If you thought making homemade gluten-free chicken wings would be complicated, think again! This easy buffalo wing recipe requires 5-minutes prep, a simple shake coating of baking powder and cornstarch, and unique baking method to achieve a tender, moist interior with extra crispy skin. Toss in the sticky gluten-free buffalo sauce and enjoy a platter of restaurant-worthy, finger-licking wings made with extreme ease!
Gluten-free Chicken Wings Recipe
Before starting the recipe testing process for gluten-free buffalo wings, I’ll admit I was a little intimidated. Skeptically I thought making oven baked wings wouldn’t produce the extra crispy skin and juicy, moist interior I was hoping for.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised just how easy (and affordable!) it is to make homemade gluten-free chicken wings with a simple coating of baking powder and cornstarch.
Why make gluten-free wings with baking powder? Well, first of all it is an ingredient we all have on hand. So even if you are unfamiliar with GF cooking, anyone can make this recipe!
What does the baking powder do for buffalo wings? This is a perfect example of how cooking techniques relies on science. Baking powder raises the pH level, which causes the bonds to break down in the skin, making it extra crisp.
However, this GF buffalo wings recipe also uses a bit of cornstarch in the coating as well. I do this for two reasons. First, I wanted to eliminate the risk of a potentially aluminum taste from using too much baking powder. Also, cornstarch seals in moisture, while creating a barrier for crispy skin.
Now that we have an easy, naturally gluten-free coating for the wings, what is the best way to cook them? Good news! No messy deep-frying necessary. It’s possible to get superior texture in the oven.
Place the wings on a wire rack fitted inside a baking sheet. This allows heat to fully circulate around and crisp the skins. Also, I borrowed a technique America’s Test Kitchen chicken wings, starting the baking process at a lower oven temperature.
First bake the wings in a 250ºF oven to render the fat, and bake the meat without loss of moisture. Then turn the oven to 425ºF, which crisps the skin and seals in the juices. The best gluten-free chicken wings come out with perfect oven crisp results!
Are Chicken Wings Gluten-free?
Buffalo wings may or may not be gluten-free, depending on how they are prepared. Some are tossed in a flour mixture, meaning they are not safe for a gluten-free diet. They could also be smoked, without a breading, or coated with baking powder, cornstarch, or a mixture, meaning they could potentially be gluten-free.
Before enjoying, though, there are some precautions to consider. Chicken wings may share a fryer with gluten-containing foods, meaning they are cross contaminated. Also, wings tossed in a sauce could potentially contain unsafe ingredients.
With a variety of factors to consider, making these easy, oven baked gluten-free wings is best and safest way to enjoy wings without gluten-free flour. Luckily, this game day recipe requires no special equipment or ingredients, and is simple enough for even a novice to pull off!
- Chicken wings and drumettes – I use a mixture so guests can choose their preferred type of buffalo wing, but you could also do all wings or all drumettes. Three pounds will make about 20 wings, serving 6 as an appetizer. Double the recipe to serve more, but use two baking sheets and rotate halfway through.
- Baking powder – Used to create crispy chicken wings by increasing the pH level on skin. Be sure to use aluminum-free baking powder, and not baking soda, to avoid a displeasing taste.
- Cornstarch – Adding a small amount seals in the moisture and also creates a crispy exterior without requiring gluten-free flour. A similar technique is used in this baked gluten-free sweet and sour chicken recipe.
- Spices – A simple of seasoning of salt and pepper would work, but I like to add a little garlic powder and smoked paprika for a boost of flavor. This is especially recommended if you enjoy naked, no sauce wings.
- Buffalo sauce – Use a gluten-free hot sauce, such as Frank’s Red Hot, combined with melted butter, and a touch of honey for sweetness. If you prefer spicy buffalo wings, increase the amount of hot sauce, decrease the butter, and eliminate the honey.
how to make Gluten-free Chicken Wings
(Below shows step-by-step photos and modified instructions. For the complete recipe, along with ingredient amounts, scroll down to the recipe card.)
- Preheat the oven to 250°F. Line a baking sheet with a single layer of paper towels. Arrange the chicken wings on top and layer with another layer of paper towels on top. Press to absorb any moisture and dry the chicken.
- In a large ziplock bag, combine the baking powder, cornstarch, salt, garlic powder, and smoked paprika. Add the chicken and shake until evenly coated.
- Discard the paper towels and line the baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place a wire rack over the foil. Arrange the chicken wings on the rack, evenly spaced.
- Bake for 30 minutes on the middle rack. Leave the baking sheet in the oven and increase the temperature to 425℉. Bake for 20 minutes longer.
- Adjust the rack to the upper third of the oven. Rotate the baking sheet and bake for 20 additional minutes.
- combine the buffalo sauce ingredients in a large bowl. Once the wings are done baking carefully transfer to the buffalo sauce bowl and gently stir to combine. Serve immediately.
Gluten-free Chicken Wing Sauce Options
To make the gluten-free buffalo sauce melt the butter and combine with hot sauce and a small amount of honey. Stir together in a large bowl and then toss the crispy baked buffalo wings when they come out of the oven.
If you prefer something besides buffalo wings, there are other gluten-free sauce options. If you are using a prepared, store-bought sauce, be sure to read ingredient labels carefully and check the manufacturer’s website.
- BBQ sauce, such as Sweet Baby Ray’s
- Gluten-free Teriyaki
- Honey garlic sauce
- Lemon peper
- Jerk sauce
- Hot honey sauce
Air Fryer Method
To make crispy GF wings even faster, using an air fryer is a great option! You will have to make the wings in batches, depending on the size of your air fryer. Arrange in a single layer, with room for heat to circulate around them.
Preheat the air fryer to 400ºF and spray the rack with nonstick cooking spray. Bake for 15-16 minutes, flipping the wings over halfway through.
First of all, of course you will need the perfect dipping sauce. If serving for a game day snack, offer a variety, such as blue cheese dressing, ranch dressing, or this 5-minute tangy bbq ranch sauce. Don’t forget the celery sticks!
Looking for other snacks to serve with wings? Crispy oven baked french fries, nachos, chips and guacamole, or potato skins make great accompaninents.
Best Way to Reheat Buffalo Wings
If you have leftover wings, it’s possible to enjoy an equally crispy version the next day. Preheat the oven to 350ºF and arrange the wings on a baking sheet.
Lightly spritz with water so the wings don’t dry out as they reheat. If you do not have a spray bottle, I just wet my fingers and very lightly drip some water over the top. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until hot.
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Extra Crispy Gluten-Free Chicken Wings (Oven Baked)
- Preheat the oven to 250°F. Line a baking sheet with a single layer of paper towels. Arrange the chicken wings on top and layer with another layer of paper towels on top. Press to absorb any moisture and dry the chicken.3 pounds chicken wings and drumettes
- In a large ziplock bag, combine the baking powder, cornstarch, salt, garlic powder, and smoked paprika. Shake to combine. Add the dried chicken, reseal, and shake again until evenly coated.2 teaspoons baking powder,1 teaspoon cornstarch,1 teaspoon salt,½ teaspoon garlic powder,½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- Discard the paper towels and line the baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place a wire rack over the foil. Spray the rack with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange the chicken wings on the rack, evenly spaced.
- Bake for 30 minutes on the middle rack. Leave the baking sheet in the oven and increase the temperature to 425℉. Bake for 20 minutes.
- Move the baking sheet to the upper third of the oven. Rotate the baking sheet and bake for 20 additional minutes.
- During the last 5 minutes of baking combine the buffalo sauce ingredients in a large bowl. Once the wings are done baking carefully transfer the wings to sauce bowl and gently stir to combine. Serve immediately with leftover wing sauce and dressing.¼ cup melted butter,¼ cup hot sauce,1 tablespoon honey
Spicy Buffalo SauceIncrease the hot sauce to ⅓ cup and decrease the butter to 2 tablespoons. You may or may not add the honey.
Reheating Buffalo WingsPreheat the oven to 350ºF and arrange the wings on a baking sheet. Lightly spritz with water so the wings don’t dry out as they reheat. If you do not have a spray bottle, I just wet my fingers and very lightly drip some water over the top. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until hot.
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