Which chicken wings are gluten-free?

What is gluten?

Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye. For people with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, eating gluten can cause serious health issues like abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea. When ordering chicken wings, it’s important for gluten-free diners to know which sauces and seasonings contain gluten.

Are traditional chicken wings gluten-free?

Plain chicken wings are naturally gluten-free. Chicken does not contain gluten, so unbreaded wings are safe for gluten-free diets. The chicken meat in traditional bone-in or boneless wings does not have gluten. However, many restaurants bread or coat their wings with flour mixes before frying, which does contain gluten. So traditional bone-in chicken wings are usually not gluten-free.

Which sauces and seasonings contain gluten?

Many common wing sauces and seasonings contain gluten:

  • Soy sauce – Contains wheat
  • Teriyaki sauce – Often contains soy sauce
  • Hoisin sauce – Contains wheat
  • Beer sauce – Contains gluten from barley
  • Buffalo wing sauce – Sometimes thickened with wheat-based thickeners
  • Barbecue sauce – Can contain wheat, malt vinegar, etc
  • Cajun seasoning – Often contains wheat flour
  • Breading – Usually made from wheat flour

So wings cooked with these sauces should be avoided on a gluten-free diet. Thankfully, there are more and more gluten-free wing options available!

What to look for when ordering gluten-free wings

When dining out, look for chicken wings that are:

  • Plain and unbreaded – Make sure they are not dusted with flour before frying
  • Cooked without gluten-containing sauces like soy sauce
  • Served without thick sauces, unless the restaurant can confirm they are gluten-free
  • Seasoned only with salt, pepper, and other gluten-free herbs and spices

Many restaurants these days serve unbreaded bone-in or boneless wings fried in dedicated fryers. With some modifications, diners with celiac disease or gluten intolerance can enjoy safe gluten-free wings.

Some gluten-free dipping sauces like ranch, blue cheese, hot sauce, honey mustard, or barbecue made with gluten-free ingredients can make tasty accompaniments to plain wings.

Best gluten-free wing chains

Here are some popular wing chains that offer gluten-free menus and preparation:

Buffalo Wild Wings

Buffalo Wild Wings has a dedicated gluten-free menu and fryers. Wings can be ordered with various gluten-free sauces. Just request for wings to be cooked plain and naked in a gluten-free fryer.


At Wingstop, naked wings are breaded with rice flour then fried in a separate fryer. Their Louisiana Rub and Lemon Pepper flavors are also safe gluten-free seasonings.

Wild Wing Cafe

Wild Wing Cafe offers gluten-free chicken wings fried in a separate fryer and tossed in gluten-free sauces. Their gluten-free flavors include Hot, Mild, BBQ, Garlic Parmesan, and Teriyaki.

Pluckers Wing Bar

Pluckers Wing Bar breads their wings in rice flour and fries them in dedicated fryers. Their Sirracha Q and Jamaican Jerk Dry Rub flavors are gluten-free.

Chain Gluten-Free Preparation Gluten-Free Sauces/Seasonings
Buffalo Wild Wings Dedicated fryers Various
Wingstop Rice flour breading, dedicated fryers Louisiana Rub, Lemon Pepper
Wild Wing Cafe Dedicated fryers Hot, Mild, BBQ, Garlic Parmesan, Teriyaki
Pluckers Wing Bar Rice flour breading, dedicated fryers Sirracha Q, Jamaican Jerk Dry Rub

Making gluten-free wings at home

It’s easy to make gluten-free wings at home. Just bake, grill, or pan fry plain chicken wings using gluten-free ingredients:

  • Baked wings – Season wings with salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, etc. Bake at 450°F for 30-40 minutes, flipping once.
  • Grilled wings – Toss wings in olive oil and gluten-free seasoning. Grill 15-20 minutes, flipping occasionally.
  • Pan fried wings – Season wings with salt and pepper. Fry in olive oil over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, turning frequently.

For the sauce, use pre-made gluten-free wing sauces or choose naturally gluten-free flavors like hot sauce, ranch dressing, blue cheese dressing, honey mustard, or barbecue sauce. Verify the labels to ensure your condiments are gluten-free.

You can also easily make gluten-free wing sauces at home:

Gluten-Free Buffalo Wing Sauce

  • 1/2 cup hot sauce
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • Pinch of salt

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Mix in hot sauce, vinegar, garlic powder and salt. Simmer for 5 minutes, then toss with cooked wings.

Gluten-Free Asian Wings

  • 1/4 cup gluten-free soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Whisk together all ingredients in a bowl. Toss cooked wings in the sauce. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Gluten-Free Jerk Wings

  • 2 tbsp gluten-free jerk seasoning
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Mix together all ingredients. Toss cooked wings in the jerk sauce.

Are frozen wings gluten-free?

Always check the labels when purchasing frozen wings to ensure they don’t contain gluten. Some brands dust their wings in wheat flour before freezing. Plain frozen wings without breading or sauce are typically gluten-free options.

Major gluten-free brands like Annie’s, Ian’s, and Tyson label their plain frozen wings “gluten-free.” These can be baked or air fried at home and tossed in your favorite gluten-free wing sauce.

Gluten-free wing recipes

Here are some delicious gluten-free chicken wing recipes to try at home:

Baked Lemon Pepper Wings


  • 3 lbs chicken wings
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder


  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Toss wings in olive oil, lemon pepper, salt and garlic powder.
  3. Place wings on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  4. Bake 30-40 minutes, flipping once halfway.
  5. Enjoy with gluten-free ranch or blue cheese dressing.

Crispy Orange Chicken Wings


  • 2 1/2 lbs chicken wings
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free tamari
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp water


  1. Fry wings in oil over medium heat for 15-20 minutes until crispy.
  2. In a bowl, whisk orange juice, tamari, garlic and sesame oil.
  3. Mix cornstarch and water. Whisk into orange juice mixture.
  4. Add crispy wings and toss to coat.
  5. Sprinkle with sesame seeds to serve.

Honey Garlic Sriracha Wings


  • 3 lbs chicken wings
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free soy sauce
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 3 tbsp sriracha
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp grated ginger


  1. In a skillet, combine all ingredients except wings.
  2. Simmer sauce for 5-10 minutes until thickened.
  3. Add wings and toss to coat in sauce.
  4. Broil wings 5 minutes to caramelize sauce.


Eating gluten-free chicken wings is totally possible with some simple modifications. Look for plain unbreaded wings cooked without gluten-containing sauces at restaurants or follow recipes at home. With so many delicious gluten-free sauces and seasonings to choose from, you don’t have to miss out on wings on a gluten-free diet!

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