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Chile De Árbol Chicken Wings

A Mexican twist on a classic, these smoky and spicy chile de árbol chicken wings are perfectly crispy on the outside, yet tender and juicy on the inside.

Chile De Árbol Chicken Wings spread out on a platter dripping with sauce and sprinkled with cilantro.

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My oldest son pretty much always craves buffalo chicken wings. I get it. They are delicious.

That being said I’ve grown a little tired of plain old buffalo wings. SO I decided to develop my own chicken wing recipe. And because I’m obsessed with Mexican food I decided to go with a Mexican chile sauce.

Chile de árbol seemed an obvious choice. (You may have noticed I’ve been a bit captivated by these amazing peppers of late.) They are a spicy which is a must for me as far as chicken wings go and on top of that, they are earthy and smoky. Yes, yes, and yes!!

I took my recipe for chile de árbol hot sauce mixed it with some butter and a bit of cornstarch to thicken it up and VOILA!!!

The chicken wings are coated in cornstarch which helps seal in the moisture so they are plenty tender and juicy in the inside, yet nice and crispy on the outside (the cornstarch helps with this also).

Top down shot of chicken wings on a sheet pan drizzled with chile de árbol sauce.

So what do you need to make these wings? ( + substitutions)

  • Chicken wings: Chicken wings are not uniform in size, so the number of wings you end up with will vary.
  • Cornstarch: To thicken the sauce and also to coat the chicken wings.
  • Chile de Árbol: Chile de árobl are a small Mexican chile pepper that falls between a Serrano pepper and a cayenne pepper on the Scoville scale. Your local grocery store mary carry them if they have a decent Mexican section. If not they can be found at Mexican markets and are available for purchase online. Check out my product recommendations below for a link to my favorite chile de árbol on Amazon. Additionally, the chiles will need to be destemmed and deseeded. The stems can easily be pulled off. The simplest way to deseed them is to cut them open with kitchen shears and then scoop/scrape out the seeds.
  • Water: This recipe requires you to reconstitute the dried chiles, meaning you restore them. To do this, you will simply soak the chiles in hot water until they have softened.
  • White vinegar: Apple cider vinegar would be a suitable alternative.
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Oil: A neutral-flavored, high smoke point oil like vegetable or canola works best for deep frying.
  • All-purpose flour
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Paprika: If you have it, I highly recommend smoked paprika to amplify the already smoky chile árbol hot sauce.
  • Butter: You may use salted or unsalted.
Ingredients for chicken wings on grey surface.

How do you make chile de árbol chicken wings? ( + tips)

In a medium bowl, coat the chicken wings in five tablespoons of cornstarch and then refrigerate.

Top down shot of chicken wings coated in cornstarch.

Meanwhile, begin preparing the chile de árbol hot sauce by gently toasting the chile de árbol for 30 seconds to one minute on each side in a medium skillet over medium heat. *** Warning the fumes from the peppers might send you into a coughing fit, especially if you over toast them. I highly recommend you open up some windows prior to toasting the chiles.***

Top down shot of toasted chiles in a skillet.

Next, you will need to reconstitute (restore) the chiles. Add two cups of water to the skillet, turn off the heat, and allow them to sit for 20-30 minutes.

Chile de árbol soaking in water in a cast iron skillet.

Preheat oil to 350 degrees in a deep fat fryer or a heavy-bottomed skillet with oil that is at least two inches deep.

Transfer the chile de árbol to a blender along with 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid, the vinegar, garlic, and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Pulse until smooth, then strain with a fine sieve if desired, and set aside.

Top down shot of chile de árbol hot sauce in a blender.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, two teaspoons of salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and the paprika. In batches of 6-8, coat the chicken wings in the flour mixture.

Shake off any excess flour, then fry them for 8-10 minutes or until golden and crispy. The internal temp should register at least 165 degrees.

While the first batch of chicken is frying, make the wing sauce. Heat a small saucepan to medium-low heat and add the butter. Once it has melted whisk in the chile de árbol hot sauce and one tablespoon of cornstarch.

Top down shot of chile de árbol wing sauce in a small saucepan.

Pour the sauce into a medium bowl. Transfer chicken wings from the oil to the bowl of wing sauce using a slotted spoon or tongs; toss to coat.

Top down shot of chicken wings tossed in wing sauce.

Repeat with the remaining chicken wings. Serve warm.

How to store

Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to four days.

Chile de árbol wings spread out on a sheet pan drizzled in sauce and sprinkled with cilantro.
Top down shot of wings in black bowl sprinkled with cilantro.
Close-up of chicken wings in a black bowl.

If you make this If you make these chile de árbol chicken wings I’d love your feedback. Please leave a comment and/or a rating below as I greatly value your opinion. Or snap a pic and tag me on Instragram @taoofspiceblog. Love, light and happy cooking ya’ll ♥

Chile De Árbol Chicken Wings spread out on a platter dripping with sauce and sprinkled with cilantro.

Chile De Árbol Chicken Wings

Yield: 2 pounds
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

A Mexican twist on a classic, these smoky and spicy chile de árbol chicken wings are perfectly crispy on the outside, yet tender and juicy on the inside.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds chicken wings, thawed 
  • 5 tablespoons cornstarch, divided 
  • 1/4 ounce dried chile de árbol, destemmed and deseeded, approximately 1/4 cup
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
  • Vegetable or canola oil for frying  
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika, preferably smoked
  • 1/4 cup butter, salted or unsalted

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, coat the chicken wings in 1/4 cup cornstarch and then refrigerate.
  2. Meanwhile, gently toast the chile de árbols for 30 seconds to one minute on each side in a medium skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add two cups of water to the skillet, turn off the heat, and allow to sit for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oil to 350 degrees in a deep fat fryer or a heavy-bottomed skillet with at least two inches deep oil.
  5. Transfer the chile de árbol to a blender along with 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid, vinegar, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Pulse until smooth. Strain with a fine sieve if desired, then set aside.
  6. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, two teaspoons salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika.
  7. In batches of 6-8, coat the chicken wings in the flour mixture, shake off any excess, then fry for 8-10 minutes or until golden and crispy. Internal temp should register at least 165 degrees.
  8. While the first batch of chicken is frying, heat a small saucepan to medium-low. Add the butter. Once melted whisk in the chile de árbol hot sauce and one tablespoon of cornstarch. Pour the sauce into a medium bowl.
  9. Transfer chicken wings from oil to the bowl of wing sauce using a slotted spoon or tongs. Toss to coat. Repeat with remaining chicken wings. Serve warm.

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to four days.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 4-6 wings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 686Total Fat: 47gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 144mgSodium: 1551mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 3gSugar: 2gProtein: 28g

The nutritional information provided is computer generated. It is only an estimate and intended for informational purposes only. Nutrition details may vary depending on various factors such as origin, freshness of ingredients, etc

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