Sweet and Sour Chicken Wings
Learn how to make crispy Sweet and Sour Chicken Wings in the oven with a homemade sweet and sour sauce. Serve them for your next tailgating party or alongside pizza night.
Fall marks that time of year where it’s wing season.
Although eating wings is associated with tailgating and Super Bowl food for two, really I eat them for dinner because I love wings.
If I’m ordering pizza or hoagies for dinner when my parents visit, we usually end up buying a dozen wings too.
However, wings can be expensive, which is why I make them at home often. I buy a bag, usually about 3-4 pounds worth (which equals 2-3 meals), bake them in the oven until crisp, and cover them in sauce.
One of those “long lost recipes” that I tucked away for future reference when it got closer to wing season (because who really wants to bake wings in July?).
They are reminiscent of sweet and sour chicken you order at a Chinese restaurant but instead of fried chicken pieces, the sauce covers baked wings.
It’s the taste of Chinese food without picking up a menu for takeout.
What is sweet and sour chicken?
Sweet and sour chicken is a popular Chinese dish where you dip chicken (usually breaded and fried) into a sweet and sour sauce.
The sweetness comes from pineapple juice, brown sugar, and ketchup (which gives the sauce its bright red color).
The sourness comes from vinegar.
Ingredients For Sweet and Sour Chicken Wings
To make this recipe for sweet and sour wings, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Chicken Wing Pieces: Wings can be separated into three parts – drumette (baby drumstick), flat (looks like a safety pin), and tip. To save time, you can buy already-cut drumettes and flats. If you’re cutting whole wings yourself, save the tips to make homemade broth.
- Vegetable Oil: Brushing oil on the wings helps the skin crisp up. Use a neutral oil like vegetable or canola for its low smoking point.
- Salt: Salt is used to make the meat taste even better. Kosher salt works best because the salt flakes are bigger than table salt.
- Pineapple Juice: Adds sweetness and acidity
- Brown sugar: Adds sweetness and helps caramelization when cooked
- Vinegar: The sour part of the sweet and sour sauce
- Ketchup: Gives the sauce its color
- Cornstarch: Helps thicken the sauce so it’s thick enough to glaze the wings
How To Make Sweet and Sour Chicken Wings
The key to baking crispy sweet and sour chicken wings is using a roasting rack inside a baking pan.
This elevates the wings, allowing the heat to circulate underneath and for the juices to drip down. If the wings are sitting in their own juices they get soggy, not crispy.
I learned this trick from Bon Appetit a long time ago and have been using this technique since.
If you don’t own a roasting rack, you can use a cooling rack on a cookie sheet.
Place the wings in a single layer on the roasting rack, brush each one with oil, then sprinkle some salt on top.
Bake at 400F for roughly 45-50 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165F.
How To Make Sweet and Sour Sauce For Chicken Wings
While your wings are baking, make the sweet and sour sauce.
In a large saucepan, whisk together the pineapple juice, brown sugar, vinegar, ketchup, and cornstarch. Bring to a boil.
Once boiling, reduce heat to low and cook until thickened, about 5-8 minutes.
Let the sauce cool until the wings are done then toss your chicken with the sweet and sour wing sauce before serving.
Do I cover wings when baking?
You definitely do not want to cover your sweet and sour wings while baking. Otherwise you’ll end up with flabby, steamed skin instead of crispy.
More Crispy Baked Chicken Wings
Looking for more easy wing recipes? Check out these oven baked wing recipes:
Items You May Need (affiliate links):
- 12 wing pieces (drumettes and flats separated), thawed and patted dry
- 2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Salt, to season (preferatly kosher)
- 1/2 cup canned pineapple juice
- 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons white distilled vinegar
- 3 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Green onion, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 400F. Line the bottom of a roasting pan or cookie sheet with foil. Place a roasting or cooling rack on top then grease with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, toss together the wings, oil, and salt. Place wings onto rack in the pan then bake 45-50 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165F.
- Meanwhile, in a large saucepan whisk together the pineapple juice, brown sugar, vinegar, ketchup, and cornstarch. Bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and cook until thickened, about 5-8 minutes.
- Once the wings are done, toss with the sauce then garnish with green onion. Serve immediately.
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