Sticky Slow Cooker Chicken Wings

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What is it about wings?  Most people love them.  I know my two guys absolutely do.  Elizabeth isn’t too crazy about “real” chicken – meaning chicken on the bone.  But for most people, those tiny little drumsticks (and whatever you call the other part) are just the perfect snack or meal.

I know that wings are traditionally fried before saucing, but you can probably tell by now that I’m not exactly traditional in my cooking!  I usually smoke our wings and then brush them with sauce and bake them for a few minutes to make the sauce get sticky and caramelized.  We love them!

Except for Elizabeth.

This weekend, I decided to try to make wings in the slow cooker.  I mean, I make everything in there.  Why not?

Oh, my goodness!  It worked.  And it didn’t just work.  It was awesome!

I’m not a hot-and-spicy wing fan, but I love them with sweet barbecue sauce or Asian-inspired sauces.  This one is somewhere in between.

Sticky Slow Cooker Chicken Wings

  • 3-4 pounds of chicken wings
  • 1/3 cup of soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 2 tablespoons of minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons of Sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • sesame seeds

Place wings into slow cooker.  In a medium bowl, whisk together everything EXCEPT the cornstarch and sesame seeds.  Pour the sauce over the wings and cook on low for 3 hours.

In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 1/4 cup of water.  Stir this into the sauce.  Switch heat to high and cook for 15-20 minutes – or until sauce has thickened.

Preheat the oven to broil.  Line a large baking sheet with foil.  Use tongs to remove wings from the slow cooker and place them on the baking sheet.  Broil for 5-6 minutes or until the wings are caramelized and a little charred.

Sprinkle wings with sesame seeds and serve immediately.

Well Duh #1:  I bought a 4-pound bag of frozen wing sections from Walmart.  Once they were thawed and I poured off the liquid, there was probably 3 to 3 1/2 pounds of wings. 

Well Duh #2:  Yes, pumpkin pie spice.  I really wanted to use ginger, but I could not unearth the ground ginger from my spice cabinet, so I used pumpkin pie spice.  Either one will work.

Well Duh #3:  For the non-wing-eating child in my family, I baked a bag of popcorn chicken and then put all the pieces into the sauce that was still in the slow cooker.  I let it cook on high for about 10 minutes, removed all the pieces and placed them on a foil-lined baking sheet.  Then I broiled the chicken in the oven – just like I did the wings – until they were a little charred.  Oh, my gosh!  They were so good!  I think I liked them even better than the wings.  Shh!  In fact, I think everybody in the family sneaked a few pieces here and there!

These were definitely the easiest wings I’ve ever cooked.  For real!  One of the things I love about using my slow cooker is that I can just throw everything in and basically forget about it until it’s ready.  This recipe is no exception.  And the chicken seriously just falls off the bone!  You cannot, cannot, cannot skip the broiling step though.  That is what really makes the wings spectacular.