Buffalo Chicken Wings History and Recipe

The Buffalo chicken wing can be considered a true All-American blue collar dish.  It’s origins coming from the city of Buffalo, New York, with a high density of blue collar workers and using what was once considered the cheapest part of the chicken.


Buffalo Chicken Wings

Photo from Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York.Which Came First?


There are more than one claim to the origin of Buffalo Chicken Wings. The story most of us are familiar with is that they were invented at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York.  Another version tells the story of an African-American entrepreneur named John Young who started a restaurant called John Young’s Wings and Things in Buffalo, New York.

Buffalo natives will tell you, there is really only one way to eat a Buffalo Chicken Wing – and mild and medium are not an option!  Eat them hot and wash it down with a nice cold beer.


Buffalo Chicken Wings Recipe:
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
35 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Blue Cheese Dressing Recipe, Buffalo Chicken Wings History and Recipe
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Buffalo Chicken Wings:
  • 24 (about 4 pounds) chicken wings
  • Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable oil
  • 4 teaspoons butter
  • 2 to 5 tablespoons hot pepper sauce (or to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • Celery sticks
Blue Cheese Dressing:
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons onion, finely-chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, fresh-squeezed
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese, crumbled
  • Salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
  • Cayenne pepper to taste
Buffalo Chicken Wings Instructions:
  1. Make Blue Cheese Dressing and refrigerate at least 1 hour before using.

  2. Cut off the tip of each chicken wing and discard it.  Cut the wing in half (cutting at the joint) to make two pieces.  Wash and dry the chicken wings (they need to be very dry to be fried crisp).  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

  3. In a deep fryer or large pot, add vegetable oil and heat to 400 degrees F. on your meat thermometer or until the oil starts to pop and sizzle.  The oil should be able to cover the wings and still maintain the same temperature.  If using an electric fryer, set the temperature to 425 degrees F.

  4. Add half of the chicken wings and cook 10 to 15 minutes or until golden and crisp, stirring occasionally.  When done, remove from the hot oil and drain on paper towels (do not pile the wings in a bowl, because the fat will cool and congeal before it runs off). Repeat with remaining chicken wings.

  5. In a large saucepan over medium heat, melt butter.  Add hot sauce and vinegar; stir well and remove from heat immediately.  Add drained and cooled chicken wings and mix together.  Using tongs, take chicken wings out of sauce and let the excess sauce drain off.

  6. Place the wings on a hot grill or in a 350 degree F. oven for 2 to 3 minutes to bake in the sauce.

  7. Serve with Blue Cheese Dressing and celery sticks.

  8. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Blue Cheese Dressing Instructions:
  1. In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, onion, garlic, parsley, sour cream, lemon juice, vinegar, blue cheese, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper.

  2. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

  3. Makes 2 1/2 cups.



History of Buffalo Chicken Wings:

Chicken wings used to be considered the least desirable part of the chicken.  Many chefs would throw the wings away when cooking chicken or throw them into the stock pot to use for soup bones.  Now there is so much popularity around chicken wings, they have become the most expensive part of the chicken to buy, especially when the Superbowl comes around!  There are even rumors that annually sweep the news during Superbowl season about wing shortages in the grocery stores.


John Young’s Wings and Things

1964 – Young had heard of a restaurant in Washington D.C. that served chicken wings, so he decided to open his own establishment with his take of wings which he served in his popular Jamaican “Mambo” sauce.

Young, states he has been selling chicken wings since 1963. He operated various restaurants in the area until he opened Wings and Things at 1313 Jefferson Ave. at Utica

During the race riots in the late 60’s and early 70’s Young and his family left NY for Decatur, Illinois, where he ran a food truck until he returned to Buffalo in the 80’s, opening several Wings and Things locations in the Buffalo area.

Although there are several people who claim invention of Buffalo wings, Young’s Wing’s and Things restaurant should also be considered in the history of the origin of Buffalo Chicken Wings. Wings and Things rival restaurant, the Anchor Bar in Buffalo also starts their history of Buffalo Chicken Wings in 1964. Young does say that the Anchor bar wasthe first to cut the wings in half and serve them with celery and blue cheese dressing, but the original concept of selling the wings was his.

Source: Buffalo News, Buffalo Rising & Buffalo News


The Anchor Bar

1964 – Buffalo Chicken Wing recipe invented by the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York.

There is much mystery on the exact story of how buffalo wings came about, but we do know for sure the recipe originated at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York by restaurant proprietor Teresa Bellissimo in 1964.  Teresa deep fried the wings without breading to cook them and then coated the wings with hot sauce made from a base of vinegar, butter and cayenne peppers.  They were served with celery sticks and blue cheese dressing as a nice counterpoint to cool off your mouth from the heat of the hot sauce on the wings.


Story 1:  According to Teresa’s husband, Frank, who founded the bar with Teresa in 1939, the recipe came about out of necessity.  The restaurant was accidentally delivered chicken wings instead of necks in their delivery order.  Since they didn’t want the wings to go to waste, Frank asked his wife to come up with a bar appetizer and thus the creation of the buffalo wings.

Story 2:  
Teresa’s son Dominic retells the following story.  On a late Friday night Dominic wanted to provide a special free appetizer for some regular customers who were spending alot of money at the bar that night. Typically on Friday’s most Roman Catholics stick to the tradition of eating fish and vegetables.  Dominic wanted to provide some kind of meat appetizer to pass around at midnight. He asked his mother to come up with something to serve.  That’s when Teresa picked up the chicken wings and concocted her recipe.  It wasn’t long until the wings were added to their regular dinner menu instead of serving as a free bar food.


According to one employee of the Anchor Bar’s, “It took a few years before Buffalo wings became popular.  At first customers were not so hot on the idea of paying for chicken scraps.”  Soon enough the the wings were becoming more popular than the regular Italian food on the menu.  During the 70’s, the popularity of the Buffalo wings took off and spread across the city and then bars across the state of New York.  It was in the 1980’s and 90’s that Buffalo wings gained nationally popularity in major restaurant chains and became a favorite snack to serve during the Superbowl.  Now days buffalo chicken wings are so popular that you will find chicken wings offered in a variety of sauce flavors other than the original hot sauce.

The actual recipe for the Anchor Bar’s Buffalo Chicken Wings is kept a closely guarded secret by the family, but you will find that the following Buffalo Chicken Wings recipe tastes a lot like theirs.  During football season, Buffalo Chicken Wings are probably the most served appetizer during the game!  The are known by Buffalo natives as “wings”, and many restaurants will offer wings on the menu as mild, medium or hot.
1970’s – Buffalo wings were offered on bar menu across the city and popularity spread state wide.  City of Buffalo officially proclaimed, July 29th as “Chicken Wing Day”


1980’s – Buffalo wings became nationally famous as restaurant chains like Hooter’s and Buffalo Wild Wings featured wings as a main item on the menu.  It is believed that the first mention of Buffalo wings on national television was the Today show.

1991-1994 – Buffalo Bills, NFL football team appeared in the Superbowl 4 consecutive years in a row, bringing much media attention to the cuisine of Buffalo, New York.
Major pizza chains such as Domino’s and Pizza Hut started featuring Buffalo wings as part of their regular menu offering.


Comments from readers:

I just found the recipe that are from Buffalo on your website.  I am impressed!  I live near Buffalo and you have them right on.  Most places call any orange-colored spicy chicken “Buffalo” and it drives me and others nuts.  The authentic wings are fried in vegetable oil.  Some recipes add flour to the wings.  I also saw some recipes that call for them to be baked in the oven.  Even Bisquick covered!  These recipes claims they are Buffalo! – Lisa H, Lockport, NY (6/19/11)


Thermapen Internal Temperature Cooking ChartI get many readers asking what cooking/meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking and baking. I, personally, use the Thermapen Thermometer. Originally designed for professional use, the Super-Fast Thermapen Thermometer is used by chefs all over the world.  I only endorse a few products, on my web site, that I like and use regularly.

You can learn more or buy yours at: Super-Fast Thermapen Thermometer.

Sponsored Content

Comments and Reviews

2 Responses to “Buffalo Chicken Wings History and Recipe”

  1. Lynn

    I went to University of Buffalo during the 70s – the rumor then was that the wings where first parboiled, then deep fried (no coating), then sauced, then roasted. It is important to note that the wings are dipped in the blue cheese dressing, not necessarily the celery. Also, WINGS are NEVER served with Ranch dressing – only Californians do this.

  2. Mike

    The recipe I received from a friend(handed down) was pretty much as listed above with only slight changes. The wing was definitely fried dry, only slightly seasoned no other steps-remember she was in a hurry. The only changes to the blue cheese dressing was that the vinegar was white wine vinegar and it was mixed with a 1/2 cup of whole milk at the beginning of the process along with the lemon juice (doubled) to make buttermilk. Recipe was followed as stated with “buttermilk” added at the end and then mixed. For my own time saver, I simply put all the dressing ingredients in a blender and it comes out just fine-no grating involved. And yes it is a dip for the wing, but works well with anything. Cardboard would taste good with this dressing and I am not a fan of blue cheese; but I am of this stuff.


Leave a Reply