Make Your Own Chicken Wing Sauce With Just 3 Easy Ingredients

Sweet, savory, perfectly glazed chicken wings are ready with minimal effort when you lean on stalwart pantry staples. All you need is barbecue sauce, some teriyaki marinade, and maple syrup. The barbecue sauce provides a smoky base, the teriyaki lends umami depth, and the maple syrup brings the necessary sugar, creating a combination perfect for anyone who loves a sticky-sweet or Asian-inspired chicken wing.

You need roughly equal parts of each of the condiments. For the barbecue sauce, use any brand that you prefer. As for the teriyaki, make sure you are using a marinade instead of a glaze. The former has a thinner consistency and likely contains less sugar. Though the glaze is still delicious, the texture might be just a bit too thick. Also, since you are adding maple syrup as well, the sauce may end up overly sweet. However, you can substitute the marinade for teriyaki glaze in a pinch — you may just have to add a bit of water or broth to thin it and possibly reduce the sweetener to suit your tastes. Maple syrup adds both sweetness and texture, but you could swap in honey or agave instead for similar results.

As always, taste and adjust. Add some soy sauce if it needs salt, a splash of vinegar for some tang, or a dash of hot sauce for a little more heat. However, the beauty of this three-ingredient wing sauce is that the ready-made condiments do most of the heavy lifting for you.

How to cook chicken wings

There are two ways to use this hack. For the first method, just dump the sauce over a baking dish full of raw chicken wings, and pop them in the oven. Stir every 10 minutes, so the three-ingredient sauce can uniformly glaze the chicken. At 375 degrees Fahrenheit, they will take between 30 and 45 minutes to cook. You can always use a thermometer if you are not sure — look for a reading of 165 degrees Fahrenheit (per the USDA). These wings will be tender and full of flavor. However, since they are cooking in a liquid, they won't get crispy.

There are many ways you can cook chicken wings. If you are after crunch, pop them in the oven, in the air fryer, or fry them on the stovetop. Dredge flappers and drumettes in a little all-purpose flour, cornstarch, or a bit of baking powder — the underrated ingredient you can't skip for crispy chicken wings — along with seasonings like salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, or paprika.

Wings baked in the oven will take about the same amount of time dry as they will in a sauce. You can place them on a wire rack to help them get even crispier. At 400 degrees Fahrenheit, they will air-fry in about 20 minutes or so. Wings deep-fried in oil at 350 degrees Fahrenheit will be delightfully crispy in around eight minutes. For a vegetarian take, try roasted or fried cauliflower, tofu, or tempeh.

Finish your wings with this three ingredient sauce

The combination of barbecue sauce, teriyaki marinade, and maple syrup is perfectly suited for cooking down into a glaze as well. Simply simmer the mixture in a small saucepan until it starts to thicken and reduce to your desired texture. Remember, wing sauce should be a bit thinner than a dipping sauce, so it can get in all the nooks and crannies of the chicken. Keep the heat low, and stir frequently so that it does not burn.

For a General Tso-style glossy texture, add a cornstarch slurry. Combine half a tablespoon of cornstarch with equal parts water, and then stir it into the sauce as it simmers. You can always add another round of slurry, but too much will turn the glaze into gloop, so it is better to start with just a little bit at first.

Place the cooked wings in a large bowl and drizzle with the finished sauce. Toss well to coat. Pro tip: You can also use frozen, pre-cooked wings, nuggets, or tenders with this stovetop glaze for a seriously delicious and super easy meal. And what is a wing without a dipping sauce? Don't forget a side of ranch or blue cheese dressing and some carrot sticks and celery to elevate your homemade chicken wings.