These wings go SO fast! I only bought 1kg of them, and everyone whizzed through them like cartoon characters zooming through corn-on-the-cob at high speed!
They make a fantastic appetizer or game day treat, but equally they make a fab treat dinner served with a few sides.
I’m totally obsessed with the barbecue sauce too. This recipe makes enough to smother the wings, with another cupful or so leftover to serve on the side or to save and use as a dip for fries or to top burgers and sausages.
What do we need for the wings?
- Chicken wings (of course)
- Aluminium-free baking powder (more about this below)
How to make the wings
Full recipe with detailed steps in the recipe card at the end of this post.
- Cut each wing at the joint so you have a mini wing and a drumette. Dry with paper towels, then place in a large bowl and add the baking powder, salt and pepper. Toss to combine.
- Place in a single layer on a rack above a tray. Bake in the oven at 120C/250F for 30 minutes.
- Turn the oven up to 220C/425F and cook for a further 40-45 minutes until the wings are lightly golden and crispy. They taste great as they are, but they’re over-the-top tasty with the homemade BBQ sauce.
What do we need for the Barbecue Sauce?
Full quantities in the recipe card below
- For sweetness – tomato ketchup (and plenty of it!), dark brown sugar, black treacle or molasses and honey
- For tanginess – white wine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce
- For a bit of heat and smokiness – mustard powder, smoked paprika and black pepper
- Plus a little vegetable oil to bring it all together and make it smooth and glossy.
How to make the Barbecue Sauce
- Place all of the ingredients in a saucepan and mix together.
- Heat over a medium-high heat, until boiling, then simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat.
Putting it all together
- Toss the barbecue sauce with the wings (you can toss them in a large bowl, or use two spoons to toss them all together) and serve straight away.
Do you put BBQ sauce on chicken before or after baking?
For ultimate crispiness, put the barbecue sauce on AFTER baking, then serve right away.
Can you put BBQ sauce on raw chicken?
Some recipes call for baking/grilling chicken in BBQ sauce. My method involves baking the wings first to guarantee crispiness.
However, even if you weren’t looking for a crispy coating (i.e just baking chicken pieces in the regular way), I would recommend adding the sauce after cooking, or for the last 5 minutes of cooking only. Barbecue sauce has a lot of sugars in, which can burn and taste bitter if cooked for a long period or over too high a heat.
How do you get sauce to stick to chicken wings?
These baked wings have a crispy, craggy exterior, so the sauce will easily cling to the wings without sliding off.
Do I need to marinate the wings first?
Nope. We want the chicken skin to be dry so we can get it extra crispy.
Is there a vegetarian option?
I have been asked this question a number of times and after much testing I made a veggie option. These Baked Asian Cauliflower Wings are as good as this chicken version.
Bake the cauliflower in the same way, but swap out the Asian-style sauce for the barbecue sauce.
BBQ Chicken Wings
Crispy baked chicken wings smothered in a sweet, tangy homemade bbq sauce. Simple to prepare – without the grease splatters from fried wings!
Crispy Chicken Wings:
- 1 kg (2.2 lbs) chicken wings
- 2 level tbsp aluminium-free baking powder – It has to be baking powder NOT baking soda – see further notes on baking powder below
- ½ tsp salt – make sure it’s regular table salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 300 ml (1 ¼ cups) tomato ketchup
- 4 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 5 tbsp dark brown sugar
- 2 tbsp black treacle or molasses
- 3 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
- ½ tsp mustard powder – – or 1 tsp English mustard
- 1 ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp black pepper
Preheat the oven to 120C/250F (fan) and place a rack on a large baking tray.
Cut each wing at the joint so you have a mini wing and a drumette. Dry the wings with paper towels, then place in a large bowl and add the baking powder, salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Note – it’s important to dry the wings first so they only get a light coating. Discard any remaining coating once tossed together.1 kg (2.2 lbs) chicken wings,2 level tbsp aluminium-free baking powder,½ tsp salt,½ tsp pepper
Place in a single layer on the rack. It’s fine for them to be touching slightly. Place on the lower shelf of the oven for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, turn the oven up to 220C/425F (fan) and rotate the tray for even cooking. Cook for a further 45-50 minutes until the wings are lightly golden and crispy (if your wings aren’t particularly meaty, cook for 10 minutes less). Take it out of the oven.
Whilst the wings are baking, make the barbecue sauce. Place all of the ingredients in a saucepan and mix together.300 ml (1 ¼ cups) tomato ketchup,4 tbsp white wine vinegar,5 tbsp dark brown sugar,2 tbsp black treacle or molasses,3 tbsp honey,2 tbsp vegetable oil,1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce,½ tsp mustard powder,1 ½ tsp smoked paprika,½ tsp black pepper
Heat over a medium-high heat, until boiling, then simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat.
Toss the barbecue sauce with the wings and serve straightaway.
You can scale up and scale down this recipe with the same ratios.So if you’re only looking for 12-13 wings, you can halve all of the ingredients.If you’re looking for 48-52 wings, double all the ingredients.
The cooking times will be the same.
Note: this recipe makes extra sauce. The recipe makes approx 2 cups of sauce altogether. You only need one to cover the wings, then I like to serve any remaining sauce with the wings and sides. So bear in mind that if you’re doubling ALL of the recipe, you’ll have 2 extra cups of sauce leftover.
Note on baking powder:
I get lots of messages on my other crispy wings recipe on how delicious the wings are, but also the occasional message that the wings tastes bitter – despite assurances the recipe was followed to the letter and baking POWDER not baking soda was used. After doing a little research, it seems that some people can be sensitive to the taste of sodium aluminum sulfate – which can be an ingredient in some baking powders. People who are sensitive to it notice a bitter taste. If you are sensitive to it, you may have noticed certain cakes taste bitter. However, cakes contain a lot less baking powder then this recipe, so you may not have noticed it before and still been sensitive to it.
My tips would be to:
- Thoroughly dry the wings before dusting with the baking powder – so they only get a light coating.
- Measure the amount of baking powder used exactly, and discard any excess left after tossing together with the wings.
- Use aluminium-free baking powder – make sure it has no aluminum sulfate in it.
Can I make barbecue wings ahead?
I prefer these wings fresh out of the oven, but you can make the wings ahead – without the sauce- then cool, cover and refrigerate for up to a day. Reheat them on a wire rack over a tray for about 5-6 minutes at 200C/400F until they’re crisp again.
You can also make the barbecue sauce ahead, then cool cover and refrigerate. Reheat in a pan until it’s warm before tossing with the wings.
How do I make boneless barbecue wings instead?
Use my Crispy Buttermilk Chicken tenders recipe for the base recipe, then make the barbecue sauce as per the recipe in this recipe card.
If you prefer oven baked – use my Oven-Baked Chicken Tenders for the base recipe, then make the barbecue sauce as per the recipe in this recipe card.
Nutritional information is per wing (approx 24-26 wings in this recipe), including half of the sauce poured on the wings (as per the recipe – we toss with half the sauce, then we have half sauce leftover over to serve with the wings or to save).