Healthier Buffalo Chicken Wings

June 13, 2012   21 Comments

Vegans, avert your eyes. We are going to the land of chicken and you know you are eating an animal when you chomp into a wing.

Healthy Buffalo Chicken Wings Recipe

oh yeah........

I recently featured killer buffalo chicken wings on the site in this illuminating article: Guess the Most Evil Food At Chain Restaurants. Sadly, I happen to love these greasy, hot sauced soaked, calorie bombs with an ice cold brew.

Why sadly? Well, an order of boneless Buffalo wings at Applebees is a whopping 1,724 calories and let's not talk about the sodium.

My first rule of Buffalo chicken wing consumption is NEVER eat the boneless ones. You don't realize how many you are eating if you don't have a stack of meaty bones sitting in front of you.

My second rule is MAKE THEM YOURSELF. I had no idea you could make them at home without a deep fryer until I cracked open Ellie Krieger's book "Comfort Food Fix". She has a recipe that seemed so easy that I had to try it.

The below recipe is adapted from her book and is surprisingly like the real thing. When I started cruising down the hot sauce aisle, I couldn't believe the choices for "Buffalo Chicken Wing" sauce. There must have been 5000 brands! I chose "Frank's Red Hot" and it has that crazy neon color (see above).

All you do is boil the chicken wings to cook them, put them under the broiler to crisp them, and pour sauce on them. Serve them with a bunch of celery sticks (they never give you enough of those in a restaurant) and some blue cheese dressing and you just saved a bunch of money and calories.

My kids don't like the hot sauce, but they love to munch on the wings so I keep some of them sauce free.

Lighter Buffalo Chicken Wings Recipe

1.6 from 24 reviews

(adapted from Ellie Krieger's "Comfort Food Fix")

(makes 4 servings)

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2 pounds chicken wings, split at the joint
1/4 cup cayenne pepper sauce (for example: Frank's Red Hot)


Place wings into a large pot and fill the pot with cold water to cover the wings by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, and boil for 10 minutes. While chicken is boiling heat your broiler to HIGH. When done, drain and place chicken wings on rimmed cookie sheet.

Broil 6 inches from element or flame for 5 to 6 minutes per side. The skin should blister and brown. You are just trying to get that CRUNCH texture added to the wings.

Drizzle with reserved sauce. At this point you can toss them to make a covered wing or leave a bit uncovered for less messy eating.

Nutrition Facts

For 4-5 chicken wings = 240 calories, 12 g fat, 4 g carbohydrates, 27 g protein, 1 g fiber, 710 mg sodium, 6 Points+

Points values are calculated by Snack Girl and are provided for information only. See all Snack Girl Recipes

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First 20 Comments: ( See all 21 )

I like this idea. I also grill chicken breast and put the sauce on it in a fit of desperation when I really miss wings.

You talk about reserved hot sauce but i can't see where you use it hot. I tend to add hot sauce to my grilled chicken but it is not the same, but decent substitute. I am with Lori

Wow. I never thought to boil them first! I usually bake mine at 400 degrees with a tiny bit of evoo/seasoning for 40 min. Then I drizzle with hot sauce and put back in for another 5-10 min. They come pretty darn clothes to tasting like fried ones.


I use Alton Brown's method, which is steaming and then baking on an elevated rack. Awesomeness with awesomesauce. I think I'd worry about boiling them zapping some of the flavor, but if I'm ever looking to try a different method, I'll try it.

And using Frank's is the best choice for classic wings. So many of the others are weird concoctions of HFCS and thickeners.

We do them this way frequently, the other way is to put them on cooling racks on the baking sheets and bake them for a little and then brush the wing sauce on them and broil them. They are awesome! Your way lends to the best wings though. Yum-E!

I have been baking chix wings for a while now (still a greasy mess) + recently tried an Alton Brown technique with success. Steamed wings 10 min (sure boiling would have same effect of rendering fat), pat dry with paper towels then put on sheet and refridgerate for 1 hour to dry skin. The drier skin helped the sauce cling to wings.

I love wings also. I'm a little surprised to see Ellie leaving the chicken skin on when it has been stated for many years NOT to eat the skin.

I've been cooking my chicken wings in a NuWave oven. The fat drips off to the bottom pan and the wings are juicy inside and crispy outside. My inlaws always deep fry their wings, and after having them try them done this way, I think we talked them into buying a NuWave. Best part is the kitchen doesn't get hot in the summer (as opposed to heating up the oven or a deep fryer).

You are awesome! I am from Buffalo and one food I miss is Chicken Wings! In my opionion Franks Hot Sauce is the only way to get true Buffalo Chickens. Thank you for making them more skinny! I'm going to make these this week!!

That sounds good, and I have baked my wings when the weather's lousy, but my all-time favorite way to eat wings is grilled. Blows the fried ones right out of the water!

I love hot wings, and have been making them unfried for years. Haven't tried boiling them first, but I simply bake them at a high temp to get that crispy texture. I also use Frank's Red Hot as you do! Now I want wings today!

Hi there! Does boiling vs. steaming vs. baking vs. grilling them have any affect on the fat content of the wings after they're cooked? (i.e. which of them is the healthier way to go?) I'm just curious. One comment mentioned "rendering the fat" (via the Alton Brown method) which piqued my curiosity.

I'll be using this recipe when I host my sports-game watching parties. I never thought of broiling to crisp them up -- that's a great idea!

Tried this tonight...boiled extra long...worked GREAT! Tossed in the sauce and the meat fell off the bone and skin!!

@Angie M. Each method helps render fat...Pros+Cons: Boiling-boils away flavor but could defat H2o + freeze as light stock. Steaming (takes time unless you have a large steamer...I steam in 3 batches but always make 3lbs). Would paper towel dry both methods + fridge to dry out skin (I also salt to "brine")+ leave overnight but 1 hr works. Rack is good idea but I abhor cleaning so I just use non-stick alum foil; bake or broil needs rack to avoid greasy mess (+oven cleaning). Grilling...prob best @ getting rid of fat but I always overcook those tiny things on my gas grill. I live in NE + have been known to snow blow a path to my grill so if anyone has a suggestion on grill timing+temp, I'm up for that!

If you need to cook a ton of wings, you can use your grill instead of the broiler. I like to wait to put on the sauce until the wings reach the table to keep them crispy.

I made these wings for the hubby & boys - They actually preferred over the deep fried versions we usually cook.

We also waited to sauce them up when the boys got to the table. :)

Thanks for the follow, just had a quick look at your tweets and to my surprise chicken wings are the first recipe I see, something I wouldn't cook but love them at my local restaurant..nice one snack girl : - )

I bake mine in the oven and not boil first. Is that still as healthy? :\

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