The Baking Soda Hack For Crunchy Chicken Wings

A perfectly cooked wing should have a delightful, crispy exterior while retaining a juicy and tender interior. Over the years, cooks have come up with various methods promising to deliver that exact crispy result. Some recommend double frying, others speak of a cornstarch crust, and then there are a few who swear by air frying. But have you ever thought of using baking soda? 

Yes, that humble pantry staple we often use for baking and cleaning purposes can be your secret weapon for achieving the ultimate crunch in your chicken wings. The magic lies in its alkalinity. When you apply a touch of baking soda to the skin of the chicken wing, it raises the pH level. This slight increase causes the peptide bonds in the chicken's skin to break down, leading to a faster browning when it's cooked.

Furthermore, when baking soda is exposed to the moist environment of the poultry skin, it begins to produce tiny carbon dioxide bubbles. These small air bubbles get trapped in the skin and when the wings are cooked, the bubbles expand, thereby creating a beautifully crispy texture. Thus, the combination of accelerated browning and carbon dioxide production results in a wing that boasts a deeply crunchy exterior.

How to use baking soda for the crunchiest chicken wings ever

Begin by patting your chicken wings dry with paper towels, since removing as much moisture as possible from the wings is key to ensuring maximum crispiness. In a separate bowl, combine the baking soda with your preferred seasoning. Just use a little baking soda, about one teaspoon for every pound of chicken wings will do. Remember the goal is not coating the wings but rather, creating that alkaline environment on the skins so they crisp faster.

Add the chicken wings to the spice mixture and toss to spread evenly. Once coated, place the wings on a rack over a baking sheet and let them rest in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight. This resting phase allows the baking soda to work its magic, breaking down the proteins in the skin.

Now proceed to cook your wings as usual. Whether you're baking, frying, or air frying them, ensure that they are cooked until golden brown and deliciously crispy. Keep in mind that due to the alkaline environment created by the baking soda, the wings might brown faster than usual, so keep a close eye on them to avoid overcooking. Once cooked, transfer your wings to a plate and serve with your choice of dipping sauce or glaze.