Easy Dry Rub Chicken Wings (Crispy and Delicious!)

at a glance
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 4 Servings
5 — Votes 3 votes

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If you want the flavor of a saucy wing but the tidiness of a naked one, let me introduce you to a dry rub chicken wing! They have just the right amount of sweet, spice, and fun herb flavor, I have a feeling these wings will become your new go-to. They’re so easy to make! No marinating necessary. Just mix your herbs and spices, toss your wings, and bake to crispy perfection. We even included instructions for cooking them in both the air fryer and the oven. Enjoy!

Brown plate with dry rubbed chicken wings served next to a side of ranch dressing.

Crispy Dry Rub Chicken Wings

Crispy dry rub chicken wings are not only possible, but very easy to make. When it comes to chicken wings, there are generally two camps, well, maybe 2 versions of 2 camps, that people feel really strongly about. You either Team Drumstick or Team Flat (1 vote for Team Flat here), and Team Dry Rub or Team Saucey Wings. If you’ve found yourself here, I’m going to guess you are part of the latter. But if you’re not, this dry rub recipe may just be the one that changes your mind. When we made these at the office, Jess (who is our resident food photographer and the talent behind these photos), proclaimed she is solidly Team Saucey Wings, and after a few bites, she stated, “This rub may have definitely converted me. I’m a believer.”

Hear me out, it’s the perfect balance of spice, sweet, and herb loaded with tons of flavor. The wings bake up super crisp on the outside (the rub becomes almost like a crust, making that crispy skin even better) and moist on the inside. I’m telling you, you don’t want to miss out on these wings. They are guaranteed to be a hit for wing lovers alike!

What does a dry rub mean? Well, when it comes to seasoning your proteins, you’ve got a couple of options. You can rub them with a dry seasoning blend (a “dry rub”) that turns into a super flavorful “crust” during the cooking process, or you can let them soak in a blend of flavor-enhancing liquid ingredients (a “marinade”).

While neither method is particularly difficult to execute, dry rubs are ultra-convenient because they require no extra time (most liquid marinades require the protein to soak for at least a couple of hours) – you can literally make your dry rub using a blend of dry seasonings, rub it onto your protein, and then cook!

Baked dry rub chicken wings on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

The Best Dry Rub for Chicken Wings

The very best dry rub for chicken wings is one that brings A LOT of flavor. This dry rub includes coconut sugar for a hint of sweetness, smoked paprika and ancho chili powder for a touch of heat, and oregano and coriander for an herb-y component. These 5 combined with a few dry rub standard ingredients (garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper) make for a really delicious rub with a really nice depth of flavor.

Ingredients for Dry Rub Chicken Wings

There are two round plates. One is a white plate with a blue rim that has a mixture of individually scooped spices on the plate. The second is a grey plate that has raw chicken wings on the plate. Both are sitting on a grey and white marble surface.
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon of onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of oregano
  • 2 teaspoons of coriander
  • 1 teaspoon of ancho chili powder (can increase for more spice)
  • ½ teaspoon of ground pepper
  • 2 pounds of chicken wings

What Type of Wings to Use

We used a combination of wings (also known as “flats”) and drumsticks (not technically the wing, but drumsticks are often seasoned and served just the same). You can absolutely use all wings or all drumsticks, though, if you prefer one over the other!

How to Make Dry Rub Chicken Wings

How do you make a dry rub chicken wing? Well the good news, is they’re easy. The 2nd piece of good news is that we have two options for cooking them: in the air fryer and in the oven:

White bowl with a mixture of spices being whisked together.
Hand holding a pair of tongs and tossing chicken wings in a dry rub spice mixture.
Dry rub being poured over a bowl of chicken wings in a large glass bowl.
Wings being placed on a copper wire rack sitting on top of a parchment lined baking sheet.

Air Fryer Chicken Wings

  1. Prep – preheat the air fryer to 400°F, and pat your chicken wings dry with a paper towel. 
  2. Make the dry rub – combine the coconut sugar, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, oregano, coriander, ancho chili powder, and ground pepper in a large bowl, then stir until evenly combined.
  3. Toss – add the wings to the bowl, and toss to evenly coat.
  4. Air fry – once your wings are coated, add them to the air fryer basket (being careful to not let the wings overlap – work in batches if needed), and air fry at 400°F for 18 minutes, flipping the wings halfway through. 
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Oven-Baked Chicken Wings

  1. Prep – preheat the oven to 400°F, pat your chicken wings dry with a paper towel, and place a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Make the dry rub – combine the coconut sugar, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, oregano, coriander, ancho chili powder, and ground pepper in a large bowl, then stir until evenly combined.
  3. Toss – add the wings to the bowl, and toss to evenly coat.
  4. Bake – lay the dry rubbed wings onto the wire ack (making sure that they don’t overlap), and bake at 400°F for 45-60 minutes, until crispy.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

How do you get the rub to stick on wings?

How do you get the rub to stick on a wing? Well, if your chicken wings are fresh (vs. frozen) and raw, the dry rub will stick to them really easily! The biggest key here is to make enough dry rub to heavily coat each wing (this recipe makes the perfect amount for that). It’s also important to pat your chicken wings dry before tossing them with the spice blend so that it sticks to the wings rather than becoming wet and goopy. 

Hand holding a dry rub chicken wing dipped in ranch dressing.

What to Serve with Chicken Wings

Serve your chicken wings alongside raw celery and carrots for a classic appetizer vibe or next to potato wedges and a green salad for a full meal.

Dipping Sauces To Serve With Crispy Wings

Dipping sauces are half the fun of chicken wings! My personal favorite is a really simple homemade ranch, but you can absolutely do something a little bit more fun and unexpected like a jalapeno ranch or a really flavorful blue cheese sauce (blend together 4 ounces of blue cheese crumbles, 1 cup of creme fraiche, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of water, and ¼ of a teaspoon of salt).

How to Reheat Dry Rub Chicken Wings

When it comes to reheating your leftover wings, you’ve got options! You can either…

  • Pop them on a plate in the microwave for 45 seconds to a minute. Note: this is the quickest method, but will also result in the least crispy reheated wings.
  • Air fry them at 400°F for 2-3 minutes.
  • Bake them at 400°F for 10-15 minutes.
Brown plate with dry rubbed chicken wings served next to a side of ranch dressing.
Q What does this dry rub taste like?
A

This super flavorful dry rub is the perfect combination of spicy, sweet, herb-y, and out-of-this-world delicious. While these wings definitely aren’t super spicy (I’d definitely feed them to my 2-year-old), if you’re sensitive to spice, feel free to reduce the amount of ancho chili powder or omit it altogether. Alternatively, if you’re looking for more spice, feel free to double the amount of ancho chili powder!

Q How long should dry rub sit on chicken?
A

The beauty of a dry rub is that it actually doesn’t need to sit on the chicken for any amount of time before cooking. You can toss the wings with the dry rub and then cook them up right away!

Q Do you add dry rub before or after cooking wings?
A

To make the most of the flavor and create a really delicious crust on your wings, you’ll want to add the rub before cooking.

Q Do you oil chicken before dry rub?
A

No need to oil your chicken before tossing in the dry rub! If you pat the wings dry before combining with the rub, it’ll stay on perfectly.

Q Can you air fry frozen chicken wings with dry rub?
A

You can absolutely air fry frozen chicken wings on their own, but getting a dry rub to stick to frozen wings will definitely be tricky. If you’re in a pinch and only have frozen wings, try air frying them on their own att 400°F for 9 minutes, take them out of the air fryer and toss them with the rub, and then finish air frying them with the rub for another 9 minutes, until crispy.

Q Can I put this dry rub on other types of chicken?
A

YES! You can absolutely use this dry rub on other cuts of chicken – chicken thighs would be excellent, and chicken breasts would be delicious too!

Q How long does chicken rub last?
A

Stored in an airtight container, the dry rub itself will last for up to 6 months, so feel free to make a big batch of it to save time the next time you make these wings!

Top down view of three chicken Tinga tacos on a teal plate. The tacos are topped with cilantro, avocado, a drizzle of crema, with a side of lime. There is an avocado cut in half on the table as well as charred corn tortillas, a plate of purple cabbage slaw, a bowl of chopped cilantro, and a sheet pan with chicken Tinga. All are sitting on a teal surface.

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Crispy Dry Rub Chicken Wings

By: Melissa Guevara
5 — Votes 3 votes
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr
Servings: 4 Servings

Ingredients  

  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder (can increase for more spice)
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds chicken wings

Instructions

Air Fryer Method

  • Preheat the air fryer 400°F, and pat your chicken wings dry with a paper towel.
  • Combine the coconut sugar, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, oregano, coriander, ancho chili powder, and ground pepper in a large bowl, then stir until evenly combined.
  • Add the wings to the bowl, and toss to evenly coat.
  • Once your wings are coated, add them to the air fryer basket (being careful to not let the wings overlap – work in batches if needed), and air fry at 400°F for 18 minutes, flipping the wings halfway through.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Oven-Baked Chicken Wings

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F, pat your chicken wings dry with a paper towel, and place a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Combine the coconut sugar, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, oregano, coriander, ancho chili powder, and ground pepper in a large bowl, then stir until evenly combined.
  • Add the wings to the bowl, and toss to evenly coat.
  • Lay the dry rubbed wings onto the wire ack (making sure that they don’t overlap), and bake at 400°F for 45-60 minutes, until crispy.
  • Serve and enjoy!
Meet the Author
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Melissa Guevara

Melissa spends the bulk of her time writing, managing our content calendar, and lending a hand in recipe shoots. She values time spent exploring outdoors with her family and baking all things sourdough.⁠
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