The Practical Advantage Of Making Chicken Wings In The Slow Cooker

Why are chicken wings so good? One of the most popular cuts of chicken, the wings have the highest skin-to-meat ratio on the bird, making them famously succulent and flavorful. Boiling, deep frying, baking, roasting, and grilling are just a few of the methods that turn wings into a masterpiece — but what's the best way? 

Grilling chicken wings imparts that characteristic smokiness we associate with barbecue, but not everyone has a barbie to fire up at home. Deep-frying results in crackly goodness you'll reach for again and again, but this method also comes with caveats: It makes a mess, for one, and it also requires very careful attention to temperature. If your oil is too hot, you'll find that the outside of the wings darkens and hardens even when the inside is still raw or undercooked. And while roasting renders wings' fat and caramelizes their skin, resulting in that characteristic brown color and unctuous flavor, another overlooked cooking method may become your favorite way to make chicken wings at home. Next time friends come over, turn on your slow cooker for moist, tender, delectable chicken wings.

Slow cooking makes chicken wings soft and tasty — without the mess

For flavorful, melt-in-your-mouth chicken wings, a slow cooker is your best friend. The obvious benefit is that this set-it-and-forget-it technique makes much less of a mess than any stovetop methods, but you may be surprised to know that it also maximizes the taste of your wings and makes them wonderfully soft — as long as you remember some important tips. 

Because chicken wings are small and fast to cook, they'll take a turn for the worse if left in the Crockpot for too long: dry and rubbery if there's not a lot of liquid in the mix, or unrecognizably soft if you've stewed them with moist ingredients. To avoid this, Southern Living advises slow cooking them on high for two to three hours or on low for four to five hours — much less time than it would take to cook the whole bird. Additionally, be sure your chicken comfortably fits in your slow cooker in a single layer; if there are too many gaps between the wings, they could overcook.

If you're worried that the slow cooker won't result in brown, caramelized skin, you can always crisp them up in a pan before adding them to your slow cooker or broil them in the oven once they're done. Thanks to the Crockpot, you'll be able to enjoy tender, uniformly cooked, tastier wings while hardly lifting a finger.