Ranking The Wings From 12 Pizza Chains

Pizza and chicken wings are a match made in heaven. While both of these tasty dishes are relatively simple on their own, their pairing provides some strikingly flavorful complexity. Pizza offers a luscious dose of starchy cheesiness with a tangy touch of tomato, while chicken wings provide succulent chunks of tender, juicy meat tossed in your favorite sauce. Both pizza and chicken wings are also easily customizable, offering a great opportunity to explore new flavor combinations that complement each other. Considering that this savory convergence has grown so popular over the years, it has become common for bigger pizza chains to feature chicken wings on their menus. That said, there can be significant variations in the overall quality of each pizza chain's chicken wings. Learning where to steer clear of can save you some cash and serious disappointment — and knowing which pizza chains get it right will open the door to deliciousness that you can trust.

While taste is certainly subjective on many levels, there's a good chance that we can all agree on some basic tenets about what constitutes a great chicken wing. The texture and proportions of the chicken wing as well as the flavors of sauces offered are three of the most important variables at play here. What we're looking for are juicy, meaty chicken wings that provide a nice exterior crunch, tossed with the perfect amount of flavorful sauce. Read on to see which pizza chains get chicken wings right and which ones lay an egg.

12. Domino's

There's no doubt that Domino's is one of America's leading pizza chains, considering the company rakes in billions of dollars every year. Believe it or not, even though the company placed dead last on our list, we actually dig Domino's pizza. Our main gripe here isn't with the company's widely accessible and deliciously cheesy pizza pies — our issue is with the topic at hand: the chicken wings.

As we stated earlier, one of the most important variables in determining the quality of chicken wings comes down to texture. Sadly, these chicken wings often fail to meet the level of crispness that we truly crave in chicken wings. In fact, one customer even described them as "gelatinous" on Reddit.

Just to be clear, we aren't expecting perfection here — but for a chicken wing to approach some level of greatness, there has to be some reasonable exterior crunch. The truth is that most major pizza chains probably don't have deep fryers in the kitchen, which is why pizza chain wings tend to be oven-baked. But it's still very possible to produce crispy chicken wings in the oven, so this is really just a matter of timing. Of course, you could always just finish these wings off in your own oven at home to improve their texture. But who wants to put that kind of work in when you're ordering takeout?

11. Papa Johns

Papa Johns is another massive pizza chain that dominates the market, with well over 3,000 locations across the United States. The company is perhaps most famous for its wildly delicious garlic butter dipping sauce and for the little pepperoncini peppers that it puts inside of its pizza boxes. In addition to pizza, Papa Johns also offers some fried chicken options, including chicken poppers (which are basically white meat chicken nuggets) along with some classic bone-in chicken wings.

The issue here is in the size of these chicken wings. Customers tend to complain that the chicken wings at Papa Johns are way too small. While we aren't necessarily expecting humongous chicken wings (nice as that would be), we are expecting them to be more than just a tiny nibble. The sadly undersized proportions of these chicken wings is what ranks them on the lower end here. On the plus side, Papa Johns offers some tasty, unique flavor options for its chicken wings, like honey chipotle, along with a variety of dipping sauces like spicy Buffalo and blue cheese. We appreciate the attempt by Papa Johns here, but we'd still like to see meatier wings on the menu.

10. Little Caesars

Little Caesars is well-known for its beloved "Hot-N-Ready" pizzas that are definitely one of the most affordable pizza deals out there. The company makes its pizza dough fresh on a daily basis at each of its locations and uses a cheese blend made with muenster and mozzarella. Like Little Caesars' Hot-N-Ready pizzas, the company also offers chicken wings that are prepared ahead of time, boxed up, and ready for takeout. Advantageous as this is, there's a major trade-off when it comes to quality for this level of convenience.

There's a big difference between chicken wings that are cooked fresh to order and chicken wings that have been pre-prepared and sit in their own steam for a while. If you order the chicken wings at Little Caesars, there's a good chance that they've been warming in a bowl under a heat lamp, locked in a sauna of their own condensation for some period of time. Being over-steamed like that is a surefire way to throw any level of crispiness right out the window, creating chicken wings that are wet and soggy. Some customers have also complained about these wings being shockingly small.

While the pizza at Little Caesars is still a pretty good bargain, it seems like the chicken wings leave much to be desired. If you're in the mood for some crispy farm fowl, you're better off looking elsewhere to get your fix.

9. Godfather's

Godfather's is a large pizza chain that's been in business since 1973. The company offers classic toppings and a few interesting specialty pizzas on its menu, like a taco-inspired pizza with beef, cheddar cheese, and taco sauce along with a bacon cheeseburger pizza with pickles. Godfather's also offers a lot of sides that you don't typically see at Italian restaurants, like cinnamon-flavored monkey bread and apple streusel. The restaurant also whips up chicken wings tossed in your choice of four different sauces: barbecue, Buffalo, sweet chili, or garlic parmesan.

The bottom line here is that the wings at Godfather's don't seem to be anything to write home about. The general consensus is that they're mostly just mediocre, although some customers have reported them being pretty bland. The good news is that the wings at Godfather's are a decent size. So while these wings may not necessarily knock your socks off, they also don't suffer from paltry proportions like some of the company's competitors. All things considered, there are definitely pizza chains out there with better wings, so there's no need to settle for mediocrity.

8. Hungry Howie's

For half a century, Hungry Howie's has made a name for itself by offering simple pizza for reasonable prices. The pizza chain now has over 500 locations nationwide. Hungry Howie's is known for having a wide variety of flavored pizza crust options, including butter cheese, garlic herb, asiago, ranch, onion, and Cajun. In addition to pizzas, Hungry Howie's also offers other fare like baked subs, garlic bread, and chicken wings. The chicken at Hungry Howie's is available as classic wings or in boneless chunks of white meat.

While the pizza at Hungry Howie's has never been top tier, the restaurant manages to pull off some surprisingly decent chicken wings. Customers are happy to report that not only are Hungry Howie's chicken wings large, but they're also quite tasty. Some of the sauces that Hungry Howie's offers include a tangy Asian-style glaze, barbecue, and Buffalo. The pizza chain also has a plain chicken option that comes lightly seasoned. Between their ample size and tasty flavors, the chicken wings at Hungry Howie's are much better than you'd imagine for a relatively low-cost pizza chain.

7. Marco's

Now boasting over 1,000 locations, Marco's first opened its doors back in 1978. As one of the fastest growing pizza chains in the country, there's a good chance that if you don't have a Marco's around your neighborhood, that's bound to change eventually. The company strives to be a quick-service chain that still offers high-quality pizza with an emphasis on fresh ingredients. Marco's has a fairly focused menu that includes specialty pizzas, a few classic subs, fresh salads, and chicken wings.

The issue here is that the wings at Marco's seem to be inconsistent. While some customers claim the wings are big and amazingly delicious, others report the opposite, saying that the wings are puny and undercooked. Adding fuel to the fire, some customers have warned that rather than tossing the wings in sauce to properly coat the chicken, the kitchen simply drizzled a little spoonful of sauce over the wings instead.

If there's some considerable variation in wing quality between locations, then ordering the chicken wings is like a roll of dice, since you can't really be sure of how each branch handles its wing orders. Of course, every restaurant drops the ball on an order or two occasionally, so it's possible some of these complaints were isolated incidents. If you opt for the wings instead of the pizza, just be aware that you might be setting yourself up for disappointment.

6. Cicis

Cicis has been in the business of slinging all-you-can-eat pizza since the 1980s and now has over 300 restaurants across the country. The restaurant is famous for its pizza buffet, which includes an assortment of different slice options like ham and cheddar, cheesy alfredo, pepperoni, deep dish, and stuffed crust pizza. While there's something undeniably alluring about a place that offers an unlimited amount of pizza for a set price, the truth is that if you're looking for a high-quality slice, Cicis isn't exactly the best destination to satisfy your cravings. That said, Cicis has some remarkably solid wings on the menu. While the wings aren't included in the pizza buffet, they're definitely worth the splurge when the prospect an endless supply of pizza slices isn't an appealing proposition.

Fans of Cicis wings tend to say they're well worth the price — which really means something when there's an infinite amount of pizza at your fingertips. The wings at Cicis are available in a handful of different flavors, including mild Buffalo, hot Buffalo, barbecue, and garlic parmesan. Oven-baked until crispy and tossed in the sauce of your choosing, the chicken wings at Cicis are respectably tasty.

5. Round Table

Round Table is a pizza chain that's mostly scattered around the West Coast, having opened up its first location in California back in 1959. One thing that makes Round Table special is how the restaurant offers a sweet and zesty Polynesian sauce as a base for its pizzas. This Polynesian sauce is also available for its chicken wings, along with other sauces like garlic parmesan, lemon pepper, Buffalo, barbecue, and mango habanero. The inclusion of Polynesian sauce and mango habanero sauce are partly what's nudged Round Table up on the list, since it offers some tasty and unique flavors that aren't typically seen at most pizza chains.

While the pizza at Round Table is solid, the chicken wings are equally good. The wings are properly sauced and also have a decent amount of meat on them. While Round Table wouldn't necessarily be our first pick if we wanted some killer wings, the reality is that the restaurant does a good job for a pizza chain. So if you happen to be in the mood for pizza and wings and there's a Round Table nearby, you could definitely do a lot worse.

4. Mellow Mushroom

Mellow Mushroom has made a name for itself by featuring fresh-tasting ingredients on its stone-baked pizzas along with delicious sandwiches and other creatively tasty fare. The restaurant also whips up chicken wings that are twice-baked, which adds an extra layer of crispiness to the chicken. Double-baking its wings is a big reason why Mellow Mushroom has landed such a respectable top-tier spot here, since good texture is such a crucial variable that we're looking for in a great chicken wing.

While the quality of the pizza at Mellow Mushroom is definitely above average for a chain restaurant, some customers admit that the wings are even better. The wings at Mellow Mushroom are meaty but have a nice exterior crunch and can be tossed in hot, mild, or sweet Thai chili sauce. Served with celery and carrots along with your choice of blue cheese dressing or ranch, these wings are sure to hit the spot when hunger strikes. The restaurant also offers orders of premium wings that are double-baked and glazed in a buttery garlic parmesan sauce with a subtle level of spice. After being tossed in garlic sauce, these wings are then topped with grated aged parmesan cheese and chives. Mellow Mushroom may not be the first place that comes to mind when you're in the mood for some tasty chicken wings, but it might be time to change that.

3. Jet's

If you ask us, Jet's is one of the absolute best pizza chains in the country. If you've never given it a try, you're bound to become a believer after you sink your teeth into a slice of Jet's Detroit-style pizza. Cheesy and buttery with an airy crust that has a layer of crispy cheese baked along the edges, Jet's whips up some truly amazing pizza. The pizza is so good that it's easy to ignore the rest of the restaurant's menu — but doing so is a big mistake, especially when it comes to the wings.

The oven-baked wings at Jet's are large and juicy, and if you like them extra crispy, you can always request them to be well done. Jet's wings are available in a few different sauces, including honey barbecue, hot, mild, and sweet chili. A big part of what makes the wings so enjoyable is the ranch dressing at Jet's, which has an extra creamy zing. In fact, the ranch dressing at Jet's is so popular that the restaurant actually sells it in 12-ounce squeeze bottles. Do yourself a favor: Order some extra crispy wings along with a pepperoni Detroit-style pizza, then tack on a bottle of that ranch dressing and dig in. This is the stuff dreams are made of.

2. Donatos

Open since 1963, Donatos now has nearly 400 locations across the United States. The restaurant has a few unique options on its menu, such as cauliflower crust and a hot chicken pizza with bold ingredients like crispy chicken, pickles, smoked provolone, pepper jack cheese, and jalapeños along with a touch of ranch. Donato's also has chicken wings on its menu and provides an impressive amount of choices to customize them to your liking.

For starters, Donato's offers four different dry rub options for its wings, including wood-fired chipotle, garlic parmesan, hot chicken, and roasted garlic. In the sauce department, there's more options as well, with hot, mild, barbecue, and hot honey sauces to choose from. Providing this wide range of delicious flavor options with several different dry rubs and sauces helps Donatos beat out many of its pizza chain competitors. Customers at Donatos tend to happily report how tasty the restaurant's wings are, which comes as no surprise considering all of the flavorful choices. With tender meat and crispy skin, these chicken wings are definitely a wise choice.

1. Pizza Hut

What makes or breaks a chicken wing is the texture. Back in the day, all Pizza Hut locations baked the wings to less than stellar results. But all of that changed when the company invested in putting deep fryers in thousands of its WingStreet locations back in 2014. While countless other pizza chains exclusively rely on ovens to cook chicken wings, Pizza Hut's WingStreet spots have the advantage of frying the chicken in real deal deep fryers — and that makes a huge difference. It's certainly possible to achieve some level of crispness in the oven, but the truth is that ovens just can't compete with proper deep fryers that allow chicken wings to be completely submerged in blistering hot oil.

When you take a bite of Pizza Hut's WingStreet chicken wings, you'll notice an extra layer of crunch that you don't really get from other pizza chains, and that's all thanks to the deep fryer. Pizza Hut also offers some truly tasty sauces for its wings, like honey barbecue, spicy garlic, sweet chili, and mild and hot Buffalo. Since Pizza Hut has so many locations, these wings are also far more accessible compared to other restaurants. There's no doubt that when it comes to texture, tastiness, and accessibility, Pizza Hut offers some of the best chicken wings you could hope for from a major pizza chain.