How are we feeling about football being back?
Thrilled? Not happy? Could care less either way?
We are big football fans in this house. I genuinely care about the sport and can actually hold a conversation about it, unlike so many women I know. And I don’t mean that as a dig AT ALL…I just happen to have a genuine interest in it. No shade at all if you don’t! My dad raised three girls to love and appreciate sports – I think mainly so he had someone to talk to about it all! Haha.
I am the first to admit that I get equally excited for the game day snacks as I do about the actual games. And for some reason, like many others, we often gravitate toward buffalo chicken themed snacks.
I have made buffalo chicken version of way too many things. Like this pasta salad. Or creamed corn. Or pot pie. Or pizza. I AM OBSESSED with the flavors. And that might actually be a bit of an understatement. I never tire of buffalo-flavored food.
One thing I rarely make at home, though, are actual chicken wings. So, I thought it was high time that I shared a buffalo chicken wing recipe with you all.
Except I couldn’t just share any ol’ chicken wing recipe with you. It had to be something good. Something with a twist. Of course!
That’s how these hot honey buffalo wings came to be! Spicy, sweet, crunchy, juicy deliciousness in every bite.
And instead of serving them with regular ol’ blue cheese or ranch dressing, I whipped up a homemade cucumber ranch dip to go alongside these babies!
The resulting platter is as finger-licking good as it is colorful.
I’m the first to admit when a recipe I share is high maintenance. This one is absolutely high maintenance. BUT! Most of the work is inactive patience time, which actually can be the hardest part of a recipe, in my opinion. The reason this recipe is a little bit high maintenance is because we’re not frying these wings.
Nope! We’re oven baking them! And in order to get crispy, juicy, taste-like-fried chicken wings, it takes a few extra steps.
The first being brining. We’re going to start by soaking the wings in a hot sauce and buttermilk mixture for a few hours, juuuust to ensure that the wings don’t try out on us in the oven. This step is worth it every single time. If a recipe tells you to brine your Thanksgiving turkey, you should do it. If I tell you to brine your chicken wings, trust me. It makes a huge difference.
After the wings have soaked in the brine, we make a quick and easy breading mixture to toss them in. Once the wings are breaded, they go BACK in the fridge to hang out for a bit. I find that breading things like this and then letting the breading set up a bit in the fridge helps it to stick AND with the resulting texture. This helps make things crispier!
Another step that takes more time, but I promise that it’s worth it in the end.
After the breading has time to set up in the fridge, we bake the wings! And that part is simple enough. We bake them, flip them halfway through, and bake them some more until they are golden brown and crisp. Finally an easy step!
While the wings bake, I make the sauce AND the cucumber ranch, if I didn’t already. Both require a few ingredients but neither is complicated at all. For the sauce, I warm butter, buffalo hot sauce, and honey together in a small pot. That’s it.
For the ranch, I like to make my own from scratch and toss in some freshly grated cucumber for brightness. The cucumber adds an amazing amount of refreshing flavor to the ranch, and I think it might be one of my favorite new ways to eat one of my favorite condiments. If you want to save time, buy your favorite bottled ranch dressing and mix in some grated cucumber. Easy peasy!
Once the wings come out of the oven, we gently toss them in the hot honey buffalo sauce until well coated and immediately serve them up with the cucumber ranch and some fresh veggies for good measure. I personally LOVE carrots and celery with my wings, and I am always the person ordering extra at restaurants. If its not your thing, just skip them!
These wings have everything I love. A juicy, succulent inside, a crispy and flavorful breading, and a spicy sweet sauce that coats them oh so perfectly. The delicious ranch is really just the cherry on top here!
They are ideal for eating on game day…or any time, really! They’re THAT good.Print
These Hot Honey Buffalo Wings with Cucumber Ranch are baked and not fried, but you’d never know! Succulent, juicy wings with a crispy and flavorful breading get tossed in the most addicting spicy-sweet buffalo sauce and served with a homemade cucumber ranch! I walk you through exactly how to get that like-fried texture and flavor at home (without all the mess and stress of deep frying). These are perfect for game day, or really, anytime! They’re THAT good.
For the Brine:
- 3 cups buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons buffalo hot sauce
- 2 lbs chicken wing pieces
For the Breading:
- 2 cups flour
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Nonstick cooking spray (I like avocado or olive oil for this)
For the Sauce:
- ⅓ cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup buffalo hot sauce
- ⅓ cup honey
For the Cucumber Ranch:
- ½ an English cucumber
- ⅓ cup mayo
- ⅓ cup Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
- ⅓ cup buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dried dill
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon dried chives
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
Fresh veggies, for serving (we like celery and carrot sticks)
To Brine the Wings:
- At least 2 hours before you want to cook the wings, mix together the buttermilk, salt, and buffalo sauce in a large bowl. Add the wings and turn them gently so each piece is coated in the buttermilk.
- Cover the bowl and set in the fridge for 90 minutes. At this point, I like to prep the cucumber ranch dressing (recipe below).
To Bread the Wings:
- On a rimmed baking sheet, whisk together the flour, spices, salt, and pepper. Line a second baking sheet with foil and top with a wire rack. Spray the rack liberally with nonstick cooking spray.
- Remove the wings from the buttermilk, allowing the excess to drip off. Dredge each wing through the flour mixture, tossing and turning them so that they are evenly coated. Shake off the excess flour and place each wing on the wire rack on the foil-lined baking sheet. Continue until all the wings are breaded.
- Place the baking sheet of breaded wings into the fridge to set for 30 minutes. This allows the breading to firm up a little bit before cooking.
To Cook the Wings:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Remove the baking sheet of wings from the fridge and spritz them lightly with cooking spray.
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
- Flip the wings over, spray again with the cooking spray, and bake for another 20 minutes.
- Increase the oven temperature to 425°F and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until the wings are crispy and golden.
For the Sauce:
- While the wings are baking, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Once melted, stir in the buffalo hot sauce and honey and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer.
- Keep it warm over low heat until you are ready to serve, stirring frequently.
For the Cucumber Ranch:
HINT: Make this ahead. I like to do it a day ahead or even while the wings are brining in the fridge.
- Grate the cucumber on a box grater. Place the grated cucumber in a mesh strainer and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of salt over the cucumber. Allow to sit for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mix together the other dressing ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- After 15 minutes, squeeze and press all the extra moisture out of the cucumbers. Add the grated cucumber to the dressing and stir to mix it in. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
- This dressing can be made ahead and stored in the fridge. It should keep in the fridge for a week.
- Add the baked wings to a large bowl. Pour over roughly half of the hot honey buffalo sauce and gently toss the wings in the sauce so they are evenly coated. Add as much additional sauce as you would like.
- Transfer the wings to a serving platter, alongside the cucumber ranch, any additional hot honey sauce, and fresh veggies. Serve immediately.
- Prep Time: 2 hours (mostly inactive time)
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: appetizers
Keywords: hot honey buffalo chicken wings, hot honey chicken wings, cucumber ranch, homemade cucumber ranch dressing, game day food, football food, football snacks, homemade buffalo wings