Chef John's Best Chicken Wing Recipes
Simple, inexpensive, and easy to prepare, chicken wings are the perfect game-day nosh! And these chicken wing recipes by Chef John are the best of the best. This MVP list features classic Buffalo-style wings, along with creative takes like PBJ wings, jerk wings, pastrami wings, even wings in a jar and Buffalo nuggets! These wings are fan favorites for Super Bowl entertaining, as party appetizers, or for any-time snacking.
Buffalo Chicken Wing Sauce
Let's kick this off with a classic! Here's the original Buffalo-style chicken wing sauce. It’s a quick, simple sauce that’s booming with flavor. And all it takes are a few minutes on the stove. "If you know someone from Buffalo, they know someone who told them the secret ingredients to the Anchor Bar's famous Buffalo chicken wings," says Chef John. "I know people from Buffalo. This is my version, as described to me many years ago, over almost as many beers."
Garlic-Ginger Chicken Wings
These oven-fried chicken wings feature a tangy, sweet-and-spicy ginger and garlic sauce. They're a taste of home for Chef John: "My mom lives in a small town in western New York, called Clifton Springs. Whenever I go home to visit, I usually indulge in some Buffalo chicken wings from a place called Emerson's. They have two flavors of wings; Buffalo-style, and sweet and sour. I came up with what turned out to be a deliciously sticky, ginger and garlic glaze. I really hope you give these a try."
Garlic and Parmesan Chicken Wings
These baked hot wings feature a spicy garlic paste dusted with Parmesan cheese. The wings get a quick par-boiling treatment before hitting the oven. Par-boiling builds flavor and gives them a head start with cooking so they’ll bake up extra crispy. "The trick to keeping these oven-baked chicken wings crispy, is parboiling the wings in a flavorful liquid, which helps season the chicken and produce a surface texture in the oven that your guests will swear came straight out of a deep fryer," says Chef John.
Crispy Honey Sriracha Chicken Wings
"The honey-sriracha glaze is quite delicious and incredibly simple, but merely an afterthought here," says Chef John. "The real star of the show is the strange, but effective, technique of coating the wings with a spice rub that features baking soda. Through the magic of chemical reactions, the surface of the chicken becomes bone-dry, and eventually crisps up to something very similar to what would come out of a deep fryer."
Rice Crispy Wings
Traditional Buffalo wings are fried without any coating, and they're delicious, of course. But with these wings, the rough texture of the light, rice-flour coating makes them better at holding onto sauce. "The rice flour coating on these wings turned out to be light, crispy, and extremely sauce friendly," says Chef John. "You can spice the flour any way you want!"
Jerk Chicken Wings
These chicken wings are marinated in jerk seasonings, creating the perfect balance of sweet, sour, salty, and spicy flavors. "These jerk chicken wings were so flavorful, so different, and so addictively delicious," says Chef John.
Sweet Hot Mustard Chicken Wings
A tangy, sweet, and spicy sauce features two kinds of mustard, plus honey, hot sauce, and vinegar. "The hot, sweet, mustardy glaze is a very welcome change of pace from traditional style," says Chef John. Watch the recipe video to see Chef John's “two-toss method” for combining wings with sauce.
Pastrami Chicken Wings
"I've taken a spice rub traditionally used on a beef brisket to make pastrami, and applied it to America's favorite appetizer, chicken wings," says Chef John. "This resulted in a pretty nice chicken wing recipe, which tasted nothing like pastrami." With these wings, skip the blue cheese dressing and go pastrami sandwich-style with a little Thousand Island on the side.
Spicy PBJ Wings
These spicy chicken wings combine creamy peanut butter and jalapeño jelly with classic Asian condiments like soy sauce, rice vinegar, and toasted sesame oil. "I promise you that this is no gimmick," says Chef John. "The spicy, sticky, and peanut-based sauce base delivers a distinct chicken wing-eating experience. If you're a fan of satay, you will enjoy this approach."
Ram (Rosemary, Ancho, Molasses) Wings
"Flavored with rosemary, ancho, and molasses, these chicken wings honor the Los Angeles Rams," says Chef John. "You'll use the easiest of methods to produce the most crowd-pleasing, finger-messing 'sticky wings.' The technique simply involves soaking wings in a sweet, spicy marinade, baking them wet, and then tossing them with a finishing glaze."
Chef John's Buffalo Chicken Nuggets
Buffalo wings in nugget form? Believe it. Chef John combines flavorful chicken thigh meat with bread crumbs, paprika, black pepper, Old Bay seasoning, cayenne pepper, butter, and hot pepper sauce to recreate the flavor of wings. "A real chicken nugget, at least in the fast food context, is not just a small solid piece of chicken," says Chef John. "It's more of a deep-fried, mostly-chicken sausage patty, fabricated from various parts of the bird, such as every legal part. But I like to use chicken thighs."
Buffalo Chicken Wings in a Jar
Chicken-thigh meat simmers directly in Buffalo sauce in this ingenious, boneless twist on the classic. "This fun-sized take on the game day appetizer offers everything you love about Buffalo wings, minus the bones, messy frying, and any risk of your drunk friends dripping sauce all over the place," says Chef John. "Instead of wings, we simply take chicken thighs, simmer them directly in butter 'n hot sauce, shred, and mix with celery. The blue cheese comes in the accompanying crostini: baguette slices toasted and spread with butter and blue cheese."
Chennai Chicken Wings
"A football snack from the land of cricket, these gluten-free spicy wings are inspired by one of my favorite Indian restaurants," says Chef John. "As usual, feel free to alter the spice amounts as you see fit, but as I said in the video, do not skip the rice vinegar sauce."
More from Chef John
Here are more top-rated recipes for game day -- plus Chef John reveals the best way to eat chicken wings!