Taste Test: Oven-Roasted Buffalo Wings

Best Oven-Roasted Buffalo Wings

The wining recipe for oven-roasted Buffalo wings. Unfortunately, the sticky identifying the prep got covered up…

Planning a wingfest for Super Bowl Sunday and wondering what’s the best way to prepare Oven-Roasted Buffalo Wings? We’ve got your playbook right here. We tested several different preps and came up with a somewhat definitive winner that’s also easy to make and as good as anything you’re going to get in a bar.

First things first. Are oven-roasted Buffalo wings really going to be as good as those fried in oil? Yes, because the wings contain so much fat they essentially fry themselves. (I’ve never worked in a wing restaurant, but I suspect they might have to have a dedicated fryer because of all the chicken fat that leaches into the oil.) And second, don’t worry about elaborate preps for your hot sauce. The very simple recipe on the Frank’s Red Hot website—a ratio of ½ c Frank’s sauce to 1/3 c melted butter—is exactly what you’re looking for.

Raw Buffalo Wings

Wings ready to go into the oven. Left to right, top to bottom: pre sauced plan wings; just plain wings; Hooters style with flour and sauce; brined; steamed

We started with cheap supermarket wings, clipped the tips for stock and cut the wings into drumettes and flats. These were then divided into the following preps:

  • Straight out of the package, salt and pepper seasoning, dipped in sauce before roasting.
  • Straight out of the package and onto the sheet pan, with no seasoning other than salt and pepper.
  • Hooters style in which the wings were rolled in flour seasoned with garlic powder, salt and pepper and cayenne, then dipped in sauce before roasting.
  • Brined for 24 hours in the Chez Panisse formula of 2 T Kosher salt/1 T sugar/1 pint water, towel-dried, and cooked without pre-saucing.
  • Steamed for 10 minutes according to the Alton Brown method, towel-dried, and cooked without pre-saucing.

Roasting was done on silicone sheets (you could also use parchment paper) in half-sheet pans at 400 degrees. 20 minutes on one side, flipped and cooked for 30 minutes on the other side for a crispy result. As mentioned above, these guys throw off a lot of fat; by the end your pan will be swimming in it. It would be worth experimenting with cooking on a wire rack or draining off the fat for the last 10 minutes of cooking to get a crispier result.

At the end, the wings were uniformly dipped in the Frank’s/melted butter sauce (we had a little left over from the pre-cook dipping, and we boiled it thoroughly along with fresh sauce to remove any contamination) and served piping hot. Of course, generous quantities of carrot and celery sticks were made available along with a tub of our Buttermilk Blue Cheese Dressing for dipping.

The winner? Well, you’ll have to come back tomorrow to see what that is. But don’t worry, it’s so easy you’ll have plenty of time to get ready for the big game.

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