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Dry Rubbed Baked Chicken Wings are what dreams are made of. They’re crispy, smoky, spicy, and so easy! Plus, they’re not deep fried or coated in a sticky sauce, making them a healthier option for chicken wing dining.
I am all about eating appetizers as a full meal. Like grilled shrimp cocktail. Or maybe mozzarella sticks? And onion rings! But, to me, the clear front runner in "Apps as Meals" is a crispy chicken wing! With lots of celery and carrots on the side and blue cheese and ranch to dip all the aforementioned into!
So, it’s no surprise that when I nailed the recipe for these oven baked (not fried!) crispy chicken wings we ate them for dinner twice in one week!
The Best Dry Rub
Unlike fried wings, these oven baked wings are coated with a delicious dry rub before being baked. This rub infuses a ton of flavor into the wings and helps them to get crispy and crunchy in the oven. Here’s what you’ll need for the delicious rub:
- Brown Sugar
- Kosher & Seasoned Salt
- Baking Powder (this helps the wings crisp up!)
- Black Pepper
- Garlic & Onion Powder
- Chili Powder
- Cayenne Pepper
How to Trim a Chicken Wing
To get the traditional paddle and drumette pieces in your baked chicken wing recipe, we’re going to have to do a little butchering. Don’t fret! It’s actually incredible easy!
- Grab a whole wing – this will have the drumette, paddle, and tip all together.
- With your fingers, feel where the tip and the paddle connect, there will be a soft spot that’s connective tissue and not bone. Work your knife in and around this area in a circle. Voila! The tip should pop right off. (The tips can either be discarded or saved to create chicken stock, which I highly recommend.)
- Now do the same thing where the paddle and drumette connect. Find the soft spot of connective tissue and cut down into and around it. It takes practice, but eventually you’ll get the feel of it. Also! If your knife is sharp enough, it will slice right through the bones no problem, but I try not to put my knives through the extra strain if I can help it.
Now you’ll have all your paddles and drumettes separated for classic chicken wing goodness! This can even be done a day ahead of time, if desired, to get dinner on the table even quicker.
Secrets for the best dry rubbed baked chicken wings ever
Everyone wants their wings to be crispy and flavorful. And now it can be done without frying!
- Bare bones. Toss the chicken wings (now separated) with the rub and only the rub. There’s no need to add oil or coat the chicken wings in anything to get the rub to stick. The wings themselves will have enough moisture that the seasoning will stick to the skin without much coaxing.
- Rack ‘em up. Setting a cooling rack over a pan will allow the air to circulate under the wings. This ensures that all sides of the wings will get fully cooked and the skin will get crispy. Yum, yum!
- Some like it hot. These wings go into a screaming hot oven: 425 degrees to be exact. Cooking the chicken at this high temperature will cause the skin to crisp (without frying!) but won’t overcook the chicken and leave you with dry wings.
While these wings are perfect by themselves (and naturally gluten-free!), I love to serve carrot and celery sticks on the side. They are great for adding a little vegetal goodness to your meal, giving some textural contrast, and provide a vehicle for any extra blue cheese or ranch dressing.
Here’s to “winging” it at dinner time!
Dry Rubbed Baked Chicken Wings
- Cooling Rack
- 3 pounds chicken wings separated into drumettes and paddles, if desired
For the dry rub:
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. paprika (we like to use smoked paprika for even more flavor)
- ½ tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
- ½ tsp. seasoned salt
- ½ tsp. chili powder
- ½ tsp. cumin
- ½ tsp. coriander
- ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper (more or less depending on spice preferences)
- Carrot Sticks
- Celery Sticks
- Ranch Dressing
- Blue Cheese Dressing
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with tinfoil and set a metal cooling rack inside the lined baking sheet, lightly coat with baking spray and set aside.
- Trim off the tip of the wing from the paddle by finding the soft spot of connective tissue and slicing into it with a knife and removing. Repeat the process for the connective tissue between the paddle and the drumette. Place separated chicken wings into a large glass bowl while preparing the rub.
- In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients for the dry rub until combined.
- Sprinkle the rub over the wings and toss, stirring to coat.
- Lay wings out into a single layer on cooling rack and bake in preheated oven for 35 – 40 minutes, or until chicken reaches 160 degrees internally.
- Serve chicken wings with carrot and celery sticks, blue cheese, and ranch dressing.
- Leftover wings can be stored, covered, in the fridge for up to three days.
- Chicken wings are cooked through when no longer pink inside and juices from the chicken run clear. An instant read thermometer is also great for checking internal temperature.