How to Bake Spicy Chicken Wings

Written by m.t. wroblewski
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How to Bake Spicy Chicken Wings
They say you can't rush perfection, and the same holds true for baking spicy chicken wings. (Zedcor Wholly Owned/ Images)

Mention "chicken wings" and you're bound to elicit a firestorm of opinions. Some people like sweet sauces while others favour sauces so fiery that the wings should be accompanied by a fire extinguisher instead of a plate of celery sticks and ranch dressing. The standard here for the "perfect" batch of chicken wings is one in which the sauce has permeated the meat of the chicken and is absorbed (but is not blackened) into the skin. This tangy sauce is deliberately made on the sweeter side -- you can always add more "heat" but can't remove it from a sauce that's already mixed. So if this sauce needs more fire, simply add more red pepper flakes. But do so conservatively -- or be ready to call the fire brigade.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • 2 1 /0.907 to 1.36kg. chicken wings
  • 2 airtight containers
  • Paper towels
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 2/3 cup deli mustard
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 4 dashes of red pepper flakes (or more, to taste)
  • 1 large bowl
  • Cooking spray
  • 13-by-9-inch baking dish or aluminium pan
  • Basting brush

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    Marinating the Chicken Wings

  1. 1

    Wash the chicken wings and pat them dry with clean paper towels.

  2. 2

    Make the marinade/sauce by mixing 2/3 cup honey, 2/3 cup deli mustard, 4 tbsp lemon juice, 2 cups ketchup, 2 cups brown sugar and 4 dashes of red pepper flakes (or more, to taste) in a large bowl. Pour half of this mixture into an airtight container. This portion will be used for marinating the chicken. Put the other half of the mixture in a separate container and refrigerate; this will be used on the chicken during baking.

  3. 3

    Put the chicken wings in the container of marinade and ensure the wings are well-coated and submerged in the marinade. Seal the container and refrigerate the wings for at least four hours or overnight.

    Baking the Chicken Wings

  1. 1

    Preheat your oven to 375F. Lightly spray a 13-by-9-inch baking dish (or a disposable aluminium pan) with cooking spray.

  2. 2

    Remove the chicken wings, one piece at a time, from the marinade and place them upside-down in the baking dish or pan. Cover and bake for 45 minutes. Discard the marinade.

  3. 3

    Pour the remaining sauce into a saucepan and heat to boiling over medium high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure that the sauce does not stick to the pan.

  4. 4

    Remove the chicken from the oven and turn the chicken wings right-side up. Brush the wings with a thin layer of sauce. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the wings from the oven and brush the wings with a second thin layer of sauce. Bake for another 15 minutes. Remove the wings from the oven and turn the oven to 450F. Brush the wings with a third and final layer of sauce and bake the wings for 10 to 15 minutes.

  5. 5

    Slice into the meatiest section of a wing to ensure that it is not pink and that the juices run clear.

    How to Bake Spicy Chicken Wings
    Celery and ranch dip complement spicy chicken wings so well because they cool down the heat of the sauce. (Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Tips and warnings

  • Test the wings after they have baked for 30 minutes with the sauce; they may be finished to your satisfaction, in which case, you can forgo the last 10 to 15 minutes of baking.
  • Prepare more of the marinade/sauce mixture if you or your guests like to dip their wings in a side of sauce as they eat.

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