Crispy Chicken Wings, inspired by Mexican flavours, oven-baked to perfection, are tossed in lime juice, topped with crumbled cotija cheese, and a bright crema drizzle.
When it comes to chicken wings you can never have enough, and whether you’re feeding two or a game-day crowd, ordering in or making them yourself, chicken wings are always a favourite.
In our house, Philip and I have different tastes when it comes to wings. I love crispy chicken wings, oven baked and no sauce, and Philip loves saucy chicken wings, covered in sauce, and did I mention, he likes sauce.
While two sets of chicken wing flavours isn’t a bad news story, every once in a while we put a Chef Sous Chef spin on two dishes, and combine them into a masterpiece. Enter: Crispy Chicken Wings inspired by Mexican Street Corn.
Mexican Street Corn is made by grilling corn on the cob, coating it in crema, chili powder and lime, and rolling it in cotija cheese, and our chicken wing version involves a very similar process.
Start with dry wings, and by dry we mean either leaving them in the fridge or patting them with a paper towel before baking them. The result: crispy chicken wings, the kind I love. But mixing in Philip's love of sauce, is where the Mexican flavours come in. Drizzle crema, chili and lime over the crispy chicken wings, and top with crumbled cotija cheese and cilantro.
A chicken wing combo both Philip and I can agree on, the crispness of the skin beats any deep fried wing, with tangy, bright and spicy flavour from the sauce, and the crumble of the cotija cheese.
How to Make Crispy Chicken Wings, Oven Baked:
Dry the Wings
Time permitting, place the chicken wings on a wire rack and place in the fridge, uncovered for an hour. This will dry any moisture from the wings, resulting in a crispy skin. If you are in a rush, then you can pat the wings dry with paper towel.
Toss in Olive Oil and Bake
Once the skin of the chicken wings are dry, toss them in a bowl with one teaspoon of chipotle powder and one tablespoon of cooking oil (we prefer extra virgin olive oil, or grapeseed oil). Rearrange the chicken wings on the wire rack. Place on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven for 40 minutes.
Make the Sauce for Your Crispy Chicken Wings
While the wings are baking, make the sauce. Add the crema, mayo, lime, garlic, chipotle, paprika, cotija cheese, cilantro, salt and pepper to a blender. Blend on high speed until it forms a smooth and creamy sauce. Transfer sauce to a squeeze bottle, if you have one.
Dress the Wings and Eat
Once baked, toss the wings in a bowl with lime juice, salt and pepper. Arrange the baked chicken wings on your serving platter. Liberally drizzle with about half the sauce, a handful of cheese, and a sprinkling of cilantro. Serve with carrots, celery and the remaining sauce for dipping.
Helpful Tools and Ingredients to Make Oven Baked Chicken Wings
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Mexican-Inspired Crispy Chicken Wings
- 2 lbs chicken wings
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 1 teaspoon chipotle powder
- 1 tablespoon lime juice freshly squeezed
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- ¼ cup crema fresca
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon lime zest
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon cotija cheese crumbled
- 1 tablespoon cilantro chopped
- ½ teaspoon chipotle powder
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- ¼ cup cotija cheese crumbled
- ¼ cup cilantro chopped
- Arrange the chicken wings in a single layer on a wire cooling rack. Place the rack on a baking sheet and allow the wings to dry in the fridge. Time permitting, allow the wings to dry out for 2-3 hours but if you are making the wings right away, let them dry while preheating the oven.
- Preheat oven to 425°. Pat any moisture from the wings using a paper towel. Place the wings in a bowl and drizzle with cooking oil and one teaspoon of chipotle powder. Rearrange the wings on the wire rack and place in the oven to bake for 40 minutes, turning after 25 minutes, then turning again after 35 minutes.
- While the chicken wings are baking, make the sauce by adding crema, mayonnaise, zest and juice of one lime, garlic, a tablespoon each of cotija cheese and cilantro, half teaspoon of chipotle powder, paprika, salt and pepper in a blender. Blend on high speed for 30 seconds. Transfer to a squeeze bottle.
- Once the wings are baked, toss them in a bowl with the juice of half a lime and a sprinkling of salt and pepper.
- To serve, arrange the chicken wings on a plate or platter. Squeeze a little more than half the sauce all over the wings, then sprinkle with a handful of cotija cheese. Top with cilantro. Serve with celery, carrots, and the remaining sauce for dipping.
- If you do not have a wire cooling rack, then dry the chicken wings out on parchment paper. You can also bake the chicken wings on parchment, but reduce cooking time by 5 minutes.
- Cotija cheese can be substituted with feta cheese, and crema fresca can be substituted with sour cream.