Introduction: Buffalo Wings Recipe

Picture of Buffalo Wings Recipe

This authentic buffalo wing recipe will produce addictive, crispy and delicious spicy chicken wings every time.  More importantly, it's a straight forward and authentic at-home recreation of the buffalo chicken wing recipe that will taste just like the wings from your favorite wing spot in Buffalo, NY.  There are many recipes floating around online that claim to taste like real hot wings from New York, but take it from a real New Yorker, these ones actually do.

This recipe uses the steam and bake method, which, if you have the time, results in a higher quality wing.  Bars and restaurants are in a rush to get you your order, and so they fry the wing to speed up the process...but don't be fooled, steaming and baking produces one extremely high quality at-home wing.

Step 1: Ingredients

Picture of Ingredients
  • 1/2 as many whole chicken wings as you'd like to serve
  • Salt and pepper
Buffalo Sauce
  • 3/4 cup Franks Red Hot Original hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
Dipping Supplies
  • 4 large carrots
  • 4 pieces of celery
Blue Cheese Dressing
  • 2 1/2 ounces blue cheese
  • 3 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper

Step 2: Steamer

Picture of Steamer

The first step is to get a large steamer going.  Fill the bottom pot with a few inches of water, insert the steamer basket, cover and place on the stove over high heat to start it going.

Step 3: Break Down the Whole Chicken Wings

Picture of Break Down the Whole Chicken Wings

Chicken wings are made of three parts.  Moving from the tip, which I think everyone can identify inward, there's the wingtip, then the wing or wingette itself, and then the drumette. 

The chicken wings we're accustomed to eating are made up of the two inner pieces that I just mentioned - the wingette, and the drumette.  See the secondary images below for explanation and close-ups.

Break the whole chicken wings down into their three component pieces.  Use a sharp knife to cut between the joints that separate each section.  Ideally the knife will find its way between the two pieces of each joint cutting the wings apart so that they look like a ball and socket.  For some awesome instructions, check out the awesome How to Separate Chicken Wings Instructable.

Throw away the wingtips or use them to make a chicken stock.

Step 4: Steam the Chicken Wings

Picture of Steam the Chicken Wings

Place the chicken wings into the steamer basket.  Try to keep them from touching each other - yes, this unfortunately means that it will take several rounds of steaming to get all your wings cooked.  But, you can't rush excellence!

Cover and cook on high for 10 minutes.

Step 5: Dry the Wings

Picture of Dry the Wings

After 10 minutes, remove the wings from the steamer and let them cool on a cooling rack. 

When they are cool to the touch, dry each one individually in a clean cloth or paper towel.  There's good logic behind this step!  Getting rid of the exterior moisture on the skin means more crisping in the oven when you bake them. 

More crisping = better wings.

Step 6: Bake Until Crispy

Picture of Bake Until Crispy

Arrange the wings on a baking pan so that they're not touching (I'm using tinfoil for easier cleanup, but you can go directly on the pan if you like).

Lightly sprinkle the wings with salt and pepper.

Bake the wings in the middle of the oven at 425 F for 20 minutes on each side, or, until you see significant browning and crisping on the skin.

Step 7: Make the Buffalo Sauce

Picture of Make the Buffalo Sauce
While the wings are baking it's time to make the sauce.

Buffalo Sauce
  • 3/4 cup Franks Red Hot Original hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
Melt 1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter in a sauce pot on low heat.  Pour in the hot sauce and combine with the dry seasonings.  Heat for 5 minutes until the sauce is completely incorporated and evenly mixed. 

*Warning* if you keep cooking the sauce you will clarify the butter and all of the solids will settle to the bottom.  If this happens, you've cooked your sauce too long and you will have to start over.

Step 8: Cut Carrot and Celery Sticks

Picture of Cut Carrot and Celery Sticks

Now on to the signature carrot and celery sticks. 

Peel, quarter and divide a few large carrots.  Slice a couple celery stalks into similar sized pieces as the carrots.  Set them in the fridge until it's time to serve.

No, they're not just a token vegetables thrown into the mix to help serious wing eaters better meet the goals of the food pyramid...I like them because they serve as a palate cleanser between wings, can be useful to break the heat of really spicy hot wings, and are a vehicle for more blue cheese dressing when you've just got to have a few more drops of the stuff.

I don't know who thought of adding these wonderful dippers along side chicken wings, but it's pure genius and I wouldn't eat wings without 'em.  Thank you Mr. Buffalo!

Step 9: Make Blue Cheese Dressing

Picture of Make Blue Cheese Dressing
This blue cheese recipe is pretty run of the mill, but way tastier then what you'll find at the bar because you can actually use a quality blue cheese.  I'm using Maytag Blue Cheese which is a medium flavored blue cheese that's perfect for dressings and salads.

Blue Cheese Dressing
  • 2 1/2 ounces blue cheese
  • 3 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/4 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons champagne vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper

Combine all of the ingredients above in a large measuring cup and mix them together using a fork or whisk.  Don't beat the dressing, just try to break apart the chunks of blue cheese. 

Step 10: Coat Wings in Buffalo Sauce

Picture of Coat Wings in Buffalo Sauce

Once the wings are done and crispy it's a straight race to the finish. 

Coat the wings in the buffalo sauce by tossing them in a large bowl.  It's ok to use a hefty amount of sauce in this step, since you can always coat another batch of wings in the sauce that's left over. 

Remove the wings from the large bowl and put them in a suitable serving dish.

Step 11: Serve and Enjoy

Picture of Serve and Enjoy

Serve the wings with blue cheese sauce, carrots, and celery. 

The general theory on eating hot wings is to dip a wing in blue cheese dressing and nibble, tear and suck all the meat off the bone.  Extra points if you eat the cartilage and clean the bone! 

Then, dip and munch a carrot, dip and munch a celery, and repeat 100's and 100's of times.

In case you haven't figured this one out by now, hot wings are especially good when eaten in mass quantity and paired with a cold beer.


Buffman109 (author)2015-12-11

Wings cut wings deep fry 375 to 400 degrees 12 minutes. Coat in equal parts Frank's and butter. Steaming boiling them is a sin. Yikes

Buffman109 (author)2015-12-11

Wings cut wings deep fry 375 to 400 degrees 12 minutes. Coat in equal parts Frank's and butter. Steaming boiling them is a sin. Yikes

Buffman109 (author)2015-12-11

Not right

cdunce (author)2015-07-24

msheppard (author)2011-02-07

Love every thing in this but the tinfoil advice. My wings stuck to it. If they were just on the pan I could scrape them off. Shared this with some friends on facebook and they loved it as well.

stevefeinstein (author)msheppard2015-07-03

Replace the foil with parchment paper and there'll be no sticking at all.

dgee5 (author)2013-07-11

Beware because foil + chicken = fire!!!!! No need to be lazy. Just bake them on the pan. What purpose does the steam step serve?

smtp007 (author)2012-02-08

Don't USE TIN FOIL. I just finished making these wings. They stuck all over the tin foil, and I wasted a good bit of meat to it.

purplewg (author)2011-08-25

I'm sure you like the way you cook them but real buffalo wings are deep fried and then dipped. I just can't get past the boiled chicken thought.

DannytheGreat (author)2011-07-13

Do they really taste like buffalos?

vandal1138 (author)2010-09-20

A comment and a recommendation;

1st, it is almost 4AM and I am now dying for some hot wings....

2nd; I understand you were going for authentic BUFFALO wings, so not to take away from the authenticity I will make a suggestion for hot wings. Instead of steaming them prior to baking, throw em on a (charcoal) grill. That's what I do and that added smokiness with the hot sauce/buttery goodness is AMAZING. Just a suggestion.

0311 (author)2010-07-06

Try this sauce: Decide how much sauce you want to make. Divide this amount by six (6). This is one (1) part. In the appropriate bowl, add: 1 part margarine 1 part honey 1 part barbecue sauce 3 parts Frank's Hot Sauce or equivalent Heat in microwave, mixing well. If you want milder wings, decrease the amount of hot sauce. This is the level of spicey that you find here in NYS, 30 milesfrom Buffalo! Originally, you were not supposed to dip the wings in the Bleu Cheese dressing, but it's a free country, so eat 'em any way you want.

Brandon121233 (author)2010-07-03

Thanks for the instructable noah, saw this method first from Alton Brown, but I like that you included that orgasmic blue cheese sauce recipe and celery/carrot sticks cause Alton doesn't seem to like those. Personally I can't imagine good wings without freshly made blue cheese sauce (ahemmm Hooters)

Oh and I substituted greek yogurt for the sour cream and mayo, and a lime for the lemon, I think it compliments the blue cheese a little better

sunal135 (author)2010-06-29

since you add extra cayenne; franks red hot isn't hot enough for you i bet. i would suggest getting louisiana wing sauce. I make buffalo sauce for the restaurant i work at. it has more butter and Cajun seasoning instead of onion. i can chug franks red hot by the pint; it horrible weak; with Louisiana wing sauce i regretted my chug and required a gallon of milk.

valhallas_end (author)sunal1352010-07-02

Hmm, I've always found Louisiana sauce to be fairly weak too. I agree that Frank's isn't spicy, though - it's more a "flavor" hot sauce than a "heat" sauce. It's been a long time since I tried making buffalo sauce - I never thought to try Cajun seasonings...and I put Cajun powders on everything...I shall have to try this soon!

sunal135 (author)valhallas_end2010-07-02

i currently growing cayenne pepper; they are still seedling; but i hope to be producing peppers within a year

valhallas_end (author)sunal1352010-07-03

I've never tried growing hot peppers - weather where I live is a bit prohibitive, so all I've been able to grow successfully is horseradish. Hopefully your peppers will come out well! They should be a good addition to any hot or buffalo sauce.

EvilBunnySlipper (author)2010-06-28

If you stay in an area where you cannot get hold of "Franks Red Hot Original hot sauce" what can be used as an alternative?

Try every hot sauce in your grocery store! Franks has a great flavor that's perfect for original buffalo style sauces, but I'd think any hot sauce that is less spicy and more flavorful would work well. As someone else mentioned, Louisiana wing sauce is good, Baker's hot sauce is tasty, and if you can find it, Moore's brand hot sauces are delicious. If you don't want to make your own buffalo sauce, I can vouch for Moore's buffalo wing sauce - it's great.

agr00m (author)2010-07-01

I agree with EmmettO, most places it's sad to see what they pass off for buffalo wings. It especially irks me when they have BBQ or some other off flavor but advertise them as buffalo style. I don't know if this is the "official" cooking method, I've tried several ways myself except for deep frying, and they've almost all turned out pretty good.

J-Po (author)2010-06-29

Nice instructable, I've been using this approach for a long time but never thought to post it. "aephix" Is right about Alton Brown doing this and Alton had a novel idea he displayed and I went with - which was to buy several (I think I did 4 or 5) metal basket's and then slightly disassemble them and reassemble them with bolts and nuts on top of one another, then use a stock pot that way you can steam them all together on like a tier system - I paid like $4 a piece for the metal strainers. Lastly, I use a cooling rack (like for cookies) in the cookie sheet over the foil (cleanup) to get a better crisping on the skin all the way around and it cuts out some cooking time. Also I go top most rack and little higher temp - with the rack the pan acts as a diffuser for the heat since you don't have to worry about sticking the heat wraps around the pan and heats from the top down (quicker). If you are not careful you can overcook the wing & dry out the meat before the skins gets crisp, so the rack helps with that. If you don't mind the added labor to all this you really should brine your next batch, for 2-3 hours before steaming next time, it really makes the proteins hold the juice in the wing and produces a remarkably juicy wing, provided you don't overcook.

oddree (author)2010-06-29

My family LOVES their wings. I make them all the time now. Just had them last night! I have made them both baked, and deep fried. Deep frying definitely come out better if you ask me. But to make them in any kind of speed you need to have a large deep fryer. For a couple years I used a little "Fry Daddy" which only cost me $10, but only did 6 or so wings at a time. And cooking them takes 4 to 6 minutes. So I ended up being in the kitchen all night, bringing out tiny little trays of wings. Now I use a big Rival deep fryer that holds a lot of oil. I can easily cook ten at a time. The deep fryer probably retailed for $50 to $100. I got it at a yard sale for $5. These "one trick cooking devices" are yard sale gold. ;-) Worth looking out for!! Also - for sauce I recommend Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce (original flavor). It's not hot, just really, really, tasty. A guy I work with swore by this sauce and now that I have tried it, I would never use anything else.

larrydag (author)2009-11-14

I suggest adding a little vinegar to the Buffalo wing sauce ingredients.  It gives it a little zest and balance to the flavor.

Deadly Computer (author)larrydag2010-06-29

I agree, I put about 1/4-1/2 cup of white vinegar in my sauce.

op22222 (author)2010-06-27

I Had a Deli/pizza/wings shop in Rochester NY (Right next to Buffalo) Back in the '70s. My sauce was as good or better than the Anchor Inn... according to my customers that is. The reason, I think, was because I used top quality ingredients. Most restuarants won't spend the money anymore to make it right. I can't give out my recipe, as it cost me quite alot of money back then, but I will give you some hints, then you can experiment! Don't use brown sugar or karo syrup, use real honey instead. Yes, it is expensive, but makes a huge difference. Also, add some ground cinnamin.... only about one/sixteenth of a tsp...thats all..any more and you will ruin just want a very very faint taste of it. And yes, like NAOHW says, butter, not margarine, real butter . NOAHW''s recipe sounds awesome, I will try it .

chabias (author)op222222010-06-27

Yes....REAL butter is a must!

chabias (author)2010-06-27

Well done, Noahw!! Your recipe is very similar to mine. I don't have a favorite wing between the Anchor Bar and Duff's....I prefer mine!

aephix (author)2010-06-27

This wing recipe is great, especially if you don't have a deep fryer. The only thing is, it is identical to the Alton Brown recipe on his show "Good Eats".

big-jamie (author)2009-12-11

 hey hey, i made these wings, not the celery and carrots though, and the wings are lovely, nice and crispy, just i feel that the sauce was just hot, didnt really have a distinctive flavour

so from all this i say this is the best way to cook chicken wings =)

wactac (author)2009-11-19

 Sorry for sounding stupid.  Is that 20 minutes each side or 10 minutes each side for a total of 20 minutes?

noahw (author)wactac2009-11-20

To get them really crispy it will take around 20 minutes per side, for a total cook time of 40 minutes total.  But, as Crash2108 noted, it's important that you bake them until they are crispy and how you like them, even if that's shorter or longer for you.

Crash2108 (author)wactac2009-11-19

 You must cook it, until it is done.

LakeLivin (author)2009-11-19

I've had very good results cooking my wings in a convection oven.  Crispy outside, juicy inside, without all of the extra fat from frying.

And, I agree with larrydag, the best wings I've had seem to have more vinegar than just what is contained in the hot sauce. . .

mowie (author)LakeLivin2009-11-19

convection ovens are awesome my dad used to use on for everything when our oven blew up and even after we got a new oven he still uses the convection one

Spangler (author)2009-11-19

As a Buffalonian, I agree you can only get true buffalo wings in Buffalo New York. (I had tried them in Vegas, Nice fancy Restaurant. 6 wings, 18 bucks, they were boiled, gummy, and drizzled with Franks hot sauce. I weeped.
I think Franks is a cop-out sauce, just my oppion though. But as for the Anchor Bar, I know it's their claim to fame but I think they've gotten lazy with it. The wing size is inconsistant, once out of the past 20 years the wings were huge. Mostly they're tiny little things, little meat.

I dig Duff's, Just Pizza or Avenue Pizza, (but always looking for suggestion) La Nova is over priced and nothing special, just standard for wings or pizza.

chabias (author)2009-11-19

I agree with EmmettO...they're just "wings", but I do get a kick out of restaurants in other states trying to pass off their 'Buffalo wings'. Yuck!

I've always boiled my wings to cook them, then finish them in a pan with a little butter and hot sauce until they're just crispy.  My daughter won't settle for anything else.

Go Sabres!

EmmettO (author)2009-11-19

 Usually the term "Buffalo" wings irks me because I've seen and tasted them done very badly in the past. Here in Buffalo NY they're just chicken wings.

Still the recipe looks right! There is of course no one recipe for chicken wings but the original at the Anchor Bar was Franks Hot Sauce and butter. You also got the crispy part right. Most places selling Buffalo Wings cook them soft and have some kind of hideous orange goo on them.

I imagine you or some relatives are from the Queen City?

red-king (author)2009-11-14

 looks tasty!

dimex1984 (author)2009-11-13
thanks love dem wings
kaptaink_cg (author)2009-11-13

Now those look GOOD!   I used to boil and deep fry mine, but they still didn't come out "right".  Will definitely try your method.  (damn.. making me hungy.. still have a couple hours at work....)

canida (author)2009-11-13

These were excellent - tasted like fried wings, but without the extra grease.

scoochmaroo (author)2009-11-13


JakeTobak (author)2009-11-12

That first picture almost makes it look like the wings are covered in melted cheese. Gives an idea actually, don't expect to hear back from me though. I suspect that my plan will result in my arteries getting backed up and exploding.

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