Skip to Content

Why are baked chicken wings unhealthy?

Baked chicken wings are a popular appetizer and party food. However, despite being baked rather than fried, they are still high in fat, calories, and sodium. Here’s a closer look at why baked chicken wings may not be the healthiest choice.

High in Fat

Chicken wings are very high in fat, even when baked. A 3 ounce serving of baked chicken wings contains around 15 grams of fat. The majority of this fat is saturated fat and cholesterol. Consuming foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and other health problems.

Chicken skin is one of the main sources of fat in baked wings. Skinless baked chicken wings have only about 7 grams of fat per serving, compared to 15 grams when the skin is left on. However, most restaurants and recipes call for baking wings with the skin on to maximize flavor and crispiness.

Loaded With Calories

In addition to being high in fat, baked chicken wings are also high in calories. A serving of 3 ounces of baked chicken wings contains approximately 185 calories. Eating more than the recommended serving size can easily add hundreds of extra calories to your meal.

For example, a single pound of baked chicken wings contains over 1000 calories. It’s easy to overeat at parties, sporting events, or other gatherings where chicken wings are served. Even without dipping sauces, the wings alone are calorie dense.

High in Sodium

Most recipes for baked chicken wings call for seasoning with salt, spices, and other sodium-rich ingredients. Wings are also commonly served with high-sodium dipping sauces like ranch, blue cheese, barbecue, and buffalo sauce.

A 3 ounce serving of baked chicken wings has about 600 milligrams of sodium. Eating multiple servings or dipping in sauces can cause your sodium intake to quickly skyrocket. Consuming too much sodium has been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and other health risks.

Lack of Nutrition

While baked chicken wings provide a good amount of protein, they lack other nutrients. Chicken wings have virtually no fiber, vitamins, minerals, or other important micronutrients.

In comparison, 3 ounces of chicken breast contains around 25 grams of protein with only 3 grams of fat and 110 calories. Chicken breast also has more iron, potassium, zinc and B vitamins than wings.

Tips for Healthier Chicken Wings

If you want to enjoy chicken wings but reduce the unhealthy factors, here are some tips:

  • Use an air fryer instead of baking to reduce fat and calories
  • Remove the skin before cooking to significantly cut fat and calories
  • Use reduced sodium seasoning or just salt and pepper
  • Choose lighter dipping sauces like mustard, salsa, or Greek yogurt
  • Eat wings in moderation – stick to 1-2 servings

Healthier Appetizer Alternatives

For a healthier appetizer, consider these options instead of baked chicken wings:

  • Fresh vegetables with hummus or guacamole
  • Whole grain crackers and cheese slices
  • Shrimp cocktail
  • Turkey or vegetarian meatballs
  • Baked tortilla chips and salsa
  • Edamame sprinkled with sea salt


While baked chicken wings are lower in fat and calories than fried wings, they are still a high fat, high calorie food with minimal nutritional value. Overeating baked wings or pairing them with unhealthy dipping sauces can add unnecessary fat, sodium, and calories to your diet. If you want to enjoy wings, do so in moderation or try healthier cooking methods and ingredients. Choosing alternative appetizers can also help you get more nutrition without the excess calories and fat of chicken wings.