How to Cook Barbecue Chicken Wings in the Oven

by Diane Watkins

Oven-barbecued chicken wings are usually cooked whole, while fried wings are often cut into pieces.

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Barbecued chicken wings make an excellent appetizer or main dish for casual parties or family meals. Oven barbecuing allows you to enjoy these succulent morsels year round. Skip the fat-heavy fried chicken wings and try oven barbecuing instead.

Choose a commercially prepared barbecue sauce or make one of your own. Classic sweet-sour tomato based sauces made with brown sugar and vinegar caramelize well and should not be added until the last 15 minutes of cooking. Mop sauces that rely heavily on vinegar and contain no sugar are used to baste the chicken throughout the cooking process. Mustard sauces and hot wing sauces are usually added at the end of the cooking process and served with the chicken.

Marinate the chicken wings, in barbecue sauce or a mop sauce for 30 minutes before cooking, if desired. Marinating is not necessary, but does add flavor to the wings. Vinegar or fruit-juice-based sauces work well for marinating barbecue chicken. If you have chosen a tomato-based sauce, skip the marinating process.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and blot dry with paper towels.

Season the chicken wings with salt and pepper, covering both sides. Bend the chicken wings into triangles, tucking the wing tip behind the drumstick. For easier cleanup, line the roasting pan with aluminum foil.

Place the wings into a large roasting pan in a single layer without overlapping. Bake the chicken wings for 30 minutes, turning after 15 to 20 minutes for even cooking. If you are using a vinegar-based sauce, brush the wings with sauce after turning.

Brush the wings with tomato-based barbecue sauce or vinegar-based sauce and bake for another 15 minutes or until the wings are done. If you are using a mustard-based sauce or hot sauce, wait until the wings are done before saucing them.


  • The US Department of Agriculture recommends bringing chicken to a minimum temperature of 165 F measured on an instant read thermometer in the thickest part of the chicken wing.

    For extra crispy skin, try parboiling the chicken wings or microwaving them for 2 to 3 minutes before baking. Serve the barbecue sauce on the side instead of cooking it on. Pre-cooking them in this way removes some of the fat layer below the chicken and allows the skin to crisp during baking.

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About the Author

Diane Watkins has been writing since 1984, with experience in newspaper, newsletter and Web content. She writes two electronic newsletters and has a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Clemson University. She has taken graduate courses in biochemistry and education.