It is possible to have perfectly crispy chicken wings without frying them. And I’m here to show you how! These wings are crispy, easy, and delicious. Best of all, no need to fuss with a huge vat of boiling hot oil.
Although Israelis love chicken, chicken wings are probably the least desired part of the bird. In fact, I’ve seen more Israelis eating chicken hearts than wings! Perhaps this is because historically in Jewish cuisine, wings were a part of the bird reserved for poor people, in a class with giblets and necks. But I’m just speculating. If anyone knows more about this cultural food phenomenon, please share in the comments!
Fortunately for wing-loving Americans like myself, this Israeli distaste for wings is reflected in the prices. You can get wings for 12 shekels a kilo, or for my American readers, about $1.50 a pound. Wings offer almost endless opportunities for customization, and at these prices, why not experiment?
So yalla! Experiment it is.
Happily, both my wing experiments turned out great.
The Peanut Thai Chicken Wings are total winners. Creamy and complex, the sauce could also be used as a dip for carrots or celery, a dressing for a cabbage slaw, or a glaze for tofu. Plus, the sauce itself is parve, making these wings kosher. Note that the recipe makes a bit more sauce than you’ll need for 8 wings. The sauce was inspired by a recipe for Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce from Food Network.
But the Lemony Greek Chicken Wings may be even better! The lemon serves as a bright note that contrasts beautifully with the fatty, meaty wings. Rosemary and garlic round out the simple sauce, which comes together in just 5 minutes.
The trick to any oven-baked chicken wings is dusting them with baking powder, then resting them, uncovered, on an oven rack in the refrigerator for a few hours. Both the baking powder and the fridge help to dry out the wings, ensuring they will be as crispy as conventionally-fried chicken wings. Kenji of Serious Eats explains the science behind this method if you want to delve in deeper. As I last took a science class junior year of high school, I will leave this one to the experts. I will say that you shouldn’t fuss if you can’t leave the wings in the fridge overnight, as Kenji recommends. Two hours is sufficient to form a perfectly crackly crust.
You want to bake the wings dry (no marinade and no sauce) to ensure you get that deep-fried texture: blistered skin, tender meat, and a satisfying crunch.
While the wings are baking, make your chosen sauce.
For the Peanut Thai Chicken Wings, saute chopped onion and chili in peanut oil until softened and browning. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in the curry paste, soy sauce, and rice vinegar. Cook for one minute, then add peanut butter, chicken broth, and dried ginger. Taste and add Sriracha. I used 1 tsp, but you should do more if you like it super spicy. Let cool a bit and then blend the Thai peanut sauce. (If you don’t have a blender, skip this step. The flavor won’t be affected, but you won’t get a smooth texture). Stir the finished oven-baked wings with the peanut sauce, then add chopped cilantro. The cilantro provides the perfect fresh zing of citrus flavor to break up the rich and creamy peanut sauce.
For the Lemony Greek Chicken Wings, chop rosemary, mince garlic, and zest and juice a lemon. Then, heat high-quality olive oil in a non-stick pan over low heat and add all ingredients except the lemon juice. Cook, stirring often, until garlic is pale golden brown. Add in the lemon juice and stir rapidly to combine. Then pour the sauce over the finished wings. Finally, eat! Dig your teeth into crackly crunchy crispy skin, then feel it give way to delectable moist meat. Meanwhile, your taste buds are struck by the zesty, earthy sauce. And if, like us, you’re tired and eating way too late, you might just let out a satisfied moan.
Oven-Baked Chicken Wings Two Ways: Lemony Greek Chicken Wings & Peanut Thai Chicken Wings
meat | serves 4 as a snack, or 2 for dinner
For the Wings:
8 chicken wings (about 700 grams, or 1.5 pounds)
1 tbsp baking powder
For the Lemony Greek Sauce:
1/2 cup high-quality extra-virgin olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary
zest from 1/2 lemon
3 tbsp lemon juice, or to taste
For the Peanut Thai Sauce:
2 tbsp peanut oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 small chili / hot red pepper
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tbsp red curry paste (I used Mae Ploy brand)
1 + 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tsp ground ginger
Sriracha to taste (I used 1 tsp)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Oven-Baked Chicken Wings
Cover a low-sided baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place a wire rack over the tray and then place the wings on the wire rack so that they are evenly spaced and not touching. Dust the wings with baking powder. Put the tray with the wings in your refrigerator, uncovered, for at least two hours, and up to 24 hours.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 230 degrees Celsius (450 degrees Fahrenheit) for ten minutes. Put the rack with the wings in the upper-middle of your oven. Put the tray with aluminum foil in the lower-middle of the oven. This tray will catch the fat drippings, making clean-up easier.
Bake for 20 minutes, then take the rack out and turn over each wing. Then bake for another 15-25 minutes, until browned. Take wings out to cool.
Lemony Greek Sauce
Place a non-stick skillet over low heat and pour in 1/2 the olive oil. After oil is heated, add garlic, rosemary, and lemon zest. Stir constantly until garlic just begins to brown, about 2-3 minutes. Take skillet off heat and whisk in remaining olive oil and lemon juice. Taste and add more lemon juice if needed.
Thai Peanut Sauce
Put a cast iron skillet over medium-low heat, and coat with the peanut oil. When oil is shimmering, add chopped onion and chili. Cook, stirring often, until onion is soft and just beginning to brown. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Turn heat to low. Stir in the curry paste, soy sauce, and rice vinegar. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly, then add peanut butter, chicken broth, and dried ginger. Stir. Add Sriracha to taste. Place aside to cool.
Pour sauce into blender and blend until smooth. (You can skip this step if you don’t have a blender.)
Pour 1/2 of the sauce over the finished oven-baked wings and stir to coat. Add more sauce if needed. For the Thai Peanut Chicken Wings, sprinkle with chopped cilantro. Enjoy!