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Are Buffalo Chicken Wings Low Carb and Keto Friendly?

Chicken wings are keto friendly, as long as you don’t add any non-keto ingredients to cook them. Preparation is key to keeping them low carb yet delicious. In fact, I’m in keto heaven when I eat traditional wings … at least my version of traditional wings.

plate of chicken wings with celery sticks in the background

Whether you’re enjoying chicken wings as the main dish or serving them at your game day party, no one will complain when you serve keto chicken wings. The good news is that there are so many different ways to serve keto-friendly wings.

If you follow a keto diet, you’ll be in keto heaven with crispy chicken wings. I like to dip crispy wings into a little bit of ranch dressing that I also make without extra carbs. Or you can drizzle the dressing over the top.

chicken wings with ranch dressing drizzled over the top

Cooking Wings for a Crowd

When making keto-friendly wings for a crowd, you may want to offer some sauces for those who are not on a low carb diet. Just make sure you let people know which ones are keto and which ones aren’t.

I love having options for everyone at any type of celebration and on game days. And keto dieters will certainly appreciate having low carb buffalo wings to munch on.

chicken wings on a plate with celery and cheese
Buffalo chicken wings on plate with blue cheese sauce and celery.

Remember that the general rule for a keto diet is to keep everything low carb and high in fat and protein. So you’ll need to toss some of your old, outdated thoughts about fat because it actually is good for you as long as you are healthy.

If you haven’t already, please consult your doctor before starting a keto diet. Although most people can safely follow a low-carb plan, you need to make sure you don’t have any issues that could cause problems

Ordering Wings When Dining Out

Before you order buffalo chicken wings in a restaurant, find out if they use any type of breading or batter on the chicken. If they do, they’re probably higher in carbs, thus not keto friendly.

cooked chicken wings with ranch dressing
line of buffalo chicken wings drenched in different sauces

If they don’t use any sort of breading, find out what types of sauces they offer that don’t have sugar. The one ingredient besides the breading that can throw you out of keto is sugar.

Easy Chicken Wings – Home-Cooked

There are 2 different ways that I cook chicken wings, and both of them are much easier than frying them in a skillet or deep fryer. I love to cook chicken wings in either the oven on a baking sheet or my air fryer. 

cooking chicken wings in an air fryer and flipping them over with tongs

It’s easy to use the air fryer if it’s just a snack or meal for my husband and me. I can usually fit 10 to 12 wings in the air fryer basket. I actually prefer air fryer chicken wings because they’re so easy, and the cook time is shorter. If you’ve never made air fryer buffalo wings, you seriously need to try them!

Wing Cooking Methods for a Group

But when I’m cooking for more people, I make oven baked wings because there’s more room. I have a variety of baking sheets, with one of them that can accommodate a couple dozen wings.

chicken wings on a plate with celery
line of buffalo chicken wings drenched in different sauces

If you prefer deep-fried wings, try either avocado oil or olive oil. They’re both good options and healthy fats for a low-carb diet … or any diet, for that matter. Or you can use melted butter to get a deliciously rich flavor.

When they’re done, drain them on a plate covered with a paper towel or a stack of paper towels. Deep frying is messy, but I have to admit that the results are delicious! 

Since I enjoy wings so much, I like to cook extras for leftovers the next day. Whatever is left goes in an airtight container, and then I refrigerate them.

plate of cold chicken wings

When it’s time to enjoy them, I like to reheat the wings in an air fryer. Based on my experience, they’re just as good reheated as they are the first time around.

Whether the wings are home-cooked or from a restaurant, heating them up helps to restore them to their original crispness … and sometimes makes them even crispier.

Low Carb Chicken Wings

When you want to make sure your wings are low carb, focus on a recipe that delivers unbuttered and unbranded wings. Instead of batter or breading, use keto-friendly sauces that add lots of delicious flavor.

chicken wings on a bed of spinach with a bowl of ranch dressing

I enjoy both regular wing sections or boneless wings, which are usually cut chicken breasts. Although the traditional wings taste better to me, if I don’t have any, I’ll go into my freezer and pull out a chicken breast. It’s pretty easy to cut into fake boneless wings.

Here are some of the best seasonings to keep your carb intake low:

  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Chili powder (sugar-free version)
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Lemon pepper
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Parmesan cheese (grated)

Keto Tips for Cooking Chicken Wings

Here are some helpful tips to get the best results:

Sprinkle a little bit of baking powder of the wings before cooking them. This soaks up some of the moisture that will prevent the wings from getting crispy.

parchment paper on pan

For oven-cooked wings, line your baking sheet with foil to make cleanup easier. If you’re concerned about cooking directly on foil, place a sheet of parchment paper over the foil.

The wings are done when they reach an internal temperature of 165˚ F.

Wing Sauce

Here are some of my favorite wing sauces and blends:

Dry seasoning for meat that I use as a dry rub is so flavorful. This is a spice blend of my favorite seasonings. It’s just as good on wings as it is on beef or pork.

dry rub seasoning for meat

Hot sauce is excellent for those who like flaming hot wings. Always make sure you have a side of celery sticks and some blue cheese dressing to cool things off.

Another delicious option is BBQ sauce. This homemade barbecue sauce is one of our favorites.

bowl and spoon of barbecue sauce
Barbecue Sauce

For a unique yet familiar flavor, coat your wings in this wonderful Chick Fil A copycat sauce. The key to keeping this one keto friendly is to use just a small amount of the sauce on each wing.

This Taco Bell Baja sauce is another good one. Again, if anyone is on a ketogenic diet, go easy on the sauce.

bowl of baja sauce
Baja Sauce

For a traditional chicken wing experience, try this buffalo sauce recipe from The Forked Spoon.

My favorite sauce for those times when I want to take my wings to a higher level is to drizzle this amazingly delicious but easy to make balsamic glaze over them.

jar of balsamic glaze

Delicious Sides to Serve with Keto Wings

When you’re cooking for people who are all on a keto diet, make sure that the total carbs of each dish are within the guidelines you follow. If there are other people who enjoy the carbs, simply put a note on each keto-friendly side dish letting people know.

Here are some sides we enjoy with wings:

Side of steamed broccoli (keto-friendly without any sauce)

  • Celery sticks
  • Carrot sticks
  • Cucumber spears
  • Bell pepper strips
  • Radishes
  • Dill pickles

I also enjoy a side salad with wings. Serve the salad with a low-carb dressing, and you’ll be in good shape!

If you want to offer sides with carbs for your non-keto friends and family members, set out some of these:

Important to Remember When Serving Keto Wings

Being on a keto diet is a personal decision, and not everyone wants to do it. So when cooking for others, it’s always a good idea to offer a variety of options.

chicken wings on plates

Offer a choice of drinks, including at least one that is keto friendly. I like to offer water, a sugar-free soft drink, and options for those who still enjoy carbs.

Please feel free to share!