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Looking to learn how to cut chicken wings like a pro? Our step-by-step guide will show you how to properly trim and section chicken wings for maximum flavor and presentation.

From selecting the right tools to mastering the perfect cut, our expert tips and tricks will have you serving up restaurant-quality wings in no time. Don’t miss out on this essential kitchen skill – start cutting chicken wings like a pro today!

cut chicken wings on a plate

Buying whole chicken wings and cutting them yourself is a great way to stretch your grocery budget. After cutting and trimming your chicken wings, I’m sure you will enjoy making these Easy 3 Ingredient Crockpot BBQ Chicken Wings. Wings are the perfect party food! Be sure to visit my Game Day Party Food Bars and 50 Budget-Friendly Party Finger Food Recipes.

Safety First: Precautions to Take When Cutting Chicken Wings 

  • Be sure to start by washing your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before handling the chicken. If you prefer, use latex free disposable gloves for your hands.
  • Use a clean cutting board that is specifically designated for raw poultry.
  • Use a sharp knife to minimize the risk of slipping and cutting yourself.
  • Cut the chicken on a stable surface, such as a cutting board, and use a firm grip on the chicken.
  • Pat chicken dry with paper towels after washing so the pieces are not so slippery while holding them for cutting.
  • Cut away from your body to avoid injury.
  • Clean and sanitize utensils, cutting boards, and surfaces that come into contact with the chicken. Use a good quality disinfectant that is safe on food prep surfaces, such as Lysol Pro Kitchen Antibacterial Cleaner. After spraying with antibacterial spray, wash your cutting tools and cutting boards in the dishwasher.

By following these basic safety precautions, you can minimize the risk of foodborne illness when cutting chicken wings.

The Right Tools for the Job: Knives and Cutting Boards for Cutting Chicken Wings

chicken wings cut apart on a cutting board with knife and kitchen scissors

Here are several options for cutting your chicken wings. Choose whichever makes you feel more comfortable cutting poultry.

  • Chef’s Knife: A sharp chef’s knife is essential for cutting chicken wings. A knife with a 6-8 inch blade length is ideal for cutting through the joints and bones of the chicken wings.
  • Boning Knife: You could also use a boning knife, that allows you to easily remove the tendons and separate the wingette from the drumette.
  • Meat Cleaver: A meat cleaver is a heavy, wide-bladed knife that can be used to chop through the bones of chicken wings.
  • Cutting Board: A sturdy and designated meat-cutting board is best. Also, be sure the cutting board is sturdy and will not slip around on the cutting surface. A plastic cutting board is easiest to clean after use. 

Safety Tip: Using colored cutting boards for meat and produce is a useful way to prevent cross-contamination and keep your food safe. By assigning a different color cutting board to each type of food, you can help avoid the transfer of harmful bacteria from one food to another. I like to use red or bright pink for my meat-cutting boards.

Poultry Shears: Poultry shears are specially designed to cut through poultry bones and can be helpful for cutting chicken wings.

Kitchen Shears: Basick kitchen scissors are also good to have when cutting chicken wings. They work great for trimming off fat or extra skin.

What Are The Three Parts of A Chicken Wing? 

Here is your simple guide to the parts of a chicken wing.

one chicken wing with lines showing the wing tip, wingette and drumette

Drumette: This part of the wing resembles a chicken leg that has been separated from the thigh. There is one large bone in this part of the wing.

Wingette: This is the middle section of the wing. It has two thin bones. This part of the wing is also called a flat.

Wing tip: Some people call this part the flapper. The wing tip will need to be cut off and discarded. 

TIP: Wing tips are good to use when making bone broth. Cut the wing tips off when cutting chicken or turkey wings, and place the tips in a freezer bag. Add the frozen tips to your stock pot when you make bone broth.

How To Wash and Prepare Chicken Wings For Cutting and Trimming

Before cutting whole chicken wings, you will need to follow a few basic prep steps.

raw whole chicken wings on parchment paper

1. I begin by using surgical gloves to keep bacteria off my hands ( I hate chicken goo under my nails also!) Here are some fun pink disposable gloves that work great for messy kitchen tasks.

2. Place the chicken wings in a colander and rinse them well with cold water. 

chicken wings in a strainer and some being dried with paper towels

3. Pat the wings dry with a paper towel and place time on a baking tray, pie pan, or other flat containers. 

Three Methods For Cutting a Chicken Wing 

Cutting fresh chicken wings is easy with a few basic tips and good tools. Try all three methods and choose one that is easiest for you.

Method 1: Step-by-Step Guide: How to Cut Chicken Wings

Cutting and trimming fresh chicken wings is a simple process that can be done in a few easy steps using a sharp chef’s knife. 

1. Take one wing, and lay it on your designated meat-cutting board with the skin side down. Stretch out the wing. This will help you see the three joints that separate the drummette, wingette, and wing tip. Using your fingers, feel for each joint on the wing. 

whole chicken wing

2. Using your newly sharpened knife, carefully place the knife just beside the slightly raised joint next to the wing tip and parallel to the length of the wing. Push down with the knife carefully, holding the end of the wing in your other hand. Discard the wing tip. 

cutting chicken wing tip off

3. Next, feel for the joint between the drummette and wingette. Place the knife next to the joint, pushing it down so the wing separates into two pieces. 

chicken wing being cut between flat and drummet. tip near to be discarded

 Method 2: Step-by-step Guide How To Cut a Chicken Wing By Snapping Joints Apart

The snap joint method is what I use when cutting chicken wings. This method makes it easier for me to find the joint and cut through the soft cartilage instead of the hard bone.

  1. Hold the chicken wing with one hand and locate the joint between the drumette (the larger, meatier portion) and the flat (the smaller, flatter portion). The joint will be located near the middle of the wing.
  2. Using your other hand, firmly grasp the drumette and the flat at opposite ends.
  3. Twist the drumette and the flat in opposite directions until you hear a snap or feel the bones separate.
  4. Use a sharp chef’s knife cut through the exposed joint to separate the drumette and the flat completely.
  5. Snip off the wing tip from the flat. Discard the wing tip. 

Method 3: How To Cut Chicken Wings Using Poultry Shears

Poultry shears are another good tool for cutting chicken wings, especially if you want to cut through the bones and cartilage. Here are the steps on how to use poultry shears to cut chicken wings:

  1. Clean your poultry shears and your cutting surface before you begin.
  2. Hold the chicken wing with one hand and locate the joint between the drumette and the flat.
  3. Position the poultry shears at the joint, with the blade on the meatier side (the drumette) and the serrated edge on the flatter side (the flat).
  4. Use the shears to cut through the joint, applying enough pressure to cut through the bone and cartilage.
  5. Trim any excess fat or skin from the chicken wings before cooking.

TIP: It’s important to use clean and sharp poultry shears and to handle raw chicken with care to prevent the spread of bacteria. After using the shears, wash them thoroughly with hot, soapy water and sanitize them with a solution of one tablespoon of bleach per gallon of water to prevent cross-contamination.

How to Prepare Chicken Wings for Cooking: Trimming and Cleaning Techniques

Removing pin feathers, excess skin, and fat from chicken wings before cooking will make them more appealing when serving. It will also reduce the amount of fat and calories and prevent grease flair-ups if you are grilling your wings.

How To Remove Pin Feathers From Chicken Wings

Finding pin feathers on cooked chicken wings is not appetizing. Take an extra minute and be sure the feathers are all removed before cooking the wings.

chicken wing with pin feathers still on
  1. Remove the pin feathers: Using a pair of pliers or tweezers, grasp the base of each pin feather and pull it out in the direction it grows. Be careful not to tear the skin or damage the meat.
  2. Repeat as necessary: Remove any pin feathers until they are all removed from the wing. 
  3. Clean the chicken: Once all the pin feathers are removed, wash the chicken thoroughly in cold water to remove any loose feathers and debris.
raw chicken wings being washed with water in a sink

How To Remove Extra Skin and Fat From Chicken Wings Before Cooking

Removing excess skin and fat from chicken wings before cooking can help reduce the amount of fat and calories in the final dish and can also help prevent the wings from becoming too greasy or oily. Here are the steps on how to remove extra skin and fat from chicken wings before cooking:

cutting off fat of chicken wing
  1. After cutting the chicken wings apart, rinse them under cold running water and pat them dry with paper towels.
  2. Locate any areas of excess skin or fat on the chicken wings.
  3. Use a sharp chef’s knife or kitchen shears carefully trim away any excess skin or fat, taking care not to remove too much of the meat.
  4. For the drumettes, you can also pull the skin and fat down towards the end of the drumette, leaving a small handle of skin and meat for easy handling.

After trimming the excess skin and fat from the chicken wings, you are ready to proceed with your chosen cooking method, such as baking, frying, slow cooker, or grilling.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Cutting Chicken Wings

chicken wings cut apart on a cutting board with knife and kitchen scissors

Cutting chicken wings can be a bit tricky if you have not done it before. Here are some common mistakes to avoid when cutting chicken wings:

  1. Using a dull knife or poultry shears: A dull knife blade can make it difficult to cut through the bones and joints of the chicken wings, increasing the risk of injury. Always use a sharp chef’s knife or poultry shears for the best results. 
  2. Not locating the joint properly: The joint between the drumette and the flat can be a little challenging to locate. Take the time to feel for the joint because it’s the key to properly cutting chicken wings in half. 
  3.  Applying too much pressure: Applying too much pressure when cutting through the bones and joints can cause the chicken wings to become mangled or even break the blade of your knife. Use a steady, controlled cutting motion and apply just enough pressure to cut through the bone and cartilage.
  4. Cross-contamination: Raw chicken can harbor harmful bacteria, so it’s important to avoid cross-contamination when handling it. Always wash your hands and any cutting tools and surfaces that came into contact with the raw chicken thoroughly with hot, soapy water.
  5. Not trimming excess fat and skin: Leaving excess fat and skin on the chicken wings can make them greasy and increase the amount of fat and calories in the dish. Take the time to trim away any excess fat and skin before cooking for best results.
  6. Rushing the process: Cutting chicken wings can be time-consuming, but it’s important to take your time and cut them properly to ensure even cooking and a more enjoyable eating experience. Don’t rush the process, and always prioritize safety when handling sharp cutting tools.

By avoiding these common mistakes and taking the time to cut your chicken wings properly, you can create delicious and well-prepared wings that everyone will enjoy.

Need a big batch to feed a crowd? You can easily change the number of servings in the recipe card below by tapping 2x or 3x. The ingredient measurements will automatically double or triple. You can then tap print and there you have it, a recipe for a crowd.

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raw cut chicken wings on a large plate
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How To Cut Chicken Wings: Step-By-Step Guide & Tips

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Learn how to cut chicken wings like a pro with this step-by-step guide. Get tips for tools, safety, and detailed how-to instructions.

Note: Be sure to read through the recipe’s post for tips and details about this recipe.

hand showing you to tap on the ingredient to add to your walmart and target list.

Ingredients
 

Instructions
 

  • To begin, wash your hands with hot soapy water. I like to use disposable non-latex gloves when working with raw meat to help not have cross-contamination of the work surfaces in the kitchen.
  • Place the chicken wings in a colander and rinse them well with cold water. Drain.
    3 pounds chicken wings
  • Pat the wings dry with a paper towel and place time on a baking tray, pie pan, or other flat containers.
    chicken wings in a strainer and some being dried with paper towels
  • Take one wing, and lay it on your designated meat-cutting board with the skin side down. Stretch out the wing. This will help you see the three joints that separate the drummette, wingette, and wing tip. Using your fingers, feel for each joint on the wing.
    one chicken wing with lines showing the wing tip, wingette and drumette
  • Using your newly sharpened chef knife, carefully place the knife just beside the slightly raised joint next to the wing tip and parallel to the length of the wing. Push down with the knife carefully, holding the end of the wing in your other hand. Discard the wing tip.
    cutting chicken wing tip off
  • Next, feel for the joint between the drummette and wingette. Place the knife next to the joint, pushing it down so the wing separates into two pieces.
    chicken wing being cut between flat and drummet. tip near to be discarded

Remove Pin Feathers

  • Remove the pin feathers by using a pair of pliers or tweezers, grasp the base of each pin feather and pull it out in the direction it grows. Be careful not to tear the skin or damage the meat.
    chicken wing with pin feathers still on
  •  Once all the pin feathers are removed, wash the chicken thoroughly in cold water to remove any loose feathers and debris.

Remove Extra Skin and Fat

  • Locate any areas of excess skin or fat on the chicken wings.
    cutting off fat of chicken wing
  • Use a sharp chef's knife or kitchen shears carefully trim away any excess skin or fat, taking care not to remove too much of the meat.
  • For the drumettes, you can also pull the skin and fat down towards the end of the drumette, leaving a small handle of skin and meat for easy handling.
Serving: 1g, Calories: 408kcal, Protein: 34g, Fat: 29g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g, Monounsaturated Fat: 12g, Trans Fat: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 141mg, Sodium: 134mg, Potassium: 287mg, Vitamin A: 270IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 22mg, Iron: 2mg
Cuisine: American
Course: Appetizer
Author: Gina Dickson

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