Southwest Oven Baked Chicken Wings are juicy, flavorful, crispy wings without using baking powder, flour, or cornstarch. Easy prep and hands-off baking make the best appetizer for any size crowd.
Let's slam dunk some crispy baked Southwestern chicken wings into this zesty avocado ranch sauce and win game day. This recipe makes the best crispy baked chicken wings without baking powder or other unnecessary ingredients.
Not only that, but if you serve these alongside honey hot chicken wings, they're milder, yet still flavor-packed. You'll love the minimal prep and hands-free baking of these baked chicken wings. This leaves plenty of time to make other appetizers like totchos, BBQ pork sliders, or pico de gallo.
Ingredient amounts are listed in printable recipe card below.
- chicken wings - Also called "party wings" which consist of wingettes and drumettes. These are most commonly sold in the freezer section.
- salt and pepper - Essential seasonings for any chicken recipe.
- chili powder and cumin - These add that deep southwest flavor. Feel free to throw in some chipotle seasoning or cayenne to spice things up.
- garlic powder - You can use garlic salt too, just reduce the amount of salt used in the initial seasoning.
- oil - Use your preferred oil, or omit and use seasoning as a dry rub.
How to make this recipe
The secret to crispy wings is to remove the moisture. You can do this without adding ingredients like baking powder, flour, or cornstarch. It requires a nonstick cooling grid over a baking sheet. This prevents them from sitting in rendered fat which allows more air flow and helps them get crispier.
Step 1: Firmly squeeze each wing with a paper towel around it to remove all excess moisture. If time and space allow, check out Step 1.1, otherwise move on to step 2.
Step 1.1 (optional): Refrigerate wings on the cooling grid setup overnight without covering. Refrigeration is magical at removing moisture, but it's not always practical in a crowded fridge, so this step is optional.
Step 2: Whisk seasonings with oil in a mixing bowl.
Note: If you prefer dry rub only, simply omit the oil. Just know that the minimal oil in this recipe helps the seasonings stick to the skin.
Step 3: Spray the cooling grid with nonstick spray and spread the seasoned wings out to prevent them touching.
Note: For easier cleanup, place a baking mat or aluminum foil in between the grid and baking sheet.
Step 4: Bake at 400°F for 45 minutes on the center oven rack. If needed, flip halfway through.
Note: For even crispier skin, switch the oven to broil until desired crispness is achieved.
How long to bake chicken wings
Whole chicken wings simply haven't been cut into wingettes, flats, or drumettes. Bake these at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes, just like party wings.
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- Blender Salsa
- Buy fresh wings retail-packed in the meat case or in bulk at the butcher counter. Ask the butcher to remove the wing tips for you.
- Frozen wings are usually called sections or party wings and are typically labeled 'first and second sections’. These are also known as drumettes and wingettes and usually sold together. Drumettes by themselves are much harder to find.
Tips for preparing and baking
- If you prefer to not add oil, simply omit the oil during prep and use the seasonings as a dry rub.
- Baking chicken wings straight from the freezer is a great shortcut, especially when you forget to thaw them. To do this, add 20-25 minutes to the bake time, so 65-70 minutes total. You can also do this quick by making air fryer chicken wings.
Frequently asked questions
It depends. Baking on a cooling grid doesn't require flipping because there's enough air circulation for crispy skin. If baking on a flat surface, flip wings at halfway point to promote evenly crispy skin.
Yes, you can do this by removing any excess moisture from the skin and baking the wings on a cooling grid over a baking sheet. This prevents them from sitting in fat which allows the skin to crisp on all sides.
Southwest Baked Chicken Wings
- Preheat oven to 400°F with oven rack placed in the center.
- Pat and squeeze CHICKEN WINGS with paper towels to remove excess moisture. Note: See blog post above for my overnight hack to remove excess moisture.
- Cover a baking sheet with foil followed by a nonstick cooling grid. If no cooling grid, coat foil with cooking spray.
- Toss with SALT and PEPPER in a mixing bowl.
- Whisk together CHILI POWDER, GARLIC POWDER, CUMIN, and OIL until combined. Toss wings to coat.
- Spread in a single layer on the cooling grid.
- Bake wings 45 minutes until crispy and browned. Depending on your oven, you may need to flip halfway through.
- For crispier skin, broil the wings about 6-8” from broiler heat a few minutes or until the skin has crisped to your liking, rotating as needed.
- Serve crispy wings with avocado sauce or your favorite dipping sauce.
- To store leftovers, allow to cool and refrigerate in an airtight container up to 3 days.
Traci's Recipe Notes
Nutrition data provided as courtesy estimates using unbranded ingredients from a nutrition database. Please consult preferred resource for precise data.