How to Cook Chicken Wings Better Than Your Local Sports Bar

Get out your air fryer or slow cooker—or fire up the grill or broiler. We'll show you how to cook chicken wings using just about any appliance you like.

If you're not sure where to begin when creating the perfect appetizer party buffet, we've got two words for you: chicken wings. These crowd-pleasers are easy to make and relatively inexpensive, and they can provide much-needed heartiness amidst the lighter bites on your spread. Cooking chicken wings also lets you tap into your inner chef and bring all kinds of flavors to your table—they can be sauced and seasoned in so many fascinating ways. Here, we'll show you how to cook chicken wings in the oven, air fryer, slow cooker, and on the grill for some of your best party bites ever.

Cutting wings bag plastic chicken
Blaine Moats

How to Prep Chicken Wings for Cooking

Cooking chicken wings is easy, but before they hit the heat, you'll need to do a little prep work. Removing the wing tips and cutting the wings in half makes them infinitely easier to eat. Here's how to do it:

  • Using kitchen scissors ($55, Williams Sonoma) or a sharp knife, carefully cut off the tip of each chicken wing. Discard the tips.
  • Spread the remaining wing portions open. Carefully cut each wing at its joint into two sections.

Test Kitchen Tip: You can skip this step if you buy chicken drumettes, a pretrimmed cut consisting of the meatier portion of the wing.

plate of chicken wings topped with green onions

How to Cook Chicken Wings in an Air Fryer

What's the best way to cook chicken wings? If you're looking for irresistible fried flavor, but with less fat, then cooking chicken wings in an air fryer ($75, Target) is the way to go.

Check out our recipe for Air-Fryer Chicken Wings recipe and keep these guidelines in mind as you learn how to cook chicken wings in an air fryer:

  • How to get chicken wings ready for the air fryer: For the crispiest skin, be sure to pat your chicken as dry as you can. Coat chicken well with cooking spray, as directed in the recipe.
  • When you place the chicken in the air-fryer basket, arrange the drumettes on their sides to avoid overcrowding.
  • How long to cook chicken wings in an air fryer: Cook drumettes at 400°F until the skin is very crispy, 25 minutes, turning drumettes over halfway through cooking.

Our recipe offers a fantastic Asian-inspired sauce; however, you can swap in just about any sauce you like. Get inspiration for our collection of Game-Changing Chicken Wings.

Buffalo Wings
Scott Little

How to Cook Chicken Wings in the Oven

We think the best way to cook chicken wings in the oven is to turn on the broiler. Broiling is the secret to getting crisp, nicely browned texture without deep-frying; broiling also helps "glue" the sauce to the wings, so they're not quite so messy. A few tips:

  • Prep the chicken wings for the oven: To truly flavor-charge your chicken wings, marinate them first. Anchored by hot-pepper sauce and paprika, the five-ingredient marinade in this Buffalo Wings recipe is classic (and hard to beat).
    • Place the wings in a resealable bag and set in a shallow dish.
    • Pour the marinade over the wings and seal the bag.
    • Turn the bag to coat the wings.
    • Allow the wings to marinate for at least 30 minutes
  • How long to cook chicken wings in the oven: For our classic recipe, broil the wings 4 to 5 inches from the heat about 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Turn chicken wings. Broil for 10 to 15 minutes more or until chicken is tender and no longer pink.
Chicken Wings Five Ways
Jason Donnelly

How to Make Slow-Cooker Chicken Wings

We wish we could tell you that simply piling some chicken wings and sauce into your slow cooker ($45, Walmart) would result in the chicken wings of your dreams. While it's almost that easy, to make the best slow-cooker chicken wings, we recommend taking one extra step: running them under the broiler after their stint in the slow cooker. Our recipe for Chicken Wings Five Ways shows you how.

How long to cook chicken wings in the slow cooker: Combine 12 chicken wings with ½ cup reduced-sodium chicken broth in a slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 4 to 5 hours or high 2 to 2½ hours, then broil as directed in our recipe.

Customizable Grilled Chicken Wings
Andy Lyons

How to Cook Chicken Wings on the Grill

If you're planning to move the party outdoors, why not fire up the grill to add a wonderfully smoky angle to your chicken wings? Our Customizable Grilled Chicken Wings lets you mix and match rubs and sauces of your choice.

A few things to keep in mind as you learn how to cook chicken wings on the grill:

  • Prepping chicken wings for the grill: Marinate the chicken wings before grilling to create tender, juicy wings. Our grilled wings recipe starts with a buttermilk marinade to make the wings extra tender.
  • How long to cook chicken wings on grill: Following the instructions in our recipe, you should plan on grilling the marinated wings, covered, 20 to 25 minutes (or until no longer pink) over indirect medium heat on a charcoal grill, turning once.

Now that you know how to cook chicken wings, you'll always have a fabulous party appetizer in your back pocket. Rounding out the menu is easy. If your gathering needs to stand in for dinner, try one of our hearty party trays (most can be made ahead). If it's just drinks and nibbles you're going for, simply round out the menu with a few purchased snacks and one of these great make-ahead dips. To fill your glasses with something festive, check out our party drink recipes.

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