How to Sauce Chicken Wings

First things First

You just took your perfectly cooked wings out of the fryer. Or off the grill. Or out of the oven. However you cooked them, chances are you’re going to want to sauce them next. So what are the best ways to sauce your wings? Well that’s why you’re here. These are my preferred methods for saucing wings.

But first things first.

Shaken or Stirred

Shake. Or stir. Either one. Just make sure you start with a well-combined sauce. If it’s been sitting around, some ingredients will have settled. You want them to be distributed evenly throughout the sauce. So shake or stir them first.

No Cold Sauces, Please

I prefer to NEVER serve my wings with a cold sauce. Cold sauce (like that out of the fridge) just does not go well with hot wings in my opinion. So if I’m using a refrigerated sauce I prefer to warm it first. That can mean just setting the sauce out on the countertop for up to an hour before using, or warming it slightly in a saucepan. I’m not a big fan of heating things in the microwave, but you can use that too. I’d do it in small steps, microwaving for seconds at a time, stirring in between.

And make sure to stir or shake the warmed sauce one more time before using or serving.

How Much is Too Much?

Sorry, but I don’t have an answer to this question. It’s up to you how much sauce you want. Personally, I usually go light on the sauce because I want to taste the seasoning or batter I used on the wings and I want to taste the chicken itself. If you drown your wings in sauce you’ll only taste the sauce. If you’re going to do that, just grab a straw and have some sauce!

Go light and get the full taste experience. It’s your call.

Note: Ok, as with every rule there is an exception. I have run across a few sauces that were so crazy good that I sauced the living heck out of my wings with it. Don’t judge.

The Big Toss

Also known as the ‘Classic Toss’. This technique is often found in restaurants. Just put the wings into a big bowl (no need to crowd!), add the sauce, and toss. You can either give the bowl a good backwards or forwards jerk with your hands, causing the wings to ‘roll’ in the sauce. Do this several times to make sure the wings are completely coated in sauce. Sometimes a wing or two likes to stick or hide in the bottom of the bowl, not getting fully sauced. Make sure they get some sauce love too!

Note: I do not recommend this technique for thickly-battered wings that are deep-fried. The violent tossing will knock off that great crunchy coating. Instead, see the Soft Stir technique.

How To Sauce Wings - The Big Toss

The Soft Stir

This is one of my more popular techniques. I tend to have a lot of deep-fried wings, and often that means wings with a pretty thick coating on them. To keep that wonderfully tasty, crunchy crust from coming off I prefer to sauce them gently. I put them into a large bowl and add the sauce like I would for the Big Toss technique. But instead of tossing the wings to coat them, I use a large rubber spatula or even tongs to turn and coat the wings. This takes a little longer but it preserves that wonderful wing coating that I worked so hard to obtain.

This technique is similar to the monster dunk in that it is great for deep-fried wings.

How To Sauce Wings - The Soft Stir

The Monster Dunk

Sometimes, tossing or stirring in sauce means a few extra minutes of work before you can enjoy your wings. Well, The Monster Dunk will get you to wing joy a lot quicker, and often with a lot more sauce on each and every wing. Just warm your sauce in a medium saucepan and dunk the wings in the sauce, one-by-one. Make sure you turn them to coat them well. You can also just set the wings into the sauce and turn and coat using a spatula.

I love using this technique for thicker wing sauces.

How To Sauce Wings - The Monster Dunk

The Side Dunk

The Side Dunk is another favorite way of saucing wings. I often use this technique for deep-fried or heavily-seasoned wings. In either case, tossing the wings will knock off the coating or seasoning. I don’t want that. Serving a warmed bowl of sauce on the side is the perfect solution for this. Just pick up a wing, dunk it, and enjoy.

I’ve also found that this is a great way to serve several different sauces at once. Just put two or three small bowls of different sauces on a plate and let your guests try them all. That way, if they find a favorite or two they aren’t going to waste the wings sauced with the flavor they didn’t care for.

How To Sauce Wings - The Side Dunk

The Brush

The Brush technique is reminiscent of those good ole backyard BBQ days. And that’s why I often use it on grilled wings. And on deep-fried wings, too. Just warm your sauce and use a good, quality long brush to brush on the sauce. Make sure you get it on all sides of the wings, and not just one.

How To Sauce Wings - The Brush

The Drizzle

I think of food cooking shows when I use the Drizzle technique for saucing my wings. You’ve seen it. A chef plates his dish, then uses a squeeze bottle to put a drizzle of sauce over it. Around it. Little dots of sauce. Lines of sauce. Fancy. Fru-fru. Well this is the same thing but instead of some sauce you can’t pronounce you’re going to use a wing sauce. Just drizzle it over the top of the wings. Yes, you can make squiggly lines with it if you want. Put a few dots around the plate. Whatever you want.

I like this technique for super-hot wings. I want to enjoy the wings without dying, so I can control the amount of sauce a little easier by just drizzling a little over them.

How To Sauce Wings - The Drizzle

The Spritz

I rarely use the Spritz technique. If you’ve ever smoked or grilled ribs, spritzing is probably not new to you. You load up a squirt bottle with your favorite sauce and pump spray it onto the wings. With ribs, that usually means an apple juice- or vinegar-based sauce. Something thin. Something that won’t clog the squirt bottle. Something without a lot of little ‘extras’ floating in it, like garlic or oregano or something.

This technique only works when using a thinner ‘clear’ sauce. Anything more and it won’t spritz.

How To Sauce Wings - The Spritz

The Un-Sauced

I never skip the opportunity to say ‘don’t sauce your wings’. I am a huge fan of dry wings. Just cook them and season them. The more, the merrier. Or just do a few this way. Try them if you haven’t had them before. Dry wings open up a whole new world of wing flavors. Go to your spice cabinet or drawer and just start grabbing bottles and try them on your wings. You’ll never know what you might end up liking. Trust me, even that burger seasoning you have hiding in there is great on wings!

How To Sauce Wings - The Un-Sauced