Hot Wings Recipe

We've already tantalized your tastebuds with homemade buffalo wings, but now, we're about to bring things to the next level of heat and flavor with a new recipe for hot wings. Complete with a flavor that packs a punch, these tender pieces of chicken are sure to be added into your entertaining repertoire and even your everyday arsenal. Just like fried chicken, they are equally delicious served cold to up the ante in your sad lunch salad or totally portable for an on-the-go camping trip.

Chef Keith Kamikawa, an accomplished cook and photographer, is dishing out his fool-proof hot wings recipe just for us. So, like many of us, you may be thinking: Just what is the difference between buffalo wings and hot wings? Kamikawa tells us: "Besides both being spicy, hot wings and buffalo wings are different beasts. From the brining, which injects the heat into the hot wings and the flavorful thicker crispy breading that will hold onto and absorb the sauce to the instant heat with a touch of sweet in there from the brown sugar, hot wings are their own thing. You could think of it as being the difference between marinara and ketchup, both made with tomatoes but totally different in flavor."

Prepare the ingredients for this hot wings recipe

First thing's first: You have to gather your ingredients for this hot wings recipe. While this is just the beginning, it also happens to be a critical point in the recipe. You must ask yourself: How hot do you want to go? The recipe gets its heat from not only the brine, which includes Tabasco sauce, but also the flour, which contains cayenne pepper, as well as the finishing sauce, which includes more Tabasco sauce, more cayenne pepper, and the addition of paprika. Kamikawa shares with us a few tips on bringing down the heat, if you so dare. "If you're looking for a more mild outcome, you can always remove the Tabasco completely from the brine. You could also forgo the salt, remove half a cup of the buttermilk and substitute both with pickle juice. That will work wonderfully in the brine."

Once you've made that decision, it's time to prepare the raw chicken. You will be cutting the chicken wings into three segments at the joint: the drum, the wing, and tip. You can discard the tips or freeze them to create a stock at another time.

Prepare the brine to marinate the chicken for your hot wings recipe

Next stop in this hot wings recipe, flavor town. To prepare the brine, you will combine in a mixing bowl the buttermilk, kosher salt, Tabasco, and sugar. Chef Kamikawa suggests marinating the chicken wings in this mixture for about one to two hours to maximize flavor. Brining is critical here and is what sets these wings apart from the standard wing or buffalo wing.

He explains: "The brining flavors the meat in both seasoning and saltiness. The buttermilk also tenderizes the meat. Of course, the buttermilk is required for the breading to stick. If you're in a rush, the seasoning and salt will penetrate a bit, but the wings won't be quite as tender. It's possible to brine for less time, even as low as 20 minutes. Even this will still absolutely make a difference."

Prepare the flour mixture for this hot wings recipe and bread your wings

Once the chicken wings are properly marinated, you're going to prepare the flour mixture that will bread the hot wings recipe. In a mixing bowl, you'll combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder, black pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, garlic power, onion powder, kosher salt, and sugar. This stage will have to be done one wing at a time. Take each individual wing and press it into the flour mixture, making sure it's properly coated across the entire surface, and shake off the excess flour before placing it on a sheet pan.

The flour mixture will also provide additional heat and flavor to the wings. If you're looking to take it down a notch on the heat scale, the chili powder can be substituted for cayenne while still adding a nice flavor. You could also use paprika in place of the cayenne for the same heat-minimizing effect.

Fry your chicken for this hot wings recipe

Before you being frying this hot wings recipe, you will be setting your oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Since you'll be preparing the chicken in batches, this is a great way to keep the finished chicken warm until it's serving time. To begin, heat the frying oil in a Dutch oven to 360 degrees. Chef Kamikawa explains the importance of using a Dutch oven or something similar: "Any thick-gauged pan is a must, but that could mean a regular cast iron pan or thick metal pot. Too thin of a pot, and the oil can be a little tough to control. You want your pot to have weight to it so that it doesn't move around. Boiling oil is not something to mess around with."

Once the oil has reached 360 degrees, you will fry the chicken in batches of six to eight wings. Place the wings, one at a time, into the fryer oil, and cook until they are golden brown, which should take about 10 to 15 minutes. Once thoroughly cooked, remove the wings and place on a paper towel or butcher paper-lined pan in the oven to keep warm. You'll continue this until all chicken wings are fried.

Prepare and sauce your fried chicken for this hot wings recipe

The final step on our journey to the most flavorful, crowd-pleasing hot wings recipe is creating the sauce that will coat the finished fried chicken. In a small mixing bowl, combine your Tabasco, brown sugar, cayenne pepper, paprika, black pepper, garlic powder, and kosher salt. You will also add a small bit of the leftover hot frying oil to this mixture. Once all the ingredients are properly whisked together, use a basting brush to coat all the wings, ensuring you get both sides. 

Kamikawa offers a few suggestions for adjusting the heat level here. He explains: "Replace the cayenne with chili powder, and even the paprika with it as well. Adding smoked paprika will give the sauce a subtle smoky taste, while adding more cayenne will definitely bring the heat. Add a few tablespoons of real maple syrup or honey for an awesome sweeter spicy combo!"

Serve this hot wings recipe and enjoy

Chef Kamikawa's preferred method of serving up this hot wings recipe is fresh out of the fryer with a side of his favorite pickles. He tells Mashed: "I am always a fan of making your own quick pickles — they are so easy. I do prefer crispy garlic dill pickles, but I understand a lot of people love sweet bread and butter pickles too. Any of your favorite pickles will work. If I had to choose a store brand, without a doubt it would be Claussen."

This dish works wonderfully as an app for a get-together with friends, or you could even make an entire meal out of it. He explains: "Enjoy these sauced and un-sauced, spicy or mild, or make a whole variety of wings. While I love serving these with pickles, any pickled veggie would work. Traditional wing sides, like carrots and celery, are great, and then other foods like corn bread muffins, fried okra, pickle chips, mac and cheese, and even coleslaw would all be great."

If you're looking to reheat the leftover hot wings, you can bring them back to life with a quick reheat in the oven. You'll want to make a little extra sauce and brush that on as well.

Hot Wings Recipe
4.9 from 19 ratings
We've already tantalized your tastebuds with buffalo wings, but now, we're about to bring things to the next level of flavor with a recipe for hot wings.
Prep Time
Cook Time
hot wings recipe laid out
Total time: 2 hours, 50 minutes
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons Tabasco
  • ½ tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¾ cup frying oil from chicken (for sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1-½ teaspoons black pepper
  • ½ tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2-½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ tablespoon onion powder
  • 3 pounds chicken wings
  • 2 quarts frying oil (vegetable or peanut oil)
  1. Start by brining the chicken: Cut chicken wings into three segments at the joint, the drum, wing, and tip. Discard all tips or freeze for stock. For the brine, combine 2 cups buttermilk, 2 tablespoons kosher salt, 4 tablespoons Tabasco, and ½ tablespoon sugar. Marinate the chicken wings for one to two hours.
  2. Heat your oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit to hold batches of chicken until the chicken is fried.
  3. Next, fry the wings. Heat the frying oil in a Dutch oven or heavy gauge pot to 360 degrees.
  4. In a large bowl, combine 2-½ cups flour, ½ cup cornstarch, 2 teaspoons baking powder, ½ teaspoon black pepper, 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon paprika, ½ tablespoon garlic powder, ½ tablespoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon sugar, and whisk until combined. Working with one wing at a time, place an individual wing into the flour mixture, press the breading on, lightly shake off the excess flour, and place the wing on a sheet pan. Repeat until all wings are breaded.
  5. Working in batches, add 6 to 8 wings to the fryer oil one wing at a time. Fry wings for 10 to 15 minutes until the wings are golden brown. Remove the wings and place on a paper towel or butcher paper-lined pan in the oven to keep warm. Repeat until all chicken is fried.
  6. Finally, it's time to sauce your hot wings. In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon Tabasco, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon paprika, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Carefully add ¾ cup of your hot frying oil to the mixture. Whisk all the ingredients together. With a basting brush, coat all the wings with the sauce on both sides. Serve immediately with your favorite pickles.
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