Spicy Buffalo Chicken

Who doesn’t love to gnaw on a spicy chicken wing or drummette, every bite a glorious combination of fat and meat that coats your lips with a red, buttery gloss. Diving into a plate of wings or drummies is a messy endeavor, but that’s why people love ‘em. It’s an excuse to suck a bone clean, lick your fingers and not worry about the smudge of hot sauce on your cheek even if you’re dining in public.

When a craving for Buffalo wings hits, there’s no reason to rely on bottled wing sauces or take-out joints that use questionable ingredients. If you’re a Buffalo wing purist, homemade wings or drummettes require only two easy ingredients: hot sauce and butter. No matter what brand of hot sauce is used, adding a few extra ingredients will intensify the flavor and make the wings even better. Paprika and apple cider vinegar add more smokiness and tanginess, respectively, and garlic gives the wings an extra kick. All three enhance the chicken without dramatically changing the classic spicy, finger-lickin’ good flavor.

A purist will also say the wings have to be deep fried, but deep-frying isn’t always convenient. If you’re not up for the mess and hassle of deep-frying, then turn on the oven or light up the grill – the wings or drummettes will turn out less greasy but no less tender or flavorful. In about 35 minutes you’ll be sitting down to a plate of wings, each one more addictive than the next. Dipping the wings or drummettes in Ranch is optional (we know some of you can’t resist) and so is serving cool, crunchy celery stalks on the side. However you decide to serve ‘em they’re likely to go fast, so make sure to get in there and grab a few before they’re gone.


  • 2 1/2 – 3 pounds chicken wings or drummettes
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons hot sauce, or more for a spicier sauce
  • 1 bottle of Primal Kitchen® Ranch Dressing (for dipping)


Pat the chicken dry. An optional extra step is placing the chicken in the refrigerator uncovered for at least 8 hours. This dries out the skin completely, which some claim leads to crispier skin.

When ready to cook, preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit or heat grill to medium-high heat.

Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir in the garlic, paprika, vinegar and hot sauce. Remove from heat. Pour 1/4 of the sauce into a small bowl and pour the remaining sauce into a large bowl and set aside.

If using the oven, the chicken can be placed on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil, or for crispier results, place the chicken on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet so the fat drips down and away from the chicken.

Brush 1/4 of the sauce over the chicken.

If using the oven, bake for 30 minutes, turning once. Heat broiler to high and broil wings on each side until dark and crispy.

If using the grill, then grill over medium-high heat for 12-15 minutes for wings and possibly a few minutes longer for drummettes.

Place chicken into the large bowl with the remaining sauce and stir to coat.

Serve with a generous bowl of creamy Primal Kitchen® Ranch Dressing for dipping.

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71 thoughts on “Spicy Buffalo Chicken”

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    1. Yay, for simplicity!

      Traditional hot wings are probably my favorite non-primal food next to fried chicken. So this is awesome.

        1. I think by non primal, he is referring to the sauce and that they are traditionally fried in unhealthy oils. The sauce usually has sugar and msg in it…yuck!

          These look delicious!

    2. The recipe is not very good – would recommend a vinegar base, to start with like franks hot wing sauce – no offense

  1. Yum, they look delicious!

    How many can I eat (skins-on, naturally) before even Grok looks at me in shame?

  2. Two words: Blue. Cheese.

    Give me a Primal recipe for blue cheese dressing, and you will be my friend for life.

    1. I second this! Bleu Cheese and hot wings were meant for each other.

      1. OH yes! Never understood the Ranch thing — bleu cheese and hot wings and celery, oh MY!

    2. I adapted this recipe for really good blue cheese dressing. I reduced the amount of mayo, which can be replaced with paleo-mayo. And I don’t use worcestershire sauce so instead used a mix of tamari and fish sauce.

    3. Mix some 1/2 cup raw milk with 4 oz crumbled blue cheese, 4 oz cream cheese, pinch salt and pepper – blend until smooth or keep it chunkier. Add a pinch of smoked paprika for extra flavor.

      1. This sounds pretty good. I will definitely have to give it a try! Have you ever tried using less cream cheese and subbing heavy cream in place of the milk?

  3. I steam mine, without them touching for 10 minutes as the first step then dry with a paper towel, which gets rid of the moisture. Then I bake them dry, which gives them a crispy skin. Then coat with he sauce.

    1. I think I saw this method on Good Eats with Alton Brown, but I’ve never tried it. Is it worth the extra time?

  4. Heroin wings are the best wings you can make. Period. They put all other wings to shame. Imagine a juicy, succulent wing sealed in a crispy coating of… breading? Not likely! Parmesan cheese! Sooo good, there are a few variations to the original recipe and you can always coat them in sauce when they’re done. Just be sure to use some non-stick tinfoil or you’ll lose half the coating

    1. Parmesan coating in place of bread… I like it! I will add this to my list of wing recipes I want to try.

      Next up is this desire I have had lately to devise a delicious lemon pepper wing sauce! I think I have the basic idea together after making a delicious creamy lemon butter sauce for our Salmon dinner on Saturday.

  5. Extra garlic could be beneficial. It naturally temporarily increases your testosterone.
    I used to eat garlic in everything it went well with, especially after workouts.

  6. I had no idea buffalo sauce was just butter+hot sauce with extras! I’m going to try this as my injection for whole roast chicken.

  7. great chow. you want easy…just fry ’em in ghee, when cooked through pour on the crystal, reduce, then enjoy.

  8. Love buffalo wings! As soon as I saw the photo of a few everyday ingredients and the mention of apple cider vinegar to add tanginess, I knew I’d have to try this recipe the next time I cook chicken.

  9. Thanks for the recipe I made something just like it for lunch with what I had on hand and it came out delicious! Much healthier than the wings my friends order at 2am every weekend!

  10. Wow. Hot wings were one of my favorite foods before going primal and I’m kind of surprised to think that I haven’t had them in any form -since- I’ve changed my diet.

    These are going on tomorrow’s grocery list.

  11. Kim,
    Hot sauce is a liquid made from chili peppers. The most famous I know of in the USA is Tabasco sauce.
    Hope that helps.

  12. I love chicken wings! I smoke them on my grill for about an hour and they always are 100x’s better than anything you buy at a bar or restaurant. For the sauce I use follow basically what Mark has up there.

  13. Oh my god, they look yummy, I never buy anything like this at the shop as Im afraid what will be lurking in the ingredients, but i didn’t think it would be so easy to make it, my Little girl will enjoy these I am sure

  14. I love eating like a caveman (I should say cavewoman)! Of course within limits of basic manners, and of course I do enjoy the occasional snooty venue….but my favourite is stuff you can dive into with your hands – giant king prawns ( which I invariably eat with the shell – crunch crunch crunch!!!) lamb chops on the bone, rotisserie chicken, freshly tooth-caught fish from Volga river down road (just kidding with last one). Messy is awesome, and I’m so trying this!

  15. Made these this weekend (for the Gator game!!). They were so good!! Used the buffalo-style version of Tabasco. Thanks!!

  16. My wife has to have the skin super crispy, but we are too impatient and lack the planning skills to dry the wings out a day ahead. My solution is to bake the wings for about 20-30 minutes on each side at 450f. Kep an eye on the wings and adjust the time depending on your oven and if your wings are frozen or thawed. Toss in sauce and enjoy!

  17. OH MY GOD thank you!!! I have to eat relatively low sodium and it’s awesome to find a good wings sauce that both A) can be easily modified for low sodium and B) uses healthy amounts of real butter.

  18. YUM!
    I made oven baked buffalo wings the other month. MMM seeing this recipe makes me want more!!
    Will have to do this again w/ the added spices 😀

  19. I discovered this method years ago after trying countless recipes that were just not right. Butter + hot sauce + garlic = yum! These are a regular item on our bi-weekly menu – and the best tasting wings I’ve ever had!

  20. I’m pretty new to this Paleo (about 6 weeks now), so I was confused when I saw the butter as one of the ingredients. Is butter okay or not?

    1. I like to make a dip that is greek yogurt – about a cup – some yogurt blue cheese dressing – two tablespoons or your preference (from the natural foods store – like whole foods – I have to check the brand – it’s kept in the produce section chilled) and add fresh or bottled dill. Wonderful for dipping. Great for steamed artichokes too:) It’s not totally primal but not horrible.

    2. There is a slight difference in paleo and primal. Primal allows dairy products as long as they are organic, grass fed, and as little processed as possible. I use organic butter but cannot find it grass fed locally, so I chalk it up as a win anyway. My milk is organic grass-fed non homogenized milk. My cheese is naturally fermented and is made from raw milk. Don’t want to do cows milk? Goat milk and cheese is 100% better to me.

  21. Great recipe. Drizzled the leftover buffalo wing sauce over baked sweet potato. Thanks for the post.

  22. Tried these the same night I read the post. AWESOME!!!! My oldest had talked me into buying a bag of wings and a bottle of buffalo wing sauce 2 days before this post. PERFECT timing!!! The wings got ate but the bottle never got opened 😀

  23. Don’t most hot sauces have Xanthan gum in them? That sure doesn’t sound natural to me.

  24. Make your own sauce! Blend some habanero or cayenne pepper with meted butter. Easy.

  25. Made the grilled version of these today.

    Oh my, there lovely.

    I will be adding these to my weekly menu rota.

    thank you.

  26. I made these last night–I CANNOT STOP THINKING ABOUT THEM!!!! They were amazing!!! I have passed the recipe to about 10 people and am getting ready to post the link on facebook. LOVE THOSE WINGS!!!!

  27. Great recipe! We love the simplicity of these chicken wings. Our fans are always looking for healthy alternatives to share with friends and family, especially with football season here. We will definitely pass this one along. Thanks!

  28. YES!!! HAVE TOTALLY BEEN WAITING FOR THIS SINCE FOOTBALL SEASON STARTED!!! Will be grilling these and pairing with your Ranch dressing recipe!!! Can’t wait!!!

  29. I tried this recipe and loved it the other night. It was so simple to make! Will be making another batch for this weekend’s tailgate party at the 49ers/Bucs game at Candlestick Park:)

  30. My boyfriend made this for us tonight and WOW it was amazing! 😀 We halved the recipe as we didnt have a ton of chicken… MISTAKE! They were too good. Need more noms… 🙂

  31. I’m having a problem with the sauce not sticking to the wings. Any pro tips on how to have a plate of buffalo wings and not a plate of wings in a pool of sauce? =(

  32. Made these and used the lime dressing from the fish tacos recipe in the Primal Blueprint Quick and Easy meals cookbook because my son can’t do dairy. The dressing was surprisingly great with the heat of the tabasco, yummmy!

  33. “It’s either blue cheese or go f#@% your mother.” – Joey “Coco” Diaz @madflavor on twitter


  34. made these for dinner with a couple alterations. I used smoked paprika and a ton of hot sauce. My bf got scared so i added a drizzle of honey. Needless to say they were delicious. That whole smokey spicy sweet was reallllly working!!

  35. I made this today using some boneless chicken thighs I had on hand. I added a bit more ACV and Srirachia sauce along with a little Frank’s… I had to stop myself from eating it all in one sitting. I also shredded some up and added it to Mark’s coconut soup recipe instead of seafood, and it was delicious!

  36. A Grokette I know told me the recipe for oven fried chicken using an egg bath then dipping in crushed pork rinds but this one for Buff wings sounds even better