Hot chicken wings are addictive. Ok they’re not the best things on earth for you, but they are damn delicious and pack in protein.  A couple of ways I try to health-ify this dish is to make them really spicy (stimulates metabolism), bake them vs. fry (no oil, less fat) and eat them early in the day (so I can burn them off). I’m sold!  In addition, try your best not to have any carbs with this meal, as the wings will provide enough fat for energy. These are baked wings, so an oven is required. The wings are marinated in citrus and liberally seasoned with a 4 spice, dry rub with two dipping sauces. The first sauce is used to coat the wings and provides a spicy, sweet and vinegary tang to the wing. The second sauce is a yogurt/citrus/cilantro based dipping sauce used to balance the dish.

Flavor profile:

  1. Texture: Super crispy skin, but still juicy on the inside
  2. Flavor: Salty, smoky, spicy and just a little vinegary, citrusy sweetness

Expertise Level: Easy

Serving Size: 3 wings per person as an appetizer; 6-8 wings as a main course


Dried Spices: Paprika, Garlic Powder or Granulated Garlic, Fresh Ground Pepper, Kosher Salt, Cayenne Pepper

Chicken wings cut into the wing and drumstick discarding wing tip

2 medium size oranges

2 lemons

½ stick unsalted butter

1 medium bottle of Texas Pete, Crystal, Frank’s, or Louisiana Hot Sauce

1 small tub of Greek yogurt

1 bunch fresh cilantro (finely chopped)

Plain distilled white vinegar

Step 1: Make the Dry Rub

Mix the following in a small bowl or spice container and set aside

3 Tbsp Paprika

3 Tbsp Garlic Powder or Granulated Garlic

3 Tbsp Ground Pepper (finely ground preferred)

4 Tbsp Kosher Salt

1 Tbsp Cayenne (optional: if you like really spicy)

Step 2: Make the Marinade

Squeeze the juice of 2 medium oranges and 1 lemon into a large bowl and set aside

Step 3: Make the Base Sauce

Melt half a stick of butter into a sauce pan (careful not to burn). Add 1 cup of hot sauce and ¼ cup of plain vinegar.

Step 4: Make the dipping sauce (optional)

Mix 2 cups of plain Greek yogurt with 1/3 cup of chopped cilantro, the juice of 1 lemon, and salt and pepper to taste.   Refrigerate and remove 30 minutes before serving time.

Step 5: Prep the Chicken

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

An uncut chicken wing has 3 distinct sections. The wingtip, the flappy wing thingy, and the drumstick. You want the drumstick and the flappy wing thingy as 2 distinct pieces or you can leave them whole if you like. You can discard the wingtip or put them into a zip lock and throw them into the freezer to make chicken stock later.

After you have cut all your wings, place them into the bowl containing the orange and lemon juice and put into the fridge. Let them marinate for at least an hour and no more than 3 hours.

When you’re done marinating the wings, lay them out over a paper towel to dry slightly. Discard the excess marinade and dry off the bowl. Place the patted dry wings back into the bowl and spoon over the dry rub and mix thoroughly. You may not need all of the rub, so season one tablespoon at a time. You want the wings liberally seasoned, but not fully dredged in the spice rub. Make sure both sides of each wing are seasoned.

Now here’s the trick to creating a super crispy baked wing….Give them space!!!

Position each wing on a baking rack. This is important, the wings need air to circulate around all sides, so a rack is ideal. You can get good results with a tray, but you really need to watch the wings carefully (burnt wings suck, and soggy wings are worse). Place the wing on the rack giving each wing a good 1 inch of space around each side before placing the next wing. Try to get the majority of the skin facing up. Place another tray on the oven floor or lowest rack of the oven to catch any drippings as the wings cook.


Roast the wings for 30-35 minutes at 425 degrees F then remove the rack, flip the wings and go for another 5-10 depending on desired crispiness. Remove wings and allow to cool for 5 minutes or so.

Step 6: Heat the Sauce

Put the hot sauce back on the burner and warm through. Place the wings into the pot with the sauce, cover and toss to fully coat.

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Step 7: SERVE and EAT!

Serve the wings on a platter with the yogurt dipping sauce and a lot of paper towels. Don’t forget to save the bones for some great chicken stock later!

Don’t forget paper towels!


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Party Smart. Sweat Smarter.