5 Ingredients or Fewer

Mark Bittman’s Minimalist Buffalo Chicken Wings

October 24, 2017
10 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

People have done some truly obsessive things—unnecessarily, as it turns out—in the name of creating the perfect Buffalo wing. But in his classic Minimalist way, Mark Bittman waves his hand dismissively at all of it. He doesn’t pamper his wings at all, just sticks them directly under the broiler to frizzle. The skin is still fantastically crispy and the insides juicy, in exactly the way that a high-heat blasted roast chicken is. Recipe adapted from The New York Times (August 28, 2013). To read the full story, head here. —Genius Recipes

What You'll Need
  • 3 pounds of chicken wings
  • Neutral oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1/3 cup relatively mild hot sauce, like Frank’s Red Hot
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • Blue cheese dressing and celery sticks for serving (optional)
  1. Pat the wings dry very well with paper towels (this will help them crisp) and, if the wings are whole, cut them into 3 sections, saving the wing tips for stock. Toss the wings with a little neutral oil to keep them from sticking, salt them lightly, and spread them on a baking sheet, leaving at least an inch of space between each wing.
  2. Heat the broiler with a rack 4 to 6 inches from the flame. (Alternately, heat a charcoal or gas grill; the fire should be moderately hot and the rack 4 to 6 inches from the heat. Leave one side of the grill cooler for indirect cooking.)
  3. Broil in the oven on a sheet pan until the wings are evenly well-browned and crisp, flipping them midway through. This should take 20 to 25 minutes overall, but will depend on the strength of your broiler, so peek often! (If using the grill, put the wings on the cool side of the grill. Cover the grill and cook, checking and turning once or twice, until most of the fat has been rendered and the wings are evenly well-browned and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes.)
  4. While the wings cook, in a large bowl, combine the hot sauce, melted butter, vinegar, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste (you won’t need much).
  5. When the wings are browned and crisp, add them to the bowl with the sauce, and toss to coat. Return the wings to the pan, leaving excess sauce in the bowl, and broil for a few minutes until sizzling and nicely browned on both sides, flipping once. (Or put the wings on the hot part of the grill and cook, uncovered, turning as necessary.)
  6. Serve hot with the extra sauce on the side or, for extra spicy, saucy wings, toss back in the sauce before serving. Blue cheese dressing and celery sticks on the side are a good idea.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Liz Crawford
    Liz Crawford
  • Rebecca Leon
    Rebecca Leon
  • les corry
    les corry
  • Picholine
  • Marilyn
Genius Recipes

Recipe by: Genius Recipes

26 Reviews

Carrie February 12, 2023
I feel like a dope for having to ask but when these are in the oven using the broiler setting are we meant to leave the oven door open a crack? I have always believed if something says “Broil” then it is understood that the door should be ajar but it doesn’t specifically say and I would love someone’s opinion. Thanks for your time and for not shaming me! :)
isw February 12, 2023
Check your oven's User Manual -- some ovens want the door open and some want it closed.
erin November 27, 2022
I love buffalo wings, this is the easiest and best recipe I've found so far. Follow the recipe the first time then adjust the garlic and heat to match your tastes.
brushjl June 28, 2022
Am not a huge bittman fan, but these were terrific.
Liz C. April 6, 2021
Silly but the food my family misses the most during COVID is chicken wings. Toronto might be second only to Buffalo for consumption of chicken wings and all the basic bars serve them and many have cheap wing nights. Pre-COVID, we went out for wings probably once a month and my son was less than a week old the first time we took him to a bar for wing night. This recipe is the next best thing and this version is better than the one in the NYTimes. First, use the smallest wings you can find. A family friend calls them rat paws but small wings get crispier like real bar wings. Unfortunately around here, the small ones are more expensive. Second, use Frank's Hot Sauce. This is not the time for messing with your fancy sauces. Do not skip the vinegar. That blast of vinegar fumes when you bring the wings to the table is very important. My son almost wept with joy when he got a whiff. The last blast under the broiler with the sauce on should be very brief. The sauce cooks off so quickly you can be left with disappointing wings if you leave them under there for too long. Try 2 minutes or just toss them back in the sauce and serve them saucy. If Frank's is too hot for you then make something else. I have used drum sticks since they are so much cheaper, just broil longer and a little further from the heat. They're really good but not as good as the little crispy wings!
Liz C. April 6, 2021
Oh and Les C. is absolutely correct, it's blue cheese or nothing. I just use store bought.
Liz C. April 6, 2021
OMG how could I forget?! Skip the garlic unless you want chunks of raw garlic on your chicken wings. It's only under the broiler with the sauce on for a few minutes so it doesn't cook and actually most of it stayed in the bowl in left over sauce. Don't get me wrong, I love garlic but not raw.
Rebecca L. February 3, 2019
I made these today. They tasted great. I made a couple of changes because I don’t like hot and spicy. I used Trader Joe’s smoky peach salsa instead of hot sauce. I mixed that with the melted butter and garlic, tossed the crispy wings in there and then put them back on the pan and finished cooking them. Yum.
Rebecca L. December 31, 2019
Making these again tonight for New Year’s eve. Same stuff Trader Joe’s smoky peach salsa.
les C. February 1, 2019
Blue cheese dressing recipe please.This is half a recipe.
Abby K. February 1, 2019
NYT Cooking posted this wing recipe last week, also with no recipe but a link to their blue cheese dressing that’s behind a pay wall. :(

In a pinch, there’s a store brand in a pear shaped bottle that’s sold in the produce aisle that’s really good (I’m not being cute, I don't recall the name and don’t have any on hand)
Randy July 17, 2019
Really "LESS C."...and I pick fly "stuff" out of fly paper- some people like Ranch...do you now want someone to hold that wing so's you can eat it without messin' up your fingers, too ?
les C. July 18, 2019
Got three Upvotes you sir have zero.
Randy July 30, 2019
Sent erroneously to my e-mail, not my post...maybe another Randy ?
Charles June 12, 2022
It's "Marie'sc brand - all the dressings in this line/brand are good
Charles June 12, 2022
The blue cheese brand is "Marie's" - I fat-fingered what should have been another quotation mark - I really do cook better than I type...
cindydsmnd June 25, 2022
Forward the recipe to your personal FB page and you’ll be able to open it 😊
Picholine January 30, 2019
I bake till crispy and Toss in Frank’s Hot Sauce mixed with some butter. No recipe! The crowd gathers to eat those crispy tasty wings! Tada!
Matt November 2, 2017
Would a salt dry brine for a few hours keep them a bit juicier and the skin crisper? Or is that totally unnecessary?
Kimberly October 26, 2017
Recipe makes a delicious wing . My new go to.
Marilyn October 25, 2017
Can I bake these wings in the oven, I do not have a broiler or a grill. Also can I make them ahead of time or will they lose their crisp?
TheHubers January 31, 2018
Marilyn, you could bake at a high temperature--450 degrees for 30 minutes, turning once. Other than the addition of garlic and vinegar this is basically the Frank's Hot Sauce recipe, which provides the option of baking at a high temperature.
Moshee October 25, 2017
Mandy posted this recipe in 2012. http://ladyandpups.com/2012/08/13/the-right-wings-eng/ The sauce is freaking awesome, but more important - broiling is the method she uses. I've done it this way ever since.
isw October 25, 2017
"Genius"? What about its predecessors?
Kenji offered a very similar baked Buffalo wing recipe about five years ago. His calls for no additional oil, but a baking powder sprinkle to crisp up the skin, and a less-complex baking procedure. Have made it many times.
whyisthestovestillon October 27, 2017
I don't think something as simple as sticking a chicken wing in the oven can be a recipe someone claims, or even needs to attribute. I realize this is thanks to people who have taken pretty involved recipes and marketed them as their own, which is awful. Still, this quest to attribute ownership to even the simplest procedure or method has gotten a little out of control in my opinion. Mandy's recipe includes a sauce (that looks wonderful and I cant wait to try it) and I love Kenji, and he is stolen from frequently, but dry/broil/toss in Frank's sauce is hardly a recipe. (Does the same go for Mark? yes!). I don't think a food blog should be obligated to find every instance of a method being used before sharing something, or we're in for some very long posts about the predecessor recipes to how we now prefer to fry an egg... (wait, there are already like 5 of those on this site)
isw January 30, 2019
True, but if somebody -- or some site -- is going to actually go so far as to call a recipe "genius", there should be something innovative about it. Giving that compliment to the second (or third, or fourth, or ...) iteration of it is just not right. The "genius" is the first person who thought of it, not somebody who later just tweaked it, or wrote about it (without attribution) just because they are better known.