DIY Cooking: "Crispy Buffalo Chicken Wings"

Crispy chicken wings and drumettes make a great appetizer to serve at an afternoon gathering while watching some of the many televised football bowl games coming up this week. I experimented with several recipes and found that it is extremely easy to make these hot little appetizers at home if you just follow a little common sense advice. Of course, you can drive to a restaurant such as Buffalo Wild Wings and pick up an order or have the food delivered. But why? These homemade chicken wings are crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside and are so easy to make. Just put a simple dry rub on the wings and bake. Yes, these wings are baked; not fried. So tasty.

There are two ways to serve these “Crispy Buffalo Chicken Wings.” The first way is to make the recipe for “Buffalo Hot Sauce” and serve the sauce as a dipping sauce on the side.

The second way is to douse the crispy wings with the sauce or pour the sauce over the baked wings. A little messy to eat, but you get a better flavor of the “Buffalo Hot Sauce.” Your choice. I have included my favorite “Buffalo Hot Sauce” recipe at the end of this blog post. It is extremely easy to make and includes only a few ingredients. Just pour the sauce ingredients all together and heat on the stove. It takes 5 minutes or less. I promise.

What are Chicken Winglets (Flaps) and Drumettes?

Before getting started with the recipe, I want to clarify what I mean by “chicken wings.” These small-sized chicken pieces are actually parts of a chicken wing which have been cut into smaller segments.

There are three parts to a chicken wing. The drumette is the closest part of the wing to the body of the chicken. It looks like a small chicken drumstick. The wing or winglet or flap is the middle part of the chicken wing. The tip of the wing is usually cut off and used in other recipes such as a broth. In summary, don’t get the drumette confused with a chicken drumstick. These are two different parts of the chicken.

You can purchase the small-sized pieces already cut up, or you can purchase intact chicken wings and cut up them up yourself.

Once I discovered that you can purchase these small-sized pieces already cut up I’ll probably not resort instead to cutting up the wings myself. It is much simpler to let someone else cut up the wings. In addition, the drumettes and winglets tend to be a little larger than if the whole wing is purchased.

Here is Sanderson Farm Brand’s “Chicken Party Wings.” Each of these packages is about 1-1/2 pounds with a total of 10 pieces (5 each of winglets and drumettes) per package. My recipe is based on 3 pounds of chicken “wings” or 20 pieces.

Cutting your own pieces

If you want to make your own chicken winglets (flats) and drumettes, here is how you cut the wings. You need a sharp knife and a cutting board which can be sanitized, preferably in a dishwasher. Don’t use a wooden cutting board which can get bacteria stuck in the crevices of the cutting board..

Turn the wing so the skin side is facing down. Find the joint by moving the chicken pieces apart–back and forth, and cut the wing apart at the joint. You don’t cut through bone, the 2 segments should easily cut apart. Then cut off the tip of the wing and use it for something else. This really isn’t difficult and it is probably the less expensive route.

Key tips for making this recipe:

To insure that the finished chicken wings will be crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, here are a couple of tips that you must follow.

  1. The chicken pieces much be entirely dry. If you rinse and drain the pieces, that is fine. Then pat the chicken pieces dry with a paper towel. Repeat patting until the pieces are totally dry.
  2. Bake in a hot, 425 oven on the middle and/or upper oven rack. If you cook these wing pieces on the bottom rack, they will burn. If two baking sheets are needed, cook the winglets (flaps) on the upper rack and the larger drumettes on the middle rack.
  3. The wings are best when served hot, so figure out when you need these to be baked. Preparing this appetizer takes about one hour. The “Buffalo Hot Sauce” takes just a couple of minutes to mix up. It can also be prepared several days ahead. You can cut up celery sticks ahead of time. (And do include celery sticks. I love the bland celery sticks along with the hot sauce.)


The dry rub for the chicken wings actually just takes a few ingredients. Preparing the wings and baking them is simple. Although Buffalo Wild Wings Restaurant fries their wings, my wings are baked in the oven. They still come out crispy and juicy if you follow my tips.

Here are the dry rub ingredients. I tried several ingredients for a coating – flour, cornstarch and non-aluminum baking powder. My favorite is using cornstarch as a base for the dry rub. So, I’m going with this ingredient in my final recipe. Apparently, Buffalo Wild Wings Restaurant does not use a breading on their wings. I skipped the flour, but did like the mild cornstarch coating.

The ingredients from my dry rub are cornstarch, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and black pepper. (I decided not to include baking powder.)

To make the recipe, mix the dry rub ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl. Rinse and completely dry the chicken wing pieces using paper towels. Line a baking sheet(s) with foil and spray with PAM non-stick spray. Dip the wing pieces in the dry rub, covering both sides; shake off excess dry rub. Place on prepared baking sheet, skin side down, leaving a space between each piece. Bake in a 425 degree oven for 15 minutes, using only the middle and upper oven racks. Carefully turn pieces over, skin side up. Bake 20 – 30 minutes longer.

Either coat the pieces with “Buffalo Hot Sauce” or serve the sauce as a dipping sauce along with the wings. And, don’t forget the celery. I liked the wings best when served hot, although my husband ate the remainder this batch of 20 of the wings at room temperature. In either case, these are delicious.

There are so many college football bowl games on this year, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to serve this appetizer and impress your family and friends. And then, we will have the super bowl. Or, you can skip the bowl games and just serve these for no reason at all. Or for New Years Eve! So, happy New Year.

I hope you like this DIY cooking project. It is rewarding to make you own “copy-cat” restaurant dish. Enjoy!

Crispy Chicken Wings & Drumettes

  • Servings: 20 individual wings
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • PAN non-stick spray
  • 3 lb (approx 20 mixture of chicken winglets (flaps) and drumettes), or approx 10 whole chicken wings
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • For serving, “Buffalo Hot Sauce”
  • For serving, celery sticks and leaves, as garnish

Instructions and Steps:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray with PAM non-stick spray. (You may need two baking sheets.)
  2. Wash and drain the mixture of chicken winglets (flaps) and drumettes. Pat dry with paper towels until totally dry. (Chicken will not crisp up if wet). If using whole chicken wings, cut at first joint to separate the winglet (flap) from the drumette. Cut off the wing tip and use in another recipe.
  3. In medium-sized bowl, combine cornstarch, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and black pepper. for the dry rub.
  4. In small batches, rub dry seasoning mix to coat both sides of each wing piece completely and place on baking side, skin side down. Leave a small space separated between each wing and drumette. (This may require tso baking sheets.)
  5. Place in middle oven rack (and upper rack, if needed.) Cook in 425 degree oven for 15 minutes.
  6. With tongs, carefully turn over. so the skin side is up. Bake for an additional 20 to 30 minutes until crispy and fully cooked.
  7. Remove from oven. If needed, use spatula to remove from baking sheet and transfer to serving platter.
  8. Either pour “Buffalo Hot Sauce over the sings, or serve in a small bowl as a dipping sauce along with the chicken wings.
  9. Serve celery sticks and leaves as a garnish.
  10. Chicken wings are best when served hot.
  11. NOTE: You can easily cut this recipe in half if you are preparing fewer wings.

My favorite original “Buffalo Hot Sauce” is one which I concocted for a blog post published in January 19, 2020, to go along with my recipe for “Fried Chinese Wonton Appetizers with Buffalo Hot Sauce.” The ingredients for this sauce are butter, Texas Pete Hot Sauce, white wine vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and garlic powder. Just mix together and heat on the stove. Simple. Incidentally, both ‘Fried Chinese Wonton Appetizers” and Cauliflower Tempura with Sweet and Spicy Sriracha Sauce” published January 20, 2019, would be great compliments to “Crispy Buffalo Chicken Wings.”

Buffalo Hot Sauce

  • Servings: 1/2 cup
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup Texas Pete Hot Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Method and Steps:

  1. Add butter to small saucepan. Heat on medium high heat for about 30 seconds to melt butter.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine until heated through.
  3. Store leftover hot sauce in refrigerator.