Five bowls of buffalo chicken wings

I Tested Our 5 Most Popular Buffalo Chicken Wing Recipes and Found My New Favorite Party Snack

Whether it’s for the Super Bowl Sunday or any night of the week, these wings win it all.

No Super Bowl party (or maybe no party of any kind) would be complete without a tray of Buffalo chicken wings. There's just something about the crispy, deep-fried wings paired with a buttery, vinegary hot sauce that can't be beat. Put a platter of Buffalo chicken wings out with celery, carrot sticks, and blue cheese dip and suddenly it's a party.

But making Buffalo wings from scratch is no easy feat. While the ingredient list may be short, the cooking process is a bit of a project. Most recipes require a deep-frying set-up, breading stations, and some form of DIY butchery (AKA splitting the chicken wings in half). So if you're going to go to the trouble of making them, the results better be worth the effort. This is why I decided to test five of Allrecipes' most popular Buffalo chicken wing recipes in a side-by-side taste test to see which one was the best. In other words, I busted out my fryer and threw myself a wing eating party.

Which Buffalo Chicken Wing Recipes Did I Test?

Five Buffalo chicken wing recipes stood out as reader favorites on Allrecipes, so these were the recipes I tested. Each of these wings recipes has been cooked countless times and notched thousands of glowing reviews. Each recipe combines crispy wings with a vinegary hot sauce, but each one does so using slightly different techniques. The lineup includes a restaurant-style recipe that coats the wings in flour before frying them, a recipe that uses almost equal parts butter and hot sauce to coat the wings, one that ditches the deep fryer in place of an air fryer, a recipe that calls for an entire tablespoon of garlic powder to give the sauce a savory edge, and one that tosses the wings in a completely nontraditional sauce bolstered with tomato.

How I Judged the Buffalo Wing Recipes

Each chicken wing recipe was made on the same day and tasted by me and a friend. I followed each recipe to the tee and didn't make any changes or substitutions. Whenever the recipe called for a generic hot sauce, I used the same brand to keep things consistent. I served each wing with ranch dressing, celery, and carrots to get the full experience. Here's how it went.

Plate filled with buffalo chicken wings
Dotdash Meredith / Jesse Szewczyk

1. Best for People Who Love Chicken Wings, but Not Traditional Buffalo Sauce: Buffalo Chicken Wings III

  • Fun Facts: Developed by WALTDOUD, has 173 reviews with a 4.4-star rating
  • Community Review: "Been making these wings for years. WAY better than the ones at the restaurants!." – Tiboiya

This recipe was by far the most untraditional of the bunch. For starters, the wings are baked, not fried, giving them a slightly different texture. The wings were still crispy, but not as shatteringly crisp as the others. But the thing that made these wings truly unique was the sauce. Made with a combination of butter, hot sauce, tomato sauce, chili powder, and cayenne pepper, the result tasted a bit like a thick chili meets Buffalo sauce. The sauce gets tossed on the baked wings, then the wings get baked once again to help "set" the sauce. The resulting wings are more lacquered than saucy and have a faint warmth that is significantly less spicy and acidic than most Buffalo sauces. For anyone who loves wings but isn't a fan of typical Buffalo sauce, this recipe is a great alternative.

Get the recipe: Buffalo Chicken Wings III

Plate filled with buffalo chicken wings
Dotdash Meredith / Jesse Szewczyk

2. Best If You Don't Want to Deep Fry Anything: Air Fryer Chicken Wings

  • Fun Facts: Developed by Soup Loving Nicole, has 12 reviews with a 4.8-star rating
  • Community Review: "These were so easy to make, and tasted great. No need to order wings anymore. Who knew an air fryer cooked so well." – Thomas Williams

I admit that I was skeptical of making wings in the air fryer, but these turned out great. The wings get tossed in oil, then air fried for 25 minutes. The resulting wings were crisp and just as delicious as any of the deep-fried variations, largely owing to not being breaded. Because there was no deep-frying involved, this recipe was by far the easiest to make and resulted in hardly any dirty dishes. If you have an air fryer on hand, this recipe is worth bookmarking. They're crunchy, perfectly hot, and a cinch to make.

Get the recipe: Air Fryer Chicken Wings

Plate filled with buffalo chicken wings
Dotdash Meredith / Jesse Szewczyk

3. Best Breading-Free Option: Buffalo Chicken Wings I

  • Fun Facts: Developed by Ginger, has 322 reviews with a 4.7-star rating
  • Community Review: "I've had this recipe in my collection for years and it's still a family favorite!" – BebiGirl424

This recipe, similar to the air-fryer version, doesn't bread the wings at all. But unlike the air-fried recipe, this one deep-fries the wings for crackly, crispy skins that shatter when you bite into them. The sauce is made with butter, vinegar, hot sauce, salt, and pepper. But unlike most of the other recipes where you simply toss the wings in the sauce, this recipe has you heat the sauce in a saucepan, then simmer the wings in the sauce after frying. This made the wings absorb slightly more sauce than the other recipes, resulting in a slightly hotter flavor. If you're someone who likes restaurant-style wings but wants to avoid breading (either because you follow a gluten-free diet or simply don't like the added crunch), this recipe is a great option.

Get the recipe: Buffalo Chicken Wings I

A plate filled with buffalo chicken wings
Dotdash Meredith / Jesse Szewczyk

4. Best for Spice Lovers: Easy Restaurant-Style Buffalo Chicken Wings

  • Fun Facts: Developed by DavAlf, has 8 reviews with a 4.8-star rating
  • Community Review: "Delicious! My family can't get enough of these tasty wings!" – lauriea12

This recipe produced the most hot-sauce-forward Buffalo wings. After frying, the wings are coated in a simple mixture of hot sauce and just a mere tablespoon of butter. The butter does little in terms of toning down the peppiness of the hot sauce, and these wings pack some serious heat. The spicy, acidic sauce hits your nose the moment you bite into these wings. I like to think of myself as someone who can handle spicy foods, but even I was dipping these wings in ranch dressing in search of some reprieve. If you like your wings to pack some serious heat, this recipe is for you. It's bold, fiery, and lets the flavor of the hot sauce shine.

Get the recipe: Easy Restaurant-Style Buffalo Chicken Wings

Plate filled with buffalo chicken wings
Dotdash Meredith / Jesse Szewczyk

5. My Favorite Buffalo Chicken Wings Recipe: Restaurant-Style Buffalo Chicken Wings

  • Fun Facts: Developed by Kelly, has 2,562 reviews with a 4.8-star rating
  • Community Review: "I made the recipe exactly as the author submitted and it was really tasty! Totally making this again." – Christina

This was hands-down my favorite recipe of the bunch. The recipe lives up to its name—they taste exactly like the type of Buffalo chicken wings you find in a restaurant. The wings are coated in a combination of flour, cayenne, salt, and paprika before frying that gives them an added layer of crunch and flavor. After frying, they're coated in a classic Buffalo-style sauce that is equal parts butter and hot sauce with a touch of black pepper and garlic powder. The butter helps mellow out the acidity and spice of the hot sauce without toning it down too much. If you're looking for a classic, restaurant-style Buffalo chicken wing recipe you can make at home, this is it. It's just as good (if not better) than some of the best wings I've had at restaurants.

Get the recipe: Restaurant-Style Buffalo Chicken Wings

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