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The Best Crispy and Low Carb Chicken Wings Recipe

If you’re making your Keto Chicken Wings in your oven or air fryer, you’re doing yourself, your friends, and your family a HUGE disservice!

Believe it or not, when you search for low-carb chicken wing recipes you get a lot of oven-baked and air fryer recipes that will leave you with subpar and unfulfilling results.

A dark plate of crispy and naked chicken wings with a bowl of ranch, celery sticks, and carrot sticks.
These are our 2 Favorite Low Carb Chicken Wing Bases to Apply our Wing Sauce to!

But fear not because I ACTUALLY have the answers you’re searching for!  This recipe is going to be your new, go-to keto chicken wing recipe that you can eat guilt-free on a low carb diet.

But enough chit-chat, let’s get to clearing up some of the most commonly asked questions.

The Correct Way to Cook Low Carb Chicken Wings

First off, stop air frying and oven-baking your chicken wings. You won’t get the professional, restaurant-quality you’re looking for.

Instead, break out your deep fryer and preheat it to 350-375 degrees Fahrenheit. While you follow the rest of the steps below.

For reference, this is the deep fryer we use.

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Preparing the Chicken Wings

If you want to have a deliciously flavored chicken wing, you’ll have to dry off the exterior of the wing. We have found that the quickest and easiest way is to use a paper towel and pat them.

Low Carb Breading Option to Help Your Wing Sauce Stick

If you want a breaded chicken wing and want to keep it low carb you definitely want to stay away from traditional flour.

Most people bread their food on a keto diet with some type of nut flour like almond flour. The problem you’ll indefinitely run into is that nut flours will burn and it isn’t pretty and the smell is awful.

This is where Whey Protein Isolate Powder comes in to save the day! You’re probably thinking the same thing I did when I saw this somewhere on the internet. But I thought I’d try it because I was burned out on almond flour and it was the best experiment! And it is 0 grams of carbs so you’re in no danger of breaking your carb limit.

Whey Protein Isolate Powder turns a nice golden brown and will not burn no matter how much you try. It’s as dummy-proof as anything food-wise can be.

Two things you’ll want to remember are to still season your wings when using protein powder and to get Unflavored Whey Protein Isolate! I’m not sure what Chocolate or Fruity Pebble protein powder would taste like on your Chicken Wings but I’m sure there will be someone out there that loves it. LOL

a crispy chicken wing up close, fried to golden brown and dipped in ranch dressing.
The Secret to Low Carb Breading for Chicken Wings is Whey Protein Isolate Powder!

The Best and Easiest Way to Season Your Chicken Wings

When you season your wings, you’ll want to use a large bowl to put them in and then use a seasoning of your choice. The 4 must-have spices to have in your seasoning are Garlic Powder, Salt, Black Pepper, and Onion Powder. If you have those 4 at a minimum in your seasoning mix you’re off to a great start!

Sprinkle the seasoning mix or cajun seasoning mix over the wings and toss them around in the bowl until they’re well-coated.

The advantage to using a large mixing bowl is you can coat them very well while not wasting a ton of seasoning like we all do when we try to coat them on one side and then flip them over and coat them again on a baking sheet. And of course, you’re going to miss some spots by trying to coat one side and then the other.

Trust me, use a large mixing bowl for both our sakes.

Load your Deep Fryer Basket, but Don’t Overload it!

Every deep fryer’s capacity is different. And because of that one person could load 1.5 pounds of wings into their deep fryer and another may only be able to load 1/2 pound of wings.

The main thing you want to watch out for is overloading it and dropping the oil’s temperature too much. You want the oil to stay as close to the preheated temperature as possible for the best crisping and fastest cooking.

After all, the Maillard Reaction is what you’re going for in keeping that temperature high since it will give you all of your base flavors. What you don’t really get in the air fryer or in the oven is the Maillard Reaction because they cannot dehydrate the skin of the chicken wings as fast as a deep fryer can.

That quick dehydration and heating of the exterior of the wing to above 250 degrees Fahrenheit is the deep fryer’s massive advantage over the oven and air fryer.

Our general rule of thumb when using our deep fryer is to load the chicken wings side by side in only 1 layer. We do not stack them which would definitely overload the deep fryer and decrease the oil’s temperature far too much.

Watch the Temperature, Deep-Fried Wings cook fast!

Since we preheat our deep fryer to about 375 degrees Fahrenheit, we start checking the internal temperature at about 6-7 minutes with an instant-read thermometer.

Once the internal temperature hits 165 degrees Fahrenheit we take them out immediately and place them on a paper towel.

When you place anything that has been fried in oil, it’s best to place the food on paper towels because they will wick away the excess oil versus putting them on a cooling or baking rack where a lot of the excess oil will stay on the food giving it a greasy texture and flavor.

It’s Time to Season the Wings…Again!

Yes, we’re going to season our wings again. When you deep fry anything, some of the seasonings will be lost in the process. That is why chefs will season before and after they cook food.

We’re going to use the same process as before and place them in a large mixing bowl, lightly dust them, toss them around and get ready for the main event. The saucing!

A close up of a fried chicken wing dipped in ranch and golden brown.
The Right Cajun Seasoning will give your Chicken Wings all of the Flavor they could possibly need!

The Finale – Saucing Your Wings

This is our family’s favorite part because we can all personalize our low carb chicken wings!

One thing we didn’t know about typical wing sauce and buffalo wing sauce is that they’re 0 carbs or next to 0 carbs. And even if you aren’t going for low carb chicken wings, they’re sugar-free chicken wings!

So whether you’re feeling like parmesan chicken wings, buffalo wings, or just a well-seasoned naked wing, you can have it!

Pull out your large bowl again as it is almost as essential as the deep fryer in this recipe since it makes things so convenient and easy to clean up.

Place the wings inside and put the wing sauce of your choice on them but do it sparingly at first so you can judge just how covered you want them after your first tossing to combine your crispy wings and sauce. If you want more, go ahead and add it after the first coating until you get it just right.

Saucing the wings is one of our favorite parts of the process. It’s one of those oddly satisfying things once you see them all nice and neatly coated. 🙂

If you loved this recipe, don’t miss out on these delicious Low Carb Recipes!

Are Chicken Wings Low in Carbohydrates?

Yes!  That is the best part of chicken wings in my humble opinion.  They should just be called “no-carb” chicken wings, not low carb chicken wings.  

Whole chicken wings are literally just bone, fat, and protein.  Literally zero carbs!  There is no need to calculate how many grams of net carbs which is just wonderful because that can get exhausting trying to keep up with all of that.  

That makes chicken wings an amazing keto meal.

Are Chicken Wings Good for a Keto Diet?

They sure are for all of the reasons listed above and because they’re so easy to make on game days for a large amount of your keto lifestyle friends.  

Most people that are on a low carb diet are in search of foods that have both fat and protein in them so they’ll stay full longer and stay away from the dreaded carbs.  I’m not against carbs completely because I think you need some, especially if you exercise intensely, but that’s a discussion for another day.  

I’m just saying that crispy chicken wings don’t have to have any carbs IF they are prepared correctly.

What is the Secret to Making Chicken Wings Crispy?

This is where I will fiercely disagree with the majority of the other chicken wing posts out there and I’ll tell you why you should too.  

Many recipes that claim they’re “crispy keto chicken wings recipes” will have you placing them in your air fryer basket or bake them in your preheated oven and say they’re “truly” crispy.  As if they’re trying to use the Jedi Mind Trick on you and somehow convince you that “crispy” and “not crispy” are somehow the same thing.  

When it comes to crispy, it’s an objective fact.  It’s crispy or it’s not.  There isn’t a “sort of” crispy.

Now to the secret of making chicken wings.  There are actually 2, you must pat them dry with a paper towel and you absolutely must deep fry them.  If you don’t do these 2 things, you can say bye-bye to crispy skin.  

The reason you pat them dry with a paper towel is that they cannot have too much moisture on the outside and therefore prevent or delay the Maillard reaction from happening.  

Simply put, the Maillard reaction is what gives you the flavor on meats and turns them golden brown.  If you’ve ever boiled chicken you’ll remember it just results in white chicken, not golden brown and full of flavor.  Now you won’t be able to nor will you want to dehydrate the wings completely because you want your keto wings to be juicy on the inside still.

For the 2nd secret, I’ll use Wingstop and Buffalo Wild Wings as examples.  

Wouldn’t you think that restaurants as large as these would know the secrets to making crispy chicken wings?  Well, they do because they deep fry their wings, and if we’re honest with ourselves, we know we’re looking for restaurant-quality results in our own kitchen.  

I can tell you that some of my favorite food memories from when I was younger are when my parents and grandparents took out their Fry Daddies and made us chicken fried steak, french fries, or chicken nuggets.  

Deep frying is a technique used too little and we’re bringing it back, in a moderately healthy way!  🙂

A mound of fried low carb chicken wings on a black plate served with a bowl of blue cheese dressing.
Wings with Cajun Seasoning and Whey Protein Isolate Powder are Great Canvasses for your Wing Sauce!

What is the Best Cooking Method for Chicken Wings?

Unequivocally deep frying is the best cooking method for chicken wings.  Ovens and air fryers can get chicken wings partially crispy but there is just no substitute for direct contact with the oil in your deep fryer.  

The heated oil will cause the water on the surface of the skin to evaporate and rise to the surface in the form of an air bubble.  That reaction is what you see when you first place food into the air fryer and the crazy amount of bubbling that ensues on the surface of the oil.  

The immediate evaporation of water sets off the Maillard reaction on the chicken wing’s skin which causes the browning and creates the flavor that you get at a good quality restaurant.  Deep frying is similar to searing other meats, it creates a kind of seal on the exterior so the juices can’t easily escape which leaves you with an amazingly juicy chicken wing.  

Is it Better to Fry or Bake Hot Wings?

It is better to fry hot wings if your end goal is to have restaurant-quality wings.  Baking hot wings are definitely still edible but they’ll never give you the crispy chicken skin that the vast majority of us are going for in you’re throwing a big game day party!

The reason baking hot wings are not the best way is because before the skin can start to get crispy, the water inside and outside of the wing will slowly rise in temperature as your wing rises in temperature.  This in effect boils your wings rather than crisps up the exterior like we all ideally want.  

In order to get extra crispy wings, the oil, not the air from the oven or air fryer, has to be in direct contact with the wing so it can immediately crisp the skin by evaporating the excess water on the wing.

So in my opinion, oven-baked wings are a hard pass because there is no substitute for buffalo chicken wings and garlic parmesan wings that have been correctly prepared before adding those delectable sauces!

Delicious chicken wings up close, showing the seasoning dry rub.

Do you use Baking Soda or Powder for Chicken Wings?

Neither!  Baking powder is used when people are trying to make crispy baked chicken wings or air fryer chicken wings.  The reason it is used is to help dehydrate the skin by pulling water out and therefore trying to mimic what a deep fryer does naturally and without the added extra step.  

There are also some people out there that are very sensitive to different tastes and they can sometimes get an off flavor from baking powder if you’re preparing it one of those ways.

But here’s the thing, why would you prepare low carb chicken wings in a way that is not going to give you the best results?  If you’re going for the highest quality chicken wing, then hands down you deep fry them and then sauce them in a large mixing bowl.

How long do you Deep Fry Chicken Wings?

Whether you’re making an easy keto appetizer or an easy keto chicken wings recipe, it only takes around 6-8 minutes to deep fry chicken wings.  The short amount of time to deep fry chicken wings is one of the reasons that it is one of my favorite keto recipes.  

The only thing you have to do is check the internal temperature and make sure it hits 165 degrees Fahrenheit.  I typically start checking around the 6-minute mark and I set my deep fryer to 374 degrees Fahrenheit.

The best and fastest way to check the internal temperature of chicken wings is with an instant-read thermometer. Our preferred choice is the Thermopro Instant-Read Thermometer.

How many Carbs in a Chicken Wing?

0…there are 0 grams of carbs and therefore 0 grams net carbs in a naked chicken wing.  Chicken wings are just protein and fat.  Yes, its that simple of an answer.

Does Frying Chicken Wings add Carbs?

Frying chicken wings does not add carbs UNLESS you use a breading like flour to help hold your hot sauce, bbq sauce, buffalo sauce, or whatever kind of sauce you want on your chicken wings.  

Being that naked chicken wings have 0 grams of carbs and you’re frying in fat which has 0 carbs, you will not be adding carbs.  It’s kind of like asking “if I mix peanut butter and jelly together, will ketchup magically appear?”  And the answer is obviously a big fat NO, because there was no ketchup there to start with!  LOL

Can you Eat Breaded Chicken Wings on Keto?

If you’re breading your chicken wings with flour, then absolutely not unless you’re just eating 1 or 2.  But who wants just 1-2 chicken wings?!

BUT!  A little known secret exists that you can bread anything with Whey Protein Isolate Powder and it crisps up like a champ and is very very hard to burn.  Trust me, I’ve tried!  Haha

Now I know you’re thinking I’m crazy, but try it and I promise you’re going to love it.  Unflavored protein powder is an excellent low carb breading option being that it has next to no carbs.  

It won’t burn like almond flour or any of the alternative nut flours too.  And if I wasn’t to tell you that I breaded it with protein powder, you wouldn’t be able to tell.  

If you need something for your sauce to bind to your chicken wing, then go no further than protein powder and comment below about how nobody realized that’s what it was!

The 2 protein powders we use are Isopure Unflavored Whey Protein Isolate and Bulk Supplements Whey Protein Isolate. We can’t speak for other brands but we can tell you that these 2 work very well and the golden color they change to is just gorgeous!

What is the Best Chicken Wing Sauce?

This is a loaded question as you may already know.  I personally am a lover of convenience when I don’t think the time and energy spent making something homemade is going to come out appreciably better than something that is store bought.  

I used to have the opinion that if I can do it myself, then I should.  It was like one of those principles I’d live or die by and it consumed a lot of my time and actually ended up consuming a lot of my finances.  Here is a list of my favorite sauces for convenience and time-sake:

The bottom line when it comes to chicken wing sauces or homemade chicken wing sauce recipes is you need to figure out which that you prefer because your tastes may be different than mine.  If you want to make it homemade, then I absolutely encourage you to do that.  

If you want to get your sauce from the store or a brand on Amazon that isn’t at your store, go for it.  I wish you all the best in your wing journey and don’t forget to let me know which sauce you like best if it isn’t on our list in the comments below!

A close up of a fried chicken wing dipped in ranch and golden brown.
Yield: 4 Servings (Approx 40 Chicken Wings)

Easy, Crispy & Low Carb Chicken Wings Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 32 minutes
Total Time: 37 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. With a paper towel, pat dry the wings to make sure as much moisture is removed from the exterior as possible to allow for maximum Maillard Reaction and crispiness.
  2. Place the dried wings in a Large Bowl (Stainless Steel is our preference) and sprinkle and toss with the Wing Seasoning until well coated but not caked on.
  3. Preheat your deep fryer to 350-375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Load about 1 pound of wings into the fryer depending on the size of your fryer. Be careful not to overcrowd the fryer.
  5. Cook until the wings hit 165 degrees Fahrenheit, starting to check around 6-7 minutes.
  6. Remove from air fryer and place on a paper towel to soak up excess oil.
  7. Place chicken wings in a large bowl and toss with your choice of wing sauce until well-coated.
  8. Devour your restaurant-quality chicken wings! 🙂

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