Last updated on January 30th, 2020.
Sticky, saucy, finger-licking-good, fall-off-the-bone sweet and spicy Honey Garlic Wings – in other words, the best wings ever! This recipe feeds a crowd and is perfect for game day. Make these in the Instant Pot or the Slow Cooker – your choice.
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Ya’ll. These wings are fantastic! We made these for the big game. We had a couple of friends over, and these wings were DEVOURED. This recipe makes 48 wings and they were all GONE in just a few minutes, even though we had plenty of other snacks and appetizers.
We could not get over how perfect the wings were. A little crispy but still so tender, and the meat just fell off the bone. The sauce was also absolute perfection – sweet but not overly so, a bit spicy which went perfectly with the sweetness, a bit tangy, and just absolutely sticky and finger-licking good.
And the best part is that this recipe so easy! Yes, there are a few separate steps, but they are so worth it end up with such delicious wings.
You can make this wing recipe in the instant pot or in the slow cooker – your choice. Of course, the instant pot is much faster. The instant pot cooking time is only 5 minutes and you can have these wings ready from scratch in under an hour.
But the slow cooker is not a bad option either, since it doesn’t require any extra work on your part. You just need to start on the wings 4 hour earlier. Not a problem if you’re just hanging out at home anyway.
I’ll show you how to cook these wings in the slow cooker and the instant pot. Trust me, this extra step is absolutely worth it for fall-off-the-bone wings. Without the slow cooker or instant pot step, the wings are always a little tough if you try to cook them only by baking.
Chicken wing recipe to feed a crowd:
This recipe uses 6 pounds of chicken wings, which makes about 4 dozen (FORTY EIGHT!) wings. This is a good amount to feed 8-12 people, if you have lots of other snacks you will be serving. That will be about about 4-6 wings per person.
When I say “wings” here, I mean the American/US definition of chicken wings – each “drumette” and “wingette” is considered a “wing” even though, technically, each piece is half a wing. You can take a look at the description of a chicken wing on thekitchn if you are not sure what I mean. Or, don’t worry about the semantics. Just know you’re making about 6 pounds of wings, which is a nice amount.
What you’ll need to make honey garlic chicken wings:
Slow cooker: Because this chicken wing recipe is meant for a party, you need a large slow cooker or the 8-quart Instant Pot. We have this 6-quart slow cooker and it’s just the right size for this recipe – the wings fill up almost the whole thing.
Instant Pot: We also have the 8-quart Instant Pot and it’s perfect for this recipe. You don’t want to use the 6-quart Instant Pot because you need to leave room when using the pressure cooker. Of course, if you only have the 6-quart Instant Pot you are not going to run out and get an 8-quart one for this recipe. In this case you can use the Instant Pot as a slow cooker – just follow the slow cooker instructions and give yourself 3-4 extra hours to get the wings ready.
Wings: When buying chicken wings, look for “party wings” or wings that are separated into the drumette and the wingette. If you can only find whole chicken wings, that’s perfectly okay too. Just get around 6 pounds, or around 24 whole wings. If you’re not squeamish, use kitchen shears to cut off the tip. If you don’t want to mess with cutting up raw chicken, just cook the whole thing. This recipe will come out good either way, I promise!
Lots of garlic: I use lots of garlic for this recipe, which gives the sauce an amazing flavor. It doesn’t come out too garlicky, because garlic mellows as it cooks. To make this easier on yourself, get a good garlic press (such as this one) so you can just squeeze the garlic right into the saucepan instead of having to mince each garlic clove.
Fresh ginger. The powdered stuff won’t work for this recipe. I find it easiest to use a microplane zester/grater (such as this one) to grate fresh ginger. If you want, you can use the same zester to mince the fresh garlic as well.
Spices: In addition to fresh garlic and ginger for the sauce, you’ll also need powdered spices to season the wings: garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper powder. I know I often talk about using fresh spices, but the powdered stuff definitely has its uses, such as in this recipe.
Honey: The honey is cooked pretty thoroughly in this recipe, so there’s no need to get the highest quality honey. There’s no point in getting fancy, local honey or anything expensive for this recipe. Just use the cheapest honey you can find – the honey garlic sauce will taste amazing either way, I promise! This large bottle of honey is perfect for cooking – you won’t feel bad using lots of it in one recipe!
I hope you make this chicken wing recipe, and I hope your guests love it as much as we did! If you end up making it or saving it on pinterest for your next party, please let me know in a comment below! I love to hear from you.
Honey Garlic Wings - Instant Pot and Slow Cooker Instructions
- 6 lbs chicken wings (about 4 dozen small wings), thawed
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons onion powder
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1 tablespoon powdered cayenne pepper (or less to taste)
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup soy sauce (less sodium preferred)
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup honey
- 5-6 garlic cloves , grated or minced
- 2 tablespoons grated ginger (about 2 1-inch pieces)
- 1-2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (or to taste)
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- Optional garnish: Sliced green onions, sesame seeds
- Mix the garlic powder, onion powder, salt, cayenne pepper, and black pepper together. Rub the seasoning mixture all over the chicken wings. Use the Slow Cooker option or Instant Pot option below to cook the wings.
Slow Cooker Option:
- In a 6-quart slow cooker, cook the seasoned wings on HIGH for 2 hours, and then on LOW for 2 more hours. When the wings are done cooking, they will have released a lot of liquid. Just take out the wings with tongs when you are ready to Bake the wings.
Instant Pot Option:
- Place the steamer insert inside the Instant Pot. Add 1/2 cup water. Gently place the seasoned wings on top of the steamer insert. Put the lid on and turn the valve to sealing. Cook on manual setting on high pressure for 5 minutes. Use manual pressure release (you can allow for natural pressure release for a few minutes if you are busy, nothing will happen to the wings).
Make the sauce:
- While the wings are cooking, prepare the sauce: In a small/medium saucepan, combine the soy sauce, orange juice, honey, grated garlic cloves, grated ginger, and red pepper flakes. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring a few times to make sure the honey is dissolved. Slowly whisk in the corn starch, stirring constantly so it doesn't clump together. Continue to cook the sauce for another minute, until it thickens to the desired consistency.
Bake the wings (after cooking them in the Instant Pot or Slow Cooker):
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line 2 large baking sheets with foil (for minimal clean-up )and spray the foil with non-stick spray. Place the cooked wings on the baking dish, and brush the wings with the sauce. Flip each wing over, and brush the other side with the sauce.
- Bake the wings at 350F for 20 minutes. Keep an eye on the wings - if the sauce starts burning on the foil, lower the temperature to 325F. It's OK if the sauce burns a little on the foil - the sauce on the wings won't burn and will turn into a delicious sticky sauce.
- Remove the wings from the oven and brush them with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle with sliced green onions or sesame seeds.