leftover sauce: Let no sauce go to waste! Use leftovers on chicken nuggets, grilled shrimp or even steamed veggies. You can also mix the leftover sauce into the meat in your fave burger recipes to spice things up a bit (literally).

How to Store Fried Chicken Wings

Fried chicken wings have the best flavor and texture when served immediately after cooking. That said, if you end up with leftovers, the cooked chicken will last in the fridge for three to four days when stored in an airtight container. Reheat the chicken wings in an air fryer or oven. Skip the microwave—it will lead to soggy skin!

Fried Chicken Wings Tips

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How long does it take to deep fry fresh chicken wings?

Our deep-fried chicken wings cook in under 10 minutes in 375° oil. Use our deep-frying temperature chart to ensure you’re frying at the correct temperature. Most electric fryers have a built-in thermometer. You can also use a long-stem thermometer when frying in a cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven.

How can you make sure fried chicken wings are extra-crispy?

To make sure your fried chicken wings are extra-crispy, it’s crucial you maintain the correct oil temperature. One common cooking mistake is overcrowding the pan. This can reduce the oil temperature and cause the skin to get soggy. It’s also important to pat the wings dry before adding them to the fryer oil, as the skin will crisp up better when it’s dry. If the wings still seem wet after patting them dry, try coating them in a light dusting of cornstarch or baking powder.

Should I season wings before or after deep-frying?

For best results, season your wings before deep-frying. Toss them with salt at least one hour before cooking (or as long as overnight) to dry-brine the chicken. Brining makes the meat taste better and helps it retain moisture, improving its juiciness once cooked. Then, after cooking, feel free to add more flavor: Toss your deep-fried chicken wings in a flavorful sauce, or sprinkle them with your favorite spice blend for dry-rubbed wings.

Fried Chicken Wings

Prep Time 10 min
Cook Time 20 min
Yield about 4 dozen.

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds chicken wings
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Oil for deep-fat frying
  • BUFFALO WING SAUCE:
  • 3/4 cup Louisiana-style hot sauce
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • SPICY THAI SAUCE:
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh gingerroot
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 minced Thai chile pepper or 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • SPICY BARBECUE SAUCE:
  • 3/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar

Directions

  1. Using a sharp knife, cut through the 2 wing joints; discard wing tips. Pat chicken dry with paper towels. Toss wings with kosher salt. Place on a wire rack in a 15x10x1-in. baking pan. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.
  2. In an electric skillet or deep-fat fryer, heat oil to 375°. Fry wings in batches until skin is crisp and meat is tender, 8-10 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
  3. For Buffalo wing sauce, bring hot sauce just to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat; whisk in butter 1 piece at a time. Stir in molasses and cayenne pepper.
  4. For Thai sauce, heat oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add ginger, garlic and chile pepper; cook and stir until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in brown sugar and lime juice. Bring to a boil; cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in cilantro and fish sauce.
  5. For barbecue sauce, heat prepared barbecue sauce in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in chipotle peppers, honey and vinegar. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  6. Toss wings with desired sauce.

Nutrition Facts

1 piece: 87 calories, 8g fat (2g saturated fat), 15mg cholesterol, 218mg sodium, 1g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 0 fiber), 4g protein.

For game days, I shake up these saucy wings. When I run out, friends hover by the snack table until I bring out more. When they ask me how to fry chicken wings, they never believe it's so easy! —Nick Iverson, Denver, Colorado