How To Make Perfect Chicken Wings Every Time, According To A McCormick Chef - Exclusive

The winter months mean frigid temps, dark days, and lots of time spent indoors. But, it also means football Sundays, leading up to the game to end all games — the Super Bowl. And along with game days come all the game day foods, of course. 'Tis the season for nachos, seven layer dip, jalapeño poppers, and the holy grail of Super Bowl snacks, the mighty chicken wing. Whether you're buffalo all the way, like to sweeten things up with barbecue, or reach for some other go-to sauce to toss them up, you can pretty much never go wrong pairing a big basket of wings with the big game. That is, as long as they're made well.

And if there's anyone who knows chicken wings, it's chef Kevan Vetter. As a culinary expert for McCormick, he spends his days working with spices and brands like Frank's RedHot, perfecting products and recipes for game days and more. His wing expertise is personal, too. "I eat wings once a week, so I am a hardcore wing fan as well," he told Mashed in an exclusive interview, where he also shared some of his top tips and techniques for making this ultimate game day treat. Even if your team doesn't win the Super Bowl, your wings will be winning every time.

For the best results, fry your chicken wings

There are several methods for making wings at home. But McCormick chef Kevan Vetter noted in a Mashed interview that, for truly perfect, sports-bar style wings, you gotta fry them. "If you can, deep fried is awesome, that's how you typically get them in restaurants," Vetter said. If you're not down for the cholesterol or the mess involved, or don't want to invest in a deep fryer, Vetter added your next best option is to "try an air fryer, because that way you just get amazingly crispy wings."

However, if all you've got to rely on is your trusty old oven, you can still get some delicious chicken wings that way, too. Vetter cautioned to be sure to "use high heat," adding that he's "typically cooking wings at 450. It really helps to get that nice crispy skin." Another tip: "If you have a baking rack, put the wings on your baking rack, that helps to circulate the heat all the way around the wings to help really get that nice, super crispy texture that you want."

Vetter usually bakes his wings "anywhere from 30 minutes to 35 minutes" and added that if you are using a baking rack, "It does help to go in and flip them over" to ensure the skin gets crispy all around. If you're baking your wings directly on a sheet pan, the trick is to "put them on the bottom rack," said Vetter. "And then I finish them on the top rack ... that way you're getting the bottom crispy, then you put them up top, and get them kind of crispy from there."

How to best flavor chicken wings

When it comes to making the perfect chicken wings, the flavors are just as important as the cooking process. A perfectly crispy fried wing can easily be ruined if it's not seasoned or sauced correctly.

For starters, seasoning your wings beforehand is never a bad idea. "A little salt and pepper is good," said McCormick chef and resident chicken wing expert Kevan Vetter. If you've got a go-to meat rub at home, don't be afraid to whip that out either. "We have a rub that I use at home all the time, it's our Grill Mates Sweet & Smoky Rub, so that adds just a little bit of extra flavor," Vetter suggested, adding that "because there's a touch of sugar in the rub, [it helps] with the crisping process." Of course, keeping it simple is perfectly fine, too. "If you're a purist and just want straight up Frank's, a little salt and pepper never hurts, and then just get them crispy and toss them in the sauce."

Speaking of sauce, for the best results, Vetter said he prefers "to wait all the way until the end" to baste his wings. "You really want to get that nice crispy skin on the outside, then when you take them out ... just toss them in your sauce of choice." As for the ultimate, finger-licking sauce, Vetter added that you can't go wrong with Frank's RedHot. "Whether it's original, or some people like the mild wing sauce, and the garlic buffalo is a hit too. There's a Frank's for everybody, for sure."

For information about Frank's RedHot's Super Bowl campaign, featuring an edible NFT, visit Plus check out game day recipes and more at