No offense to the rest of the bird, but wings might be the best part of the whole chicken. When cooked properly, you get crispy skin, juicy meat, and a flavor-packed sauce that’s irresistible. While ordering takeout from a restaurant might seem like a good way to bring the experience home, all that time in a to-go box yields some pretty gross results. No worries, because you can turn out phenomenal wings with just a little bit of effort. You may never head to the sports bar again.
1. Pesto Chicken Wings
Though many wing recipes feature honey or brown sugar, not everyone goes for sweet flavors paired with poultry. Sunny Anderson’s herbaceous wings, which she shared on Rachael Ray, make a great snack that definitely falls on the savory end of the spectrum. All you have to do is bake the chicken for about 25 minutes while you blend together a simple basil and parsley pesto. Toss the wings in the sauce, then send them on a final trip to the oven to get extra crispy. This snack is perfect the way it is, but a little bit of marinara sauce is a great dipper.
- 3 pounds chicken wings
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- ⅓ cup walnut halves
- 2 cups loosely packed basil
- 2 cups loosely packed parsley
- 2 garlic cloves
- Juice of 1 lemon
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Lemon slices
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, toss wings with salt and pepper. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes.
While wings bake, place walnuts, basil, parsley, and garlic in a food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped, then stream in the olive oil and lemon juice while the machine runs. Season with salt and pepper. Scrape into a large mixing bowl.
Remove wings from oven, and toss in the bowl with the pesto until evenly coated. Place back onto the baking sheet, spreading any additional pesto over the top. Bake wings 25 minutes longer, remove from oven, and let cool slightly. Serve garnished with lemon slices.
2. Sweet and Spicy Thai Chicken Wings
The secret to cooking great Thai food is achieving the right balance of flavors. The cuisine is built around tastes that are salty, sweet, creamy, and sour. Heat also plays an important role, though not everything has to incinerate your tongue. Traditional dishes follow this format with great results, so it only makes sense to apply the concept to other styles of cooking.
Try the method for yourself with Honest Cooking’s Thai-inspired wings. The recipe features bold ingredients like Sriracha, soy sauce, lime juice, plus a bit of honey for a mild sweetness. These wings are so good, you might even forget about the game for a few minutes.
- 3 to 4 pounds chicken wings
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ⅓ cup Thai chili sauce
- Juice of ½ a lime
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons water
- Sliced green onions
- Chopped cilantro
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place wings on a baking sheet and cook for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine honey, soy sauce, chile sauce, lime juice, Sriracha, garlic, and water in a small saucepan set over medium-high heat. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat, and let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and set sauce aside.
Remove wings from oven and toss with ½ cup of the sauce in a large bowl until evenly coated. Transfer wings onto same baking sheet, and cook 10 to 15 minutes longer, until crispy. If desired, broil for 1 to 2 minutes, being careful not to burn.
Toss wings with remaining sauce, transfer to a platter, and garnish with green onions and cilantro. Serve.
3. Crispy Baked Honey Chipotle Chicken Wings
Some people can’t stand eating foods that make a huge mess. If you’re one of those folks, forget about making this sweet and sticky recipe from Chef Savvy. If, on the other hand, you love digging in with your hands, these wings might be the ultimate finger food. And with just six ingredients, they’re about as easy as it gets.
- 1½ pounds chicken wings
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 tablespoons adobo sauce from a can of chipotle chiles
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- ½ cup ketchup
- ½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Blue cheese or ranch dressing
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and set a wire baking rack on top of a large baking sheet. Pat wings dry with paper towels, and season with salt and pepper. Place wings on prepared rack and cook 40 to 45 minutes, or until fully cooked.
With chicken in the oven, turn on the broiler. Broil wings 2 to 4 minutes, just until they’ve crisped.
Meanwhile, combine honey, adobo, butter, ketchup, and vinegar in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat until butter melts, and keep warm.
Once wings are done, immediately toss with sauce to coat. Serve with dressing of choice.
4. Buffalo Chicken Wings
For some wing aficionados, there’s only one type of style worth eating. Please the purists in your group with Epicurious’ classic wings. Though the recipe includes a method for grilling, you’ll get the crispiest results if you stick with the fryer. And don’t forget the celery.
Though you can choose any type of hot sauce you’d like, it’s best to stick with something that has a good bit of vinegar to get the right balance of flavors. If you’re looking for more heat, try adding a bit of cayenne pepper to the sauce.
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup plain yogurt
- 2 ounces crumbled blue cheese
Wings and garnish
- 3 pounds chicken wings
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil for grilling or 6 cup vegetable oil for frying
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 3 to 4 tablespoons hot sauce
- 1½ tablespoons cider vinegar
- 4 celery stalks, cut into sticks
Directions: In a bowl, whisk together mayonnaise and yogurt. Fold in blue cheese, cover, and chill. Soak celery in a bowl of ice water 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Cut off wing tips, and reserve for another use. Halve chicken wings at the joint.
For grilled wings, pat wings dry and rub with 2 tablespoons oil, then season with salt. Grill on an oiled rack until cooked and golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes per side.
For fried wings, heat 6 cups vegetable oil in a large pot to 380 degrees Fahrenheit. Pat wings dry. Working in batches of 6 to 7 wings, fry until golden and cooked through, 5 to 8 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer wings to paper towel-lined trays to drain. Repeat with remaining wings, making sure oil returns to 380 degrees Fahrenheit each time before proceeding. Season with salt.
In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-low heat. Stir in hot sauce, vinegar, and season with salt. Add wings, and toss to coat. Serve with dressing and celery sticks.
5. Pineapple-Teriyaki Chicken Wings
No matter how many times you ordered it as a kid, chicken teriyaki is one of those dishes that never gets old. Give the taste a new look with these delicious wings from Todd Porter and Diane Cu, featured on Food & Wine. Make sure to do a double batch if you’re having guests, because this dish is a total crowd-pleaser.
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ½ cup sake
- ¾ cup pineapple juice
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 pounds chicken wings, split
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- Vegetable oil
- Sliced green onions
Directions: In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger, and cook 1 to 2 minutes, or until garlic is lightly brown. Add soy sauce, sake, pineapple juice, rice vinegar, and brown sugar. Bring to a boil, and simmer for 3 minutes. Whisk water and cornstarch together, then gradually whisk mixture into the simmering sauce. Simmer until thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside.
Rinse chicken wings, and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper, then dredge in flour, shaking to remove excess. Set aside.
Preheat oil to 375 degrees Fahrenheit in a large pot or deep fryer. Working in batches, fry wings until golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove to paper towels to drain. Repeat with remaining chicken wings.
Toss wings in sauce and sprinkle with green onions. Serve.
6. Grilled Lemon Garlic Chicken Wings
If you like Caesar salad, you’ll go nuts for Inspired Taste’s Grilled Lemon Garlic Chicken Wings. Start by marinating the chicken in some lemon juice, mustard, garlic, and olive oil. Next, cook the wings over indirect heat to render out some of the fat, then move them over the flame to get perfectly crisp. A creamy sauce and a dusting of Parmesan cheese are the perfect finishing touches.
- 2 pounds chicken wings
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- Zest of 1 lemon, peeled or grated
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 3 to 6 dashes of hot sauce
- Salt and pepper
Directions: In a large zip-top bag, combine garlic, lemon zest, ¼ cup lemon juice, 1 tablespoon mustard, olive oil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Add wings, seal bag, and turn to evenly coat with marinade. Chill at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
Prepare grill for indirect cooking. Remove wings from marinade and place, skin-side up, on the grill. Cover, and cook until fat renders and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the wing registers almost 165 degrees Fahrenheit, about 10 minutes.
Transfer wings to direct heat. Continue to grill, turning occasionally, until wings are golden and just a bit charred, 5 to 10 minutes longer. Move wings, as needed, to avoid flareups.
Remove wings from grill, and sprinkle with cheese.
Combine mayonnaise, remaining mustard, lemon juice, and hot sauce in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Serve sauce with wings.
7. Tandoori Chicken Wings
Give the classic bar food a completely different look with Martha Stewart Living’s Indian-spiced wings. Since the marinade is made with yogurt, it helps create a protective barrier that allows you to broil the chicken with minimal risk of overcooking. This recipe recommends serving with an apple and yogurt sauce, but feel free to use a variety of condiments.
- 2 cups plain Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 2 teaspoons safflower oil or other neutral oil, plus more
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 8 whole chicken wings
- ½ cup mango chutney
- ½ of a tart green apple, grated
Directions: Combine 1 cup yogurt, tomato paste, spices, ginger, oil, and salt in a large bowl, and mix to blend. Slit each chicken wing on the underside just above and below the joints. Add wings to yogurt mixture and marinate at least 30 minutes at room temperature or up to 8 hours in the refrigerator. Allow to come to room temperature before cooking.
Preheat broiler and set rack 8 inches away from heating element. Grease a rimmed baking sheet with oil, then add wings in an even layer, underside facing up. Broil until lightly golden, and cooked, 16 to 18 minutes, flipping halfway through. Remove from oven, and brush with chutney. Stir apple into remaining yogurt. Serve yogurt sauce with wings.