Healthy Gluten-Free Buffalo Chicken Wings are possible!
These gluten-free sweet and spicy chicken wings are oven-baked with the skin removed, resulting in a healthier meal rather than the traditional deep-fried version with the skin left on.
The glaze is made with butter and either a store-bought Frank’s RedHot® sauce or Texas-Pete® sauce or my homemade hot sauce version. Reduce the amount of butter if you prefer to lower the fat content slightly.
The blue cheese dipping sauce is made using strong blue cheese, low-fat if possible, and low-fat yoghurt and milk.
In combination with plenty of celery sticks and a generous bowl of salad, this meal is good to go for those looking for some healthier meals to eat.
So, where did Buffalo chicken wings originate from?
In 1964, they were created by Teressa Bellissimo at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York. Her son, Dominic asked her to cook anything she could find for some of his hungry friends that unexpectantly showed up one late night. She came up with this magical combination of fried spicy chicken wings glazed in what she called Buffalo sauce, plus blue cheese sauce and celery sticks to go with it. The addition of celery was probably her healthy touch to ensure some veggies were in the dish! Genius!
If you are intrigued to know more, here is a good write up about how Buffalo wings became famous.
What makes this recipe healthier?
Oven-baking the chicken wings will greatly reduce the fat content compared to deep-frying. Despite it taking longer to cook in the oven, the chicken wings still come out juicy and crispy with tons of flavour.
By removing the skin, the chicken wings are immediately lower in saturated fats. When removing the skin, except to spend some time to carefully remove the skin in combination with kitchen scissors and a small knife, plus some occasional tugs with your hands. Alternatively, if your local butcher is willing to remove the skin for you, then this recipe will be quick to prepare.
How do you remove the skin from the chicken wing?
Remove the skin in the following order:
- Cutaway the skin flap between the upper and lower wing.
- Cut the grizzle bits running along the wingtip and any stray fatty clumps.
- Remove the skin from the upper wing part by using a knife and tugging the skin with your hands.
- Finally, remove the skin on the lower wing part. I find this section the hardest to remove, but it will come off eventually using a small knife. If you can afford to have some skin fat in your diet, leave this section with the skin on. After all, it is only a small amount of skin.
Some important steps for perfect Buffalo chicken wings:
Coating the chicken wings
Adding baking powder (NOT baking soda which has a horrible taste) will make your chicken wings crispy when oven-baked. Double-check that your baking powder is gluten-free on the food label before using it.
It helps to use a plastic or paper bag to coat the chicken wings in the seasoned spice mixture. This ensures even coating.
Cooking the chicken wings
Either use a large roasting tray or several smaller trays to roast the chicken wings for 40 mins, flipping them over halfway through. If you notice your chicken wings taking on too much colour before 40 mins, remove them to start glazing them in the wing glazing sauce.
Return them to the oven for one final time of 10 mins. Should you like a crispier finish, flash them under a moderate grill for a few minutes on each side.
Store-bought versus Homemade Hot Sauce
If you have the time and plenty of chillis and a big bottle of vinegar, making my homemade hot sauce is unbelievably easy and only takes under 30 minutes. Besides tasting pretty close to the real thing, making it homemade will give you double the amount of sauce for half the price of one of the well-known hot sauces. The added bonus of making your own hot sauce is that you can adjust the level of spiciness to your liking.
Can I add other chicken cuts?
Wing meat is the sweetest part of the chicken which explains why it is a top choice for Buffalo wings. There isn’t much meat offered, but there seems to be a satisfying feeling, searching for more meat between the bones and ligaments. If you prefer more meat, I would recommend using chicken drummettes which have a meatier upper leg. A great bonus is that the skin is much easier to remove compared to the wing.
Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce
Healthy Gluten-Free Buffalo Chicken Wings
- Large roasting tray
- Small blender for the dipping sauce
BUFFALO CHICKEN WINGS
- 18 chicken wings, skin removed
- 60 g rice flour
- 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder (NOT baking soda)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp white pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper (add more if you like your wings spicier)
- 100 g butter
- 250-300 ml store-bought or homemade hot sauce
- ½ tbsp cornflour Known as cornflour in the UK and corn or maize starch in the USA
BLUE CHEESE DIPPING SAUCE
- 150 g blue cheese (low-fat or light)
- 2 tbsp low-fat plain yoghurt
- 4-5 tbsp low-fat milk or buttermilk (amount will depend on how solid the blue cheese is, more liquid may be needed to create the sauce)
- ½ tsp white pepper
- 2 tbsp snipped fresh chives
- 1 bunch celery, ends removed
- 10 red radishes
- Fresh garden side salad
PREPARING THE CHICKEN WINGS
- Remove the skin off the chicken wings and pat dry with paper towels.
- In a clean, medium-sized plastic or paper bag, add the rice flour, baking powder and seasonings. Shake the bag to mix the ingredients well.
- Add the wings to the bag and shake well until they are coated.
- Place the wings on a wire rack over a tray and chill for one hour. This is important to absorb the seasoning and dry out the coating, so they crisp up nicely in the oven.
OVEN-BAKING THE CHICKEN WINGS
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°C.
- Lightly oil a large roasting tray and transfer the wings from the wire rack to the tray.
- Roast for 20 minutes.
- Turn the wings over and roast for a further 20 minutes. TIP: Start preparing the wing glaze now after turning the wings over.
- Brush the wing glaze over the chicken wings or immerse each wing directly into the pan to glaze more thoroughly.
- Return the wings to the bake for a final 10 minutes.
- If you like to have more crispy bits on your wings, flash them under a medium grill for 5 mins, adding more glaze if needed.
- Combine the butter and hot sauce in a small pan over low heat.
- After 10 mins, mix the cornflour with some of the glaze in a small bowl to create a slurry. Add this to the glaze mixture.
- Leave to simmer gently for another 5 mins, stirring every now and then. Don't let the glaze thicken too much, it needs to be of a dipping consistancy. If the glaze was made earlier, remove it from the heat, cover and set aside. Reheat gently right before glazing the wings.
BLUE CHEESE DIPPING SAUCE
- Bring the blue cheese to room temperature and break it down with a fork into crumbled pieces.
- Add the crumbled blue cheese, yoghurt, milk and white pepper to a blender and pulse several times until it is smooth and well-blended.
- Transfer the sauce to a serving bowl. Add the fresh chives and mix in, leaving some extra chives to sprinkle on top of the sauce as a garnish.
- Serve the chicken wings immediately with the blue cheese dipping sauce, celery sticks, a side salad and any spare glaze.
- Provide finger bowls, a pile of paper napkins and plenty of drinks if you made them extra-spicy!
- Can be made ahead of time and reheated in the oven
- Wings and glazing sauce keep for 3 days chilled
- Suitable to freeze once coated before roasting stage
- Unsuitable to freeze once cooked.
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