(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

The signs of a good party are as follows: good friends, good drinks, and really (really) good wings. When there's a whole basket of crispy wings coated with a succulent sweet, savory, or spicy sauce, you can bet no one's eating just one.

Luckily you can crank trays of these wings out because they're baked in the oven with only three ingredients.

It's All About the Sauce

Wings are all about the sauce! Let's be honest — we're not really in it for the meat. The chicken is good, but wings aren't exactly known for packing a lot of meat. If we're lucky, there are maybe five bites a piece, but each of those five bites fills your mouth with some of that crisp skin that's slathered with a thick coating of sauce. That's part of the beauty of wings — you get chicken plus all the flavor from the sauce in every single bite.

And that's what makes each of these five wings so amazing: the sauce. Each one is bursting with flavor, totally transforming a batch of plain wings into a finger-licking masterpiece. Plus, you can pull each of these sauces together in a few minutes with no more than three basic pantry ingredients.

Your Template for Oven-Baked Chicken Wings

No matter which sauce you use to coat your wings, the cooking method will be the same.

For oven-baked wings, I like giving them a simple coating of baking powder and salt. The baking powder draws out some of the moisture, leaving you with skin that's golden, crispy, and perfect for soaking up sauce.

Here's what you'll need to cook the wings.

2 pounds chicken wings + 1 tablespoon baking powder + 1 teaspoon salt

Depending on the size of the wings, two pounds will generally leave you with about 10 to 12 medium-sized wings.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Meanwhile, thoroughly pat the wings dry with a paper towel. Add them to a large mixing bowl along with 1 tablespoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix so the chicken is evenly coated. Place the chicken skin-side up on a foil-lined baking sheet, and cook for 45 to 50 minutes until golden and crispy.

Now, go ahead and decide how you'll sauce your wings.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Lemon Pepper Wings

Makes about 10 to 12 wings

If you're looking for a sauce to really make your wings pop, this lemon-pepper coating will do the trick. The combo of lemon juice and zest gives this sauce a tart and tangy zing, balanced with a touch of spice from the coarse black pepper.

In a small saucepan combine 3/4 lemon juice (from about 3 lemons), 1 clove of minced garlic, 1 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer and cook until the juice is reduced to about 1/2 cup. Remove from the heat and stir in the zest from 1 lemon.

Add the wings to a large bowl, pour the sauce over top, and mix until the wings are well-coated. Garnish with additional lemon zest and coarse black pepper.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Maple Bourbon Wings

Makes about 10 to 12 wings

While the alcohol largely cooks off during cooking, the bourbon leaves a warm, smoky aroma that pairs perfectly with the sweet maple syrup.

Combine 1/2 cup of maple syrup and 1/4 cup bourbon in a small saucepan, and simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes, until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Add the wings to a large bowl, pour the sauce over top, and mix until the wings are well-coated.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Sriracha-Honey Wings

Makes about 10 to 12 wings

Swap out your standard Buffalo wings for something a little different. Sweet and spicy collide with this simple Sriracha-honey sauce.

Warm 1/2 cup of honey in a small saucepan over low heat until warm and thin. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in 2 tablespoons Sriracha, the juice from 1/2 lime, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Add the wings to a large bowl, pour the sauce over top, and mix until the wings are well-coated.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Vietnamese-Style Wings

Makes 10 to 12 wings

This sauce delivers a plate of salty-sweet wings packed with an umami punch.

In a small saucepan combine 2 tablespoons fish sauce, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons light brown sugar, and a pinch of fresh-ground black pepper. Cook over low-medium heat until the sauce begins to thicken, about 5 minutes.

Add the wings to a large bowl, pour the sauce over top, and mix until the wings are well-coated.

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)
(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

Sweet and Sticky Date Sauce Wings

Makes 10 to 12 wings

This sticky date and coriander sauce makes for wings that are both sweet and savory.

In a food processor or blender add 10 pitted dates, 1 cup of chicken stock or water, and 1 teaspoon ground coriander, and process until smooth, adding more liquid as necessary. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt and a 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper. Transfer the sauce to a small pan and cook over low heat until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

Add the wings to a large bowl, pour the sauce over top, and mix until the wings are well-coated.