What Are Glazed Chicken Wings?

Christian Petersen

Glazed chicken wings are a dish of cooked whole chicken wings or wing sections, coated with some type of glaze, which can vary greatly from recipe to recipe. A glaze is generally a very flavorful, thick, or even sticky sauce that clings to food. The wings may be breaded or unbreaded, and the glaze may be sweet, savory, tangy, or spicy. Some common glazes for glazed chicken wings are barbecue, bourbon, and chipotle pepper, but there are hundreds of different possible glazes and every cook has his or her favorite. Glazed chicken wings can also refer to a raw frozen product that has been coated with a very thin glaze of ice during processing to prevent the wings from sticking together during shipping and storage.

Chipotle pepper is a common glaze for chicken wings.
Chipotle pepper is a common glaze for chicken wings.

Chicken wings are very popular, especially in the United States. Glazed chicken wings may be cooked in a number of ways as it is the application of the glaze that qualifies them as such rather than the method by which they are cooked. They may be breaded or unbreaded and fried or baked. Deep frying is the most common method of cooking both breaded and unbreaded chicken wings.

Glazed chicken wings may be spicy, sweet, savory, or tangy.
Glazed chicken wings may be spicy, sweet, savory, or tangy.

Once cooked, the wings are coated with a thick sauce called a glaze, which clings to the chicken. Glazes vary in character but are usually thick and often a little sticky due to the presence of sugar. Many barbecue, honey, or bourbon style glazes are somewhat sweet and may have this characteristic. Glazes can also be savory or spicy, depending on the recipe, but are usually quite flavorful.

Both breaded and unbreaded wings are well suited to glazing. Breaded wings absorb a greater amount of the glaze, adding to the flavor, but even unbreaded wings hold a fair amount of glaze if it is thick or clings well. Some recipes may call for the wings to be cooked partially or even completely after the application of the glaze, which acquires its thick, clingy character during the cooking process. Wings baked in the oven with barbecue sauce are one example of this type of recipe.

Glazes for glazed chicken wings can vary a great deal, depending on the recipe, but certain types of glaze are common. Glazes tend to have an element of sweetness because the cooked sugars help the glaze stick to the wings. For this reason, barbecue glazes, honey based glazes, and bourbon glazes are favorites of many cooks and those who like to eat wings. Savory and spicy flavors are also common themes in glazes for wings, and some wing glazes can be extremely hot.

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