Crispy baked buffalo wings that are NOT fried are just what you need to snack on during the game or movie night. Topped with a spicy homemade Buffalo sauce, and a homemade blue cheese dip, it’s a classic for football games or any other gathering.
I’ve never been a fan of restaurant style Buffalo chicken wings. Primarily because I prefer mine baked, without sauce like parmesan wings. I’ve never even purchased a bottle of Frank’s Red Hot sauce before experimenting with this recipe.
Most restaurants just pour a sour hot sauce over fried wings, not my thing. However, Natalie asked me to make some when she came home for Christmas break so I started doing some research to see if I could make the BEST Buffalo chicken wings around.
I think you’ll agree that I succeeded. These were so good, that Taylor asked me to make them again before she went home.
What are buffalo chicken wings
Buffalo wings originated in Buffalo NY at a bar and have become the go-to snack for football games and almost any other athletic event. They are typically fried chicken wings covered in a sauce made of Frank’s Red Hot and melted butter.
Frank’s Red Hot is like most hot sauces in that it’s made from aged cayenne peppers and vinegar. Since it’s spicy you’ll generally find chicken wings served with carrots and celery along with a ranch or blue cheese dip to cut the heat.
I wanted to improve on the classic restaurant style chicken wing. I wanted crispy wings that were not fried. Next I wanted a Buffalo sauce that was delicious and not too sour, and of course they needed an awesome blue cheese dipping sauce.
What’s the secret to tender, yet crispy chicken wings
I hate dried up chicken wings that have no flavor except the excessive amount of sauce dumped over them. To get super tender chicken wings, boil the wings first with some herbs and vinegar and then let them dry before baking. This will result in wings so tender that they fall off the bone but with a crispy exterior.
Why you’ll love baked buffalo chicken wings
- They’re baked and not fried for a healthier version that you can make at home.
- This buffalo sauce is so delicious and has a more complex flavor than anything bottled.
- You’ll enjoy a blue cheese sauce that’s homemade and can be enjoyed with veggies and burgers too!
- If you’ve never had wings you’ve loved, I challenge you to try this version!
If you’re going to serve this at a party, get some helpful tips along with 25 delicious game day appetizer recipes to choose from.
What you’ll need
- Chicken wings – you can select drumsticks or flats if you want, I like flats the best.
- Parmesan cheese – love the saltiness it adds to the top of baked wings
- Frank’s Red Hot Original sauce – this is the base of your buffalo sauce made with cayenne peppers
- Tobasco (Texas Pete) – adding a second hot sauce just adds more depth to the homemade sauce
- Dijon mustard – just a little to compliment the blue cheese dip
- Sour cream – for a creamy dip
- Blue cheese – adds a sharp and salty flavor that’s a classic with wings
- Spices – Rosemary, oregano, red pepper flakes, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper
- Staples – Oil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, butter, dark brown sugar, lemon juice, vinegar, cider vinegar, egg yolks
How do you make baked buffalo wings
To get TENDER chicken wings that are crispy without being fried there are just a couple of steps.
BOIL the chicken wings first in a mixture of water, vinegar, salt and seasoning and then remove them to a wire rack to dry for 15 minutes.
Make a garlic paste with red pepper flakes and parmesan cheese.
Coat the cooked chicken wings.
Sprinkle the wings with more parmesan cheese and bake on a foil lined rimmed baking sheet.
If you want to bake these on a rack, you can but the juices will drip through and smoke when you take them out of the oven, causing my smoke detector to go off. Either way will work.
Add the Buffalo sauce to the baked wings as soon as they come out of the oven so that it will absorb into the wings.
Since they are boiled first, they’re not greasy so I don’t think you need to bake them on a rack. If your smoke detector is not as sensitive as mine you can use a rack but we really couldn’t tell a difference in how crispy they were.
How to make buffalo sauce
Most Buffalo sauces are just melted butter and hot sauce. I wanted to cut the vinegar just a bit.
Step 1: To make an easy finger-licking Buffalo sauce start by melting a half a stick of butter in a saucepan and then add some Frank’s Red Hot to the butter.
Step 2: Next add a couple of tablespoons of Texas Pete or your favorite hot sauce to give added flavor. All hot sauces have a little different flavor, Texas Pete is a favorite in the South made right here in North Carolina.
Step 3: Now add a couple tablespoons of brown sugar and a little apple cider vinegar. Both will cut the tartness of the hot sauces without making it a sweet sauce. Cook this just until the brown sugar has dissolved.
How to make the best blue cheese dipping sauce
With spicy buffalo wings you need something to cool things down and nothing is better than a blue cheese dipping sauce. Of course you can use your favorite blue cheese dressing or ranch dressing, but this mayonnaise like dipping sauce is amazing and easy to make.
Step 1: Add egg yolks and a little lemon juice to a bowl and slowly whisk in canola oil.
Step 2: Once your arm is about to fall off, you’ll have homemade mayonnaise. Add some mustard, sour cream and blue cheese and whisk it until it’s smooth.
Pro tip: Not only is this great for baked chicken wings but it will be your new favorite vegetable dip.
What type of chicken is best for baked chicken wings
There are three parts to a chicken wing, the drumette, which looks like a small drumstick, the flat, and the tip. When you buy a large package at the grocery they generally will come whole. If you buy them at the butcher counter typically they’ll have been separated into drumettes and flats. I find that at restaurants the drumettes can be dry so I like the flats. However, for these baked Buffalo wings, the drumettes are just as tender as the flats.
If you get them whole, you can easily separate them, here’s a great video showing you how or you can leave them whole. Since you’re not frying the wings, both parts will be tender so you can leave them whole.
These baked Buffalo wings converted me into someone who never ate Buffalo wings to a true fan. I’ll be coming up with excuses to make these more often. Since both girls love them, they’ll be on the rotation for meals to make when they come home for a visit. The sauce is so good that I created a Buffalo chicken dip with it.
If you find yourself cooking with chicken a lot and want to know for sure that your chicken is cooked thoroughly, head to my informational page on ways to make sure your chicken is cooked all the way but still remains juicy and delicious.
FAQs and tips
Buffalo wings are best warm but you can do the first steps ahead of time. Boil the wings, coat with garlic paste and parmesan and place in the refrigerator until ready to bake. The dip can be made 2 days ahead of time.
This dipping sauce is so good, you will want to save any left over and use it for a vegetable dip. Otherwise, it’s great on a burger!
Coat the wings in Buffalo sauce while they are still hot so that it will be absorbed into the wings.
This recipe has very few carbohydrates. There is a little sugar in the Buffalo sauce but not enough to matter.
Baked chicken wings are less greasy and easier to make at home.
More appetizers for GAME DAY
Try out some of these party favorites
- Nothing’s says football like a classic peach salsa with tortilla chips
- Homemade sausage balls are a favorite, you can make them low carb with almond flour
- Let everyone help with mini pizza bites
- Bacon wrapped chicken bites, because everyone loves bacon
- These flaky pinwheels with prosciutto and spinach are easy but look fancy
If you loved this recipe, give it a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating! Also, snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #butterandbaggage and tagging me @butterandbaggage.
Baked Buffalo Wings Recipe
- 3 quarts water 12 cups
- ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup salt
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 2-4 lbs chicken wings
- 8 cloves garlic minced
- pinch salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
- 1 cup parmesan cheese finely grated
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup Frank's Red Hot Original sauce
- 2 tablespoons Tobasco (Texas Pete)
- 2 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
BLUE CHEESE DIP
- 3 egg yolks
- 4 teaspoons white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 cup canola oil
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 4 ounces blue cheese
- In a large pot combine water, balsamic vinegar, ¼ cup salt, bay leaf, thyme, oregano and rosemary and bring to a boil. Add chicken wings and boil for 15 minutes. Remove chicken and place on a rack to dry for 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 450º. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
- In a large bowl, combine garlic and salt and add olive oil, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and ½ cup of parmesan cheese, stir to combine. Toss wings in the mixture until they are coated. Transfer to the baking sheet and sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 20 minutes until browned and crispy. Brush or pour buffalo sauce over wings immediately while they are still hot.
- Buffalo Sauce: While the chicken is cooking prepare the buffalo sauce. Add butter to a saucepan and melt over low heat. Whisk in the rest of the ingredients and cook until the sugar has melted.
- Blue Cheese Dip: Place the egg yolks vinegar,, lemon juice and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Whisking until well combined. Slowly drizzle in oil, it should be slightly thick. Add mustard, sour cream and blue cheese and mix until smooth.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- You don’t need to cook these on a rack. Bake them directly on a foil lined baking sheet.
- You can make these ahead of time, refrigerate after you have boiled the wings and added the garlic paste and parmesan. Bake just before ready to eat.
- The dipping sauce can be made up to 2 days ahead of time.
- You can freeze left-overs and reheat in the oven at 350º for 5-10 minutes.
- For the best Buffalo flavor, add the sauce while the wings are still hot.