How to Make Buffalo Wings

Buffalo wings, as first envisioned by their inventors at the Anchor Bar Restaurant in Buffalo, NY, bear little resemblance to the versions that we have been seeing locally in Portland. Since their invention in 1964, the term “Buffalo” has been expanded to include not just wings, but any dish which combines the flavors of wing sauce and blue cheese, such as chicken fingers, shrimp, and, somewhat unfortunately, pizza. Authentic Buffalo wings aren’t served whole, or boneless, or covered in barbecue sauce, or with ranch dressing; they’re not baked, and for goodness’ sake, they’re not breaded. We think the classic version of the dish is best, with deep-fried chicken wing segments tossed in a spicy sauce, served with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing. Luckily, the classic version is also the simplest to make.

We like to use chicken wings that are a little on the small side. This seems counter-intuitive, but you end up with a much nicer crispy-skin-to-meat ratio. Don’t be afraid to use those big bags of frozen “party wings.” They’re cheap, they’re appropriately scrawny, and you won’t have to split them at the joints. You WILL, however, need to thaw them and bring them to room temperature before frying.

Why? Because getting your wings close to room temperature and patting them very dry is absolutely critical to achieving wing perfection. Before frying, pat the wings with a few paper towels. Then, pat ’em again. You want the skin as dry as possible before frying. Fry in a deep fryer at 350 in small batches, being careful not to overwhelm the fryer. Don’t have a deep fryer? You can still fry them a few at a time in a small saucepan.

Finally, use peanut oil for frying. It’s more expensive, sure, but it tastes much better. It also can be filtered and re-used more often, for your future frying projects.

Traditional Buffalo Wings


  • 1.5 lbs chicken wing segments (about 15 pieces)
  • Peanut oil (for frying)
  • 1/2 12 ounce bottle “Franks Red Hot Original Hot Sauce”
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Celery, split and cut into 3 inch lengths
  • Blue Cheese Dip (recipe follows)


In deep fryer or in small saucepan, preheat heat oil to 350 degrees. Dry chicken wings on paper towels, on a plate. Bring chicken wings to room temperature, and pat dry with more paper towels. The goal here is to get the wings as dry as possible.

Put wings in basket, and drop into hot oil. Fry, covered, at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until cooked through and golden brown.

While wings are in fryer, combine hot sauce, butter, and cayenne pepper in small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, and whisk until combined. Remove from heat and set aside.

When wings are golden brown, remove from fryer.

Drain first batch on paper towels, while you fry the second batch.

When all wings are done cooking and have been drained, add to large bowl. Add Buffalo wing sauce, and toss to combine and coat wings evenly.

Serve with cut celery, blue cheese dip, and a crisp beer. Feed the bones to the dog.

Blue Cheese Dip
Makes about 3/4 cup


  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 ounces crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


Combine all ingredients in small bowl, and chill for at least 20 minutes before serving.


Malcolm Bedell is co-author of the critically acclaimed "Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road." He currently owns and operates the Ancho Honey restaurant in Maine.


  1. If you see someone at Hannaford tomorrow morning with a cart full of mayonnaise and frozen chicken wings (I have everything else in stock), well, that’s me!

    Glad to have found you guys!

  2. This is great! My husband is from Buffalo. His family has always used Frank’s Red Hot. And it’s a definite must to make your own blue cheese dip!
    Their only argument would be that Duff’s wings are better than those at Anchor Bar. Of course, the only way to settle that score for yourself is to go to Buffalo and sample both…

      1. When you go to Buffalo, be sure to check out Mighty Taco(and figure out a duplicate recipe pleaseee!), and Jim’s Steakout(only if you’re drunk though!) Oh, there are so many Buffalo-only foods that I miss so much living in VA now. Platter’s chocolate in North Tonawanda! You have to try the sponge candy, and orange chocolate! Now, I’m hungry 🙂

          1. And of course, check out Niagara Falls while you are there! It’s so amazing, I’m still blown away by it everytime I see it, even though I grew up going there multiple times a year!

  3. You’re right…this is good advice for most dog owners. Our dog, however, has been known to eat whole supermarket rotisserie chickens, and has even hunted, killed and eaten an iguana. One time, we’re pretty sure we saw her eating a piece of another dog.

  4. Super Bowl Sunday and no good wings in sight we headed off to the store and bought a fryer and the ingredients for the wings and I’m so glad that we did. Best wings we have ever had and we have had a lot of wings in our day. Thanks so much for the recipe. Its truely a classic and will remain a tradition in our home.

  5. Living in New Zealand now, and missing all foods Buffalo! This wing recipe is perfect right down to the blue cheese dip.
    Now if I could only re-create Beef on ‘Weck!!!

  6. Malcolm – I’ve had good luck with oven-roasting wings @ 425 for ~45-50 minutes, without the hassles of frying. Wings are the perfect food! Thanks for an amazing food blog (& recipes).

  7. Hey nice article, just have to correct you something there buddy, it is not a good idea to give the bones to the dog, the chicken bones will splinter and cut or get clogged in your dog’s esophagus sending him to the vet for a surgery, besides any remaining sauce in the wing will seriously hurt your dog, combined with the splinters it is the equivalent of you putting hot sauce in a cut, so I would advise you to change your recommendation there, other than that cool article.

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