There are many ways to cook chicken wings – bake them, fry them, air fry them or even cook them on the BBQ, but there’s a secret to cooking crispy marinated chicken wings in the oven.
The best way to bake chicken wings in the oven is to use a cooling rack or baking rack to elevate the chicken out of the pan and allow the hot air from the oven to circulate all around the chicken wings and thus give the chicken wings a crispier finish.
It’s very easy to do. You can use this method with store bought, pre-marinated chicken wings, or you can use store bought or a homemade marinade to marinate your wings at home.
For the purpose of this demonstration I quickly mixed up my own marinade with some olive oil, soy sauce, honey and sweet chilli sauce (but you can use whatever marinade you like).
Leave the wings in the marinade, in the fridge, for at least an hour or overnight is even better.
While the chicken is marinating, prepare your pan and rack. I have this great set of baking pan and cooling rack that I got from Amazon, it’s a nice big “half sheet” size which easily fits a kilo or so of chicken wings.
The first thing you want to do is to cover the oven tray/ baking pan with foil. Trust me, cooking marinated chicken wings is a messy business and, if you don’t cover your tray, you’ll have to spend ages trying to scrape and clean off leftover, burnt-on marinade residue.
Covering the pan will make clean up at the other end a much simpler process. If you don’t have enough foil to cover the pan you could also use baking paper or a silicone baking mat.
If you’re lucky enough to have a matching set like I do, your cooling/baking rack will sit back in nicely on top of the layer of foil. If you don’t have a matching set obviously try to find a rack that will fit inside the pan that you have.
It’s important to note though that you can’t just use any old cooling rack you have lying around, it needs to be an oven safe rack. These are usually made from stainless steel and don’t have any plastic or other coating on them which makes them safe to use in the oven and the dishwasher.
You can buy stainless steel cooling racks separately (without the matching baking pan) in many different sizes, you’ll just need to find the right one to suit your pan/tray.
The next step is extremely important if you want to have an easy clean up process at the other end. You need to grease the rack so that the chicken won’t stick to it! The best and quickest way to do this is to spray it with some spray on olive oil or other spray on cooking spray.
Make sure you give the entire rack a really thorough spray with the oil, even in the corners. Then it’s time to place your marinated chicken wings onto the rack. Try to give them a bit of space so that air can circulate all around them.
One last tip before you pop them in the oven – another spray of olive oil, this time all over the chicken wings to help them get nice and crispy.
Then they simply need to be put into a preheated, 200℃ oven for around 40-45 minutes.
You can turn them over once during the cooking time if you wish, but it is not necessary as the air is circulating under the chicken as well thanks to the baking rack.
Personally I like all of my meat “very well done” and that includes my chicken wings. I like them well cooked and on the dark side so I will usually cook them for 45-50 minutes. If you’d prefer yours not quite so well cooked, check them at the 40 minute mark, they might be cooked enough for you (depending on size and whether you’re using the whole wing or just wing pieces like I do).
Once cooked to your liking, remove from the oven and serve. They should easily come away from the rack due to the thorough greasing.
Now’s the time our preparation and planning pays off. You’ll be left with a very dirty rack and pan like this:
The good news is, cleaning this up is easy! Wipe off any large clumps of dry marinade/chicken from the rack and then place it in your dishwasher – it will clean up beautifully, trust me, I’ve done it many times.
As for the baking pan/oven tray, simply pull back the foil and you’re left with a nice clean pan!
You’ll still need to give it a wash as there’s likely to be some moisture/residue that has seeped under the foil, but the bulk of all that burnt marinade can simply be rolled up in the foil and thrown away – much easier than soaking and scrubbing!
So, if you’re looking for an easy way to cook chicken wings, get yourself a secret weapon – a cooling rack to sit in your baking pan! It really is the best way to bake chicken wings in the oven.