There are few food items that rouse quite as much interest and excitement as the humble chicken wing. Whether your preference is to enjoy chicken wings coated in hot sauce, slathered in honey soy dressing, or plain old fried there is one thing fans of this dish often agree on – the skin should be crispy.
If you’ve attempted to achieve the perfect crispy skin for your at-home chicken wings and failed, we’re here to help. One methodical foodie has found the perfect home-cooked solution — an overnight soaking of baking powder.
How to make the perfect crispy chicken wings
Food writer and chef J. Kenji Lopez-Alt went on a search for a homemade wing that delivered the same kind of taste experience as the deep-fried wings and drumettes from a favourite corner bar or pizza shop. The key, he writes, is “well-rendered, blistered, bubbly, crackly skin”, which sauce can cling to and prevents the whole affair from becoming soggy.
A standard oven-baked wing is slicker, doesn’t hold as much sauce and loses its crispiness quickly.
After trying a few methods, including a failed tip from food hacker Alton Brown, the wing hunter tried a trick gleaned from lazy Sunday mornings:
Adding a bit of extra baking soda to pancake batter – thereby making the batter more alkaline – improves its browning capabilities. Would the same trick work on my chicken wings? I baked five batches of wings on a rack set in a rimmed baking sheet.
Be sure to read the full post for the how-to on homemade wings, because there’s more to it than just tossing your wings in a tablespoon of baking powder. Overnight open-air refrigeration is required, and the whole process requires day-ahead planning.
Still, from what the author tells us, it’s worth the effort, and you and your guests may not have to surrender quite so much cash, or ingest quite so much oil, to get a great wing.
The Food Lab: In Search of the Best Oven-Fried Buffalo Wings [Serious Eats]
This article has been updated since its original publication.