If you’ve been reading our blog for a while, you might know that I used to be a vegetarian. I stopped eating meat in middle school and didn’t venture back into omnivore land until just before I got married. After so many years without meat, I definitely still have no problems with a veggie heavy diet but I do have a confession to make: I totally regret missing out on years of bacon and chicken wings. Yes, that’s right. I missed out on nearly 15 years of chicken wings and I’m now on a quest to make up for it.
There’s something just so darn good about a well done chicken wing. I love the crispy, salty crunch of a great wing and all the great, bold flavors of the sauces. What I don’t love is all of the extra calories. So, what’s a girl to do? Traditionally, chicken wings are fried to give them a bit of bite and then tossed in a flavorful (and usually full of fat) sauce. And don’t even get me started on the dips. They are good, but definitely full of calories. In order to maximize my chicken wing intake, I’ve had to make some adjustments. Enter: Baked Honey Harissa Chicken Wings.
These are the easiest, tastiest wings you’ll ever meet. I’ve lightened them up by baking them at high heat instead of frying them. They are then tossed in an easy harissa based sauce, giving tons of tangy flavor without any extra fat. Baking also makes it easy to get a large batch done at once, and definitely saves your stovetop from a giant mess of oil splatter! Win-win!
If you’re not familiar with harissa, don’t let it frighten you away from this recipe. A spicy condiment paste made from chili peppers, herbs, and various spices, it comes from North Africa where it is used on just about everything and anything. I love having a jar on hand to add to chicken, fish, and even as a spicy bruschetta like bread topping!
It’s important to know that every harissa recipe or brand is slightly different. What does that mean for you? The flavor of these wings will vary depending on the brand of harissa you buy. If you’re adventurous, you can also make it yourself! There are some great recipe options here and here. For this particular recipe, I used Trader Joes’ Traditional Tunisian Harissa. I love the TJ’s version for it’s moderate spice level and nicely balanced flavor. It’s inexpensive and keeps well in the fridge. You’ll only need a small amount for the wings, so you’ll have plenty left over to put on just about anything. (Bonus: here’s a fun recipe from TJ’s for Harissa Potato Salad!).
Honey Harissa Chicken Wings
Baked chicken wings tossed in a spicy honey harissa sauce.
For The Wings:
- 3 pounds chicken wings and drumettes
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
For the Harissa Sauce
- 3 Tablespoons Harissa paste
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil and place an oven safe baking rack on top.
In a large bowl, toss the raw wings and drumettes with the vegetable oil.
Add the salt and pepper and toss to coat.
Place the chicken in a single layer on the prepared baking rack and bake at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes, until just starting to brown.
While the wings are baking, make the sauce. In a large bowl, whisk together the harissa paste, honey, and apple cider vinegar. Set aside.
When the wings are just baked, remove them from the oven and immediately toss the hot wings in the harissa sauce, mixing well to coat.
Return the wings to the baking sheet and place them back in the oven, baking for an additional 8-10 minutes until crispy.