Fried to a golden brown and tossed in a buttery hot sauce, Buffalo wings are about as far from health food as you can get. Luckily, we found a way to slash the fat and calories by about half, turning this barroom and game-day staple into a guilty pleasure we wouldn’t feel so guilty about. Tossing the wings with baking powder helped to dry out the skin so it became crisp when roasted in a super-hot oven; baking the wings on a wire rack let the rendered fat drip away. A quick stint under the broiler crisped the skin even further and ensured a flavorful char. To lighten the sauce, we cut back on the butter. A single tablespoon was enough to temper the hot sauce and give it a glossy sheen. A spoonful of molasses added depth and richness to our made-over yet still finger-licking-good Buffalo wings. The mild flavor of Frank’s RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce is crucial to the flavor of this dish; we don’t suggest substituting other brands of hot sauce here.
- 3 pounds chicken wings, halved at joint and wingtips removed, trimmed
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup Frank's RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon molasses
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees F. Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and top with wire rack. Pat wings dry with paper towels, then toss with baking powder and salt in bowl. Arrange wings in single layer on wire rack. Roast wings until golden on both sides, about 40 minutes, flipping wings over and rotating sheet halfway through roasting.
Meanwhile, whisk hot sauce, butter and molasses together in large bowl.
Remove wings from oven. Adjust oven rack 6 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. Broil wings until golden brown on both sides, 6 to 8 minutes, flipping wings over halfway through broiling. Add wings to sauce and toss to coat. Serve.
Makeover Spotlight: Buffalo Wings
Cut Up the Wings: Cutting up the wings made it easier to work with them and made them easier to eat. Using kitchen shears or a sharp chef's knife, cut through the wing at the two joints and discard the wingtip. (Sometimes, the butcher will even do this for you.)
Use Baking Powder to Get Crisp Skin: Before cooking our wings, we tossed them with baking powder and salt. The baking powder helped draw moisture from the skin so that it became super-crisp in the oven; the salt simply added flavor.
Elevate the Wings on a Rack and Roast -- Don't Fry:
To cook our Buffalo wings, we bypassed the vat of hot oil called for in traditional recipes and roasted our wings in the oven at 475 degrees F instead. Cooking them on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet ensured that the wings cooked through evenly and made it easy for the rendered fat to drain away.
Broil for a Crisp Finish and Toss with Lower-Fat Sauce: After roasting our wings in a hot oven, we turned to the broiler to guarantee super-crisp, well-browned skin before tossing them in our sauce. Though most recipes call for at least half a stick of butter in the sauce, we found that just a pat provided plenty of richness and sheen. Frank's RedHot Original Cayenne Pepper Sauce offered a mild, vinegary tang, while a bit of molasses added complexity.
Recipe reprinted by permission of America's Test Kitchen. All rights reserved.
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