Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings

Sweet and spicy chicken wings get the ultimate umami treatment. Dressed with honey, brown sugar, garlic, tomato paste, and the gorgeous Korean sauce known as gochujang, they’re loaded with flavor. If you aren’t crazy for sweet-heat, the wings have a crispy ginger-garlic coating and can be eaten without sauce.

A basket of chicken wings with wax paper, covered with a sticky red sauce, sesame seeds, and green onion slices.

Adapted from Kylie Mazon-Chambers | Share + Savor | Page Street Publishing, 2020

The main ingredient in the sweet and spicy sauce is gochujang—a sweet and spicy fermented Korean chili paste that can be found in the international section of many grocery stores. In a pinch, the wings can be tossed in another favorite sauce or just eaten plain with flavoring from the garlic and ginger marinade.

Wings are an essential component of any game day tailgating spread. This unique take on the classic is an option guests will go crazy for. Don’t forget to serve the wings with a roll of paper towels or napkins!–Kylie Mazon-Chambers

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings

A basket of chicken wings with wax paper, covered with a sticky red sauce, sesame seeds, and green onion slices.

This recipe is inspired by Korean fried chicken, where boneless chicken thighs are fried and tossed either in a sticky, savory sauce or with lots of crispy garlic.

Kylie Mazon-Chambers

Prep 30 mins

Cook 30 mins

Total 2 hrs 30 mins

Prepare the chicken wings

  • Separate the chicken wings, if whole, into the drumette, wingette (or flat), and tip. Discard tips.

  • To a large bowl, add the chicken wings, garlic, ginger, salt, and pepper, toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to overnight.

Make the gochujang sauce

  • While the wings marinate, prepare the gochujang sauce. In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the gochujang, tomato paste, honey, brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and lime juice until all the ingredients are incorporated and the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. The sauce can be made up to a week ahead of time and refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to use.
  • Let the wings sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, then toss with the cornstarch. Meanwhile, pour enough vegetable oil into a large, deep cast-iron pan to reach 1 inch (2.5 cm) up the side of the pan.
  • Heat the oil to 350°F (177°C) and, working in batches, shake off any excess cornstarch and fry the chicken wings, turning occasionally, until golden brown all over and cooked through, 6 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Allow the oil to return to temperature before cooking the remaining batches.
  • To serve, reheat the sauce, if necessary, and toss with the freshly fried chicken wings. Serve topped with sesame seeds and scallions.

Air Fryer Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings variation

To make these sweet and spicy chicken wings in your air fryer, replace the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon baking powder and toss together until evenly coated. Cook at 400°F (200°C) in batches, flipping once and spraying lightly with oil when flipping, about 10 minutes per side.

Serving: 1servingCalories: 650kcal (33%)Carbohydrates: 53g (18%)Protein: 36g (72%)Fat: 34g (52%)Saturated Fat: 9g (56%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 8gMonounsaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 141mg (47%)Sodium: 1055mg (46%)Potassium: 529mg (15%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 30g (33%)Vitamin A: 493IU (10%)Vitamin C: 11mg (13%)Calcium: 63mg (6%)Iron: 3mg (17%)

Originally published August 21, 2021

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