Sticky Orange Balsamic Wings
Chicken wings are getting a tangy citrusy makeover in this Sticky Orange Balsamic Wings recipe.
I don’t know why I love making chicken wings so much but I really do. There are so many ways to make them interesting! Today I’m sharing a nontraditional flavor combo. No buffalo sauce happening here, folks! These Sticky Orange Balsamic Wings are instead very tangy and a little citrusy. They’re not overly sweet (the balsamic helps with that). They’re just plain good.
For these wings you’ll need (full list of ingredients and instructions are in the recipe card below):
- Chicken wingettes, wings, or split wings
- Orange juice
- Balsamic vinegar
- Tomato paste
- Orange zest
- Ghee or butter
First you coat the chicken wings in an easy dry rub for maximum flavor. The dry rub I’m using here isn’t crazy spicy but it does have a little heat.
Next you pop the wings in the oven to bake (grilling also works great if the weather is nice). I like to use a baking rack on top of an aluminum foil covered baking sheet. This helps get some crispiness on the wings and it makes for easy clean up.
Once those wings are cooked through it’s time to slather on the sticky sauce. Oh yes. My favorite part.
This sauce uses just a few simple ingredients to achieve a really complex taste. Orange juice and orange zest give it some sweetness. Balsamic vinegar prevents that sweetness from getting out of hand and brings a big tangy punch of flavor.
While your wings are baking you’ll let the sauce simmer on the stove. It reduces until it’s nice and thick so it can cling beautifully to your chicken.
That’s it, friends! That wasn’t hard at all, was it?
What part of the chicken to use
Next time you’re in the grocery store grab a pack of chicken wings and a pack of chicken wingettes and hold them side by side. Chicken wings are quite large! The middle part of the wing is actually called a wingette or a flat. When you see chicken wings at a restaurant what you’re really getting are usually wingettes or split wings. They’re cut smaller and easier to eat. I typically purchase wingettes in my grocery store when making wings at home. You’re welcome to use wings, wingettes, or split wings.
How to get wings crispy in the oven
Anyone who says baked wings can’t be crispy isn’t do it right! Here are five simple things you need to do for crispy baked wings.
- Pat your wings dry with a paper towel.
- Don’t add any sauce until the end.
- Spread the chicken wings on an oven safe wire rack over a baking sheet. I use the cooling rack that’s intended for cookies. Really. You don’t want your wings touching the bottom of the pan so this keeps them elevated.
- Bake at high heat. I do my wings at 450 degrees.
- Flip the wings at around the halfway point so both the top and the bottom get crispy.
Are these wings Whole30 compliant?
Yes! Just be sure to use ghee instead of regular butter.
Are these wings dairy-free?
Use vegan butter instead of ghee or regular butter.
More recipes like this:
Sticky Orange Balsamic Wings
- 1 1/2 – 2 lbs chicken wingettes, wings, or split wings
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp dry mustard
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 tsp dried basil
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
Orange Balsamic Sauce
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup orange juice
- 2 tsp orange zest
- 2 tsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp ghee or butter
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Pat chicken wings dry with a paper towel. This is an important step to achieving crispy wings so don't skip it!
- Toss chicken in a large ziplock bag with dry rub ingredients. Seal. Shake so each wing is fully covered with the rub.
- Place wings on a wire rack over an aluminum foil lined baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes. Flip chicken. Bake for 20 additional minutes.
- While wings are baking, add all Orange Balsamic Sauce ingredients to a pot and whisk until well combined. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low so that the sauce simmers. Allow it to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. You'll continue to see some bubbles as it does this. (Keep on eye on it so it doesn't burn or reduce too much.) Sauce is ready when it has thickened, darkened in color, and reduced to around 1/4 cup.
- Pour finished sauce over wings. Top with additional orange zest (optional) and serve!