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A juicy, tender, sweet and spicy chicken wings recipe means wings rubbed in a dry spice rub, then baked to crisp perfection before being tossed in a chipotle maple sauce. Say hello to an appetizer that will have you licking your fingers and reaching for more!
I love dry-rubbed hot wings, but messy, saucy wings are even better! The sweet-spicy combo on these wings is out-of-this-world delicious. First, I rubbed a spicy dry rub on the wings and then, after they were baked, tossed them in a chipotle brown sugar sauce to amp up the flavor. They turned out messy, sweet and spicy, and totally addictive!
Table of Contents
Why you will love Chipotle Chicken Wings:
- They are super saucy! There is plenty of sweet and spicy sauce in this baked chicken wings recipe, so you can definitely serve some on the side as a dipping sauce.
- They are healthier than fried wings. These wings are baked in the oven, making this treat as healthy as possible without giving up any of that saucy goodness.
- You can make a double (or triple) batch! Easily scale this recipe for parties or events using the “2x” or “3x” button in the recipe card below.
Professional Tips for making this spicy chicken wings recipe
- Be sure to coat the wings evenly. I recommend placing the cooked wings in a large bowl, drizzling the warm sauce over the wings, and then using tongs to flip and evenly coat them in the sauce.
- Make the sauce ahead of time. You can make the chipotle wing sauce several days ahead of time or freeze it for several months. Simply thaw it on the counter and then reheat it in a saucepan!
- Create space between your chicken wings while cooking. Be sure to space your chicken wings at least 1.5 inches apart while cooking so that they bake instead of steam.
- Paprika: This recipe calls for sweet Hungarian paprika. If you are looking for a smokier wing, try using smoked paprika instead.
- Dark Brown Sugar: The sweetness of these wings comes from dark brown sugar. I do not recommend using white sugar.
- Garlic Powder: Garlic powder will add a savory note to the chicken wings as they bake. Just a pinch will go a long way in creating an extremely flavorful sauce.
- Onion Powder: Onion powder will also add some savory-ness to the dish and a ton of flavor to the sauce.
- Chipotle Powder: Chipotle adds smokiness and a bit of a kick to the chicken. If you can’t find chipotle powder, you can replace this with regular chili powder.
- Salt: I recommend using kosher salt for this recipe. It is less salty per teaspoon than table salt or sea salt, making it harder to oversalt your food, and more evenly coats the chicken wings.
- Pepper: I recommend freshly ground black pepper for this recipe.
- Chicken Wings: This recipe calls for about 10 chicken wings. These can be mixed pieces, including drums or drumettes and flats.
- Olive Oil: I like to use extra virgin olive oil, but you can replace it with a neutral oil like grapeseed or avocado oil if needed.
- Ketchup: Ketchup adds sweetness, saltiness, and savory-ness to the sauce. Plus, its color helps create a beautifully red-hued wing.
- Maple Syrup: I recommend using pure maple syrup for this recipe. It will add a more complex flavor note to the dish than maple-flavored syrup.
- Mustard: You will be using dry mustard in this recipe. You can find this in the spice section of most grocery stores.
You can alternatively use 1 teaspoon of prepared mustard if you don’t have dry mustard, but it would alter the flavor depending on the brand or type that you choose.
- Molasses: You are looking for unsulfured molasses. This means that it has no additives.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple cider vinegar adds a tangy, bright note to the overall dish.
- Chipotle Chilies: This is where the heat in the recipe comes from! Look for a can of chipotles chilies in adobo and mince one to two of the chilies for this recipe.
- Worcestershire Sauce: This adds a sweet and savory element to the sauce. Worcestershire sauce actually has anchovies in it, which are responsible for its signature umami flavor!
- Cayenne Pepper: If you’d like an even spicier wing, you can either add more of the chopped chipotle peppers, or you can add a pinch of cayenne pepper.
- Grilled Chicken: You can grill these wings instead of baking them. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes over medium heat, turning frequently, until the internal temperature reads 165° Fahrenheit, then coat the chicken in the wing sauce.
For extra crispy wings, try adding a pinch of cornstarch to the dry rub.
- Sauce: I love a good saucy chicken situation. For some alternative sauce possibilities, check out this baked chicken marinara, this slow cooker bbq chicken, or even these Blackstone chicken thighs.
How to Make Sweet and Spicy Wings
Use these instructions to make the perfect baked wings every time! Further details and measurements can be found in the recipe card below!
Step 1: Place a wire rack inside of a baking sheet or roasting pan and place the pan on the middle rack of your oven. Preheat to 350°F with the pan inside.
Step 2: Mix together all dried spices in the spice rub in a small bowl. Set aside.
Step 3: Rinse and pat chicken wings dry with a paper towel, and place in a medium bowl. Drizzle chicken with 2 teaspoons olive oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the spice mixture (or more) to your preferred coating and toss to coat. I just use my hands.
Step 4: Let rest for 15 minutes to allow the flavors time to meld. If you are pressed for time, then you can skip this step.
Step 5: Place the chicken wings skin side up on the pan or rack. Bake for 20 minutes. Flip and then bake them for an additional 20 minutes.
Step 6: While the chicken is baking, make the sauce. In a small saucepan whisk together all of the sauce ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium heat and then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes to marry the flavors. Set aside.
Step 7: Flip one last time and broil for 3 to 5 minutes or until the outside is browned but not burned. Toss in several tablespoons of sauce.
You can adjust the amount of sauce to your taste!
Step 8: Let rest a few minutes, if for no other reason than you don’t want to burn your mouth. Serve with extra sauce for dipping on the side.
Chef Lindsey’s Recipe Tip
For crispy wings, broil them for a few minutes at the end of your cook time. This will brown the chicken skin, creating additional flavor and texture.
Frequently Asked Questions
Store leftover chicken wings in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. You can also freeze cooked chicken wings. They will stay good in the freezer for up to 6 months. However, the chicken wings will not maintain their crispy texture when they are defrosted and reheated.
Chicken wings are cooked when the internal temperature in the meatiest part of the biggest piece of chicken has reached 165° Fahrenheit.
For the best texture, reheat your chicken wings in the oven. Just preheat the oven to 350°F, then add the wings to a baking sheet and reheat for 10 to 20 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer registers an internal temperature of 165°F.
You can. For grilled wings, cook the chicken for about 20 to 25 minutes on the grill over medium heat, turning frequently. Be sure the wings reach an internal temperature of 165°F and the juices run clear before serving.
If you tried this recipe and loved it please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it goes in the comments below. I love hearing from you; your comments make my day!
Sweet and Spicy Wings Recipe (Baked)
For the Sauce:
- Place a wire rack inside of a baking sheet or roasting pan and place the pan on the middle rack of your oven. Preheat to 350°F with the pan inside.
- Mix together all dried spices in the spice rub in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Rinse and pat chicken wings dry with a paper towel, and place in a medium bowl. Drizzle chicken with 2 teaspoons olive oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the spice mixture (or more) to your preferred coating and toss to coat. I just use my hands.
- Let rest for 15 minutes to allow the flavors time to meld. If you are pressed for time, then you can skip this step.
- Place the chicken wings skin side up on the pan or rack. Bake for 20 minutes. Flip and then bake them for an additional 20 minutes.
- While the chicken is baking, make the sauce. In a small saucepan whisk together all of the sauce ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium heat and then reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes to marry the flavors. Set aside.
- Flip one last time and broil for 3 to 5 minutes or until the outside is browned but not burned. Toss in several tablespoons of sauce. You can adjust the amount to your taste.
- Let rest a few minutes, if for no other reason than you don’t want to burn your mouth. Serve with extra sauce for dipping on the side.
Before You Go!
I hope you enjoyed this professional chef-tested recipe. Check out our other delicious, chef-developed chicken recipes!