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Back home, chicken wings are traditionally an appetizer or snack, usually reserved for nights involving movies, awards shows, and sporting events. It’s mostly because in my mind the wings are always fried. I love a fried wing, but let’s be honest, it’s mostly a delivery service of crispy breading and dip, neither of which are a good idea for a main course. And if you want to eat wings on a large scale, you have to make them on a large scale, which can be a tedious and time-consuming proposition.
Related—I discovered the best way to cook chicken thighs for a crowd
The trick to making chicken wings for dinner
But wings are fun to eat and delicious, so why can’t they play into a meal and not be a crazy indulgence? The thing is, if you just make a small change, they can be. Here’s the secret: chicken wings that aren’t fried have half the calories of a fried wing. So you can eat twice as much! And if you roast them instead of frying them, you can make a ton of them all at once instead of having to cook in batches like you do with frying, which saves you a lot of time.
Although you may miss the crunch when you switch to a roast wing instead of a fry, if you cook them with a little chemistry trick, the skin will be crispy and will render and give you lots of texture.
How to Make Crispy Roasted Chicken Wings
I first heard about this trick in Cook’s Country. Essentially, you’re using a combination of baking powder and salt to draw moisture out of the chicken skin, which then bakes beautifully and gets super crispy! It couldn’t be easier.
Here is all you need to do:
1. For every 4 pounds of wings, tips removed, combine 1 tbsp baking powder and ¾ tsp salt.
2. Toss wings in bag with baking powder/salt mixture until coated.
3. Bake on a rack above a baking sheet on the center rack of a 400° oven until golden brown and crispy, and reaching 175° on a meat thermometer. (Depending on the size of your wings, this may take 30-40 minutes, but start checking them after 20 minutes.)
4. Once cooked, you can mix in BBQ sauce or Buffalo style wings or serve with a dip of your choice.
What to serve with roasted chicken wings
If I have wings for dinner, I try to have side dishes that are a bit healthier, like a bright crisp salad with lemon dijon dressing or a crisp coleslaw with oil and vinegar. Beans are a good match, boosting the protein content, as are a number of roasted vegetables like Brussels sprouts, which can easily roast in the oven alongside the wings.
Related—20 best sides for chicken wings
Finally, if you try this trick and you like it? Try it with turkey wings, which are very meaty and while still fun to eat for dinner, you only need one large whole wing per person for a satisfying supper. Turkey wings will take a little longer to cook than chicken wings, so be sure to increase the cooking time.