Chinese Five-Spice Chicken Wings with Creamy Cilantro Sauce

Chinese Five Spice Chicken Wings

We’re always keeping an eye out for new, cool takes on Buffalo Wings, and David Lieberman totally nailed this one. It’s really hard to get wings crispy when you’re baking them, but this recipe does.–Editors of Food Network Favorites

LC Wingdings for Dinner Note

Are you familiar with “wingdings“? It’s a font from Microsoft that slips seemingly nonsensical symbols in place of letters. It’s not exactly expected, although there is a method to the madness, so it gets the job done. And with flair. We like to think of these wings as a sort of wingdings. The sweet heat from the Chinese five-spice powder may not be what you typically think of in terms of incendiary wings, and the crisp skin comes from the blast of a hot oven rather than the splattering of hot oil. Yet we’re quite, quite taken with them all the same. Wingdings for dinner. And don’t sneeze at that wingding sauce, the one made of creamy stuff and cilantro, as it’s an epiphany of an accompaniment. We’ve been finding ourselves drizzling it over nachos, dribbling it onto black beans, dousing it over roast or rotisserie or grilled chicken, even depending on it as a dip for plain tortilla chips (or Doritos, if you please)…

Chinese Five-Spice Chicken Wings Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 40 M
  • Makes 40


  • For the five-spice wings
  • 40 chicken wing pieces, or 20 whole chicken wings
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • For the creamy cilantro dipping sauce
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup light or regular sour cream
  • 1/4 cup store-bought or homemade mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • Juice 1/2 lemon (or why not try lime?)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Make the five-spice wings
  • 1. Preheat oven to 500°F (260°C).
  • 2. If you have whole chicken wings, cut off the wing tips and cut the wings in half at the joint. Discard the wing tips or freeze them for making stock.
  • 3. Place the wings in a large bowl. Sprinkle five-spice powder and cayenne on the wings, add a generous pinch or two of salt, and about 15 grinds of black pepper. Rub the mixture into all the wings until all the rub clings to the chicken.
  • 4. Line the wing pieces up on a rimmed baking sheet so the side of the wing that has the most skin is facing up. Roast until cooked through, browned, and crisp, about 25 minutes. (If you prefer a wing that’s every iota as crisp underneath as on top, bake the wings on a wire rack situated on the baking sheet. If you prefer a wing that has one side smudged with a sort of gooey crispness from sitting in a teensy puddle of its juices during roasting, leave the wings on the baking sheet.)
  • Make the creamy cilantro dipping sauce
  • 5. Pulse the cilantro, sour cream, mayo, yogurt, and lemon or lime juice in a food processor. (Or, lacking a processor, whisk them together.) Taste and add a judicious amount of salt and black pepper and pulse again. Cover and toss it in the fridge while the wings do their thing in the oven.
  • Serve the wings
  • 6. Pile the wings on a platter and serve ‘em hot along with the cold creamy cilantro dipping sauce on the side.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

These wings couldn’t be simpler, and they’ll fill your house with the most delicious aroma. I’m not a fan of wings covered in a sticky sauce, so I appreciated this version, which went with a simple rub of five-spice powder, cayenne, salt, and pepper. They crisped up beautifully in the oven, but I’m sure they’d be great cooked on the grill as well. The cilantro dipping sauce was not very exciting on its own, but went beautifully with the wings. The one thing I would change is perhaps to up the amount of spice next time, especially the cayenne. I gave the sauce a few quick pulses with a hand blender to mix in the cilantro and called it done.

What an easy and simple recipe. You can make this as an appetizer or as a meal. We chose to make it as a meal and all of us loved it. It has a little kick but it’s not so strong as to make people shy away. The cilantro dipping sauce was the perfect blend to lighten the flavor. My toddler alone ate 10 wings. Next time I will be making more of the dipping sauce as she alone ate half of it!

This is a simple and yummy recipe. I enjoy a crisp yet moist wing. I made two batches, one as the recipe calls for, with generous amounts of kosher salt and spices. The other batch I brined with salt and sugar for only an hour and a half. I have to say, brine makes chicken better. So if you have the time, brine the wings, pat dry, then season and bake! You will love it! With or without the brine, it is a good recipe, but for the super-moist chicken lover…brine it, baby! The cilantro sauce was good, I recommend making this first so all the flavors have a chance to marry.


  1. What a wonderful take on classic, deep-fried wings—I made these today and they were crispy, juicy, and plain ole’ fantastic! My 18-month-old son kept grabbing them off the platter and charging around the house squealing with joy. Thank you for sharing an easy, baked, delicious, family-friendly recipe!

    1. Well, we certainly can’t ask for a stronger endorsement than that! Thanks for sharing that incredibly happy visual, Kristen.

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