17 Sauces for Chicken Wings

Spicy Sriracha Chicken Wings © Maura McEvoy
By Kristin Donnelly Posted January 24, 2015

Whether you go the classic buttery hot-sauce route or the sticky fruit-glazed or Asian-sauced route, hot wings are the ultimate messy finger food. Here are 17 ways to sauce and crust your chicken wings.

Whether you go the classic buttery hot-sauce route or the sticky fruit-glazed or Asian-sauced route, hot wings are the ultimate messy finger food. Here are 17 ways to sauce and crust your chicken wings.

Riffs on Classic Buffalo Wing Sauce

Sriracha. For a fun twist on classic buffalo wings, blend Sriracha with butter, lime zest and cilantro for tossing with fried or roasted wings.

Jalapeño. Instead of the usual red hot sauce, opt for a green one and add some tangy pickled jalapeños to the mix.

Maple-chipotle. Add canned chipotle in adobo sauce and some maple syrup to the hot-sauce butter for smoky wings with a sweet heat.

Jerk. After roasting wings that have been dusted with dried garlic, onion and thyme, toss them with a buttery jerk paste for a fiery Jamaican take on wings.

Sweet-and-Sticky Sauces

Barbecue sauce. Make your wings sweet and savory rather than fiery by serving them with a complex molasses barbecue sauce or a super-simple ketchup-based one. No surprise, but these sauces work best when the wings are grilled instead of fried.

Orange-glazed. A simple blend of fresh orange juice, garlic, soy sauce and brown sugar makes a sweet-and-tangy glaze for chicken wings. Just toss them with the sauce before roasting and then baste them a few times as they cook. Add hot sauce if you want some heat. 

Pineapple-teriyaki. Make a Hawaiian-inspired sauce with butter, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, pineapple juice, sugar and vinegar to toss with fried or roasted wings.

Apricot-glazed. Season apricot preserves with salty ingredients, like Worcestershire, soy sauce and mustard; toss with chicken wings and grill until charred in spots.

Cherry-glazed. Sour cherry preserves, lime juice and habanero make for a sweet, sour and fiery glaze for grilled wings. 

Asian-Style Sauces

Malaysian-inspired. Use ingredients from your Asian pantry—including soy sauce, sake, oyster sauce, mirin, star anise and dried chiles—to make a super-flavorful glaze.

Curried. Make a lemongrass- and ginger-scented coconut curry sauce (with a lashing of fish sauce, of course, for that extra funk), then cook it in a skillet with pre-roasted wings until the wings are nicely coated. Or for a simpler, less sweet version, toss the wings with a green curry paste butter.

Miso-glazed. Miso, lime juice, ginger and fish sauce make for a spectacular funky-savory glaze for wings. Simply brush the mixture over the wings during the last 10 minutes of roasting.

Thai-inspired. For some seriously funky but addictive wings, marinate the chicken in fish sauce, sugar and garlic before frying them. Then reduce the marinade to a syrup that you toss with the crispy cooked wings.

Korean-style. Fiery gochujang, the Korean chile paste, is the secret to these “angry-sauced” wings.

Mediterranean-Inspired Sauces

Almond-crusted. Want extra-crunchy wings? Coat them with chopped almonds before roasting, then serve them with a lemony mayo.

Spicy and herby. Make a spectacular fragrant green sauce with tons of herbs and scallions, along with some fresh chiles, vinegar and honey. Then toss it with wings for a vibrant, spicy take.

Tomatoey. Roast plum tomatoes until the flavors are concentrated, then blend with goat cheese and olive oil. Toss pre-roasted wings with the creamy tomato sauce and then broil them until crisp. 

Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and author of the forthcoming The Modern Potluck (Clarkson Potter, 2016). She is also the cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.

Related: Amazing Chicken Wings
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