Crispy Garlic Butter Chicken Wings
What’s better than chicken wings? Crispy garlic butter chicken wings! Baked in the oven or crisped up in the air fryer, these party wings are seasoned with dry rub and tossed in a simple two-ingredient sauce. Make them for parties, game days, or holidays. They’re the best!
Ok friends, I know that everyone (and I do mean everyone) has been paying close attention to the football situation this year for one reason or another. But, in case your only interest is watching commercials and eating something cheesy, carb-y, and/or covered in ranch. Well, great minds.
Football food is one of my specialties after years of throwing annual Super Bowl parties. I mean, what’s game day without little smokies in a blanket, tempura fried cheese curds, and of course, chicken wings?
These homemade wings are ridiculously good. Uber crispy, tossed in homemade dry rub, and coated with salty garlic butter. Dreamy. Pop open a beer and let’s celebrate!
These wings are the best!
I used to wholeheartedly believe that baked wings were far inferior to fried. But then, back in my culinary school days, I learned a secret trick for making baked wings that come out super crispy every time! And ever since, it’s been my go-to method for homemade wings. No oil, frying, spattering, or stovetop mess. Hallelujah.
- These wings are super crispy and have the best garlicky sauce.
- The recipe is beyond easy. Truly couldn’t be simpler.
- You can bake the wings in the oven or make them in an air fryer.
- Serve these wings for parties, game days, holidays, & more!
The ingredient list
- Chicken wings – you’ll want to look for ‘party wings’ which are full chicken wings that have been broken down into flats and drums.
- Baking powder – this is a key ingredient! Look for aluminum-free baking powder so you don’t get a metallic aftertaste.
- Salt and pepper – for these wings, I recommend Morton’s Kosher salt and white pepper. You can also use freshly-ground black pepper.
- Spices – a mix of garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, and cayenne will make up the homemade dry rub.
- Neutral oil – a bit of neutral oil, like vegetable, canola, or avocado, will keep the wings from sticking. You can also use cooking spray.
- Butter – go for a high-quality salted butter. It’ll add lots of flavor to these wings! I like Kerrygold best.
- Garlic – you must use freshly minced garlic for that intense flavor! Skip the jarred stuff.
- Chives – fresh chives taste amazing with the garlic and spices.
- Wings – feel free to buy full chicken wings. You’ll just want to break them down into flats and drums before you cook them.
- Spices – feel free to add other spices like chili powder, sweet paprika, or chipotle powder. You can also use this tri-tip dry rub – it’s amazing on any meat!
- Lemon pepper – for a hint of citrus, try lemon pepper instead of white pepper. Just make sure there isn’t added salt or the wings could turn out too salty.
- Herbs – replace the chives with fresh parsley or even basil.
- Honey – for a hint of sweetness, drizzle the wings with bourbon hot honey. So good!
The secret to crispy baked chicken wings is baking powder. Make sure you’re using fresh, aluminum-free baking powder. Not baking soda! Otherwise, the wings will come out with a bitter, metallic aftertaste!
How to make this recipe
Season the wings with dry rub
- Start by drying both sides of the chicken wings with a paper towel.
- Then, sprinkle the wings with baking powder, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, and cayenne.
- Toss the wings with the dry rub until they’re evenly coated.
Dry all sides of the wings really well. You want them to be as dry as possible so they crisp up instead of steam. If you have time, you can also dry the wings on a wire rack overnight in the fridge. Place the wire rack on a sheet pan to prevent cross contamination and leave the wings uncovered so they dry out.
Bake the wings
- Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and place a metal wire rack on top. Grease it with cooking spray or neutral oil.
- Place the seasoned chicken wings in a single layer on the metal rack. It’s ok if they touch a bit!
- Then, bake the wings at 425°F (218°C) for 40-50 minutes, flipping halfway through, until they’re very crispy. Let the wings sit for 5 minutes.
Or, air fry the wings
- To air fry the wings, spray the basket of an air fryer with neutral oil or cooking spray.
- Then, place the wings in the basket in a single layer. It’s ok if they touch a bit.
- Lastly, cook the wings at 400°F (204°C) for 10 minutes. Flip and cook another 6-8 minutes until they’re crispy and cooked through. Let them sit for about 5 minutes.
Avoid over-cooking the wings! If they bake or air fry for too long, the wings will come out dry and the spices will burn. You want to cook them just until they’re evenly browned, crispy, and cooked through.
Make the garlic butter sauce
- While the wings cook, add the butter to a small saucepan.
- Next, add the minced garlic to the pot.
- Cook the garlic butter over medium-low heat until the butter is melted and the garlic is fragrant.
Toss & garnish
- After the wings have rested for 5 minutes, drizzle them with the sauce.
- Using tongs, toss the wings until they’re well-coated.
- Lastly, garnish the wings with a sprinkling of fresh chives. Enjoy!
These wings are my favorite for parties and get-togethers with friends. They’re lovely as an appetizer or snack but I also love serving them with cacio e pepe pizza or buffalo chicken pizza for takeout at home. Here’s a few more ideas!
- Serve the wings with ranch, bleu cheese dressing, carrots, & celery.
- Pop open a beer or two! Wings and beer just belong together.
- Bring them to a tailgate, Super Bowl party, or get-together with friends.
- Make these wings for a holiday appetizer. They’re lovely for Labor Day, Christmas dinner, or weekend BBQs!
- Serve the wings with fries, a side salad, onion wings, or coleslaw for a simple dinner.
Storing & make-ahead
To store leftover wings, wait until they’re completely cooled. Then, place them in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
These wings are best fresh so I wouldn’t recommend freezing them or making the wings ahead of time. But you can prep the wings in advance! To prep the wings, dry them well and toss them with the baking powder and seasonings. Then, place the wings on a wire rack over a sheet pan. Refrigerate them, uncovered, for up to 8 hours. Finish the wings according to the recipe directions and enjoy!
Reheating the wings
It’s important to reheat the wings properly so they crisp back up! After they’re warmed through, I would toss them in a bit more garlic butter, because the wings will soak up the sauce in the fridge. Here’s how to reheat wings in the oven or in the air fryer!
- Reheat them in the oven – preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease a wire rack and place it on a sheet pan. Then, arrange the wings in a single layer on the rack and bake for 12-17 minutes, flipping halfway through, until they’re crispy. The internal temp should reach 165°F (74°C) at the thickest part of the wing.
- Reheat the wings in the air fryer – grease an air fryer basket with neutral oil. Place the wings in the basket in a single layer. Then, air fry the wings at 390°F (199°C) for 7-8 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the wings are crispy and the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).
Tips & tricks
- Make sure you oil the wire rack super well. Otherwise, the wings will stick and you’ll lose all that crispy skin!
- The wings are ready when they reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) at the thickest part. Using a meat thermometer can help keep the wings from overcooking.
- For extra crispy wings, broil them for 1-2 minutes. Just don’t broil them for too long, or the wings will dry out.
- Let the wings rest for 4-5 minutes before tossing them with the sauce. The wings will get extra crispy as they cool for a few minutes.
- This recipe is super easy to double or triple for a crowd. You may just need to cook the wings in batches or on multiple sheet pans. You can also halve the recipe for two!
Should I sauce the wings before or after baking them?
You’ll want to toss the wings with the butter garlic sauce after they’re baked or air fried. You want the wings to be as dry as possible before cooking so they crisp up in the oven or air fryer. If you toss the wings in the sauce before you cook them, they will steam instead of crisping up.
What is the secret to crispy wings?
The key for crispy wings is to toss them with baking powder! The baking powder breaks down the proteins and creates small bubbles in the skin which makes it extra brown and crispy. Make sure you’re using aluminum-free baking powder and not baking soda. Baking soda (and baking powder with aluminum) will make the wings taste bitter and metallic.
Is cornstarch or baking powder better for crispy wings?
Some recipes call for cornstarch instead of baking powder. I personally haven’t tried cornstarch but baking powder makes the wings super crispy! Just use aluminum-free baking powder so the chicken wings don’t come out tasting bitter.
How can I keep wings warm at a party?
To keep the wings warm, place a wire rack on a sheet pan. Then, place the wings (without sauce) in a single layer on the wire rack. Keep them warm in an oven at 170°F (77°C) for up to 1 hour. When you’re ready to serve the wings, let them sit for 4-5 minutes and then toss them with the sauce. Adding the sauce at the last minute will keep the wings from getting soggy.
More party recipes
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Crispy Garlic Butter Chicken Wings
- 2 pounds party chicken wings (908 grams)
- 1 Tablespoon aluminum-free baking powder, NOT baking soda! (14 grams)
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper (or freshly-ground black pepper)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1-2 pinches of cayenne pepper (to taste)
- Neutral oil or cooking spray (I use avocado oil)
- 1/4 cup good-quality salted butter (56 grams)
- 1 Tablespoon minced garlic (9 grams)
- 2 Tablespoons chopped chives (6 grams)
- Ranch or bleu cheese dressing, for serving
Prep the wings
- Dry the wings very well with paper towels. You want them to be as dry as possible.
- Then, place the wings in a bowl. Add the baking powder, salt, white pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, and cayenne.
- Toss the wings with the dry rub until they are well coated. Set aside.
Bake the wings
- Place the wings skin-side up in a single layer on the wire rack. It's ok if they're touching a bit, they will cook down.
- Bake the wings for 20 minutes. Then, flip the wings and bake them for another 20-25 minutes until the wings are crispy on the outside and the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) at the thickest part. Remove the wings from the oven and let them rest for 4-5 minutes.
Air fry the wings
- To air fry the wings, grease the basket of an air fryer with neutral oil or cooking spray.
- Place the wings skin-side up in a single layer in the air fryer basket. It's ok if they're touching a bit, they will shrink as they cook.
- Fry the wings at 400°F (204°C) for 10 minutes. Flip the wings and fry them for 6-8 more minutes until they're crispy on the outside and the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C) at the thickest part. Let the wings rest for 4-5 minutes.
Make the garlic butter
- While the wings are cooking, make the garlic butter. Combine the butter and garlic in a small saucepan. Cook the garlic butter over medium low heat, swirling the pan occasionally, until the butter is melted and the garlic is fragrant.
Assemble & garnish
- Once the wings have rested for 4-5 minutes, transfer them to a large bowl. Drizzle the garlic butter over the wings and use tongs to toss the wings until they're evenly coated in the sauce.
- Garnish the wings with the fresh chives. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Serve the wings immediately with ranch or bleu cheese dressing. Enjoy!
xo Sara Lynn
Song of the day – Bones by Crumb