Crispy Baked Chicken Wings with BBQ Dry Rub

By Laura Mack
March 6, 2016

It was a bit challenging to choose my first recipe to post, as I have so many to share. These crispy baked chicken wings are one of Deb and my favorites because they are mouth-wateringly flavorful and so easy to prepare. They’re perfect to make-ahead and freeze.

One of the secrets to my successful weight loss and maintenance, especially in the early days, was to have satisfying foods on hand so that I wasn’t tempted to go astray, whether out of convenience or a sense of deprivation. These cripy baked chicken wings are perfect because once made, they are easy to grab out of the fridge or freezer and crispy-delicious, ready-to-eat in 10 to 15 minutes.

I suppose many people would view these chicken wings as an appetizer–and they’re great for that and easy entertaining–but we use them mainly for a simple meal alongside a fresh green salad or low-starch vegetable.

One of the keys to these fantastic crispy baked chicken wings is the BBQ Dry Rub. There are lots of packaged rubs and spice mixes on the market, but the problem with many, if not most, of them, is that they contain sugar (at best), as well as other questionable additives, such as wheat/gluten derivatives and MSG (at worst). A bonus is that you’ll spend a lot less when you make it yourself, but the best reason is that you control what goes into it (and your body). And you can tweak the ingredients to suit your taste, such as more or less salt, sweetener, or spice.

The quantities for the BBQ Dry Rub yield at least 3 times what you’ll need for one 5-pound batch of wings, but the rub is great to have on hand for all kinds of things such as oven-barbecued ribs (recipe coming soon!), steaks, burgers, and shrimp. I even sprinkle it over pork rinds for a tasty snack from time to time. The point is, I predict that you’ll use up every last bit of the rub sooner than you think and you’ll be making a double batch (like I do) the next time!

This recipe includes xylitol for a touch of the sweet-salty balance traditionally found in barbecue. Deb and I use xylitol (birch-derived and made in the USA) for most of our applications that would use sugar (we start with a 1-to-1 ratio and adjust from there). We prefer the taste to some of the other natural low carb sweeteners, and it doesn’t seem to affect our blood glucose or cause cravings. If you have a different sweetener that you prefer, go ahead and use that or leave it out altogether. If you leave it out, you’ll probably want to reduce the quantity of salt to taste.

The number of wings for about 5 pounds is going to vary depending on the size and source. We often use the organic chicken wings (already separated at the joint and no tips) from Costco. A 5-pound package yields about 48 pieces.

These crispy baked chicken wings are perfect for a low carb/moderate protein/high-fat way of eating. They are paleo/primal-adaptable if you substitute coconut sugar for the xylitol. If you want to gild the lily, you could slather them with Our Favorite Low Carb Barbecue Sauce or serve it on the side for dipping.

These wings really are some of the tastiest we’ve ever had. I’m confident that they’ll become part of the regular rotation in your home, as they have for Deb and me.

Crispy Baked Chicken Wings with BBQ Dry Rub

Author: Laura Mack
Recipe type: Appetizer, Everyday Meals
Cuisine: American
Prep time:  20 mins
Cook time:  60 mins
Total time:  1 hour 20 mins
Serves: 8

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Mouth-wateringly flavorful and so easy to prepare. Perfect make-ahead appetizer for a crowd, or to freeze and have on hand for simple meals.


BBQ Dry Rub

¼ cup kosher sea salt

¼ cup chili powder

¼ cup smoked Spanish paprika, sweet

¼ cup xylitol (or your choice of sugar equivalent)

2 tablespoons garlic powder

4 teaspoons dry mustard powder

2 teaspoons ground black pepper

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, if you like it spicy!), more or less to taste


5 pounds chicken wings (separated at joint, tips removed)

⅓ cup BBQ Dry Rub


  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Add all dry rub ingredients to a small bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside ⅓ cup for recipe and store remainder, tightly covered, in a cool, dark place.
  3. Thoroughly pat dry chicken wing pieces with paper towels. This is important for a crispy result. Place wings in a large bowl and toss with BBQ Dry Rub to coat evenly. Let sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, prepare the baking sheets. Line the bottom and sides of two 18"x13"x1" rimmed baking sheets with heavy-duty foil (for easy cleanup!). Spray foil with oil to reduce sticking. Divide the chicken between the two baking sheets and place the fattiest side down, leaving a little space in between so the pieces crisp rather than steam.
  5. Place one pan on the left middle rack and the other on the right lower rack. Roast for 20 minutes. Remove pans and increase oven temperature to 425F. Turn over chicken pieces and return pans to oven, switching positions top to bottom and reversing front to back. This will help the chicken cook and crisp up evenly. Roast an additional 20-30 minutes, depending on how crispy and caramelized you prefer the skin.
  6. Remove from oven and let cool long enough that you don't burn the heck out of your mouth, about 10 minutes, or as long as you can stand waiting! Serve with your favorite low-carb dipping sauce, if desired, although they're completely delicious as is.
  7. To make ahead, let wings cool to room temperature, transfer to a covered container, and let chill completely. To freeze, transfer chilled chicken to a freezer-proof container (I use double zip-top bags) and freeze for up to 4 months.
  8. To reheat, place pieces on a lined sheet pan in a preheated 425F oven (or toaster oven) for 10-15 minutes until the skin is sizzling (about 10 minutes for thawed wings, 15 minutes for frozen).


Nutritional info* for a 5.5-oz portion (about 6 pieces): 313 cal, 21 g total fat (60%), 0.6 g total carbs, 0.3 g fiber, 0.3 g net carbs, and 29 g protein. Please note that I do not count the sugar alcohols from xylitol in the total or net carbs.

*I use Living Cookbook 2015, along with package information and data from, to calculate the nutritional information for my recipes. Thus, I can make no guarantees as to the accuracy.

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