A Simple Trick for Making the Only Non-Messy Chicken Wing There Is

Meet the delicious, tidy lollipop.

Lollipop-Style Chicken Wings
Photo: Dotdash Meredith

Chicken wings are delicious and the perfect party food, but let's be real: They can be incredibly messy to eat (how many napkins can you really put out at a Super Bowl party?). But there's a special kind of chicken wing that is easy to hold and eat and remarkably neat and tidy. Meet (and fall in love with) the lollipop chicken wing.

What Is a Lollipop Chicken Wing?

A lollipop chicken wing is a wing that's been prepared in a way to "push" all the meat into a tidy, delectable knob at the end of a cleaned-off bone, literally looking like a meaty lollipop. And while they may look fancy, lollipop chicken wings are surprisingly easy to make. It will take a small bit of practice, but once you get the hang of it, it goes pretty fast.

Lollipop-Style Chicken Wings
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How to Make Lollipop Chicken Wings

For starters, begin with whole three-section wings; they will be much easier to handle. Pro tip: I use latex (or any kind of food preparation) gloves for prep work to help provide a bit of grip when working with the raw chicken. Another pro tip: Larger wings will lollipop more easily than small ones.

With the underside of the raw wing facing you, gently snap the joint between the drumette and the flat like you are opening a book with a stiff spine, and bend back until the ball of the joint on the drumette pops through the skin. Use your thumb to pull down on the flesh to help it come through. Using the same technique, move down the wing to the next joint, snap backwards and use your thumb to help both the bones of the flat pop through the skin.

Taking the smaller bone of the flat between your fingers, and holding the flesh tightly in your other fist, twist the small bone around like you are using a screwdriver until you feel it free itself from the flesh, and then slide it out.

Using a sharp paring knife, slice between both joints to remove the tip section and separate the flat from the drumette. Bones and tips can be saved for making stock at a later time.

For both sections, to lollipop, hold the tip of the bone in one hand, and cup the other hand around the flesh, with your fingertips tight to the bone right next to where you are holding it. Use your cupped hand to pull the flesh gently toward the unexposed end of the bone, inverting it as you go, but being careful not to pull too hard which can pop the entire thing off the end of the bone. You want to end up with a ball of meat and skin at one end and a clean bone handle at the base. As you practice you will get a feel for how hard to pull on the meat to get it all to one end.

And there you have it! Once you've lollipopped your wings, you can prepare them the same way you prepare your favorite wing recipe. Use a rub or marinade, dunk them in batter, dust them in flour, bake or fry.

Advanced Lollipop Chicken Wing Technique

Getting good at the basics? It's time to go for the gold: an ultra lollipopped wing. Start with the same method, but instead of cutting between the drumette and the flat, twist out the second bone in the flat, tuck the drumette bone into the channel in the flat meat, and pull all of the meat, flat and drumette, to the bottom of the drumette bone, using your thumb to push the meat and skin of the drumette into the cavity created when the flat meat is pulled over. This will give you a larger ball of meat at the end of the bone, more like a lollipopped drumstick. This way takes a bit more patience, practice and finesse but makes for a really impressive presentation!

Try a recipe: Best Chicken Lollipop Wings

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