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Roasting Chicken Wings Makes Them Great for Dinner

Jun 24, 2024Jun 24, 2024

In my house, chicken wings have traditionally been an appetizer or snack, usually reserved for parties involving movies, awards shows, and sports events. Mostly that is because in my mind wings are always fried. I love a fried wing, but let's be honest, they are mostly a delivery service for crunchy breading and dipping sauce, neither of which are a smart idea for a main course. And if you want to eat wings at scale, you have to make them at scale, which can be a fussy and time-consuming proposition.

Related—I've Discovered the Hands-Down Best Way to Prepare Chicken Thighs for a Crowd

But wings are fun to eat and delicious, so why can't they star in a meal and not be a crazy indulgence? The fact is, if you just make one little shift, they can be. Here's the secret: Chicken wings that are not fried are half the calories of a fried wing. So, you can eat twice as many! And if you roast them instead of frying, you can do a ton all at once instead of having to cook in batches the way you do with frying, so you save plenty of time.

While you might miss the crunch when you make the shift to a roasted wing instead of a fried one, if you cook them with a little chemistry trick, the skin will crisp and render and give you plenty of texture.

I first heard about this trick from Cook's Country. Essentially, you use a combination of baking powder and salt to draw out the moisture from chicken skin, which then renders beautifully and gets super crispy! It couldn't be easier.

Here's all you need to do:

1. For every 4 pounds of wings, tips removed, combine 1 tablespoon of baking powder and ¾ teaspoon of salt.

2. Shake wings in a bag with baking powder/salt mix until coated.

3. Cook on a rack over a sheet pan on the center rack of a 400° oven until browned and crispy, and hitting 175° on a meat thermometer. (Depending on the size of your wings, this could take between 30-40 minutes, but start checking them at the 20-minute mark.)

4. Once cooked, you can toss in a sauce for barbecue or Buffalo style wings or serve with a dipping sauce of your choice.

If I am having wings for dinner, I try to have side dishes that lean a little healthier, like a bright crunchy salad with a lemon Dijon vinaigrette or a crunchy oil and vinegar style slaw. Beans are a good pairing, amping up the protein, as are any number of roasted vegetables like Brussels sprouts, which can conveniently roast in the oven alongside the wings for ease.

Related—20 Best Sides for Chicken Wings

Finally, if you try this trick and love it? Give it a shot with turkey wings, which are extra meaty and while still fun to eat for dinner, you only need one whole large wing per person for a satisfying supper. Turkey wings will take a little longer to cook than chicken wings, so be sure to adjust cooking time upwards.

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