Chinese Chicken Wings spice rubbed then baked until crispy and smothered in the most irresistible soy, balsamic reduction spiked with sugar and sriracha.
Chinese Wings have never been so irresistible. The tantalizing marinade, the rub, the glaze. They all come together to create the most epic Chinese Chicken Wings Recipe you will ever devour. Move over Honey Buffalo Wings, there’s a new wing recipe in town!
I am so IN LOVE with these Chinese Chicken Wings. They are sticky, savory, slightly sweet and tangy. If you’ve never made chicken wings before, you will be AMAZED at how easy they are. In fact, baked chicken wings are one of the TASTIEST and EASIEST ways to prepare chicken.
I baked chicken wings for first time a couple years ago and I got hooked! I now consider myself a wing connoisseur: Chines Chicken Wings, honey barbecue, buffalo, chipotle, Thai – they are all SO GOOD! Simply marinade/rub, bake, coat them in the sauce of your choice, then watch them fly of the plate. The End.
For these Asian sticky wings, I chose to use Chinese 5 Spice as the main component in the marinade. Chinese 5 spice is common in Asian dishes to create a balance of flavor, spice and heat that enhance the dish without overwhelming it. It is thought to have come from ancient Chinese who were attempting to produce a “wonder powder” that encompasses all five tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, salty and a spicy. They did this by combining szechuan peppercorns (a reddish brown berry), ground cloves, fennel, cinnamon, star anise and cinnamon.
The marinade also includes hints of brown sugar, soy sauce, lime juice, garlic, curry, ginger, and Sriracha which combine to make this Chinese Chicken wings recipe soar with flavor.
Chinese Chicken Wings Ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need to make the Asian wing sauce, spice rub, and marinade:
- Chicken wings: The star of the show.
- Brown sugar: Needed to balance the savory soy sauce and spicy chili paste.
- Soy sauce: Use reduced sodium soy sauce otherwise your chicken will be too salty. I recommend Kikkoman for the most rounded flavor.
- Lime juice: Freshly squeezed will deliver the best flavor.
- Chinese 5 Spice Powder: Found at most grocery stores.
- Spices: Garlic powder, curry powder, and ground ginger round out the flavor of the rub.
- Sriracha: You can sub your favorite Asian hot chili sauce, if desired.
- Baking powder: Baking powder is used to crisp up the wings – you will NOT taste it as long as you use POWDER and not baking SODA!
- Balsamic vinegar: Use a good quality balsamic.
- Granulated sugar: Again, you need some sugar in the marinade to balance out the spicy, tangy flavors going on.
Do I Have to Use Baking Powder?
The simplified science behind baking powder (NOT BAKING SODA) is that baking powder is composed of an acid, which raises the pH level in the chicken, which draws moisture to the surface of the chicken skin where it evaporates. The heightened pH level also causes the peptide bonds in the skin to break down which accelerates the browning process so your chicken can get nice and crispy!
How to Make Chinese Chicken Wings
STEP 1 – Marinade: Combine Asian chicken wings marinade ingredients in a freezer bag, add chicken and marinade for 4 hours up to overnight. I LOVE marinating because not only does it infuse the Chinese Chicken Wings with flavor, but then most of the work is already done!
STEP 2 – Prepare Pan: Line baking sheet with foil, parchment paper or nonstick slip mat for easy cleanup. Top baking sheet with baking rack and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray. Don’t forget to spray your baking rack or they Chinese wings WILL stick! The baking rack elevates the chicken so heat can circulate all around the chicken and help the skin get crispy.
STEP 3 – Dry Chicken: Drain excess marinade from chicken and pat dry with paper towels. You want your chicken to be as dry as possible in order to achieve crispy skin. If your skin is still seeping with moisturize, it will not crisp up.
STEP 4 – Baking Powder: Add chicken to a clean freezer bag and add baking powder. Toss until evenly coated. Trust me, you will NOT taste the baking powder but it is essential for crispy skin. Baking powder is composed of an acid which draws moisture to the surface of the chicken skin where it evaporates, accelerating the browning process so your chicken can get nice and crispy.
Step 5 – Bake: Bake Chinese Chicken Wings on the upper middle rack for 40 minutes. Turn oven to broil and broil for approximately 5 minutes or until crispy, watching closely so they don’t burn.. Flip chicken over and broil the other side until crispy. Baking the Chinese wings on a rack, at high heat, with baking powder, guarantees crispy, golden wings every time. When they emerge from the oven you can eat them as is (they are THAT GOOD!) or the last 15 minutes of baking, make a tantalizing glaze that makes them even exponentially more delicious.
Step 6 – Glaze: When chicken has been baking 35 minutes, begin the wonderfully sweet, tangy, sticky glaze. Combine water, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar in a large skillet (NOT SAUCEPAN or it will take much longer to reduce) and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until reduced to a sticky glaze. The sauce thickens rapidly at the very end, so watch closely so it does not burn. Stir in Sriracha to taste.
Step 7 – Coat: Remove chicken from oven and add to large bowl. Add glaze and toss to coat with a spatula until evenly coated. Note that as soon as you add the glaze the chicken will not be as crispy – but it provides a structural yummy base.
Step 8 – DIG IN! And enjoy the best Chinese Chicken Wings of your life!
How Long to Bake Chicken Wings?
These Chinese soy sauce chicken wings need to bake at 400 degrees F 40 minutes, then they need to crisp up under the broiler for 5 minutes.
HOW TO AIR FRY Chinese cHICKEN WINGS
I honestly don’t find air frying these Chinese Chicken Wings beneficial because they get plenty crispy in the oven – which is all we need before drenching them in the sauce. Using the oven method, you can cook all of the chicken at once, verses the air fryer which will require several batches. It is best to save the air fryer for when you really need that crackling crunch.
- Grease 2 racks for the air fryer oven. If your air fryer only has a rack and a basket, grease the basket instead.
- Place the wings on the greased racks in a single layer so they aren’t touching. You will need to cook in multiple batches.
- Cook for 15 minutes at 250 degrees F.
- Flip the wings over and switch the position of the trays, so that the top is on the bottom and the bottom tray is on the top.
- Increase temperature to 450 degrees (or the highest your air fryer goes). Air fry for 15- 20 minutes or until the chicken are wings cooked through and crispy.
Tips for the Best Asian Chicken Wings
- Dry chicken wings. Don’t just pat the wings dry with paper towels, but squeeze them VERY DRY . The drier the wings, the crispier they will get. Dry skin also helps the rub stick. You can even refrigerate your wings for up to 6 hours on a baking rack for the skin to dry out even more. If you do refrigerate the wings, be sure to bring them to room temperature before baking. This should only take about 15 minutes on the counter.
- Use a baking rack. Line a regular size baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup and then top with a baking rack. Spray baking rack with cooking spray – don’t forget this step or your wings will stick! The baking rack elevates the chicken wings so the air can circulate under the wings for crispier skin. It also lets the fat drip off the chicken instead of the wings sitting in a pool of grease.
- Broil chicken. Bake chicken wings at 400 degrees F until baked through, about 35 minutes, depending on size. The high heat allows the fat to render, the chicken to cook and the skin to get crispy. The wings will already be crispy after baking but for even crispier skin, you can move the oven rack 6-8 inches from broiler and broil away to desired crispiness. Just watch closely so they don’t burn!
Can I Prep Chinese Chicken Wings in Advance?
Yes! These Asian sticky wings can easily be prepped ahead of time.
- Prepare the chicken up to baking, then refrigerate for up to 12 hours – you can cover for 6 hours then uncover for the last 6 to help dry out the skin.
- Whisk the Asian wing sauce ingredients together and store in the refrigerator until it’s time to bake the wings. You can also simmer and thicken the sauce ahead of time and store in the refrigerator but you will need to whisk in some water to thin over heat as it will thicken in the refrigerator.
- When it’s time to bake the wings, let them rest on the counter for 15 minutes then proceed to bake according to directions and simmer the sauce until thickened.
How to Store Chicken Wings
Chinese chicken wings should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When properly stored, chicken wings are good for days.
How to Reheat Chinese Chicken Wings
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line a baking sheet with foil (for easy cleanup) and spray rack with cooking spray.
- Line wings on baking sheet so they aren’t touching.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until heated through.
Can I Freeze Chinese Chicken Wings?
These Asian wings freeze well because they are “sticky” wings verses “crispy” wings. To freeze:
- Line chicken wings in a single layer on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
- Place in the freezer to flash freeze until solid, about 1-2 hours. Flash freezing allows the chicken wings to be placed together in a freezer container without freezing together.
- Transfer frozen wings to a freezer safe container or freezer size plastic bag, squeeze out excess air to prevent freezer burn.
- Freeze for up to three months.
- When ready to serve, line a baking sheet with foil (for easy cleanup) and top with baking rack. Spray rack with cooking spray.
- Line frozen wings on the baking rack and transfer to the refrigerator to thaw.
- Once thawed, bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes or until heated through.
What to Serve with Chinese Chicken Wings
You can serve Asian sticky wings as a main course or an appetizer. If serving as an appetizer, serve with other Asian favorites such as Egg Rolls, Wontons, Crab Rangoons, Potstickers, Chicken Wraps, or Chinese Chicken Egg Rolls.
If serving as a main dish, here are some delicious options:
- Rice: These Asian wings are so flavorful, they are delicious with a neutral, textural counterpart such as white rice, brown rice, quinoa, cauliflower rice, broccoli rice or Pineapple Rice.
- Stir Fry Veggies. You can stir fry any veggies your heart desires from broccoli, to bell peppers, to mushrooms, to carrots, etc. or you can serve with roasted veggies such as Roasted Broccoli, Roasted Broccolini, Roasted Cauliflower, Roasted Carrots, Sautéed Brussels Sprouts, or Roasted Squash.
- Shortcut Veggies. You can purchase pre-chopped veggies perfect for stir fries or use a frozen stir-fry blend or steam-in-the-bag microwavable frozen veggies.
- Salad. Fresh salad is a delicious, healthy counterpart to the baked Korean Wings. Some of my favorites include: Crunchy Asian Salad, Chinese Salad and Asian Pineapple Salad.
- Soups: For a warm, soothing side, you’ll loveMiso Soup, Thai Noodle Soup, Wonton Soup, Curried Butternut Squash Soup, Thai Soup
- Fruit: Refreshing fruit is always a welcome addition to cut through the robust, sweet heat. Try chopped pineapple, Grilled Pineapple, Summer Fruit Salad, Perfect Fruit Salad, Creamy Grape Salad,
Looking for more chicken wings recipes?
- Ancho Baked Chicken Wings
- Baked Chipotle Honey Hot Wings
- Baked General Tso’s Sticky Wings
- Lemon Pepper Wings
- Korean Chicken Wings
- Honey Buffalo Hot Wings
Looking for More Chinese Chicken Recipes?
- Mongolian Chicken
- Honey Mango Chicken Stir Fry
- Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken
- Chicken and Broccoli
- Cashew Chicken Stir Fry
- Chinese Chicken Salad
- All of my Asian-inspired recipes!
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Tools Used in This Recipe
Chinese 5 Spice Chicken Wings With Soy, Balsamic Reduction Glaze
- 2 lbs chicken wings (about 10-12 chicken wings)
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- Combine marinade ingredients in a freezer bag, add chicken and marinade for 4 hours up to overnight.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with foil, parchment paper or nonstick slip mat for easy cleanup. Top baking sheet with baking rack and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- Drain excess marinade from chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Add chicken to a clean freezer bag and add baking powder (makes them extra crispy but you will NOT taste the baking powder). Toss until evenly coated.
- Bake on upper middle rack for 40 minutes. Turn oven to broil and broil for approximately 5 minutes or until crispy, watching closely so they don't burn.. Flip chicken over and broil the other side until crispy.
- Meanwhile, when chicken has been baking 35 minutes, begin glaze. Combine water, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, and sugar in a large skillet (NOT SAUCEPAN or it will take much longer to reduce) and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until reduced to a sticky glaze. The sauce thickens rapidly at the very end, so watch closely so it does not burn. Stir in Sriracha to taste.
- Remove chicken from oven and add to large bowl. Add glaze and toss to coat with a spatula until evenly coated.
- Dig in!
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