Jamaican Jerk Chicken Wings Recipe

The perfect chicken wings are crispy, juicy, expertly seasoned, and impeccably saucy. They aren't meant to be an elegant food; instead, the best chicken wings leave your fingertips sticky with sauce — so good you can't help but lick them clean. In this recipe, developer Michelle McGlinn shares her favorite wing sauce inspired by Jamaican jerk chicken. Delightfully sweet but surprisingly spicy, the coating is made with brown sugar, habanero peppers, plenty of garlic, and a hint of lime. 

These jerk-style wings are a little different than the jerk chicken you're used to. Instead of marinating the chicken for grilling, you'll use the mixture of seasonings and sugar front-and-center as a buttery glaze over the crispy fried chicken. As for the wings, they're made the old-fashioned way: dredged in a spiced flour mixture and dunked into hot oil. Though it might be a little more work (and mess) than baking or air frying, these wings are so crispy, you'll be glad you did it — trust us.

Gather the ingredients for Jamaican jerk chicken wings

Though the ingredients list for these wings looks long, you'll likely find that most of the items are already in your pantry or fridge. For example, you'll need flour, baking powder, cornstarch, salt, pepper, honey, olive oil, brown sugar, white vinegar, and butter. The spices you'll use include cayenne pepper, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, whole allspice berries, dried oregano, dried thyme, ground cloves, and ground cinnamon. 

You'll also need some fresh produce, so head to the store for garlic, onion, ginger, lime, and Scotch bonnet (or habanero) peppers. All that's left from there is chicken and frying oil. For two people, grab a pound of chicken wings — these can be party wings, already separated into wings and drummettes, or the full wings you slice yourself. As for the oil, opt for canola and buy enough to fill a frying pan.

Step 1: Pat the chicken dry

Pat chicken wings with paper towels until completely dry.

Step 2: Prepare the seasoned flour

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, cornstarch, salt, black pepper, cayenne, paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder.

Step 3: Heat the oil

Add oil to a large skillet and heat to 350 F, or until a sprinkling of flour sizzles immediately.

Step 4: Dredge the chicken

Dredge chicken in the flour mixture until completely coated. Tap off any excess flour.

Step 5: Drop the wings in the oil

Add the dredged wings to the hot oil, working in batches as needed to avoid overcrowding the pan.

Step 6: Fry until crispy

Fry for 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway, until wings are crispy and golden brown.

Step 7: Drain and cool

Let wings drain and cool on a wire rack, then repeat the frying process with the remaining chicken.

Step 8: Start making the sauce

Meanwhile, add all the sauce ingredients, except the butter and honey, to a blender.

Step 9: Blend

Blend until smooth.

Step 10: Simmer the sauce

Add the mixture to a saucepan and bring to a simmer.

Step 11: Whisk in the butter and honey

Add butter and honey and whisk until sauce is thick and glossy.

Step 12: Stir in the wings

Add wings to the sauce and toss to coat.

Step 13: Enjoy

Serve right away.

What is the best way to deep fry chicken wings at home?

Unless you have an at-home deep fryer, the best way to deep fry at home is in a heavy-bottomed skillet (like a cast iron) or a Dutch oven, which can maintain an even temperature while cooking. Because it's a little more hands-on than using a deep fryer, there are some tricks to getting it right. 

First: While you need more oil than usual, deep doesn't have to mean a full pot of oil — just use enough so the chicken is 90% submerged, around 1-2 inches of oil. In this rather small amount of oil, the temperature can drop quickly if too many cold chicken wings are added at once. To avoid this — and the inevitable soggy chicken as a result — be sure not to crowd the pan, working in batches as needed in order to maintain a steady temperature. 

Once the wings are in the oil, be patient; if they don't look ready, they likely aren't. The chicken should be deeply golden brown, which can take up to 12 minutes. If you pull the wings out too early and decide they aren't quite done, just throw them back into the oil for another few minutes; the beauty of frying is that it's forgiving. 

If you'd rather avoid the excess oil (or can't stand the smell of deep frying — we get it), prepare the chicken as written, spray with oil, and bake at 425 F for 50-60 minutes, rotating often.

How do I store Jamaican jerk chicken wings?

To store any leftover wings, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. It's best to separately save the leftover sauce, too, in a sealable jar in the fridge.

Now for how to enjoy your leftover chicken wings. We all know how difficult fried food can be to reheat — if you've ever saved leftover French fries, you've definitely felt the disappointment of the next-day soggy fry. Chicken wings are a little easier than that, but to maintain a crispy finish, we recommend turning on the oven to bake them up to temperature. Preheat the oven to 350 F, and in the meantime, bring the chicken wings to room temperature. Arrange them on a baking sheet and spritz them with oil, then bake until warmed through. If the wings are already sauced, you can eat them straight away; but if you saved the sauce separately, microwave it in intervals until smooth. Finally, toss the warmed sauce with the reheated wings, and enjoy.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Wings Recipe
4.9 from 17 ratings
Delightfully sweet and spicy, these crispy fried wings for parties or game days are flavored with brown sugar, habaneros, plenty of garlic, and a hint of lime.
Prep Time
15
minutes
Cook Time
25
minutes
Servings
2
servings
jamaican jerk wings on table
Total time: 40 minutes
Ingredients
  • For the wings
  • 1 pound chicken wings, separated into drums and flats
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 quart canola oil, for frying
  • For the sauce
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 scotch bonnet or habanero pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 small yellow onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and roughly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon allspice berries
  • Juice of ½ lime
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon honey
Directions
  1. Pat chicken wings with paper towels until completely dry.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, cornstarch, salt, black pepper, cayenne, paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder.
  3. Add oil to a large skillet and heat to 350 F, or until a sprinkling of flour sizzles immediately.
  4. Dredge chicken in the flour mixture until completely coated. Tap off any excess flour.
  5. Add the dredged wings to the hot oil, working in batches as needed to avoid overcrowding the pan.
  6. Fry for 10-12 minutes, flipping halfway, until wings are crispy and golden brown.
  7. Let wings drain and cool on a wire rack, then repeat the frying process with the remaining chicken.
  8. Meanwhile, add all the sauce ingredients, except the butter and honey, to a blender.
  9. Blend until smooth.
  10. Add the mixture to a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
  11. Add butter and honey and whisk until sauce is thick and glossy.
  12. Add wings to the sauce and toss to coat.
  13. Serve right away.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 1,330
Total Fat 100.1 g
Saturated Fat 17.2 g
Trans Fat 0.4 g
Cholesterol 267.7 mg
Total Carbohydrates 65.1 g
Dietary Fiber 6.5 g
Total Sugars 24.5 g
Sodium 1,155.9 mg
Protein 45.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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