Once summer comes I don’t think of food in the same way, and this year is no exception. Maybe this year, 2020 is the year more of us will be thinking about food a lot differently. I’m finding myself relaxing the rules, moving more and more away from the idea of “square meals” and trying to have more fun. There’s not much that’s more fun than these Easy Honey Garlic Chicken Wings.
Maybe you’ll want to make them and pretend you’re out with friends. Maybe you’ll want to make them if you’re in an area where you can have friends over. Or maybe you’ll just want to put a big pile of them out on the table with the kids and celebrate the weekend…especially if you’re locked down and every day seems like more of the same. (Thank goodness for the internet or I’d never know what day it is!)
About Honey Garlic Chicken Wings:
This is a super easy recipe with a big payoff in flavor, and these Asian-y fusiony flavors are some of my faves. These are reminiscent of Teriyaki with flavors of honey and soy, garlic, and ginger sparked up with just a little something acidic, whatever you have on hand, a little rice vinegar or just about any citrus. These are good with lime, lemon, and even orange in a pinch. That extra layer of acid always adds a little interest and keeps you wanting to come back for more, that play on sweet/tangy deliciousness.
More and more I’m starting off my wings in the Instant Pot, cooking them through and rendering out the excess fat while they infuse with flavor, then finishing them under the broiler or on the grill. I had high hopes of finishing these on the grill but my timing was a little off…and face it, there are appropriate times to be out grilling and driving your neighbors nuts with the smells wafting over and def inappropriate times, lol! So under the broiler these went. And you can see, they didn’t suffer at all for it! Note: you can broil a little less if you want; I happen to love it when they get just a little dark and charred in spots!
I’m also going to give you the full oven instructions because I know not everyone has an Instant Pot (but I highly recommend you get one if you like to cook, and maybe even more if you don’t like to) so you’re covered there. I love my oven method for turning out fabulous wings, too. Just be sure to follow the instructions of basting and turning at the appropriate times.
The methods I use for wings have become tried and true at my house. I first came up with the oven method when making my Thai Chicken Wings and the Instant Pot Method when I made these marvelous Instant Pot BBQ Wings (they have a white Alabama dipping sauce if you’re wondering what all that mess is!)
Flavoring your Wings:
I use a two-step method to flavor these wings; first I drop them in a Ziploc and let them infuse for an hour or two to overnight. They are going to be good with a short or long marinade, so do what works out best for you…but if you have the time to marinate ahead, the flavors are definitely more forward tasting.
The marinade is a simple mixture of soy, garlic, and ginger amped up by a little vinegar or citrus. Once the glaze goes on those flavors are reinforced and that’s when you’ll see a little sweet come into play. You’ll add the glaze as you finish the wings under the broiler or on the grill and as you bake them if you’re using that method. And who can resist that sticky sweet caramelized goodness?
Just for full disclosure, my photos are of one pound of chicken wings (since it’s just me here) but my recipe is for two pounds. I mean, seriously, one pound of wings won’t get you far! But you can easily make this in any quantity, and the directions, even the timing for the Instant Pot, remain the same.
Making Honey Garlic Chicken Wings Instant Pot to Oven/Grill:
When making these in the Instant Pot, put in a cup of water and use the rack. Just pile the wings in; I like to try to leave a little space between them and keep them off the sides as I build up the layers; no need to be perfect. I think that’s better than just dumping them in willy nilly; you don’t want to be making a solid mass.
In my six-quart, one pound is fine, two pounds works well and I’ve fit a few more in. The timing is five minutes, no need to adjust for amount. That’s the beauty of the IP and that stymies some people. If there are more wings the IP compensates because it takes a little longer to heat up with the larger mass. All total, though, with the heat up, the five minutes cooking, and a 10-minute natural release, it takes about 20 minutes in the IP.
If you need a lot of wings, say for a party or other function, you could easily make multiple batches ahead and hold them in the fridge and then finish them off under the broiler or on the grill as needed.
What comes out of that IP looks pretty darned sad! Don’t be dismayed, it will all be fixed as the wings are brushed with the glaze and broiled or grilled, and that takes only minutes and very little effort to do. I find about 5 minutes a side is about right and I like to brush them twice with glaze. The initial brushing, then at the three-minute mark, and after two more minutes, turn them and do the same to the other side. That’s because the glaze is not terribly thick and 2x builds it up beautifully. Watch this broiling/grilling step closely!
Although it’s not strictly necessary, I do like to use a wire rack and I really like to use foil under it for easy cleanup!
Making Honey Garlic Chicken Wings in the Oven:
While the IP recipe is super simple, the oven method does require a few more steps, brushing the wings and turning them several times. It’s not hard, it’s just a little fussier, but the results are absolutely worth it. They get brushed, baked and go in and out of the oven, building up that flavor. The deets are in the recipe, below.
I do think the oven part of this recipe, if you use the oven instead of the grill when you caramelize your wings, or if you are baking your wings instead of using the Instant Pot, is best done on a wire rack. A good rectangular wire rack that fits over one of your sheet pans is a handy thing to have around the kitchen for this recipe and others. It also makes a great cooling rack for cookies or cakes just out of the oven.
Saving Money on Honey Garlic Chicken Wings:
A while back I wrote a post on Wing Prices – Comparing the Options. Number crunching doesn’t come easily to everyone and wings are one of those items that can be a little mind-boggling with all the different kinds, package sizes, and weights. Honestly, it seems like wings are usually a bit pricier than chicken breasts or thighs. It’s no wonder so many of the commercial enterprises are serving “boneless wings” which are just strips or chunks of either the breasts or thighs.
And while some people prefer the boneless wings, there’s something to be said about the incredible flavor and juiciness of the actual chicken wing! Just know what you’re buying and maximize your dollar. Best thing? The stores respond to sporting events so you know they’ll be a sale during the Superbowl (see Superbowl Savings) on condiments like barbecue sauce and on wings and you will probably see a sale or two around March Madness and other events, too, like some of the Summer Holidays, especially Father’s Day.
I’m gonna say that there’s flavor at the bottom of the Instant Pot and magically, there’s more liquid than what you start with. I always taste what’s left behind and try to think of some way to use it…I have few “rules” when it comes to cooking but one is never waste flavor! I haven’t specifically developed a recipe for the rich broth left behind from the wings but I’m thinking maybe chicken ramen. I’ll update you if I come up with something fabulous! If you’d like to see some examples of my IP recipes, check out my Instant Pot Recipes page.
Hello all! Sometimes, like today, I wonder how anyone can think about food, but as it turns out, we all have to eat. For me, getting in the kitchen can be a welcome distraction. Let’s all hope for better times ahead (and maybe parties with platters of wings) and in the meantime, keep your chins up & loved ones close!
Honey Garlic Chicken Wings
Make these in the Instant Pot and finish under the broiler or on the grill or just make them in the oven, instead.
- Total Time: 40 minutes + marinade
- Yield: 4 to 6 servings 1x
- Category: Appetizers
- Cuisine: Asian
- 2 pounds of Chicken Wings
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar or freshly squeezed citrus
- 2 teaspoons finely grated ginger
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon hoisin sauce
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
Rinse chicken wings and pat dry. Remove tip and discard; separate each wing at the joint into 2 pieces. Place wings in a Ziploc bag. In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, vinegar (or citrus), the ginger and garlic, and lemon juice. Pour into Ziploc, massage gently to coat. Place the bag in a container and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours and up to overnight.
When ready to cook, mix glaze ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
Instant Pot Directions:
Add one cup of water to the bottom of the Instant Pot. Add the rack that comes with your IP. Add wings and drummers, taking care to layer and if possible, keep off the side of the Instant Pot.
Seal and set for High Pressure, five minutes. Let release naturally for 10 minutes, then release any remaining pressure manually.
To finish in oven:
While the Instant Pot is releasing, line a baking sheet with foil (for easy clean up) and set a rack on top of the sheet tray. Set the oven to broil, arranging the oven rack about six inches from the heating element. Pat the chicken dry if needed and brush with the glaze. Arrange on the rack, drummettes towards the outside of the rack with the thickest part near the edges, the rest of the chicken in the center. Broil for about 5 minutes, brushing a second time with the glaze at the three-minute mark. Remove the chicken, turn over, baste the (now) top side of the wings and drummettes with a little glaze. Again, broil for about 5 minutes total, brushing again at the three-minute mark.
When broiling, watch closely; ovens can vary in temperature. Broil until golden brown with some caramelized spots.
To finish on grill:
While the Instant Pot is releasing, heat grill to medium-high if using gas; if using charcoal, prepare and start grill when the chicken goes in the instant pot. Remove the wings from the Instant Pot, pat dry if needed. Add the chicken to the rack, brush with glaze, then turn over so the glazed side is down. Brush the top side. Turn over once the bottom side is golden and caramelized in spots and continue to grill until the second side is caramelized and browned in spots. Use your judgment as to whether or not you can add a second layer of glaze.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil (for easy clean up) and set a rack on top of the sheet tray.
Pat the chicken dry and arrange on the rack, drummettes towards the outside of the rack with the thickest part near the edges, the rest of the chicken in the center.
Bake for about 15 minutes, then remove the chicken and lightly baste the chicken with the glaze, turn and baste the top side. Place the chicken back in the oven for 10 minutes.
Remove the chicken again (and set the oven to broil, arranging a rack about six inches from the heating element) and baste the tops of the chicken pieces one more time. Place in the oven and broil for about 4 minutes. Remove the chicken again, turn over, baste the (now) top side and broil for an additional 4 minutes.
When broiling, watch closely; ovens can vary in temperature. Broil until golden brown with some caramelized spots.
Keywords: Appetizer, Asian, Chicken, chicken wings, Ginger, Hoisin, Honey, Instant Pot, Soy
I’ll be sharing at Fiesta Friday #330 this week where I’m seeing bloggers from all over the world post their best recipes of the week. Stop by if you have a moment.