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Super Bowl cooks, it can be done: Buffalo wings with less splatter

This combination of images shows a recipe for air fryer buffalo chicken wings with blue cheese dip and carrot and celery sticks. (Carrie Crow via AP)

We will start by acknowledging that deep-fried chicken wings are very, very good. And when I am out and about in a bar-ish setting, it’s difficult to pass them up.

But deep frying chicken wings – or really anything – at home? Very rare in my kitchen. It’s messy, it calls for lots of oil, and then you have to make a whole lot to justify the amount of oil you use.

For this year's Super Bowl festivities, consider a simpler way.

I am among the many who have had their lives enriched by the air fryer. In a short amount of time, you can make a variety of crispy and crunchy foods without a bottle of oil, excessive splattering or quite so much guilt. And hooray, fried chicken wings are one of the foods the air fryer is made for.

All you have to do is toss the wings in a small bit of oil and place them in the air fryer. Toss them around again at least once during frying so they brown evenly. Then toss the now-crispy wings with a simple butter-hot sauce mixture, serve up a ridiculously easy homemade blue-cheese dip, and you’re ready for game day. Or just a fabulous snack.

What turns ordinary chicken wings into Buffalo wings is that hot sauce with melted butter. And while there are folks who prefer one hot sauce or another, many of us feel it’s not a classic buffalo wing without Frank’s Red Hot Sauce. This just-the-right-amount-of-spicy sauce has the perfect balance of vinegar and heat, so you can glug that red love onto the wings and not worry about blowing your taste buds out.

Want it spicier? Add more Frank’s, and maybe a bit of cayenne pepper.

Don’t want to make your own blue cheese dip? That’s cool. Buy some. But buy a good one. You made your own wings; give them a sauce they deserve. I’m a fan of Marie’s blue cheese dressing, which can be found in the produce section in the refrigerator case.

Including carrots and celery makes us all feel better about the wings. One wing, one carrot, one wing, one piece of celery. And don’t forget to dip the vegetables in that blue cheese dip too. Tomorrow you can have a salad.

If you want to make the wings ahead of time, just reheat them in a 300-degree oven for about 15 minutes.

This combination of images shows a recipe for buffalo chicken wings with blue cheese dip and carrot and celery sticks. (Carrie Crow via AP)

Serves 6

2 pounds chicken wings, flat part and “drummies” separated, tips saved for stock

2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Buffalo Sauce:

2/3 cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Blue Cheese Dip:

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese

1 to 2 tablespoons whole milk, half and half, or heavy cream

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 finely chopped scallions, white and green parts

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Carrots and celery sticks for serving

Cook the wings: In a large bowl, toss the chicken wings with the oil, salt and pepper. Place them into the basket of the air fryer; they can overlap a bit, but they shouldn’t be stacked. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes at 400°F if your air fryer has temperature settings, or the dual cook setting if it doesn’t. Turn the wings halfway through the cooking, redistributing them so they cook more evenly. Remove them when they are browned and crisp.

Make the Buffalo sauce: While the wings are cooking, combine the Frank’s Red Hot Sauce and the melted butter in a large bowl.

Make the blue cheese dip: In a small bowl, mix together the sour cream, mayonnaise, blue cheese, 1 tablespoon milk, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, scallions, and salt and pepper. If the dip is thicker than you’d like, add the extra tablespoon of milk (or other dairy product).

Transfer the hot cooked wings to the large bowl and toss with the buffalo sauce. Transfer to a serving platter and serve with the Blue Cheese Dip and carrot and celery sticks.