How you can enjoy a low sodium chicken wing sauce

Who doesn’t love hot and spicy chicken wings? This has become a staple snack since the mid 60’s when Buffalo sauce was invented, just an hour down the road from me! Chicken wing sauces have evolved to include a variety of flavors, but the classic using a red cayenne pepper has maintained its flavor…and a high level of salt content.

There are several chicken wing sauces available that are low in sodium and still pack the flavor of the original wing sauce. According to the FDA “no sodium” can be labeled on the bottle if the sodium content is below 5 milligrams per serving and a low sodium sauce can be less than 25 milligrams per serving. There are low sodium Buffalo wing sauces available, however, the problem with eating chicken wings on a low sodium diet is that the wings and how they are cooked make them very high in sodium.

Many hot sauces are high in sodium levels and most bottled chicken wing sauces are even higher. This is one of the drawbacks to many well-known, popular, and successful hot sauces on the market. Used as a flavor enhancer, salt can have negative effects on health if consumed in large quantities or eaten on a diet that already has concerns with high sodium levels. Salts are used to enhance the flavors of the ingredients and it comes in many forms but most of them will have a similar flavor. Many foods also have naturally occurring sodium levels in them making it difficult to keep sodium levels down when blended into a hot sauce. Chicken wings with a Buffalo sauce will have some of the highest sodium levels but can still be enjoyed on a low sodium diet if prepared correctly.  

There are over 1000 varieties of hot sauces that use salt as one of the ingredients. Many of them are some of my favorite hot sauces and the salt content is probably one of the reasons I consume them. Check the nutritional label for the level of sodium that a wing sauce contains. Read No sodium, sodium free and low sodium hot sauce…find out the difference for some great hot sauces.

Buffalo wing sauce is made of hot sauce, butter, garlic powder…and salt

Finding a good sodium-free Buffalo wing sauce can be difficult. The problem lies in one of the main ingredients in a hot sauce, salt, and a common ingredient in Buffalo wing sauce, and that is butter. The original wings sauce created at The Anchor Bar in Buffalo NY used Franks Redhot, which has 190 milligrams of salt per 1 teaspoon serving size. Combine it with butter, one of the other main ingredients in a buffalo hot sauce and it will have even more sodium content.

Hot sauce

When I first read the ingredients of Buffalo wing sauce because the first ingredient stated was hot sauce. A hot sauce is made with a hot sauce. An original flavored chicken wing sauce with have a red cayenne pepper sauce as the base. There are some variations in recipes as there are many hot sauces and most of them will be high in sodium. That is due to the hot sauce used as well as the other ingredients added.


A homemade chicken wing sauce or a sauce you eat at an established take-out restaurant may have butter in it as one of the ingredients, as did the original recipe. A manufacturer does not want to use butter because it will shorten the shelf life of the hot sauce or cause it to need refrigeration. Not all butter is high in sodium but natural butter flavoring, that many bottled chicken wing sauces use could be.

Natural butter flavor

The sauces that are produced and manufactured for mass production use natural or artificial butter flavorings because the product has a longer shelf life than real butter and still provides the flavor. The problem with knowing the salt content in butter flavoring is that extracts and flavorings are not required to have a nutritional label. I would not use a natural butter flavor or butter extract in a homemade Buffalo wing sauce.


Garlic contains as much as 1 milligram of sodium per clove. Although that is minimal it contributes to the sodium level of a wing sauce. Minced garlic and garlic powder will have a similar amount of sodium but cooked garlic will have zero. If you are making a homemade wing sauce it may be best to roast the garlic or leave it out if you are concerned at all about sodium levels. Garlic powder will contain more sodium because it is concentrated.

Do chicken wings have sodium?

Chicken wings are notorious for having high sodium levels largely due to the way they are cooked with or without skin. Baking a chicken wing reduces the sodium level significantly but the deep-fried flavor and crispy texture may be compromised. A single chicken wing deep-fried in oil can have hundreds of milligrams of sodium. Coat it with a wings sauce and that could be a third of your daily limit. A low sodium diet could lead to avoiding buffalo chicken wings. According to a baked chicken wing without the skin can have 45% less sodium.

Mr. Spice Organic Hot Wing Sauce – 0 mg sodium

Mr. Spice Organic Hot Wing Sauce contains Potassium Chloride as a sodium replacement. It’s the addition of Potassium Chloride that gives food flavor without increasing sodium consumption. The FDA encourages manufacturers to use it in production as a sodium replacement. Mr. Spice Organic Hot Wing Sauce is one of the few chicken wing sauces that is ready to go right out of the bottle. I provided the Amazon link here.

No salt Buffalo wing hot sauce recipe

A Buffalo wing sauce is a simple combination of red cayenne pepper sauce, butter, garlic powder, and..of course…salt. A low sodium Buffalo chicken wing sauce can be made with no sodium hot sauce, no salt added butter, and roasted garlic.

There are a few no sodium hot sauces that use red cayenne pepper, like the original chicken wing sauce. This type of sauce will be the closest to an original wing sauce. Always remember to read the ingredient label of anything you are using in a homemade to indicate the level of sodium.


1 ½ cups Hot sauce – Zombie Apocalypse* or Frost Bite* (very hot) or Gringo Bandito Original (medium)

1 cup unsalted butter – Land O’ Lakes Unsalted butter or any unsalted butter

2 tsp Garlic powder (optional)

*These sauces both rank about 500,000 SHU. If you are looking for less heat try these low sodium sauces with less than 5 mg of sodium per serving.


  1. Slowly melt butter in an open lid pan, stirring occasionally.
  2. Wisk in hot sauce until the sauce is a uniform color.
  3. Pour or brush over your favorite foods.

The truth is that humankind CAN live without huge amounts of salt but our diets have adapted to believing that our bodies need it. There are plenty of dishes that use a popular wing sauce and this can as satisfying.

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