How to Cook Frozen Chicken Wings, Ranked Best to Worst

Disclaimer: There may be affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you sign up for a free trial or purchase through the links, but there is no extra cost to you.

Can you cook frozen chicken wings? Yes, you certainly can. The problem is the internet can misguide you on how to cook frozen chicken wings. Sure, there are a handful of ways to go from frozen wings to edible wings that are safe to eat. But I’m pretty sure people aren’t looking for just safe and edible.

Call me crazy, but I think people are after wings they’ll enjoy eating! We rank the best ways to cook frozen chicken wings.

chicken wings in sauce

There’s a real flaw in most methods that produce wings that are safe to eat from frozen. That flaw is that they use way more heat than the desired temperature for your wing meat. By the time the core of that drumettes reach the 165ºF the USDA deems safe, through the frozen meat, how hot do you think the flats (aka wingettes) are? Well beyond the ideal temperature for chicken wings, I promise.

Any method that cooks the wing from frozen at high temperature is bound to overcook the meat. And please don’t get me started on all those sites that recommend boiling the wings before cooking as the solution to cooking wings from frozen.

Below we rank the best ways to cook frozen chicken wings. I promise you’ll thoroughly enjoy wings cooked from frozen using the method at the top of the list.

Ways to Cook Frozen Chicken Wings, Ranked From Best to Worst

1. Sous Vide Chicken Wings From Frozen

Sous vide stands head and shoulders above the competition when it comes to cooking frozen chicken wings. Why? Because with the sous vide method you’re cooking the wings at the temperature you desire the wings to be, whether from fresh or frozen. With frozen, you just add half an hour to the cooking time.

In fact, whether you’re talking fresh or frozen wings, unbiased culinary institutions like Serious Eats agree that there is no better chicken wing recipe than one that involves sous vide.

And if not having a sous vide machine is your obstacle, keep in mind there are very affordable quality options well below $100.

2. Air Fry Chicken Wings From Frozen

Air fried chicken wings from frozen can be pretty good. The major drawback with air fryer chicken wings from frozen is the capacity of the air fryer is fairly limited. You basically can’t cook for more than one person in an air fryer from frozen.

3. Oven Bake Chicken Wings From Frozen

I don’t know about you, but I find baked chicken wings to be okay. Baking chicken wings from frozen certainly doesn’t improve the outcome.

It becomes more difficult to crisp skin as the skin is being defrosted as part of the cooking process. You can make some acceptable wings this way, but they’re nothing to write home about.

4. Smoke Chicken Wings From Frozen

Though technically you can smoke wings from frozen, you’ll lose any benefit of smoking wings, besides being able to cook outside. Smoke will not penetrate frozen skin, which makes smoking wings from frozen pretty pointless.

5. Grill Chicken Wings From Frozen

This method can work, but it’s fraught with risk. If your grill is anything like mine, it cooks unevenly, which means the chicken will defrost and cook unevenly. There are food borne health risks if even a small portion is undercooked. Probing individual chicken wings doesn’t seem all that practical.

Ways You Can’t Cook Frozen Chicken Wings

You can’t deep fry frozen chicken wings. It’s simply way too big a hazard. Please don’t try this, despite what the internet says is possible.

In Conclusion

Sous vide is the best way to cook frozen chicken wings, and any wings for that matter! The best part is that you don’t compromise taste at all cooking chicken wings sous vide from frozen.

Chicken Wing Recipe

chicken wings in a dish, view from atop

Here, you can find a recipe for the perfect sous vide chicken wings. This method involves three crucial steps: sous vide, dry brining, and frying. You’ll soon find yourself stocking your freezer with party wings if you give it a go!

Chicken Wing Related Reading

If you need help figuring out how many wings you need for a party, read How Many Wings in a Pound? Tips for Party Portion Planning.

If you need tips for frying chicken, whether fried chicken, chicken wings, or chicken cutlets, read 3 Best Oils to Fry Chicken, Oils to Avoid + Fried Chicken Tips.

If you’ve ever wondered, “what are boneless wings, anyway?” read What Are Boneless Wings? Wet Nuggets? Wet Tenders?

If you’re wondering whether you can refreeze chicken or freeze fried chicken find out here.


  • Rishi

    Rishi is an avid home chef and the owner-operator of Top Sous Vide. He's been cooking sous vide for over 7 years and loves experimenting with new foods. Whether it's a simple family dinner for his wife and 3 kids or an elaborate meal for a group of friends, his food is always a crowd pleaser!

Leave a Comment