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Quick Pan-Fried Chicken Wings

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Learn how to make pan-fried chicken wings with crispy skin and juicy, tender meat. This is a simple recipe for stovetop chicken wings, using simple ingredients, and ready in about 30 minutes.

close up brown chicken wings fried in a pan.

Cooking chicken wings on the stovetop without deep frying them is super easy. Frying chicken wings in a pan means that there will be less mess and less fat involved. And the results are excellent. These crispy, spicy pan-fried chicken wings are perfect for serving as an appetizer or as a quick and delicious dinner.

All you need are a large skillet, wings, and some spices. And when it comes to condiments, don’t stress about using my mixture (although it tastes great); to make cooking even faster, you can use any bought spice mixture you like. For more pan-fried chicken, see Juicy Pan-Fried Chicken Breast, Cast-Iron Chicken Breast, or Cast-Iron Chicken Thighs.

And if you like to learn more ways to cook wings, check out How to Cook Frozen Chicken Wings and How to Boil Chicken Wings.

Recipe ingredients

collage of two pictures of a few raw chicken wings and a bowl of spices.
  • Chicken wings split at the joint.
  • Spices: fine sea salt or Kosher salt, black pepper, smoked and sweet paprika, garlic powder, chili flakes.
  • Alternative spices: anything you like, see the FAQ.
  • Oil: use frying oil with a high smoking point, like canola oil, vegetable, or avocado oil. Don’t use olive oil.

Step-by-step instructions

  • Prepare wings:
    • Split them into wingettes and drumettes if using whole wings.
    • Find the right spot between the bones, where your knife will quickly go through the joint. Pick up the wing holding the drumette in your hand, stretching the joint open. The wingette part should still be on the working surface. Go with the knife through the joint; you should not encounter any serious resistance.
    • If there is any resistance, you didn’t hit the right spot. Try again, a few millimeters more on the right or left of the joint. The knife should go easily through the skin and between the bones.
collage of two pictures of splitting chicken wings into flats and drumettes.
  • Dry the meat with a paper kitchen towel (1) and place them in a large mixing bowl.
  • Spice mix: Mix salt, pepper, sweet and smoked paprika, garlic powder, and chili flakes in a small bowl.
  • Combine: Sprinkle the seasoning mix over the meat pieces and toss well (2).
collage of two pictures of drying and seasoning chicken wings.
  • Pan-fry the chicken wings: Heat a large cast-iron skillet or frying pan over high heat. Add the oil, place the seasoned chicken in the skillet, and turn the heat down to medium (3).
  • Cook for 4-5 minutes without moving; after that, you will be able to release them from the skillet without breaking the skin.
  • Flip them using tongs and turn the heat down to medium-low. Cook for another 7-8 minutes, then flip again. (4).
collage of two pictures of raw and then cooked wings in a pan.
  • Continue cooking for another 8 minutes, flipping the pieces every 2 minutes to ensure they don’t get too dark (5).
  • Sprinkle with parsley (optional) and serve immediately (6).
collage of two pictures of cooking chicken wings in a pan.

How long to pan-fry chicken wings?

They will need about 20 minutes. The smaller pieces will be ready by now; if some parts are larger (especially the drumettes), cook them for a few extra minutes. To prevent the skin from getting too dark, turn down the heat a bit more and flip the meat frequently.

Check doneness with a meat thermometer (Amazon affiliate link); the internal temperature should be 75°C/ 165°F (Note 2). If they are not done yet, cook them for another few minutes and check again.

Expert Tips

  • You will need a large pan to cook all the pieces in one go; my cast iron skillet has a diameter of 30 cm/12 inches. If the pan is not large enough, pan fry the meat in batches or use two pans.
  • Please don’t wash the chicken parts; this will only spread the bacteria all over the sink without actually killing it on the meat. The bacteria will only be destroyed during the cooking process.

The USDA – Food Safety and Inspection Service says: “Washing raw poultry before cooking it is not recommended. Bacteria in raw meat and poultry juices can be spread to other food, utensils, and surfaces. This is called cross-contamination. Rinsing or soaking does not destroy bacteria. Only cooking will destroy any bacteria that might be present on fresh chicken.”

Recipe FAQ

Can I use another seasoning?

I often use bought chicken seasoning, Cajun spice mix, lemon pepper seasoning, or curry powder.

Can I make them in advance?

You can season them and refrigerate them for 4 to 12 hours, and bring them to room temperature for about 15-30 minutes before cooking. Only cook them before serving, leftovers are great, but freshly pan-fried chicken wings are better.

What if I don’t have a meat thermometer?

If you don’t have a meat thermometer, tear the meat of a wing off the bone, it should be completely white with no traces of red or pink.

Can I coat them with sauce?

Once cooked, add a few tablespoons of your favorite wing sauce (hot sauce, bbq sauce, buffalo sauce, teriyaki sauce). Stir to coat and turn in the pan for another minute.

How to store?

Refrigerate the pan-seared chicken wings for 4-5 days in an airtight container.
Freeze for 3-4 months in an airtight container or freezer bag.

How to reheat?

Oven (preheated) at 180°C/350°F on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper for 10-12 minutes or until hot.
Air fryer at 190°C/375°F for 5-6 minutes or until hot, shaking halfway through.

How to serve pan-fried chicken wings?

Serve immediately as an appetizer or a main dish. These party wings are perfect with spicy sauce or blue cheese sauce for Game Day or another festive occasion.

Serve the stovetop-fried chicken wings with your favorite side dishes. Try a Simple White Cabbage Salad or Coleslaw, the Green Salad with Yogurt Dressing, Oven Baked Potato Wedges with Chili Dip, Garlic Parmesan Mashed Potatoes, Smashed Potatoes, and so on.

pan with chicken wings close up.

More chicken wing recipes

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small pan with cooked party wings.

Quick Pan-Fried Chicken Wings

Learn how to make pan-fried chicken wings with crispy skin and juicy, tender meat. A simple recipe for stovetop chicken wings, using simple ingredients, and ready in about 30 minutes.
5 from 5 votes
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Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 341kcal
Author: Adina

Equipment

  • Large frying pan

Ingredients 

  • 2 lb chicken wings split, 900 g, Note 1
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt or Kosher Note 2
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika Note 3
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon crushed chili flakes to taste
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

Instructions

  • Prepare wings: Split the chicken wings into flats (wingettes) and drumettes if they are not already divided (Note 4). Dry them with a kitchen towel. Place in a large bowl.
  • Seasoning: Mix salt, pepper, sweet and smoked paprika, garlic powder, and chili flakes in a small bowl.
  • Combine: Sprinkle the seasoning mix over the wings and toss well.
  • Fry: Heat a large cast-iron skillet or frying pan over high heat. Add the oil and the wings with the meatier skin side down and turn the heat down to medium. Cook for 4-5 minutes without moving; after that, you will be able to release the wings from the skillet without breaking the skin.
  • Flip the wings using tongs and turn the heat down to medium-low. Cook for another 7-8 minutes, then flip again.
  • Continue cooking for another 8 minutes, flipping the wings every 2 minutes to ensure the skin doesn’t get too dark.
  • Total cooking time: 20-25 minutes. Check after 18-20 minutes; the smaller pieces will be ready by now; if some parts are larger (especially the drumettes), cook them for a few extra minutes.
  • Check doneness with a meat thermometer; the internal temperature should be 75°C/ 165°F (Note 5).
  • Optional: Once the chicken wings are cooked, add a few tablespoons of your favorite sauce, stir to coat, and turn in the pan for another minute or two.

Notes

  1. 2 lbs are about 8-9 whole chicken wings or 16-18 split ones.
  2. If using table salt, you will need less; it is more potent.
  3. I use sweet smoked paprika; if hot, start with ¼ teaspoon and add more to taste.
  4. Split the wings: Find the right spot between the bones, where your knife will quickly go through the joint. Pick up the wing holding the drumette in your hand, stretching the joint open. The flat part should still be on the working surface. Go with the knife through the joint; you should not encounter any serious resistance. If there is any resistance, you didn’t hit the right spot. Try again, a few millimeters more on the right or left of the joint. The knife should g easily through the skin and between the bones.
  5. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, tear the meat of a wing off the bone, it should be completely white with no traces of red or pink.

Nutrition

Calories: 341kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 12g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 1270mg | Potassium: 227mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 681IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 1mg
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