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Can Hot Chicken Wings Be Baked Instead of Fried?

by Maxine Wallace

Hot chicken wings are a mouth-watering treat that are perfect finger foods for a sports-themed party or casual gathering. Typically made by deep frying split wings and then dunking them in hot sauce, you can create a healthier version of these addictive wings by skipping the fryer and using a more health-friendly cooking methods instead.

Hot Wings Basics

Hot wings are made using split wings, which are wings cut into two pieces at the joints. The wing tip is discarded. Most recipes for hot wings include a frying step to create a really crunchy exterior that remains so even after being dunked in hot sauce. Fried wings are typically not breaded, but instead cooked in 400-degree Fahrenheit oil for 10 minutes until cooked through and crisp. Once drained, they are rolled in a thick hot sauce mixture, often made using hot sauce, honey, lemon juice and butter.

Baked Hot Wings

While frying wings does ensure a crunchy exterior, it also adds fat to the recipe. Achieve the same success without the guilt by baking chicken wings in the oven. Begin by boiling or parboiling the chicken wings to speed up the oven cooking step and remove much of their fat; 5 to 20 minutes of boiling is beneficial to cutting down the time hot wings must cook in the oven. Skim the surface of the water as needed to remove any scum that accumulates while they cook. Coat the chicken wings with your prepared hot sauce and bake them for about 30 minutes in a 425-degree oven, or until they are well-crisped on the outside and completely cooked on the inside. Flip the wings once during cooking to ensure that all sides are well-crisped and that the wings cook through evenly. If desired, dunk the wings again in your hot sauce mixture and serve.

Slow-Cooked Hot Wings

Another easy method for making hot chicken wings is to cook them in the slow cooker and then finish them in the oven under the broiler. This method allows for you to cook the wings during the day unattended and simply finish them by brushing them with hot sauce and broiling them for 5 to 10 minutes on each side to create a slightly charred and crisp coating. Braise the wings in your slow cooker using a light marinade for about 4 hours on low before broiling them to perfection with a hot sauce mixture to give them their defining flavor. This method also removes much of the fat from the wings during the slow cooking period, making it another healthy way to prepare hot wings with little effort.

Oven Hot Wings Considerations

Hot wings can be great in the oven, but they can also fail. Overcooking is often a problem with hot wings cooked in the oven, but this can be greatly mitigated by boiling, steaming or slow cooking the wings first to either parboil them or completely cook them. Keep a close eye on your hot wings while baking them to ensure that they do not end up burnt or dried out. While chicken wings are forgiving thanks to dark meat that stays tender, it is important that they are not left to cook too long, as they will become stiff and dry.

About the Author

Based in Portland, Ore., Maxine Wallace is a writer with more than 12 years of experience. With a bachelor's degree in journalism and experience working on marketing campaigns for large media agencies, she is well-versed in multiple industries including the Internet, cooking, gardening, health, fitness, travel and holistic living.

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