How to Cut Chicken Wings (with Photos!)
Learn how to cut wings into drumettes and flats with this easy photo guide—plus get delicious ideas for how to cook the wings once they're prepped!
Seemingly humble, the chicken wing is the blank canvas that props up our favorite sauces. Glistening, crunchy, sweet, salty, spicy—these are some of the elements that add to the allure of a well-cooked chicken wing. Whether we are at a restaurant, party or at home, there is something about a platter of chicken wings that gathers people together like few other foods.
The best way to get the most bang for your buck when buying wings is to purchase whole wings and cut them into drumettes and flats—also known as wingettes—yourself. So now, how do you cut these whole wings before getting them dressed for the occasion? You just need four things in addition the wings:
Sturdy cutting board (we prefer plastic for cutting chicken and other meats, as well as seafood because plastic cutting boards are dishwasher safe).
Very sharp knife that you find comfortable to use.
Small kitchen towel or paper towel to help keep the cutting board from slipping.
Large bowl, plate or pan to transfer the wings to after you cut them.
Set up the cutting board. Wet your kitchen towel or paper towel and wring it out so that it is damp. Then lay it flat on your counter. Place the cutting board right on top of the towel. The wet towel will keep your cutting board from sliding on the counter when you cut into your chicken wing.
Pat the wings dry with a paper towel.
Next up, give the wings a little inspection to see where to operate. The wing is made up of three parts:
The part closest to the body that has the biggest bone is called a drumette because it looks like a mini drumstick. It has the most meat on the wing.
Attached to the drumette is the flat, which has two parallel thinner bones and a decent amount of meat, though it's not quite as meaty as the drumette. Flats tend to have wonderfully crispy skin when cooked.
The last part of the wing is the tip, which is mostly made of skin and bone and has very little meat. Some wings are sold without the tip—if that's the case with the wings you buy, you can skip the step of separating the tip from the flat.
All three parts are connected by joints. Feel for the joints with your fingers—these joints are softer than the bone and this is where you'll want to cut the wings.
Once you have spotted the joints on your secured cutting board, you can cut! Start by cutting through the joint connecting the drumette to the flat. To do so, place the tip of your knife on the board, hold the handle of your knife with your dominant hand, then place the blade of the knife on the joint. (The base is the closest to the handle, so you will have the most control of the knife.) Then use the palm of your other hand to apply pressure on the top of the blade close to the handle and exert slow, steady force on the joint of the wing until the knife cuts through the wing.
Repeat the same process to cut through the joint connecting the flat to the tip.
You should now have three sections of the wing. Continue cutting in the same way until all your drumettes and flats are ready to cook. Save the tips for another use, such as making chicken stock. Enjoy your wings, your party and the extra cash in your pocket!
Chicken Wing Recipes
Chicken wings can be baked in the oven, crisped in the air fryer or cooked in an Instant Pot. Try these delicious chicken wing recipes next time you're having people over or for a fun weeknight meal: