Slow Cooker Sweet Spicy and Sticky Chicken Wings

Slow Cooker Sweet, Spicy and Sticky Chicken Wings

January 26, 2015

Even though the Broncos did not make it through the playoffs (damn, why didn’t WE think of Deflategate?), I’ll still be gathering with friends to watch (listen) to the game. Once it’s not my team it becomes an opportunity to get together but gabbing with friends and eating some good food will be higher on the agenda. Or rather it will be the only agenda. I know guys can watch games without any team affiliation but for me? I’m done with football and ready to move on to more important things. Food. And these Slow Cooker Sweet, Spicy and Sticky Chicken wings are almost the perfect food. Well, at least Super Bowl food. Whether you care about the game or not. :)

I’ve been making these pups for probably 20 years and even then I was happy for an alternative to Buffalo Wings. These are so not your standard wings. While I enjoy hot wings with a cool garnish, I actually love these more. They have a sticky sweet coating made from red wine and brown sugar, the spicy comes from garlic and mustard and the sticky? Low and slow cooking melds those flavors into a wonderful sticky coating; you’ll know since they are eaten with your fingers! Trust me, they will disappear quick.

Sweet and Sticky Chicken Wings

The original recipe for these chicken wings has them slow cooked in the oven or if made during the summer I’ve even managed them on the grill. But honestly they were a bit of a pain. Constantly watching and turning to insure that all of the wings cooked equally make them more work than I ever wanted but I suffered for the results and after this latest effort found that I don’t have to! I’m excited that making Sweet, Spicy and Sticky Chicken Wings is so much easier in a slow cooker and yet the results are just as wonderful.

Like many, I’ve come to re-appreciate my slow cooker. The ones from ‘the olden days’ that might have promised to make cooking easier were also so limiting. One temperature setting meant some careful monitoring. New units include so many settings that they work  better to fit with our schedules. As I contemplated changing a low and slow bake period in the oven to replicating the same results in my slow cooker, I was happy to have a counter-top unit with a Low temperature setting…I wanted wings when I was finished, not a stew of sweet and sticky chicken meat!

Sweet and Sticky Chicken Wings

Results were fantastic but this does require a step outside of the cooker but it’s SO worth it. Baking the wings in the oven does see the sauce evaporate more quickly and while I’m sure a longer period in the slow cooker might have seen that happen I didn’t want to risk overdoing the wings, so it’s a simple enough step and even with that bit of cooking outside of the slow cooker the process is so much easier than what I’ve done in years past so no complaining from me. Especially not after I sample one. Or ten. I love these things. Super tender chicken meat is covered with a sauce that is fantastic. Sticky? Yes. Do I still eat them with my fingers? Absolutely…they are quite simply the epitome of ‘finger lickin good.’

Slow Cooker Sweet, Spicy and Sticky Chicken Wings
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 3 dozen wings
  • 35 chicken wings, tips removed (I used the bag of frozen ones in the cases at Costco)
For the Sauce:
  • ½ cup (8 Tbsp) butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ Tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
For the Garnish:
  • Toasted sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
  • Parsley, chopped (optional)
  1. Put chicken in the bottom of a large slow cooker
  2. Combine all sauce ingredients and pour over chicken.
  3. Let stand for at least 1 hour. Be sure all wings are well coated with marinade.
  4. Set cooker to cook for 3-4 hours on low; Meat should be tender but the wings should not be falling apart.
  5. Pour off sauce and skim fat. Reduce sauce in a pan on the stovetop until thickened. Return to pot with chicken and serve.
No slow cooker? No problem. Here's how to finish them with your oven:

Place wings in large baking pan and cover with sauce. Put pan in 350 oven and reduce heat to 250. Bake 4-5 hours (check hourly), turning wings at regular intervals. If all marinade is not absorbed, pour off and reduce in a pan on the stovetop; add back to wings before serving.


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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Charleen January 28, 2015 at 9:48 pm

I prepared these tonight they didn’t come out looking like the ones shown.
I had to put them under the broiler to add color and make them crispy. My kids said they still tasted good.


2 Creative Culinary January 28, 2015 at 11:55 pm

They are not crispy Charleen; the sauce is thick, sticky and rich colored from the combination of red wine and brown sugar. I do wonder what happened but if the kids liked them…then that’s good!


3 Paula January 28, 2015 at 5:49 pm

Your sauce sounds wonderful. I would have never thought to make chicken wings in a slow cooker but it really does make a lot of sense to do so.
Paula Most Recent Post: Pet Lovers Valentines


4 John@Kitchen Riffs January 26, 2015 at 7:42 pm

I don’t use my slow cooker nearly enough. And this recipe is perfect for it! Set and forget, with just a bit of stovetop time at the end. Works for me — particularly for a dish that looks this good! Thanks.
John@Kitchen Riffs Most Recent Post: Oven Slow-Cooked BBQ Beef Brisket


5 Creative Culinary January 28, 2015 at 12:35 pm

I go through phases and right now I’ve been on a roll John. These were so much easier I can’t begin to tell you…maybe having it for them alone is enough for me. And well, the chili I made last night. :)


6 Amanda (@lambsearshoney) January 26, 2015 at 3:01 pm

Oh I can’t wait to try this one. I adore sticky wings and love getting as much use out of my slow cooker as possible. Thanks for sharing, Barb.
Amanda (@lambsearshoney) Most Recent Post: Noumea – Relaxed & Very Casual


7 Creative Culinary January 28, 2015 at 12:36 pm

Trust me (I know you do!), these are simply divine. Nothing close at all to regular ‘Buffalo’ hot wings and I’m so good with that!


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