Grilled Honey Chipotle Wings

Crisp, sweet wings with a smoky finish.

A close up of a pile of grilled honey chipotle wings.

Serious Eats / Joshua Bousel

Why This Recipe Works

  • Cooking the wings over high heat caramelizes the sauce, tempering the spiciness and bringing out the sweetness of the honey.

Ever since The Food Lab uncovered the baking powder for crispy wings trick, I've been rocking grilled wings all the time. With my wings now near perfection—my wife even suggests them anytime we have company, her sly way of getting more for herself—I've been branching out beyond the usual buffalo and trying out different sauces. The latest, and greatest, incarnation were wings slathered in a honey chipotle glaze.

I love adding heat, and when I first concocted this sauce and took a spoonful, it forced a hiccup reaction that I've only encountered a few times when eating peppers so spicy, they should only be consumed on a double dog dare. Although I found pleasure in this pain, I worried it may be a little much for others.

But I stayed with what I had, and that was a good thing. The sauce caramelized and charred slightly over the heat of the coals, bringing out the sweetness of the honey and mellowing the extreme heat. What starts as a sweet crisp bite into a wing ends up leaving a slight smoky burn in the back of your mouth, a taste transformation that I really enjoy.

August 2010

Recipe Details

Grilled Honey Chipotle Wings

Prep 40 mins
Cook 45 mins
Chilling Time 8 hrs
Total 9 hrs 25 mins
Serves 3 to 4 servings

Crisp, sweet wings with a smoky finish.


  • 3 pounds chicken wings (18 wings), cut up

  • 1 tablespoon baking powder

  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Glaze:

  • 3 chipotles in adobo

  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce

  • 1/2 cup honey

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro for garnish


  1. Pat the chicken wings dry with paper towels. Place the wings in a large bowl and sprinkle with the baking powder, chili powder, and salt and toss to evenly coat. Arrange the wings in a single layer on wire rack placed over a baking sheet. Refrigerate uncovered for at least 8 hours.

    Seasoned, uncooked chicken wings on a black wire rack set over a sheet of aluminum foil.

    Serious Eats / Joshua Bousel

  2. Place all the ingredients for the glaze in a blender and puree until smooth. Pour into a small bowl and set aside.

    A blender in front of a yellow background holding the sauce.

    Serious Eats / Joshua Bousel

  3. Light a chimney 3/4 full of charcoal. When charcoal is fully lit and covered in gray ash, pour coals out and arrange them on one side of the charcoal grate, keeping the other side empty. Alternatively, set half the burners on a gas grill to medium-high heat, cover, and preheat for 10 minutes.Clean and oil the grilling grate. Place the wings skin side up over the cool side of the grill, cover, and cook until skins are crisp and are starting to brown, about 30-40 minutes. In the last 10 minutes of cooking brush the glaze all over the wings. Brush the wings with the glaze again and move to the hot side of the grill until the just begin to char, about 1 to 3 minutes. Remove the wings to a plate, sprinkle with cilantro, and serve.

    Crisped, partially blackened chicken wings on a grill.

    Serious Eats / Joshua Bousel

Special Equipment

Blender, grill, chimney starter

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
187 Calories
3g Fat
43g Carbs
3g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3 to 4
Amount per serving
Calories 187
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 3%
Saturated Fat 1g 4%
Cholesterol 6mg 2%
Sodium 1177mg 51%
Total Carbohydrate 43g 16%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Total Sugars 35g
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 5mg 24%
Calcium 230mg 18%
Iron 2mg 9%
Potassium 254mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)