How to Prepare Chicken Wings
Whenever I’m making these orange sesame chicken wings (or any chicken wings for that matter), I prefer to buy the wings whole and cut them down myself. Now, this isn’t just because I like practicing my knife skills (although I do!), but because in my experience the whole wings that you can buy in the grocery store tend to be a little heftier and more substantial than the pre-cut variety. Chicken wings are very easy to prepare and doing it yourself gives you the opportunity to trim off any excess fat while you’re at it, so grab a sharp knife and get to it. Trim off the wing tip and either discard it, or better yet, store it for stock. (I keep all my chicken carcasses and trimmings in a zipper sealable bag in the freezer and when I have enough collected, I make chicken bone broth.) Then, simply separate the flat “wingette” from the “drumette” by cutting through the joint. Simple. Easy. Do it. (see the video below for a quick demonstration of how to cut the chicken wings)
The Very Best Chicken Wings
The very best chicken wings end with a tasty sauce, but start with a tasty seasoning. These orange sesame chicken wings are tossed with a little toasted sesame oil, a drizzle of olive oil and some Chinese 5-spice seasoning before they are cooked. Chinese 5-spice powder is a blend of spices – cinnamon, cloves, fennel, star anise and Szechwan peppercorns – and adds a nice zing to the wings. If you don’t have any 5-spice powder, and don’t feel like adding it to your spice arsenal, you can add a pinch or two of any of the spices that make up the blend. There’s no need to let the chicken wings marinate in the seasoning, just sprinkle it on and toss well.
Easy Air Fryer Chicken Wings
It’s the air fryer that makes this recipe so simple. Air fryers do a lot of things really well, but chicken wings are one of those dishes where air fryers really excel. The perforations in the bottom of the air fryer basket let the chicken fat drip away from the wings and which allows the wings to brown and crisp more effectively. (The same is true for bacon, incidentally – draining away the fat as bacon cooks helps it crisp up faster. Just one of many tips on cooking bacon which you can find here.)
Just remember to give the basket a good shake halfway through the cooking process so that the wings get redistributed and cook evenly. Also, don’t forget to remove the air fryer basket from the drawer before you dump the wings out into a bowl or onto a platter. The drawer is where all the grease from the wings will be collected and you don’t want to pour that grease back over the wings!
Orange Sesame Chicken Wing Sauce
The wing sauce for these orange sesame chicken wings is what we call a quick “dump and stir” recipe. Just dump all the ingredients into a saucepan, stir and bring the mixture to a simmer. Orange marmalade, crushed red chili flake, fresh ginger root, hoisin sauce (a Chinese BBQ sauce), soy sauce and toasted sesame oil make up the delicious glaze and all it needs is 5 to 10 minutes simmering on the stovetop to thicken slightly. Conveniently, that’s just about the same amount of time that it takes the wings to cook in the air fryer!
Once the wings have cooked for about 15 minutes, remove them from the air fryer, toss them in the sauce and pour everything back into the air fryer. Then, air-fry the wings with the glaze for about 5 more minutes (longer if you like wings really crispy).
Can you use frozen wings?
You can use frozen wings in the air fryer, but you will have to air fry them for a bit longer – about 20 minutes instead of 15 minutes for the first stage and about 10 more minutes for the second stage. They may not get as brown or crispy as raw and thawed chicken wings because the moisture from the frozen wings will inhibit browning, but in a pinch you’ll be ok.
How to Make Chicken Wings in the Oven
If you don’t have an air fryer, but want to make these delicious wings in your oven, don’t fret! The best way to go about doing that is to put a rack on a sheet pan and bake the wings on the rack at 425ºF for about 20 minutes, followed by another 5 to 10 minutes once the they’ve been tossed with the sauce. If you don’t have a rack, you can put the wings directly on a baking sheet, but remember to flip them halfway through cooking and drain away the fat if you can.
Looking for a Different Wing?
If orange sesame wings are just not your thang… you might want to check out classic Air Fryer Buffalo Wings or the smoky spicy Chipotle BBQ Chicken Wings. Or why not set up a wing bar at your next get together and make all three! You could have your own wing ding!