Who ever said that Buffalo wings don’t count as a whole meal? No one who has ever tried this recipe, to be sure. Chef, food writer, and photographer Keith Kamikawa says that these traditional crispy Buffalo wings will make a feast your family will love for dinner. And your friends won’t be complaining if you serve them on game day, either. Just don’t take it personally if no one praises the wings initially, either, as it’s hard to talk when "non-stop wings" are being gobbled down, says Kamikawa.
As noted, this recipe will result in a traditional spicy wing taste that’s not too fiery and hard to resist. But don’t hesitate to back off on the hot sauces or substitute your own favorites. "The great thing about these wings is that you can change up the flavor if Buffalo sauce isn’t your thing. You can toss them in a quick honey mustard sauce, or pull out some soy, brown sugar, garlic-lime, and cilantro and you’ll have a great Asian sauce," says Kamikawa. "To chill out on the heat of the Buffalo, simply don’t add Tabasco and that should make them more mild."
In true American form, you can easily customize this classic dish. But, if you follow Kamikawa’s recipe to the letter, no one will be complaining. That is, unless anyone touches their eyes any time shortly after eating these wings. Pro tip: use finger bowls to help diners rinse their fingers after chowing down on these hot wings.
Gather your ingredients for Buffalo wings
You’re really making two separate recipes here, one of which is for homemade blue cheese dressing, while the other is for the chicken wings themselves. The good news (aside from the delicious meal inbound to your table) is that making the dressing only takes about three minutes. Here’s everything you’ll need, provided you add your own celery and carrot sticks. And, hey, sliced bell pepper is a fine addition too.
For the blue cheese dressing, you’ll need 4 ounces of crumbled blue cheese, 1/3 cup of buttermilk, 5 tablespoons of sour cream, 4 tablespoons of mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon of white vinegar, 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.
For the wings themselves, you’ll want 1/2 cup of Frank’s RedHot sauce, 2 tablespoons of Tabasco sauce, 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, 3 1/2 pounds of chicken wings, 2 quarts of frying oil (either vegetable or peanut oil works here), 3 tablespoons of cornstarch, 1 tablespoon of flour, and 1/2 teaspoon each of paprika, cayenne pepper, white sugar, and celery salt.
Make the blue cheese dressing for Buffalo wings
Buffalo wings are named for their birthplace of Buffalo, New York, not for the animal (which is in fact properly called a bison anyway). They are best served hot and fresh, so do yourself a favor and take the stress off by preparing the classic blue cheese dressing well ahead of time. It will taste all the better for sitting in the fridge a while anyway.
To make the blue cheese dressing, get a medium-sized bowl and combine the buttermilk, the blue cheese crumbles, the sour cream, mayonnaise, white vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Mix everything thoroughly with a whisk and then refrigerate the dressing until it’s time to serve it.
Make the Buffalo sauce for your wings
Now comes the creation of this dish’s signature flavor: the Buffalo sauce. Start by combining 1/2 cup of Frank’s RedHot sauce, 2 tablespoons of Tabasco, the apple cider vinegar, and the brown sugar in a pan. Stir them well as you begin to apply low to medium heat and bring the sauce to a simmer. Reduce the burner’s heat to keep this at a low simmer, as you don’t need heated hot sauce popping up at you!
Next, slowly add 4 tablespoons of butter one tablespoon at a time, whisking constantly until the butter is fully incorporated. The sauce is now ready for the wings. Keep it at the lowest possible heat, or let it rest and just make sure it’s warm or at least room temperature. You’ll want the sauce to be nice and fluid when it comes time to add it to the wings themselves.
Prep the wings, oil, and oven
Heat your oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit and prep a baking sheet with parchment paper. You’ll be using this to keep the fried wings warm while working in batches. Meanwhile, heat the frying oil to 360 degrees Fahrenheit on the stove using a heavy pot like a Dutch oven. If you have a dedicated deep fryer, that’s even better for this purpose, though you don’t need to buy a fryer for this occasion if you don’t already have one.
Now cut the raw chicken wings into three segments. Cut at the joint, the drum, the wing, and the tip. Discard the wing tips or save them in the freezer for making chicken stock or bone broth later. Waste not, want not!
Next, in a small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons of cornstarch, 1 tablespoon of flour, and 1/2 teaspoon each of paprika, cayenne pepper, white sugar, celery salt, along with the remaining teaspoon of black pepper. Stir the spices to combine.
Finally, in a large bowl, toss the chicken wings and the spiced breading. Be gentle and have a light hand, as you want to create a thin coating and not a thick fried chicken-style "skin."
Fry the Buffalo wings
Okay, now for the main event! Be careful during said event, because you are dealing with hot oil, after all.
When the frying oil reaches 360 degrees Fahrenheit, start adding wings one at a time, using tongs to keep some distance between yourself and the hot oil. Work in batches, adding six to eight wings to the frying oil one wing at a time. Fry each batch of wings for 10 to 15 minutes until the wings are golden brown. Remove cooked wings and place them on a paper towel briefly to soak up the excess oil, then pop them onto that lined pan and get them in the oven to keep warm. Repeat until all the chicken is fried.
Finally, place all of the fried, warm chicken wings In a large bowl. Slowly drizzle on the Buffalo sauce and gently toss the wings until they are all fully coated.
Serve the wings with the blue cheese dressing, carrots, and celery sticks. If you’re feeling creative, feel free to add in whatever else you want, but know that as-is, these Buffalo wings are a winning dinner, appetizer, snack, and all-around treat. "You can keep the wings in the fridge for up to four days, says Kamikawa, who recommends reheating in the oven. As for freezing the wings, Kamikawa says that "they can keep for a couple of months, cooked from thawed in the oven the same way as you would from the fridge."