If you’ve been searching for flawless chicken wings — meaning those that are golden and crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside and brimming with an intense amount of flavor — look no further.
My honey garlic wings have crispy skin and moist meat and can be made in under an hour with virtually zero cleanup. Not to mention, you can enjoy them at home, at a fraction of the price of ordering them at a restaurant, and since they're baked, not fried, they're a healthier option.
They're also totally customizable.
Consider this recipe your formula for all future chicken wing endeavors, with endless sauce variations. Though, I suggest you make this honey garlic version first, to get the basics down, then experiment different flavors from Buffalo to honey mustard.
No matter which version you make, these wings will undoubtedly steal the show.
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What kind of chicken should I use for wings?
Save time and purchase “party style” wings. Party-style wings come with the wing tips removed and the wingettes and drummettes separated. The wingette is the flat part with two bones and the drummette looks like a miniature drumstick.
This isn’t mandatory, but it’s a big time saver. If you can’t find party-style wings, remove the wing tips and then separate the wingette from the drummette by bending at the joint where the two connect. If they don’t come apart easily, cut through the joint with kitchen shears or a sharp knife.
How to make chicken wings crispy
To ensure crispy skin, the wings need to be totally dry. Before coating the wings with anything, pat them dry with paper towels on both sides.
Don’t cover the pan. This might seem like an obvious one but covering the pan will create steam. We aren’t steaming, we’re roasting. The only way to guarantee crispy skin is to make sure hot air hits the wings on all sides.
For the same reason, don’t crowd the pan. As mentioned above, you want the heat to hit every angle of the wings. Spread the wings out on the rack, making sure they don’t touch. If necessary, use two baking sheets and two wire racks. The wings can regroup after the baking process.
Check your wings often as they bake. Here’s why – ovens vary. You want your seasoned chicken wings browned and crispy, not blackened. A little char adds great flavor, but if the skin starts to burn, pull the wings from the oven early. Just make sure they reach 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.
Don’t sauce the wings too early. Most sauces have sweet elements. In this case, it’s honey, which will scorch in a hot oven when cooked for more than 10 minutes. No matter what sauce or glaze you choose, wait to brush the wings with it until the last 10 minutes of cooking. This gives the coating time to caramelize, not burn.
Serve these chicken wings as soon as they’re ready. When wings sit out, they lose their crispiness.
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How to make different chicken wing variations
You can completely transform these wings by changing one ingredient. I used smoked paprika in my batch of wings, which made them smoky, sweet and salty. You can also use sweet paprika for a different, non-smoky experience. Take note: This one small swap will totally change the taste profile.
Also, butter is fabulous here, but not necessary. I used butter to coat the wings before adding the seasoning. The creamy sweetness of butter partners well with the salty, tangy and nutty ingredients in the seasoning and sauce. That said, you may substitute olive oil.
For Buffalo-style chicken wings: Replace the honey-garlic sauce with hot sauce, such as Frank’s. Serve extra hot sauce on the side.
For BBQ chicken wings: Replace the honey garlic sauce with your favorite store bought BBQ sauce.
For honey mustard wings: Replace the honey mustard sauce with a mixture of ¼ cup honey and 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, or your favorite store-bought honey mustard.
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Recipe: Oven baked chicken wings with honey garlic sauce
Feel free to double or triple this recipe to suit your needs. If you have leftover chicken wings, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. When you’re ready to enjoy them again, spread them out on a lined baking sheet and reheat in a 350-degree oven until hot all the way through.
Serves: 4 to 6
For the chicken wings:
3 pounds party-style chicken wings
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon paprika, sweet or smoked
1 teaspoon onion powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the honey garlic sauce:
¼ cup tamari sauce, or soy sauce
¼ cup honey, or maple syrup
2 tablespoons tomato paste
½ teaspoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon garlic powder
Chopped fresh parsley for serving, optional
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and place a wire rack on the baking sheet.
Place the chicken wings in a large bowl, add the melted butter and toss to coat. Add paprika, onion powder, salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper and toss to coat.
Transfer the wings to the prepared pan and spread them out so they don’t touch each other. Use two pans with racks if necessary. Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together all sauce ingredients, except for parsley, if using.
After the wings have cooked for 30 minutes, brush them with the honey garlic sauce and return to oven. Bake for 10 more minutes, until cooked through (165 degrees on an instant-read meat thermometer) and crispy.
Remove from oven and serve at once, topping with parsley, if you like.
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Best baked chicken wings have honey and garlic. Here's an easy recipe