There’s something about chicken wings, succulent and juicy. And then there’s something about ranch dressing, smooth yet flavorful. Put the two together and you’ve got a hearty snack or a light meal that can be fortified with side dishes. The chief complaint people register against any chicken wing recipe is that the sauce can slide right off the wings, detracting from the enjoyment of every meaty bite. There are two steps you can take to ensure the ranch dressing stays right where it’s intended. Then decide if you want to devour the wings straight up or with a crunchy coating.
Pour 2 cups of the ranch dressing in a large bowl. Place the chicken wings in the bowl, making sure that the dressing completely covers the wings.
Cover and refrigerate the wings for at least four hours or overnight. This one step will help the dressing stick to the wings.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray a 13-by-9-inch baking dish (or a disposable aluminum pan) with fat-free cooking spray.
Remove the chicken wings, one piece at a time, from the dressing and place them upside down in the baking dish or pan. Sprinkle lightly with paprika.
Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. Discard this dressing.
Remove the chicken wings from the oven and turn each piece right side up. Brush the wings with a thin layer of ranch dressing. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the wings from the oven and brush them with a second, thin layer of dressing. Bake for another 15 minutes. Remove the wings from the oven and turn the oven to 450 degrees. Brush the wings with a third and final layer of dressing and bake the wings for a final 15 minutes.
Slice into the meatiest section of a wing to ensure that the juices run clear and that no pink sections remain. If so, return to the oven and check the wings after 10 minutes.
Sprinkle the wings with crushed parsley flakes and serve.
Crunchy Ranch Wings
Follow Steps 1 through 3.
Pour 2 cups of fine bread crumbs or smashed croutons (depending on your preference) in a shallow dish.
Dip one wing at a time into the bread crumbs, coating on both sides. Place the wings in a single layer in the baking dish. Sprinkle the layer with a fine layer of bread crumbs. Spray the wings lightly with the fat-free cooking spray.
Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour.
Slice into the meatiest section of a wing to ensure that the juices run clear and that no pink sections remain. If so, return to the oven and check the wings after 10 minutes. Sprinkle the wings with crushed parsley flakes and serve.
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- Check the wings after they have baked for 30 minutes. They may be baked to your liking, in which case you can forgo the last 15 minutes of baking time.
- Make or buy more ranch dressing if you want to serve some on the side for dipping.
- For a zesty splash of flavor, add a dash or two of hot pepper sauce or red pepper flakes to the ranch dressing before baking the wings.
Mary Wroblewski earned a master's degree with high honors in communications and has worked as a reporter and editor in two Chicago newsrooms. She launched her own small business, which specialized in assisting small business owners with “all things marketing” – from drafting a marketing plan and writing website copy to crafting media plans and developing email campaigns. Mary writes extensively about small business issues, and especially “all things marketing.”