Why There’s Hair on Chicken Wings & And How to Remove It?

It can be a major turn-off to find hair on chicken wings. A widely confusing moment, deciding whether to leave them or try to pull them out. Are they safe to eat? How would you even remove them if you wanted to? And why is there hair on chicken wings anyway?

In this article, we would be answering your questions and also dropping some useful tips to help out with this dilemma including how to properly remove the hair on chicken wings, and whether they are safe to eat.

Why There’s Hair on Chicken Wings?

Chicken wings bought from supermarkets and stores may still have tiny hairs on the surface because the removal of chicken hair is a time-consuming task that takes patience and precision which most production companies do not have and this inevitably leads to a few chicken hairs left.

The small hairs are filaments that connect the feathers to the skin of the chicken which is responsible for regulating the chicken’s temperature and are only noticeable upon close inspection. Most production companies make use of machines for the removal of chicken feathers and the machine can’t remove all the hair, especially the filaments since they are barely noticeable.

Is It Normal for Chicken Wings to Have Hair on Them?

Yes, it is completely normal for chicken wings to have hair on them. Chickens are completely covered in feathers so it would be almost impossible to pluck them all during mass production. As a result, some of the chicken wings we buy from stores would have tiny feathers on the surface but it is not regarded as unusual or a health hazard as it does not cause any harm.

Is It Safe to Eat Hair on Chicken Wings?

Yes, it is safe to eat the hair on chicken wings. Although it doesn’t make any difference if you leave the tiny hairs or not, some people prefer plucking them to give the chicken a more appetizing appearance.

The feathers contain keratin which is the same protein contained in human hair and fingernails. While it is okay to eat the tiny hairs found on chicken wings, you should not consume large contours of feathers as it may have adverse effects.

Read also: How Long to Bake Chicken Pieces At 350F, 375F, and 400F

How Do You Remove Hair from Chicken Wings?

To remove the hair from chicken wings, you can use tweezers, needle nose pliers, or a paring knife to pick the hair off chicken or singe them off with a barbecue lighter, propane torch, matches, or Crème Brule torch, depending on how much hair there is. This may be time-consuming but the wings can be soaked in hot water to make it easier to remove.

Based on preference, the hair on chicken wings can be removed before or after cooking. Although it is impossible to completely remove the hair on chicken wings, here are some methods to remove the more noticeable ones:

Rubber gloves

If there is still a lot of feathers on the chicken wings you can pull them out using rubber gloves. Simply soak the wings in hot water to make the feathers easier to pull, wear comfortable rubber gloves, and pull the feathers out. Ensure to do this properly and neatly to avoid contaminating the chicken. Also, ensure to wash the chicken after if it is uncooked.

Oil coating

Another method of removing hair on chicken wings is by coating the wings in oil. This will increase the possibility of the hairs getting singed off during the cooking process.


The hair on chicken wings can be burnt off using a barbecue lighter or Crème Brule torch but it must be done with precaution to avoid burning your hands or the chicken skin. Barbecue gloves can be worn for protection. You can wipe any soot left on the chicken skin with a lightly oiled paper towel.

Cook it

The majority of hair left on the chicken wings will be removed during the cooking process, so it is not necessary to remove the hairs beforehand. Whatever hair is left after cooking will be very tiny and almost unnoticeable.

Read also: Is Butter Chicken Spicy?

Is It Safe When There Are Feathers on Store-Bought Chicken?

Yes, feathers on store-bought chicken just mean that the production process isn’t thorough enough to pay special attention to each chicken. Chickens are completely covered in feathers so it would be almost impossible to pluck them all during mass production. As a result, some store-bought chickens would have tiny feathers on the surface but it is not regarded as unusual or a health hazard as it does not cause any harm.

If there are a lot of feathers on the chicken, you can soak the chicken in hot water, then put on your rubber gloves for grip and gently pull the feathers out. You might choose to leave the smaller hairs or remove them with tweezers or a torch. Most of the hair will fall out as the chicken is cooked and the rest can easily be pulled out after.

Is it necessary to remove the hair from chicken wings?

In short, the answer is no – removing the hairs from chicken wings is not necessary for safety or health reasons. According to the USDA and FDA, the presence of hairs on chicken wings is not a food safety hazard. The hairs are made of keratin, the same material as human hair and nails, and are not harmful to consume.

However, some people may prefer to remove the hairs for aesthetic or personal preference reasons. For example, the hairs may be considered unappetizing or unpleasant to look at. Some individuals may also be used to consuming chicken wings that are hairless, particularly if they frequently order chicken wings at restaurants or from fast-food establishments.

It’s worth noting that removing the hairs from chicken wings can be a time-consuming and potentially messy process. Some methods, such as using a paper towel to grip the hair and pull it off, may leave behind small hairs that are difficult to remove. Others, such as using a sharp knife to scrape off the hairs, require more skill and can be dangerous if not done correctly.

Ultimately, the decision to remove the hairs from chicken wings is up to personal preference. If you don’t mind the hairs, there’s no need to go through the hassle of removing them. However, if the hairs bother you or your guests, you can take the extra step to remove them before cooking or serving the wings.

Tips for preparing chicken wings

When it comes to preparing chicken wings, there are a variety of methods and techniques to choose from that can make them even more delicious. Here are some tips to get the most out of your chicken wing preparation:

  1. Season well: Chicken wings are a blank canvas when it comes to seasoning, so feel free to get creative. Whether you prefer a classic Buffalo-style sauce or something more unique like a spicy garlic soy glaze, the key is to add plenty of flavor. You can also experiment with dry rubs and marinades to add depth of flavor.
  2. Use an air fryer: Air fryers are a great way to make chicken wings crispy without deep-frying. They work by circulating hot air around the food, creating a crunchy exterior while keeping the interior juicy. Simply toss your seasoned wings in a bit of oil and place them in the air fryer basket for 15-20 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  3. Grill them: Grilling is another great way to cook chicken wings, giving them a smoky flavor and charred exterior. Simply brush your wings with oil and seasonings, and grill over medium-high heat until cooked through and charred on the outside.
  4. Serve with dipping sauces: Chicken wings are the perfect vehicle for dipping sauces, so be sure to have a variety on hand. Classic options like ranch or blue cheese are always popular, but you can also get creative with homemade sauces like honey mustard or sriracha mayo.
  5. Ensure food safety: It’s important to cook chicken wings to an internal temperature of 165°F to ensure they are safe to eat. Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature and avoid serving undercooked chicken.

By following these tips, you can take your chicken wing game to the next level and create a delicious and satisfying snack or meal.

Is it OK to cook the chicken with hair?

Yes, it is safe to cook chicken with the hairs on. The small hair-like structures on chicken wings are called “pinfeathers,” and they are harmless to consume. They are made of keratin, the same protein that makes up human hair and nails, and are not a food safety concern.

However, some people prefer to remove the hairs for aesthetic reasons or personal preference. If you choose to remove the hairs, you can do so by using a paper towel to grip and pull them off or by scraping them off with a sharp knife. Just be sure to handle the chicken properly to prevent cross-contamination, and cook it to an internal temperature of 165°F to ensure that it is safe to eat.

What are the stringy things in chicken wings?

The stringy things in chicken wings are likely tendons. Tendons are tough, fibrous connective tissues that attach muscles to bones, and they can be found throughout the body of animals. In chicken wings, tendons may be present in the thinner parts of the meat, such as the drumette or the wingtip. While some people choose to remove the tendons before cooking, others find them edible and enjoy their texture. If you are unsure about what you are seeing in your chicken wings, it’s always a good idea to consult with a trained professional or to follow a trusted recipe to ensure that your food is safe and enjoyable to eat.


Summarily, hair on chicken wings is perfectly normal and it is not necessary to remove them. They are safe to eat and won’t affect anyone. However, they can be quite gross and cause you to lose your appetite. Luckily, removing them isn’t a big deal.

By Luong Tan

Luong Tan, the creative and passionate founder of Bourbono, is a multi-talented individual with a deep love for the culinary arts. An accomplished food blogger, cookbook author, and former Ambassador of US cuisine in Vietnam (2015-2016), Luong has been on a mission to share his appreciation for food with the world.

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