Upgrade your BBQ wings with this easy homemade Buffalo sauce. Skip the store-bought stuff and learn how to make this spicy tangy classic sauce from scratch.
This homemade Buffalo sauce transforms ordinary chicken wings into the perfect blend of tangy spice and BBQ goodness. We’ve tried them on our smoked chicken wings and no other sauce comes close to delivering the hit of tang and heat that we want.
While you could head out to your favorite neighborhood bar for wings, it couldn’t be easier to make this classic wing sauce at home. Make it as sweet or spicy as you like, and whip up a batch to always have at hand for wing night. Here’s how to make Buffalo sauce from scratch.
What is Buffalo Sauce?
While there are countless sauces that have a special place in our hearts, surely the wing king has got to be Buffalo-style. This tangy, spicy sauce is what most people imagine when they think of classic wings, and it’s a favorite for good reason.
Of course, the sauce has nothing to do with the animal and instead derives its name from the place it calls home: Buffalo, New York. Like all cult favorites, its origin story is hotly contested, but many pin down 1964 as the year they came into being at Buffalo favorite, Anchor Bar. It’s thought that the delicious, vivid orange sauce was created on the fly when few other ingredients were available — a very happy accident.
- Warning: Not all types of hot sauce will work for this recipe. The best type of hot sauce to use for Buffalo sauce are mixes that are slightly sweet and vinegar-forward. Of course, the classic is Frank’s, but Louisiana Hot Sauce, Crystal, and our own cayenne pepper sauce all work well, too.
- Want to make your sauce even spicier? As the sauce simmers, slowly add ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper to the mix. Just remember to taste as you go.
- To ensure an even coating, toss your chicken wings in a large bowl with the sauce. A larger bowl will give everything more space to move about and ensure every part of the crispy wing is covered.
- If it’s looking too thin, you can thicken your Buffalo sauce by letting it simmer for an extra 1-2 minutes over low heat. If that doesn’t work, try slowly adding a teaspoon of cornstarch to the sauce and stirring it in until it reaches the consistency you’re after.
Of course, Buffalo sauce doesn’t just have to be used on wings. There are plenty of ways to repurpose it. Here are some of our favorite ways to add a Buffalo kick to other dishes:
- Whip up a Buffalo chicken sandwich: spread a roll with blue cheese or ranch sauce, top with some shredded chicken and crispy lettuce, and finish with a drizzle of Buffalo sauce.
- BBQ buffalo chicken dip is the perfect appetizer for game day: Buffalo sauce is mixed with shredded chicken, cream cheese, and blue cheese before being topped with grated cheddar and then baked until golden and bubbly.
- There’s spicy comfort in every bite of Buffalo mac and cheese: make your favorite creamy mac and cheese sauce recipe and then stir through some of your leftover Buffalo sauce. Mix in the pasta, stir to combine, top with blue cheese crumbles, and grill until bubbling.
The Buffalo sauce can be used to immediately coat wings or it can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one month. When ready to use, heat in a small saucepan for 5 minutes, whisking frequently to prevent separation.
Easy Buffalo Wing Sauce
- ¾ cup butter
- 1 cup hot sauce e.g. Frank’s, Crystal, Louisiana
- 1 ½ tbsp white vinegar
- ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- Add all the ingredients to a small saucepan set over medium-low heat
- Whisk the mixture continuously until the butter has melted and everything is well combined
- Simmer, whisking regularly, for 3-4 minutes until thickened slightly
- Set the sauce aside to cool just a little and then use immediately or store in an airtight container or bottle