Everybody loves a good sticky wing! These baked Honey Soy wings are a copycat of the popular pre-marinated chicken wings sold at the shops. All you need is honey, soy, vinegar and garlic. Serve with fried rice or Vermicelli Noodle Salad for a great easy midweek meal.
Honey Soy Wings
I’m generally a fan of any food you can eat with your hands and wings are pretty high up on my list. Add the work “sticky” and I’m all in!
The key to making these really sticky in the oven without fussing with sauce reduction on the stove or cornflour slurries is to drain off the watery chicken juices partway through baking before adding the honey soy sauce. It’s the excess juices that prevents the sauce from reducing down into a syrup to glaze the wings.
Worried about throwing away free flavour? You needn’t. Wings are fatty and juicy. There’s plenty still inside!
What you need for Honey Soy Wings
Here’s what you need for the Honey Soy Marinade:
Honey – I know, it’s a surprise ingredient in Honey Soy Wings… Honey plays 3 roles here: it is the sweetness, it thickens the sauce so it coats the wings better and it makes the sauce syrupy when it reduces in the oven so it can be used to glaze the wings.
Light soy and dark soy sauce – Dark soy sauce adds flavour as well as making the wings a glorious bronze colour. Light soy adds saltiness without staining the wings. I like to use a combination of both to achieve my desired colour and flavour.
Substitute – Dark soy sauce can be substituted with light soy sauce but the wings will be a paler colour and slightly less flavour. Light soy sauce can be substituted with all purpose soy sauce. You could also substitute the light soy sauce with more dark soy sauce but the wings do come out a very dark almost charcoal colour so it’s best to use less. See the recipe notes for adjustment quantity.
Apple cider vinegar – To balance out the flavours. Doesn’t make the wings tangy. Substitute with rice wine vinegar, white wine or red wine vinegar, sherry vinegar or even plain white vinegar.
Garlic – Can’t go wrong with a touch of tasty garlicky goodness here!
Oil – Just 1/2 a tablespoon to help the wings brown more evenly.
The chicken wings (& other cuts)
As for the wings, I like to use wingettes and drumettes (sometimes sold as chicken “nibbles”). I buy them pre-cut, like pictured below. You can also cut whole wings up yourself (see here) or just make this recipe using whole wings.
Other chicken cuts: For drumsticks and bone in thighs, use this recipe (larger pieces = no need to drain juices like for wings). For boneless skinless thigh and breast, use this recipe (no skin = sauce best for saucy finish).
How to make Honey Soy Wings
I feel like there’s far more step photos than justified for such a simple recipe! I promise it’s not a hard recipe.
Marinade – Mix the ingredients in a bowl then pour it over the wings in a ziplock bag. A ziplock bag is best because it keeps the sauce snug up around the wings. If you prefer to use a bowl, toss the wings regularly.
Marinade the wings for 30 minutes. You can do overnight but I found it didn’t really add much extra flavour into the flesh.
Handy freezer option
Once you pour the marinade over the wings, pop the bag straight into the freezer. Thaw then cook per recipe. The wings will marinade as the wings freeze, then thaw. How handy it that!!
Bake (no sauce) – Place the wings on a foil + paper lined tray (you’ll thank me later). Bake for 30 minutes at 200°C/400°F (180°C).
Reserve the marinade – we will pour it over later. If you add it at the beginning, it gets all watery from the chicken juices and never thickens into a glaze.
Remove wings from the oven.
Drain the juices and discard. Don’t worry, we’re adding flavour back in the next step – and remember how juicy chicken wings are, there’s still plenty of juiciness inside the wings!
Pour the reserved marinade over the wings. Squidge the wings around to coat in the sauce (it won’t stick because it’s runny).
Bake for another 30 minutes at a slightly lower temperature, 180°C/350°F (160°C fan), so the sweet sauce doesn’t burn.
Baste every 10 minutes (ie at the 10 minute and 20 minute mark, then when you pull it out at 30 minutes).
Rearrange wings as needed if they are cooking unevenly (most ovens have hot spots!). You can even turn them upside down if the skin side is brown enough partway through cooking.
Garnish with sesame seeds and green onion, if desired, and prepare yourself for very sticky fingers!
This is what the wings look like, straight out of the oven:
And an up-close-and-personal look at the juicy insides (and very sticky fingers!).
You’ll get sauce smeared around your mouth and you’ll need plenty of napkins for your hands. But one thing you won’t be able to wipe off is the grin on your face.
Enjoy! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Honey Soy Wings
- 1.25 kg / 2.5 lb chicken wings (wingettes/drumettes), or cut up whole wings (Note 1 for whole wings)
- 1 tsp white sesame seeds
- 1 green onion stem , finely sliced
Honey soy marinade:
- 4 tbsp honey
- 5 tbsp light soy sauce (Note 2)
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce (Note 2)
- 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or other clear vinegar)
- 1 large garlic clove , crushed using garlic press (or finely minced or grated)
- 1/2 tbsp canola oil
Mix marinade in a bowl until honey is dissolved. Pour over the wings in a ziplock bag. (Note 3)
Marinade for 30 minutes. You can do overnight but it doesn't noticeably improve flavour in the flesh.
Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F (180°C fan). Line a large tray with foil then paper.
Bake – Spread wings out on the tray, skin side up. Reserve marinade. Bake 30 minutes.
Drain off juices on the tray and discard. (Key step to ensure sauce thickens).
Sauce – Pour reserved marinade over wings. Toss to coat then spread the wings out, skin side up.
Bake & baste – Turn oven down to 180°C/350°F (160°C fan). Bake wings for 30 minutes, basting with tray juices every 10 minutes (3 times). Rearrange wings as needed if cooking unevenly, you can even turn them upside down if they brown too quickly. Sauce should be syrupy by the end so you can glaze well. (Note 4 if sauce still watery).
Serve – Transfer wings into a serving bowl. Pour over syrup on tray, sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onion. Serve!
For drumsticks and bone in thighs, use this recipe (no need to drain juices partway through cooking). For boneless, skinless thigh and breast, use this recipe (no skin = no sticky surface so I add a sauce).
2. Soy sauces – Dark soy can be substituted with the same amount of light soy sauce but the wings will have slightly less soy flavour and will not have the same bronze colour (will be paler). Light soy can be substituted with all purpose soy (same amount). You can also substituted with 4 tbsp extra dark soy sauce but the wings will be a much darker colour (like charcoal) and a more intense soy flavour.
3. Ziplock bag is best because the wings remain coated in the marinade. Re-use by washing in warm soapy water. If you prefer to use a bowl, toss the wings regularly.
4. Thickening sauce – Draining off the chicken juices allows the sauce to thicken into a syrup by the end of the cook time. If it doesn’t, it could be because of reasons such as watery thawed frozen wings, wings plumped with brine (makes them release more juice) or your oven runs weak so less juice comes out in the first 30 minutes. If your tray juices are still watery just move the wings onto a plate, return the empty tray into the oven. The tray juices will thicken in minutes! Then brush onto the wings.
5. Storage – cooked wings will keep for 3 to 4 days in the fridge. Can freeze raw wings with marinade. Thaw thoroughly then cook per recipe.
6. Nutrition per serving.
Life of Dozer
If you look up the definition of “wishful thinking”, this is what you will see: