Honey Hot Wings

4.75 from 16 votes
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Make this delicious honey hot wings recipe for your next gathering or game day. The wings are baked until golden brown and crisp, then tossed in a sticky, sweet, and spicy sauce.

Honey hot wings served on a white plate.

Recipe Science

  • Coating wings with a honey-based sauce before cooking allows the sugars to caramelize, creating a sticky, flavorful glaze through the Maillard reaction.
  • The honey in the sauce helps to retain moisture in the wings, keeping the meat tender and juicy during cooking.
  • Adding hot sauce to the honey glaze provides a balance of sweetness and heat, enhancing the flavor complexity and creating a satisfying taste experience.

Why It Works

A plate of chicken wings is an appetizer that always disappears fast! I often serve up tangy lemon pepper wings or BBQ chicken wings. They make for a popular handheld snack for parties or watching your favorite sports team.

To achieve a crisp texture, I skip the deep frying. Instead, I use a simple oven-baking method for golden brown and crunchy pieces. While baking the wings, I’ll show you how to make a simple hot wings sauce using four ingredients. The sticky sauce clings to the chicken for an irresistible contrast of textures and a lingering spicy kick!

Ingredients You’ll Need

Ingredients needed to make this hot honey chicken wings recipe.
  • Chicken: Buy two pounds of “party wings” from the grocery store. They make preparation quick and easy because the wing tips have already been trimmed. The flat (or wingette) and drummettes are cut into two, yielding about 20 pieces.
  • Seasoning: A savory mix of salt, pepper, smoked paprika, onion, and garlic powder.
  • Baking Powder: The secret ingredient I use for baked chicken wings to yield crunchier skin.
  • Sauce: Combining honey, hot sauce, butter, and crushed red pepper flakes makes for a quick and easy hot honey wings sauce.

See the recipe card below for all ingredients and measurements (US and metric).

Ingredient Substitutions

Now that you have the base recipe for honey hot chicken wings try these tasty ways to switch up the flavor!

  • Hot Sauce: Use your favorite tangy hot sauce like Tobasco or Crystal. Frank’s Red Hot is great to use if you prefer a thinker consistency.
  • Extra Spicy: Turn up the heat even more by adding cayenne pepper, chipotle, or chili powder to the seasoning. Start with ¼ teaspoon, then increase as desired. For a lingering burn, Sriracha, chili oil, or sambal oelek can be added to the honey hot sauce.
  • Herbs: Garnish the chicken wings recipe with freshly sliced green onions or chives. Chopped parsley, cilantro, tarragon, or basil add a nice herbaceous note.

How to Make Honey Hot Wings

Step 1: Preheat the Oven

A high heat of 450°F will quickly dry the skin for a crispier bite to replicate the texture of deep-fried chicken wings. For even heat distribution, I prefer to bake the wings on top of a greased wire rack set on a foil-lined sheet pan for easy clean-up. The pieces can be baked directly on the sheet pan, but monitor browning on the surface.

Raw chicken wings on a paper towel lined sheet pan.

Step 2: Dry the Wings

To accelerate the browning of the chicken skin, dry the surface with paper towels. Otherwise, the natural juices on the meat will make the pieces steam instead of crisp in the oven.

Mixing salt, pepper, and paprika in a bowl.

Step 3: Season the Chicken

Season the wings with kosher salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder. The combination enhances the poultry’s savory flavor.

Bowl of chicken wings tossed in a spicy seasoning mixture.

Toss the wings in the seasoning to coat. The alkaline baking soda in baking powder reduces the skin’s pH, which breaks down the protein peptides, so it’s less chewy. Bubbles also form on the surface that harden for more crispiness.

Chef’s Tip: If you like extra crispy chicken wings, place the seasoned wings uncovered in the refrigerator up to 24 hours in advance. The dry environment wicks more moisture from the surface for crunchier bites.

Baked chicken wings on a wire rack after roasting.

Step 4: Bake the Chicken Wings

The grease will render off the meat as the chicken cooks. Elevate the chicken wings on a greased wire rack to allow the oven’s hot air to circulate better.

Bake at a high 450ºF (230ºC) for 30 to 35 minutes, flipping about halfway through. The wings are ready when their internal temperature reaches 165ºF (74ºC), and the skin is golden and crisp.

Pouring hot sauce into a small saucepan.

Step 5: Make the Hot Honey Sauce

Melted butter adds richness to the sauce and tames the heat. Add the honey, hot sauce, and chili flakes to the saucepan. I use Crystal or Tabasco hot sauce. They both contain cayenne pepper and vinegar, providing heat and tanginess.

Red pepper chili flakes added to a saucepan.

The mixture is briefly simmered. Let the sauce sit in the saucepan for at least 10 minutes to infuse the hot capsaicin from the pepper flakes into the liquid. This process will yield a lingering spicy flavor.

Pouring honey hot sauce through a metal strainer into a glass jar.

Strain the mixture to remove large flakes of pepper. However, if you like a strong spice, leave the peppers intact. This recipe makes about ½ cup of hot honey butter sauce.

Pouring honey hot sauce over a bowl of baked chicken wings.

Step 6: Toss in the Sauce

Add the pieces to a large bowl, drizzle half the honey hot wing sauce, then toss to coat. I like to serve the remaining warm sauce on the side for guests to dip. To add fresh herbs, sprinkle on chopped parsley, chives, or sliced green onions.

Plate of honey hot wings on a serving platter with celery and carrots.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make the hot honey chicken wings in an air fryer?

Yes! Air fry the wings in two batches. Coat them with the seasoning mix, omitting the baking powder, and 1 tablespoon of olive or avocado oil. Fry them in the air fryer basket at 400ºF (200ºC) for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through. Add more time if needed. Toss with the hot honey sauce.

How do you make the honey hot wings spicier?

Add cayenne pepper powder or chipotle chili powder to the sauce. Start with ⅛ teaspoon, increasing until the desired heat level is reached. The chili powder can also be added to the chicken seasoning mix, about ¼ teaspoon.

Can I use more than one type of chili?

To make a spicy sauce for the chicken wings, use hot sauce and crushed red pepper flakes. Hot sauce is a mixture of cayenne pepper and distilled vinegar. Adding too much will make the sauce too tangy. Add dried red peppers to increase the heat and keep the flavors balanced. The capsaicin in the chili is fat soluble, and butter helps to dissolve the spicy molecules into the sauce.

Serve with a Dipping Sauce

If you tried this Honey Hot Wings, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it went in the 📝 comments below!

Honey Hot Wings

Craving something spicy and sweet? Try out this delicious honey hot wings recipe!
4.75 from 16 votes
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Servings 20 wings
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American


Chicken Wings

  • vegetable oil, as needed for oiling wire rack
  • 2 pounds chicken wings, wingettes and drummetes
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, coarsely ground
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder

Hot Honey Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes


  • Preheat the Oven – Adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Heat to 450°F (232°C). Line a large baking sheet with foil. Add vegetable oil to a folded paper towel, then grease both sides of a wire rack—alternatively, grease with cooking spray. Set the rack inside the baking sheet.
  • Dry the Surfaces – Line a separate baking sheet or plate with paper towels. Place the chicken wings and drumettes on top, then thoroughly pat them dry with more paper towels.
  • Toss with Seasonings – In a large bowl, whisk together baking powder, salt, black pepper, paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder. Add the chicken and mix to coat evenly.
  • Bake the Chicken – Space the chicken on the prepared wire rack. Bake for 20 minutes. Flip and continue baking until the skin is crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes. The internal temperature should reach 165ºF (74ºC). Immediately transfer the wings to a large bowl. Reserve the baking sheet. While the chicken is baking, make the sauce.
  • Make the Sauce – In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the honey, hot sauce, and chili flakes. Whisk to combine. Simmer the sauce for 1 minute, then turn off the heat. Let the mixture sit for at least 10 minutes to infuse the spiciness from the red chili flakes. Strain the sauce, or skip straining for a spicier flavor.
  • Toss with Sauce – Immediately transfer the hot chicken wings to a large bowl. Add half of the honey sauce and toss to coat. Transfer to a serving platter and serve with the remaining sauce on the side for dipping.

Recipe Video

YouTube video


  • Serving Size: 1 wing
  • Substituting Table Salt: Use ¾ teaspoon salt instead of 1 teaspoon kosher salt.
  • Make the Sauce Mild: Omit the red chili flakes or reduce to ½ teaspoon. 
  • Make it Dairy-Free: Substitute butter for margarine, coconut oil, or light olive oil. 
  • For Crispier Texture: Refrigerate the seasoned wings for up to 24 hours, uncovered, on a greased wire rack set in a foil-lined sheet pan. Remove from the refrigerator while the oven preheats, then bake in the same pan.
  • Baking Directly on a Sheet Pan: You can bake these wings without a wire rack, although they will be greasier from the rendered fat.
  • Storing: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
  • Reheating: Cover and microwave on high heat in 15-second intervals until hot.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 20 wings
Calories 73kcal (4%)Carbohydrates 4g (1%)Protein 5g (10%)Fat 5g (8%)Saturated Fat 1g (5%)Polyunsaturated Fat 1gMonounsaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0.1gCholesterol 20mg (7%)Sodium 153mg (6%)Potassium 86mg (2%)Fiber 0.1gSugar 3g (3%)Vitamin A 95IU (2%)Vitamin C 1mg (1%)Calcium 22mg (2%)Iron 0.3mg (2%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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