There’s so much to love about wings, little bites of crispy juicy flavor that melt in your mouth. Whether you’re sitting in a bar watching a game or lounging on the couch enjoying a movie, chicken wings are the perfect finger food when you’re hanging out with friends.
One of the great things about chicken wings is that they’re so good at absorbing sauces and flavors that you could almost, not that we’d recommend it, eat your way around the world scarfing down nothing but basket after basket of the delicious little guys.
Making Homemade Chicken Wings
There’s a big difference between homemade and restaurant wings, most of the wings served at restaurants spend some time in the deep fryer, something very few people like to do at home. As much as people love crispy skin on the outside along with plump juicy chicken on the inside, they don’t love the mess or general unhealthy nature of deep frying at home.
To get the flavors and texture they love in restaurant wings, food writers have figured out all sorts of fascinating ways to infuse wings with complex flavors while getting the skin on the outside just as crispy as those that are deep fried – think corn starch.
Once we started scouring the internet it became clear pretty quickly that not every chicken wing recipe is all that great. So many of them are filled with boring flavors and ridiculous techniques. We’d also like to state for the record that doing the chicken dance is a completely optional, but highly recommend, step when you’re making wings.
To help you harness your inner wing we’ve searched far and wide to find recipes that are easy to follow, full of helpful tips, and filled with interesting flavors.
Smoked & Grilled
Our favorite way to cook wings is to smoke them. Smoking wings give the chicken an almost soft, buttery texture that lets the spices in the dry rub and the smoke come through.
If you love to grill check out the flavor combination in these Curried Wings with Peach Jam from Betsy’s Life – the combination of curry and peach is inspired. We also dig the twist on traditional Buffalo Wings from Plating Pixel that move the cooking from the fryer to the grill.
Crispy Baked Chicken Wings
The most popular way to make chicken wings at home is to bake them. This makes a lot of sense since it can be as simple as tossing the wings in a few spices and throwing them into the oven for at least thirty minutes.
There are so many options when you’re making wings in the oven. If you like them with a crispy crust on the outside try making Baked Wings + Maple Chipotle Sauce or Garlic Parmesan Wings that use ground pork rinds as part of the coating on the outside of the wings, which is pure genius.
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One of the most interesting dishes we found were these Date and Chili Buffalo Wings that use dates, a habanero chili, and red wine vinegar to create a sweet, sticky, hot sauce to coat everything.
We love wings with Asian flavors that come from ginger, garlic, and soy sauce. That’s why we created these Korean BBQ Wings. The way they absorb the flavors in the marinade gives them that distinctive Korean BBQ flavor in every bite.
A Quick Side Trip to Buffalo
For true wing lovers, a part of their heart lies in Buffalo and it’s deep fried, hot sauced drenched wings.
The foundation for the sauce in almost every Buffalo wing recipe is some Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Sauce and melted butter.
Fried Chicken Wings
As you might imagine there are a lot fewer deep fried chicken wing recipes on the web than there are for other cooking methods. A lot of food writers talk about as much as they love the fried version they want to make something easier and healthier at home.
What’s become a lot more popular than deep frying is using an air fryer to make wings at home. Air fryers use a lot less oil than deep frying, helping them cook up healthier food and keeping the oil in the fryer. The most commonly used air fryers are the GoWISE 5 Quart and the Ninja Air Fryer.
Slow Cooker & Instant Pot
A very different way to cook wings is to use a slow cooker or Instant Pot. When wings are slow cooked they end up so tender that the meat starts to fall off the bone.
This can be a great way to infuse them with flavors that you want to come through in every bite.
The advantage Instant Pots have is they can cook wings in as little as ten minutes. A drawback is the liquid the Instant Pot needs to cook with can dilute a sauce’s flavor. One of our favorite Instant Pot Chicken Wing recipes is Honey Buffalo Chicken Wings.
Unique Sauces and Dips
There are so many ways to season chicken wings out there. A few write-ups that highlight the multitude of flavor combinations people are using include Easy Baked Chicken Wings with Thai Satay Marinade, Chipotle Honey-Mustard Glazed Chicken Wings, and Crispy Oven-Baked Wings with Bourbon-Sriracha Sauce.
Of course, there’s no way we could write an entire round-up on chicken wings and not include some creamy Blue Cheese Dip because nothing cools off a hot wing better than a dip in some good blue cheese.
So many wings, so little time. Have a flavor combination or recipe that we missed, leave it in the comments below.
All images and links used with permission.