As football fans gear up for the NFL playoff season, Consumer Reports’ taste tasters sampled seven frozen buffalo chicken wings to find the best bunch to please the crowd. The full report appears in the February issue of Consumer Reports and online at

Consumer Reports found that while many of the wings were quite tasty none of them had enough fried crispiness to be excellent, but Bell & Evans, $6.99, topped the list for the best overall quality. The wings had a pleasant broiled/roasted taste and were quite spicy with a hint of cumin, paprika, and red pepper. They also had a nice texture and had less sodium and tasted less fatty than most. The other wings rounding out the top three included T.G.I. Friday’s, $9.25, that had a bit too much vinegar and the somewhat saltier Perdue Lightly Breaded, for $7.70.

“Chicken wings are a crowd pleaser while viewing a big sporting event, especially football,” said Maxine Siegel, Manager of Food and Sensory Sciences at Consumer Reports.  “Our recent tests reveal that there are satisfying brands available, but be sure to check the ratings to see which deliver the best taste and price.”

Other brands tested did reveal a few flaws: The Tyson Any’tizers Buffalo Style Hot, $7.31, had slightly rubbery skin. Weaver Flats, $5.93 had an artificial butter flavor, while Great Value Chicken, available at Walmart for $6.59, were chewy in addition to having a rubbery skin and an uneven coating.

Luckily major football games only come around once a year, because Consumer Reports advises that wings should be an occasional treat. The seven brands tested ranged from 140 to 190 calories and 9 to 13 grams of fat per serving. For most, that’s two or three pieces. Sodium is up to 43 percent of the recommended daily limit and if consumers are munching on more than a few pieces and add sauce, the numbers rise further. But at least all of the wings are trans-fat -free.

Consumer Reports Recommends Lower-Fat Alternatives

If hosts or guests are in need for a lower-fat snack, Consumer Reports food staffers recommend a variety of cheese and crackers with fewer than 100 calories per serving.

  • Reduced-fat cheeses: The smooth and flavorful Cracker Barrel Natural Vermont Sharp White Cheddar 2% milk or Sargento Sharp Cheddar 2% milk shredded that offers buttery and salty notes
  • Crackers: Ritz Reduced Fat and Special K Multi-Grain


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