How Are Boneless Wings Made? (Super Tasty & Affordable)

Arianna Foster
Published by Arianna Foster
Last Updated On: December 5, 2023

As a devoted adherent of the carnivore lifestyle, I love wings. I have smoked them, grilled them, and eaten them at many restaurants.

So when I first came across boneless wings, I had to try them out and find out how they were made. After much delicious hands-on research, I have the answers to that question and I will lay them out in this article.

Quick Summary

  • Boneless wings are made from chicken breast meat that is breaded and fried
  • While regular wings are made from dark meat, boneless wings are made of white meat
  • Boneless wings usually cost less money than traditional wings

Are Boneless Chicken Wings Actual Wings?

Raw chicken with herbs

No, boneless chicken wings are not actual de-boned wings, but they are real chicken.

If a boneless chicken wing is not really a wing, what is it? The answer is that boneless chicken wings are made of skinless chicken breasts.

That's right - a boneless wing is simply pieces of boneless, skinless chicken breast that have been cut into wing-sized pieces, then breaded or battered and deep-fried.

Regular wings still remain the second most popular cut of the bird - behind breasts but over drumsticks and chicken thighs [1].

Most restaurants offer spicy and flavorful dipping sauces when serving this type of wing.

They find that some customers prefer to cut the wing with a knife and fork and then dip it to taste in a side dish or bowl of sauce. You can’t do that if your wing has bones and cartilage in it.

Ingredients Of Boneless Wings

Raw chicken with herbs

Boneless chicken wings are a delicious and easy-to-eat option for chicken. However, many people don't know what goes into making them.

The ingredients of boneless chicken wings are pretty simple: chicken breasts, egg, milk, flour, salt, pepper, and any other desired spices.

Many people add cayenne, garlic, paprika, or onion powder to the flour.

First, you cut the breasts into small strips. Then, dip it in a mixture of milk and eggs. Next, coat the breasts with seasoned flour and spices.

Coating the breasts with flour is crucial to the process because boneless wings do not have any skin. The skin protects traditional wings from the heat of the deep fryer.

Boneless chicken wings use the breading to keep them from burning and to give them a crisp crust.

After that, you place the strips in the deep fryer until they are golden brown and crispy.

Finally, you are ready to eat your boneless wings with your favorite dipping sauce for flavor - ranch dressing, Buffalo sauce with raw celery sticks, blue cheese dressing, etc.

"Boneless wings are no wings at all—they are little white meat lies."
- Jimmy Yang, Bon Appetit

What Type Of Wings Are Less Expensive?

Boneless wings are usually less expensive than real wings. This is due to two main reasons.

First, the bone-in version has become extremely popular in recent years, particularly for parties, sporting events, bars, and restaurants. Of course, this demand aids in driving up the price of real wings.

Also, since chickens only have two wings, the surge in chicken wing demand has led to a surplus of chicken breasts compared to chicken wing meat.

This excess supply in breasts contributes to lower prices. These are then passed on to the consumer as lower prices compared to real wings.

Second, bone-in wings require more work to prepare than a boneless wing. Simply breading and frying a breast is easier and less time-consuming than working with poultry that still has bone, cartilage, and gristle.

The boneless version cooks faster too, so you get it on the table quicker.

This efficiency leads to lower labor costs, which are then reflected in the price of boneless wings.

Boneless Wings And Health

Fried chicken in a bowl

People often wonder if boneless wings are healthier than bone-in wings. Unfortunately, there are pros and cons to each type of chicken wing when it comes to nutrition.

On the one hand, boneless chicken wings tend to be lower in calories and fat than Buffalo wings. This is because they are usually made with chicken breast, which is a leaner piece of protein.

On the other hand, a traditional wing tends to have less coating and can be baked instead of fried. When baked, they have less fat and absorb less grease and hot oil.

So, when it comes to health, the best chicken wing depends on your personal preferences and dietary needs.

A boneless wing is lower in calories, but regular chicken wings may be a better option if you are looking to avoid deep-fried foods.

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Is a Boneless Wing Just Chicken Nuggets?

No, boneless wings are not chicken nuggets. Although boneless wings are similar to chicken nuggets, there are some differences.

Chicken nuggets are usually made from both light and dark meat that has been ground or minced and then formed into the chicken nugget shape.

On the other hand, a boneless wing is a strip of breast meat that is usually battered or breaded in its original shape before being cooked.

So, while both boneless wings and nuggets are made from chicken, they are not actually the same thing.

Are Boneless Wings Just Chicken Tenders?

No, boneless wings are not chicken tenders. Although boneless wings are closer to chicken fingers or tenders than they are to a chicken nugget, they are still not the same thing.

Tenders and boneless wings are both white meat poultry that is breaded and grilled, but a boneless wing is made from the chicken's breast meat (pectoralis major), while tenders are made from both the pectoralis minor muscle of the bird.

This is a pretty technical difference, and only the most hardcore chicken fans are likely to taste any significant difference between the two. This is because they otherwise prepare the two slices of meat in a similar fashion.

Are Boneless Wings Processed Meat?

No, boneless wings are not processed meat. They are made from a natural, whole chicken breast meat that has been cut into strips.

The only processing that occurs is the crumbing or battering of the breast before it is cooked. So, while boneless chicken wings may be considered "processed" because they have been altered from their original form, the protein has not been processed.

Are Boneless Wings Keto?

No, boneless chicken wings are generally not keto. Although the meat itself is Keto, the breading or batter is usually not.

The crumbing can add many carbs, as can the sugary sauces that often accompany boneless chicken wings. So, if you are following a dedicated keto diet, you should avoid boneless wings.

However, if you are looking for a lower-carb option, you can try naked wings (breasts that have no coating or batter) or traditional wings [2]. These are generally considered to be more keto-friendly than boneless wings. Because of their skin, regular wings do not have to be breaded before they are fried.

Are Boneless Wings Gluten-Free?

No, boneless chicken wings are not gluten-free. The batter or breading used to coat the bird usually contains wheat flour, which is not gluten-free.

Again, Buffalo chicken wings are more likely to be gluten-free than boneless wings, because they do not require breading. When ordering boneless chicken wings, you can also look for a gluten-free option, but be aware that they are not always on the restaurant menu and may be more expensive.


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About the author

Arianna Foster
Nutritionist/Editorial Director
Arianna is a nutrition expert with unmatched management skills and a love for steaks. The only thing she enjoys more than educating people on how to improve their diet and live a healthier life is cooking and hiking.
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