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6 Frozen Chicken Wings, Ranked Worst To Best

plate of wings
plate of wings - Julia Collins/Tasting Table

With the Super Bowl coming up soon, that means killer appetizers are probably at the forefront of your mind. Whether you're a chips and dip person, a mozzarella stick fan, or religiously serve pizza at your game day watch parties, there's always one thing that friends and family will ask for no matter what else is on the table: chicken wings. And while you can absolutely buy a bunch from your local restaurant, you have to go into that endeavor knowing the restaurants are slammed with orders, and that they might not be able to accommodate you at this point. Or maybe you just want a peaceful, chill, at-home game day this year, without having to worry about braving restaurant pick-up lines.

If that's the case, you have to turn to none other than grocery store frozen chicken wings. Surprisingly, there isn't too much variety out there, at least in our area. But still, you don't want to buy subpar wings to watch an action-packed game. These wings should be as tantalizing as the gameday showdown, so we tried a bunch and ranked them for you. You're welcome.

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6. Signature Select Buffalo

Signature Select Buffalo
Signature Select Buffalo - Julia Collins/Tasting Table

Coming in last place is a major disappointment -- the Signature Select wings in the buffalo-style flavor. We are huge fans of buffalo wings and love to get a basket to share at a sports bar restaurant with friends and family. We savor the hot sauce-smothered wings and don't mind getting our hands a little dirty in the process. That's just something to be expected with quality buffalo wings.

The buffalo wings from Signature Select were small, most of the buffalo flavor melted off in the oven cooking process, and the actual chicken was underwhelming. These wings were the least appetizing visually of all the ones we tried, and the taste matched up to the appearance. We followed the directions on the bag (the directions for all the wings but one kind indicated similar oven-cooking instructions, between 400 F and 425 F in the oven for between 15 to 20 minutes), but the wings came out poorly. The buffalo flavor left much to be desired (it was hardly spicy at all), and overall, buying these wings was a waste of money.

5. Good & Gather All Natural Chicken Wings

Good & Gather All Natural Chicken Wings
Good & Gather All Natural Chicken Wings - Julia Collins/Tasting Table

The Target brand Good & Gather's frozen chicken wings were surprisingly delicious. The chicken was decent (though not the best of the wings we tried), and it was a fairly straightforward process to cook them. But several large downsides made these wings lose points in our book and bump them down to second to last place. First of all, there was the lengthy cooking time to consider. Unlike every other frozen wing type we tried, these wings took 50 minutes in the oven to cook. At that point, we'd rather buy fresh chicken wings in the refrigerator section and make them ourselves.

That's basically what you're doing with these anyway. Aside from a cooking time over double all of the others, these wings don't come with any flavor on them. We don't inherently hate that, as it leaves the perfect blank slate for you to add your own sauce or spices, but for game day when you're just wanting a quick, delicious appetizer to serve to friends, this is probably not the product you're looking for. But if a wing flavor you love isn't available in the grocery store (we're looking at you, Garlic Parmesan), we suppose you can make these blank slate wings to your liking -- albeit with some extra time in every step of the process.

4. Tyson Any'tizers Buffalo Seasoned Chicken Wings

Tyson Any'tizers Buffalo Seasoned Chicken Wings
Tyson Any'tizers Buffalo Seasoned Chicken Wings - Julia Collins/Tasting Table

These Tyson buffalo-flavored wings were gearing up to be one of our favorites in the group. And don't get us wrong -- we really enjoyed the chicken on these, as they felt fresher and from a better-taken-care-of chicken than Signature Select, but these wings threw us for a curveball. While they're advertised as buffalo flavored -- and you can actually see the red spices on the chicken wings and smell the spice when opening the bag -- once they're cooked, you can't taste the spice on these wings at all.

For reference, one of our taste testers who does not enjoy spicy food (and is keen at identifying when something is even a little bit spicy), bit into one of these wings and commented that they felt like they were eating a plain, unseasoned chicken wing. And we agreed: These wings have great quality chicken but no flavor, hence their spot in this ranking. But we think because of the quick cooking time, these wings would be great to pair with a lineup of sauces for your guests to dip into and pick their own flavor adventure.

3. Signature Select Honey BBQ

Signature Select Honey BBQ
Signature Select Honey BBQ - Julia Collins/Tasting Table

In fourth place are the Signature Select frozen chicken wings in the honey BBQ flavor. We felt a bit conflicted on these, as the flavor was tasty enough to land them in second place, but the actual chicken was subpar enough to drop them much further down the rankings. So we ended up deciding that the most fitting spot would be in the middle of the pack. We enjoyed that the flavor of these (honey BBQ) was vastly different from any other kind we tried, and it broke up the buffalo battle a bit.

These wings are covered in a thick, sticky sauce that does stick to the pan after cooking and flipping halfway through (yes, even though we put down aluminum foil and used cooking spray liberally), but we think the little bit of struggle was worth the flavor payoff. Don't worry, not all of the flavor comes off on the baking pan -- you still get hit with plenty of honey BBQ flavor. The wings were incredibly sweet, and we could only stomach two of them before deciding we'd had enough. We wouldn't recommend serving these as the only wing option at your gathering, as, like we mentioned, the chicken was so-so, but for some wing flavor diversity, these are a great choice.

2. Perdue Air Fryer Ready Roasted Crispy Chicken Wings - Hot And Spicy

Perdue Air Fryer Ready Roasted Crispy Chicken Wings - Hot and Spicy
Perdue Air Fryer Ready Roasted Crispy Chicken Wings - Hot and Spicy - Julia Collins/Tasting Table

Coming in second place are the Perdue Air Fryer Ready Roasted Crispy Chicken Wings in the flavor Hot and Spicy. While the brand really isn't kidding about the spice factor on these (our mouth felt like it would never be the same again after eating them), we have to acknowledge that everyone has different spice tolerances, and for those who can tolerate intense spice, these are the perfect wings for you. And we have to respect that these wings are exactly what they say they are, unlike a lot of their competitors: They are classic, spicy wings with high-quality chicken.

The spicy wings from Perdue make the ultimate game-day appetizer, so if your crowd can't live without the heat, absolutely put these on the table (maybe with a little sign that has four peppers on it to indicate the experience they're about to embark on). We loved Perdue's chicken the best, as well, out of all the frozen wings, so if you're looking for high-quality chicken wings, these are a great option.

1. Perdue Air Fryer Ready Roasted Crispy Chicken Wings - Lemon Pepper

Perdue Air Fryer Ready Roasted Crispy Chicken Wings - Lemon Pepper
Perdue Air Fryer Ready Roasted Crispy Chicken Wings - Lemon Pepper - Julia Collins/Tasting Table

In first place, taking home the ultimate prize of the best frozen chicken wing flavor, are the Perdue Air Fryer Ready Roasted Crispy Chicken Wings in Lemon Pepper. These wings completely blew us away, and we knew upon the first bite we'd found a winner -- for so many reasons. First of all, the flavors are balanced perfectly, and you get the delicate lemon flavor with the bite of pepper, and it works together wonderfully on the chicken wing canvas. It's not a spicy wing, but it's not unseasoned, either. These wings have the best flavor out of all of the ones we tried.

In addition to the flavor being incredible and one that anyone could enjoy (without a warning sign), the actual chicken itself was high quality. The cooking time was very reasonable, and we knew after that first bite that we were going to be adding these wings to our regular grocery store trips to have in the freezer at all times -- they're that tasty. We think the new tagline for this flavor should be "Good beyond game day," because that's how we feel about them.

Methodology

plate of wings
plate of wings - Julia Collins/Tasting Table

We ranked these wings based on a few factors, including the quality of the actual chicken, cooking time (no one wants to spend hours in the kitchen on frozen food, after all), flavor, and overall experience. Each of these options came in at a similar price point (between $10 and $15), so there weren't large discrepancies there.

We picked the wings based on availability in our area at large grocers like Acme and Target, as opposed to niche, small grocery stores that might carry less widely available brands. We also didn't pick any vegan wings or boneless wings, as those would be harder to compare to real chicken bone-in wings.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.