Instant Pot Sweet & Spicy Wings are quite possibly the best tasting wings from fresh or frozen that I've ever had! These use an old trick to crisp the wings prior to finishing with a yummy sweet chili ginger sauce.
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History of the Chicken Wing
Fried chicken is a southern staple, and wings used to be considered a throw away part of the chicken. A cheap cut of meat that most people turned their noses up at. Well, at least they did up until about 50 years ago....
Did you know that the Buffalo Chicken Wing was actually born in Buffalo, NY? One night at the Anchor Bar in said town the owners, Frank and Teressa Bellimisimo, cooked up a special late-night snack for their son and his friends.
Legend has it that Teressa cut the wings into two straight pieces, deep fried them, and then covered them in hot sauce...later to be known as Buffalo sauce. Eventually by the 90's a wing craze caught on with all the big chain restaurants, and the rest is history! If you would like to read more head over to catch this article from the Smithsonian.
Prep the rub seasoning
Instant Pot Chicken Wings are a breeze to make and they taste incredible! My family of wing tasters said these were hands down the BEST wings they've ever had. This is a really great recipe for wings!
Some informal pic's I snapped below of test batch #3 and test batch #7....I could not make enough to keep up with my family! Wow!
Much like Frank and Teressa....I was working it to fill my son's bellies plus their friends bellies!
Combine in a small bowl the pepper, smoked paprika, garlic and onion powder, and Chinese 5-Spice powder. Mix thoroughly.
Prep the chicken
If you are using fresh wings be sure to cut off the wing tips, and cut the drums from the wings then add to a big bowl. When you are cutting the wings be sure to stretch them out a bit to expose where the joints are. Just cut them up as best you can or ask your butcher to give a hand.
If you are using frozen wings just put them in a large bowl. A word on the frozen wings - you might want them a little damp just so the seasoning sticks better in the next step. 😉
Note that you can double this recipe, and the cook times remain the same. Just be careful not to overfill your Instant Pot past the fill line.
Take your seasoning and add to the chicken wings, and be sure to toss them up so they are covered really well.
Cooking the Instant Pot Chicken Wings
Add one cup of water to the pressure cooker, and the rack. Place the seasoned chicken wing in the Instant Pot.
For fresh wings cook high pressure (normal) for 5 minutes, and follow with a 10-minute natural pressure release.
For frozen wings cook on high pressure (normal) for 12 minutes, and follow with a 5 minute natural pressure release. Be warned that with the frozen wings that they will produce a lot of liquid while cooking, this is okay.
Prepare the Sweet Chili Glaze Sauce
In a small bowl combine the prepared sweet Thai chili sauce, fresh grated ginger, rice wine vinegar, reduced sodium soy sauce (regular can be used), sesame oil, fish sauce, and garlic powder. Stir all this up really well.
Finishing and glazing the chicken wings
Once the wings are finished cooking in the Instant Pot remove them to a large bowl. We are going to finish these in the oven, but before we glaze them we would like to crisp up the skin a bit. Of course, you can skip this step if you want and go right to the glazing step.
Sprinkle the BAKING POWDER on the wings and toss to coat. The baking powder will cause a reaction that will make the skin crisp up. We are just going to use a little, and I promise you won't taste it when you eat them. Be sure NOT to use baking soda.
When I finish these in the oven I place a wire cooling rack on top of my baking sheet to allow heat and air to circulate around the chicken while it cooks. I put aluminum foil under the rack on the pan to help with easier clean up. Preheat your oven to broil with the top rack at the top position in your oven.
Arrange the the chicken pieces on the baking sheet in a single layer. The cook time will depend on your oven, but expect to cook for 5-7 minutes and then remove to flip the chicken. Cook an additional 5-7 minutes. You can cook longer if you want to try to get crispier wings than what this produces.
Next, reserve half the chili sauce in a small bowl to serve as a dipping sauce with the wings. Brush the wings with chili sauce on one side and then place back under the broiler for 5-7 minutes.
Remove and flip the pieces, and brush the other side. Put back in the broiler for another 5-7 minutes. If you want you can repeat this step a second time for adding additional glaze, however, I found once was enough to make some tasty wings.
Another option for getting the sauce on the chicken pieces is to put them in a bowl and gently toss them then putting them back on the baking sheet.
These Instant Pot wings turn out delicious and the meat just falls off the bone!
To serve place on a platter with the reserved sweet chili sauce, and some blue cheese dressing (or ranch if you prefer). I hope you enjoy these as much as we did! If you have leftovers, you can store in an airtight container for up to one week. 😉
If you enjoyed this please check out some of my other Instant Pot Recipes like Instant Pot BBQ Hawaiian Little Smokies, Instant Pot Cheesy Ziti (Johnny Marzetti), or Sweet Heat Instant Pot BBQ Meatballs.
Instant Pot Sweet & Spicy Chicken Wings
- 4 pounds chicken wings
- 1 tbsp pepper
- ½ tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 2 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder
Sweet Chili Sauce
- 1 cup Sweet Thai Chili Sauce
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
- ¼ tsp sesame oil
- ⅛ tsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp garlic powder
Crispy Skin Finishing Touches
- 2 tbsp baking powder
- If using fresh wings cut off the wing tips and separate the drums from the flats then place in a large bowl. This part of the prep time is the consuming part. If using frozen wings dampen with water and proceed to the next step.
- Add all the dry rub to a small bowl and mix to combine. Pour on chicken and toss to coat.
- Add the rack and one cup of water to the Instant Pot. Place the chicken wings in and seal the lid.
- Fresh Chicken Cooking Time: 5 minutes on high normal pressure, follow with a 10 minute natural pressure release.
- Frozen Chicken Cooking Time: 12 minutes on high normal pressure, follow with a 5 minute natural pressure release.
- While the chicken is cooking combine all the ingredients in the Sweet Chili Sauce group together in a small bowl. Reserve half in a serving dish for dipping.
- Once the chicken is done cooking remove to a large bowl and sprinkle the baking powder on then toss.
- Prepare a baking sheet by covering in aluminum foil for easier clean up, and place a wire cooking rack on top. Arrange the chicken in a single layer on the baking sheet.
- Broil at the top position in the oven for 5-7 minutes then remove to flip the chicken pieces. Put back in the broiler and cook an additional 5-7 minutes. You can cook longer if you like for crispier skin.
- Remove from oven and brush the glaze on one side of the chicken. If you like you can put the wings into a bowl, pour on the chili sauce, and toss to coat.
- Broil for 5-7 minutes then remove from oven flip the chicken pieces, and brush to coat the other side. Cook an additional 5-7 minutes.
- Serve immediately or store leftovers in an airtight container for up to one week.