You might not think of sous vide when it comes to preparing chicken wings. After all, what can beat a deep fry?! Sous vide hot wings will have you changing your tune. After a swim in the water bath, these wings get crisped up via your method of choice, whether that’s traditional deep fry, air fryer, smoker, grill, or oven.

Buffalo wings on white platter, hand dipping wing into blue cheese sauce on yellow background.

I know what you’re asking: are sous vide chicken wings worth it? Why fix it if it ain’t broke? The wings we’ve been enjoying for decades are already awesome!

You are correct. And here is my answer: sous vide is what you need to level up your wing game. The differences are subtle, but they’re there and why not creep as close to perfection as we can? If you’re not ready for this method yet, I do have an Air Fryer Hot Wing recipe for you, too. But once you try this and you’re ready for your next sous vide chicken experiment, don’t sleep on my Sous Vide Buttermilk Fried Chicken and sous vide chicken breasts are a staple.

If you’re new to sous vide cooking, I can teach you all about what sous vide cooking is in Sous Vide School, my digital course meets ecookbook to walk you through the process, or in my sous vide cookbooks! I’ve also got plenty of sous vide recipes.

The Pros and Cons of Sous Viding Wings

Let’s get down to it and talk about how sous vide enhances and complicates your chicken wing production process.

The pros:

  • No worrying if your wings are fully cooked through. By sous viding them first, you’re ensuring it!
  • Your wings won’t be overcooked. Since there’s so much delicious skin on wings, we usually forgive if they’re overcooked, but it’s not ideal.
  • Better texture. When you sous vide first, you’re guaranteeing fall off the bone, tender wings.
  • Better flavor. I don’t know how to say this any other way: sous vide chicken is “chickenier”.
  • It’s easier to prep ahead. You can sous vide your wings, throw them in the fridge, then quickly finish them right before serving.

The cons:

  • This method does take significantly more time. You’re likely used to simply seasoning your wings, maybe a quick coating, deep frying, and tossing in a sauce. For this method, you’ll need to allot at least 3 hours from start to finish.
  • It’s more complex. You’re adding more steps and more to do.

But you know what? It’s worth it!

What You Need to Make Sous Vide Chicken Wings

You do need some extra supplies beyond what you’re used to using for chicken wings when you take the sous vide route. However, if you’re reading this recipe, you likely have most of these items!

  • For sous viding:
    • vacuum sealer. I’ve been using one from Mueller that works well.
    • Immersion circulator, for sous vide cooking.
    • container for sous vide cooking. This is optional, you can use a stockpot. I just like it!
  • If you finish by frying:
  • If you finish in the air fryer, here’s the air fryer I have and love.
  • If you finish on the grill, you’ll need a grill you can get very, very hot.
  • If you finish in the oven, you’ll need a rimmed baking sheet and foil.
  • If you finish on the smoker, you’ll need a smoker! We love our tiny GMG Davy Crockett (city livin’).
Bowl of raw chicken wings and pinch bowl with salt on yellow tiled surface.

For ingredients, you’ll simply need:

  • Chicken wings. I like to get “party wings,” meaning the drumette and flat are separated.
  • Kosher salt. I’m a Diamond Crystal fan.
  • You can play around with sauces and seasonings if you wish, but for a classic buffalo sauce, you’ll want Frank’s Red Hot and butter. We like things extra spicy so we add a few dashes of Tabasco, too.

How to Make Sous Vide Chicken Wings

Okay, let’s get to the good stuff! Although there are more steps than usual, I think you’ll find the process isn’t all that difficult.

Start by seasoning your wings well with kosher salt, and then vacuum seal them so that they’re in a single layer. If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, I’ve got other air removal methods for you.

Quick tip: if you buy wings in bulk, after this step, you can freeze them so you always have ready to sous vide wings waiting in your freezer!

Then for the sous vide water bath! The ideal time and temp for sous vide chicken wings is 160 degrees F for 2 hours.

Vacuum sealed raw chicken wings on yellow tiled surface.
Chicken wings vacuum sealed and in sous vide water bath on kitchen counter.
Vacuum sealed cooked chicken wings on yellow tiled surface.

After sous viding, you can throw the bag in the fridge to finish later or finish right away. If you choose to refrigerate, let them sit at room temp for 30 minutes before finishing if you can. It makes it easier to remove the gelatin from the wings.

Then you’ll remove the wings from the bag and pat thoroughly dry with paper towels or a clean dish towel. THOROUGHLY DRY! As dry as you can get ’em. This will ensure the crispiest of skin.

Cooked chicken wings drying on paper towel on yellow tiled surface.

And then you have your finishing options.

  • To finish on the smoker: 250 degrees F for 2 hours.
  • To finish in the air fryer: 400 degrees F for 10-12 minutes, until crispy. You may need to do this in batches as you’ll want a single layer. Flip half way through cook time.
  • To finish in the oven: 475 degrees F for 10-12 minutes, until crispy. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and arrange wings in a single layer. Flip half way through cook time.
  • To finish on the grill: Make sure the grates are greased. Preheat the grill on high heat for at least 10 minutes. You want that grill HOT! Add the wings, cook for 3-5 minutes until golden brown and crispy, then flip and repeat.
  • To finish in a deep fry: Add canola oil to a heavy bottomed pot like a Dutch oven and heat to 400 degrees F. Add the wings in batches and fry until golden brown, flipping occasionally. Remove to a paper towel or cooling rack lined baking sheet.

Once they’re sous vided and finished, toss them in a buffalo sauce (recipe below) or another sauce of your choosing and serve!

Buffalo wings and blue cheese sauce on white platter on yellow tiled surface.

Sauces for Chicken Wings

I’m a sucker for a buffalo sauce which I make with lots of butter and Frank’s Red Hot (full recipe below), but there are so many fun options!

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I use frozen chicken wings?
    • The short answer is YES, but a few notes:
      • Don’t cook straight from frozen if they’re IQF (individually quick frozen). These will be the wings that are loose together in a big bag. They have a coating that you’ll want to defrost to get off first.
      • It’s best if they’re seasoned before you cook. If you buy chicken wings in bulk, I recommend seasoning with salt, vacuum sealing in smaller batches, then freezing. Then you can go straight from freezer to sous vide without sacrificing a thing!
  • Can I prep these in advance?
    • Yes! To prep in advance, you can pause and freeze or refrigerate after vacuum sealing, or you can throw in the fridge after sous viding. Make sure to finish and enjoy within 5 days of sous viding.
  • How many chicken wings should I make per person?
    • If you’re serving as an appetizer, 3-4 wings per person. If serving for a meal, 6-8 wings per person.
  • Do these wings work for my diet?
    • This recipe will work well for you if you’re gluten-free or following a paleo or keto diet (depending on the sauce).

View the recipe in a step-by-step web story here.

Buffalo wings on white platter, hand dipping wing into blue cheese sauce on yellow background.
5 from 7 reviews

Get the Recipe:

Fall Off the Bone Sous Vide Chicken Wings

Prep Time: 25 mins
Cook Time: 2 hrs 15 mins
Yield: 4 people
You might not think of sous vide when it comes to preparing chicken wings. After all, what can beat a deep fry?! Sous vide hot wings will have you changing your tune. After a swim in the water bath, these wings get crisped up via your method of choice, whether that's traditional deep fry, air fryer, smoker, grill, or oven.

Ingredients
 

For the Wings

  • 16-32 chicken wings, party style, flats and drumettes separated
  • kosher salt
  • Canola oil, if frying

For the Buffalo Sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups Frank's Red Hot
  • 1/2 cup salted butter
  • 3-4 dashes Tabasco, optional

Instructions
 

Sous Vide

  • Preheat water bath using immersion circulator to 160 degrees F.
  • Season chicken wings well with kosher salt. Vacuum seal in single layer or use another air removal method.
  • Add to preheated water bath and cook for 2 hours.
  • When finished cooking, remove from vacuum seal bag and pat completely dry with clean dish towel or paper towels. Be thorough: they should be as dry as possible.

Finishing

  • To finish in a deep fry: Add enough canola oil to be 3 inches deep to a heavy bottomed pot like a Dutch oven and heat to 400 degrees F. Add the wings in batches and fry until golden brown, flipping occasionally. Remove to a paper towel or cooling rack lined baking sheet.
  • To finish in the air fryer: Spray the basket and the chicken with cooking spray and then cook at 400 degrees F for 10-12 minutes, until crispy. You may need to do this in batches as you'll want a single layer. Flip half way through cook time.
  • To finish in the oven: 475 degrees F for 10-12 minutes, until crispy. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and arrange wings in a single layer. Flip half way through cook time.
  • To finish on the grill: Make sure the grates are greased. Preheat the grill on high heat for at least 10 minutes. You want that grill HOT! Add the wings, cook for 3-5 minutes until golden brown and crispy, then flip and repeat.
  • To finish on the smoker: 250 degrees F for 2 hours, until skin is crispy.

Buffalo Sauce

  • To make the buffalo sauce, heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium low heat until melted. Add the Frank's Red Hot and stir. Add a few dashes of Tabasco to your liking for heat level.
  • In a large bowl, add the finished wings. Pour the sauce over them and toss until completely coated.
  • Serve immediately.

Notes

  • Can I use frozen chicken wings?
    • The short answer is YES, but a few notes:
      • Don’t cook straight from frozen if they’re IQF (individually quick frozen). These will be the wings that are loose together in a big bag. They have a coating that you’ll want to defrost to get off first.
      • It’s best if they’re seasoned before you cook. If you buy chicken wings in bulk, I recommend seasoning with salt, vacuum sealing in smaller batches, then freezing. Then you can go straight from freezer to sous vide without sacrificing a thing!
  • Can I prep these in advance?
    • Yes! To prep in advance, you can pause and freeze or refrigerate after vacuum sealing, or you can throw in the fridge after sous viding. Make sure to finish and enjoy within 5 days of sous viding.
  • How many chicken wings should I make per person?
    • If you’re serving as an appetizer, 3-4 wings per person. If serving for a meal, 6-8 wings per person
Cuisine: American
Course: Appetizer, Dinner
Author: Chelsea Cole
Serving: 1serving, Calories: 905kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 71g, Fat: 67g, Saturated Fat: 21g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g, Monounsaturated Fat: 26g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 311mg, Sodium: 3111mg, Potassium: 603mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 744IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 48mg, Iron: 4mg
Did you make this recipe?Mention @aducksoven on Instagram or tag #aducksoven.