How to Cut Chicken Wings at Joints

by Kurt Schrader
Separating wings can be quickly and easily done with a minimal amount of equipment and force.

Separating wings can be quickly and easily done with a minimal amount of equipment and force.

Cutting or separating whole chicken wings at their joints is a relatively simple process and can easily be done with chef’s knife. Whole wings generally have joints and separate into three sections: the drumette, the wingette -- or flapper -- and the tips. The drumette and wingette are the two fatter sections -- the drumette looks like a miniature chicken leg and the wingette is the flatter section and has two bones on the inside -- and tips are the slender section at the end of the wingette. The tips have very little meat on them and are best reserved for other purposes, such as making stock. The drumette and wingette sections are the parts you typically serve.

Place a wing on your cutting board and find where the tip connects to the wingette. Find the joint with your fingers and wiggle the tip a bit to loosen the joint. Insert your knife into the joint and press through. This part should separate relatively easily.

Set aside the tip into a bowl or plastic bag for later use.

Find the joint between the drumette and the wingette. These two parts will be likely be connected with a bit of skin. Cut down through this bit of loose skin until you hit the joint between the wingette and drumette.

Grasp the wingette and drumette ends and pull down on each end to slightly crack the joint. The wingette and drumette will be in a “V” shape, you want to pull down on each end of this “V” to crack the joint.

Return the wing to the cutting board and place your knife directly into the joint and press down to separate the wingette and drumette. This will likely give you a bit more resistance than separating the tip from the wingette, but should still not require a large amount of force.

Place separated wing sections onto a platter, plate, bowl or cooking sheet for seasoning and cooking, or into a heavy-duty kitchen bag for storage in your refrigerator.

Items you will need

  • Cutting board
  • Chef’s knife


  • If you do not have a chef’s knife, you can also use poultry shears to separate wing portions.


  • Be sure to thouroughly wash your hands, kitchen surfaces and food preparation utensils after handling raw chicken to prevent cross-contamination in your kitchen with food-borne pathogens.

About the Author

Kurt Schrader has been writing professionally since 2005. He has also worked in the hospitality and travel industries for more than 10 years. Schrader holds a bachelor's degree in management, a master's degree in information studies and a Juris Doctor from Florida State University.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images