Slow-Cooker Sticky Chicken Wings

This slow cooker sticky chicken wings recipe is made by rubbing chicken wings with homemade sticky sauce made with ginger, soy sauce, brown sugar, and garlic, cooked in the slow cooker and finished in the oven under the boiler.
A healthier alternative to fried sticky chicken wings without sacrificing taste or flavor.

Slow Cooker Sticky Chicken Wings: Favorite game day stick wings made in slow cooker.

One of last year’s most popular posts on Foolproof Living was the Oven-Baked Chicken Wings that I published right before the Super Bowl. I was hoping that it would be a healthier alternative to fried chicken wings we all love to eat during the game. Throughout the year, even months after the Super Bowl, I received so many e-mails and notes from people all over the world thanking me for this recipe as they greatly enjoyed this easy-to-make and healthy version of chicken wings.

So as you can imagine, while I was getting ready to find recipe ideas for this year’s biggest sports event (in the U.S.), the pressure was on. But no worries, because I’ve got you covered.

Since Dwight and I love chicken wings and enjoy it more than any other Super Bowl food, I wanted to find a different chicken wing recipe as an alternative to the version that I made last year. And as I was looking around for recipes, I had 3 questions in mind: (1) what was an easy way of cooking wings for a crowd without too much hands on time, (2) how could I cook them in a way that they were still healthy (frying them was out of the question), and (3) what was the best way of cooking to get wings that are soft on the inside and still crispy (and flavorful) on the outside.

After a couple of hours of surfing on the Internet and going over my cookbooks, I picked 3 recipes that I thought fit the bill. And for the first time in a long time, I got very lucky because this Slow-Cooker Sticky Chicken Wings ended up being exactly what I wanted for this year’s Super Bowl recipe. So much so that I didn’t need to try the other two recipes… And let me tell you something, this never happens to me. Most of the time I have to make changes to the original recipe or mix and match with other recipes. Needless to say, I was quite happy with it.

Slow Cooker Sticky Chicken Wings: Favorite game day stick wings made in slow cooker.

About this Slow-Cooker Sticky Chicken Wings Recipe

The process of making these wings is quite simple, which is why I think they are perfect if you are planning to make it for a crowd. And the best part of it is that you can make it with everyday ingredients that are probably already in your kitchen pantry.

All you have to do is to make a quick sauce with fresh ginger, brown sugar, garlic, soy sauce, and cayenne pepper. Place the wings and the sauce in a crock-pot, and cook for 3-4 hours in a low-heat setting. While they are cooking, make a quick glaze with tomato paste, sugar, and soy sauce. Once the wings are cooked, fish them out of the crock- pot with a spatula, and allow them to cool for 15-20 minutes. In the mean time, turn the broiler on. To finish it up, generously brush the wings with the glaze, place them on a baking sheet (set with a wire rack in it), and broil them until they are crisp on the outside, 15 to 20 minutes. During the broiling process there are two things that I recommend for the best results, (1) placing the oven rack in the lower-middle section (at least 12-15 inches away from the broiler), and (2) keeping a close eye on it, because the time of cooking may vary depending on the heat settings of your broiler.

Slow Cooker Sticky Chicken Wings: Favorite game day stick wings made in slow cooker.

The Importance of Using a Wire Rack

One question that I was asked often for last year’s Oven-Baked Chicken Wings was whether we really need to set a wire rack inside a baking sheet or not. Just like in that recipe, this one also asks you to do that. And quite frankly, I do not recommend skipping this step. Here is why: In order for the wings to get crispy on the outside, we put them in a very high temperature oven (my oven’s broil setting is 500 Fahrenheit Degrees). Our goal here is to cook the glazed skin as quickly as possible without drying the already cooked soft meat on the inside. For that reason, placing a wire rack in the baking sheet is crucial here, because it allows the heat to circulate through the meat, helping us to avoid the step of turning the wings over several times and opening the oven door (thus cooling the oven) while slowing down the process.

Slow Cooker Sticky Chicken Wings: Favorite game day stick wings made in slow cooker.

Whether you are cooking it for a crowd or just for your family, I hope that this simple chicken wings recipe will make your life easier and will be one that you go back often.


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Slow-Cooker Sticky Chicken Wings

Slow Cooker Sticky Chicken Wings: Favorite game day stick wings made in slow cooker.

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  • Author: Aysegul Sanford
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings
  • Category: Slow Cooker Recipe
  • Cuisine: Asian Cuisine

Ingredients

  • 1 (3-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/4 + 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed – divided
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce – divided
  • 1/4+ 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper – divided
  • 4 pounds of chicken wings, pat dried with paper towels
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2-3 stalks of scallions, both green and white parts are chopped
  • 1 teaspoon (or more) roasted sesame seeds, (Optional)
  • Vegetable Spray

Instructions

  1. To make the rub, process the ginger, garlic, 1/4 cup sugar, 1-tablespoon soy sauce, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper in a food processor until finely ground. Transfer it into the bowl of the slow cooker.
  2. Add the wings into the slow cooker, and cook for 3-4 hours in the low-heat setting (or until the chicken is tender). When cooked, fish them out of the slow cooker and allow them to cool for 15-20 minutes. Discard the juices.
  3. Adjust the oven rack in the lower middle section and turn the broiler on. Line inside of a baking sheet with aluminum folio (for easy cleaning purposes) and set a wire rack in it. Generously spray it with vegetable spray.
  4. To make the glaze: Whisk together 1/2 cup brown sugar, rest of the soy sauce, water, tomato paste, and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper in a bowl. Pour half of the mixture over the chicken and give it a big toss, making sure that they are all coated with the glaze.
  5. Arrange wings, skin side up, on the rack. Broil them for 10-15 minutes until they are lightly charred on the outside. Flip wings, brush the other side with the rest of the glaze, and continue to broil for another 3 to 4 minutes.
  6. Transfer them to a large plate and garnish it with chopped scallion and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

Notes

This recipe serves 8-10 people.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 4 to 6 servings

Recipe adapted from CooksCountry.com 

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I am Aysegul: the photographer, writer, designer, recipe creator, and dishwasher behind this blog. This website is a journal of my favorite seasonal and healthy recipes. Click around and let me know if I can help in any way. 
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