These sweet and spicy chicken wings are sticky and delicious. They're sugar free, paleo, Whole30 friendly, all around healthy, and are the perfect game day snack!
Wings are so messy. Especially these sweet and spicy chicken wings.
I've always believed that wings are the perfect first date food, because it forces you to let your guard down, use an entire roll of paper towels in one sitting, and tell the other person when they have wing sauce smeared across their face.
I mean, really, if a relationship survives a first date of wings, I think you're good to go.
Brandan and I did not eat wings on our first date. I was a waitress at the time, and I had to work until 10:30pm that night. I picked him up after work and we went out to the bar for a drink. Or two. Or three. We spent the whole night talking and ended up at a 24 hour diner at 3am drinking chocolate milkshakes.
BUT - wings have a special spot for us. I met him at the bar I worked at as a waitress, serving him - you guessed it - wings and beer. We had 25 cent wing night once a week, and he would come in with his friends and get as many wings as they could eat. It was impressive.
One of our wedding gifts was even a platter and beer mugs to serve wings and beer at home. I have some other go-to wing recipes that I use, but I wanted to make my own wing recipe for that platter.
I wanted to make sure these sweet and spicy chicken wings were crispy, the sauce was flavorful, and that they were extra messy for you. They're wings - when are they ever not messy?
And the best part? They're ready in 30 minutes or less.
The secret to good sweet and spicy chicken wings
Wings need crispy skin. Period.
That can be tough if you're not frying them; you want to get that crispy exterior with the tender meat on the inside.
You need 3 things to get your chicken wings crispy, even in the oven. First, you need a HOT oven. None of this, "bake your chicken at 350°" stuff. We're roasting these suckers.
Second, you need a high heat cooking fat. I like to use ghee, as it browns them up nicely and I think gets them crispiest. You could also use something like avocado oil or bacon grease; as long as it is high heat tolerant and won't smoke.
Third, you need air circulation. You have to set the wings up so that the heat can get to all sides of them. If they are sitting flat on a pan, they will get crispy on the top, and stay soggy on the bottom.
To do this, place a wire rack like this one on your baking sheet, then place your greased wings on top of it. You can even rub some extra cooking fat on the rack to help minimize the skin sticking.
Halfway through, you're going to flip them to get maximum crispiness on all sides.
Then, before removing the wings from the oven, turn the broiler on for 2-3 minutes and broil the wings to crisp up, watching to make sure they don't burn.
How to make this sweet & spicy sticky sauce
While the wings are baking, we're going to make the sauce on the stove. Then once the wings are done, you'll just put them directly into the pot of sauce and toss them around to coat them.
The sauce will thicken even more and get sticky, leaving you with a delicious sticky batch of sweet and spicy wings.
In a food processor or blender, combine all sauce ingredients EXCEPT the arrowroot powder until smooth.
Scrape the mixture into a small saucepan over medium heat and whisk in the arrowroot powder.
Turn the heat up and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer for 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
Once it's thickened and your wings are done, toss the wings into the pot, get them good and coated with the sauce, and serve immediately.
Sweet and spicy chicken wings, done.
Just make sure you grab some paper towels first. You're gonna need 'em!
These sweet and spicy chicken wings are just one of five recipes in my paleo super bowl snacks post - where I walk you through (in the form of a football game!) preparing an entire super bowl spread that is healthy, paleo, and Whole30 compliant. Game on!
- 2 pounds chicken wings, about 2 dozen
- 2 Tablespoons ghee
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup cubed pineapple
- 2 medjool dates
- 1 clove garlic
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon coconut aminos
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon arrowroot powder
- Preheat oven to 425°.
- Melt the ghee and toss the wings to coat.
- Lay the wings on a wire rack on a baking sheet in a single layer, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake for 15 minutes, flip, then bake for 15 minutes more.
- While the wings are baking, combine all sauce ingredients EXCEPT the arrowroot powder in a food processor or high speed blender until smooth.
- Scrape the sauce into a small saucepan over medium heat and whisk in the arrowroot powder. Turn the heat up and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer for 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat.
- Before removing the wings from the oven, turn the broiler on for 2-3 minutes and broil the wings to crisp up, watching to make sure they don't burn.
- Add the wings to the pot of sauce and use a spoon or spatula to toss and coat.
- Serve immediately.
If you are not concerned about Whole 30 or paleo, soy sauce can be subbed for coconut aminos and cornstarch can be subbed for arrowroot powder.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 144Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 172mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 0gSugar: 2gProtein: 6g
Looking for a wing alternative? Check out my Buffalo Cauliflower Wings for a snack you won't be able to stop eating!
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