Cooking a batch of chicken wings means having plenty of napkins on hand as guests are enjoying them. Or you can take the simpler route and prepare boneless wings instead. These pieces of meat are juicy like their bone-in counterparts, but don’t require getting your fingers as dirty to eat them. This allows you to savor the tender, seasoned meat while making cleanup less of a chore. Even better, boneless chicken wings cook in less time and are loaded up with appetite-satisfying protein. Keep reading for tips on cooking boneless chicken wings so they’re moist, tender and packed with mouthwatering flavors!
What are boneless chicken wings?
It may come as a surprise that these wings don’t actually come from the chicken’s wing section. Instead, they’re boneless, skinless chicken breasts that are sliced into nuggets that resemble mini wings. That said, you can fry, bake or grill them just like standard wings.
Why you should cook boneless chicken wings
According to Kai Borghesan, a butcher at Walden Local’s Butcher Shop, boneless wings are highly contested among wing aficionados due the fact that they’re breast meat and are smaller than their bone-in cousins. We’re not saying you should ditch bone-in wings entirely. But, boneless varieties worth trying for these three reasons.
1. They’re high in protein.
Since boneless wings are cut from the breasts, they’re loaded with protein. In fact, a 4-oz. chicken breast provides 26 grams of protein. Getting your daily fill of protein can help you feel fuller longer, improve muscle health and lower chronic disease risk.
2. You can eat them mess-free.
If you’re craving wings but aren’t in the mood to get your hands dirty, boneless wings are a perfect alternative. You can eat them with a fork and still savor the snack’s saucy goodness. Plus, you’re not left with a pesky pile of wing bones that need to be discarded.
3. They cook faster than bone-in wings.
Because these wings are boneless, they’re able to cook in as little as 10 minutes — quicker than the sometimes 20-minute cook time in bone-in recipes. So, whether you’re grilling, frying or baking them, boneless wings are a speedy appetizer or weeknight dinner option!
Butcher’s secret to succulent boneless wings
To keep the wings from drying out as they cook, Borghesan suggests brining them. “If you have the time, cut your chicken into bite-sized pieces the day before and leave them submerged in buttermilk and white vinegar overnight in your fridge,” he says. The acidity from buttermilk brine breaks down the chicken’s fibers and tenderizes them. You can add seasonings like garlic powder, paprika or cumin to the brine for added flavor. Once brined, remove the piece from the liquid, dry them and proceed with following the recipe. (Click through to learn more on how chicken wing brine creates succulent and juicy poultry.)
A delicious boneless chicken wings recipe
This recipe for Crispy Breaded Boneless Chicken Wings comes from Borghesan and is sure to produce tender pieces of meat. For an extra layer of flavor, coat the fried wings in your favorite sauce right before serving!
Crispy Breaded Boneless Chicken Wings
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into even-sized nuggets
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup white vinegar
- 1 to 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- 1 Tbs. chili powder
- 1 Tbs. granulated garlic
- 1 Tbs. onion powder
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- Dipping sauce of your choice, optional (for serving)
- Yield: 4 servings
- In large bowl, whisk buttermilk and vinegar until combined. Add chicken to brine, stir to fully coat meat and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 8 hours but no longer than 24 hours.
- Remove wings from brine and place on wire rack set over baking set. Discard excess brine. Allow chicken to drain while prepping breading station.
- In clean bowl, mix flour, salt, pepper, chili powder, granulated garlic and onion. In separate bowl, beat egg(s) with splash of water until homogenous.
- Working 1 piece at a time, dip piece of chicken in egg mixture, shaking any excess egg off. Then, roll in seasoned flour until it’s covered entirely and repeat pattern to double bread chicken piece. Place breaded chicken back on wire rack and continue with other chicken pieces.
- Heat 2 to 3 inches of oil in heavy bottomed pot to 350°F.
- Once heated, fry 3 to 4 pieces in each batch around 6 minutes. Chicken is done when the outside is golden brown and internal temperature reaches 165°F. Transfer cooked chicken pieces to clean cooling rack on top of baking sheet. Repeat with remaining chicken piece.
- Serve chicken piece plain or tossed in dipping sauce (if desired). Enjoy!
- Note: For air fryer boneless chicken wings, arrange pieces in basket in evenly spaced layer. Lightly coat with olive oil spray and air fry at 375°F for about 10 to 12 minutes, flipping or shaking the basket halfway through, until brown and fully cooked.
5 best sauces to toss boneless chicken wings in
To dress up your boneless wings, toss them in either of these five yummy sauces!
1. Buffalo sauce
For those classic tangy and hot flavors, toss the wings in a generous amount of buffalo sauce.
2. Teriyaki sauce
A teriyaki sauce that’s sweet, salty and savory is sure to dress up a batch of plain wings.
3. Lemon pepper sauce
Coat the wings in this sauce for a taste of zingy and peppery flavors.
4. Honey mustard
This creamy sauce’s sweet and mildly spicy taste will make you go back for seconds.
5. BBQ sauce
BBQ sauce is a great sauce choice as it’s smoky with nice hints of sweetness.
For more ideas on flavoring up chicken, try these recipes below!