Let’s examine what exactly makes these Tabasco chicken wings so special. They’re not traditional hot wings. Nor are they barbecue wings. In fact, contrary to what you may believe to be good and true with regard to wings, there’s actually a little something sweet about them but only insomuch as it offsets the tang of vinegar and the fiery heat of Tabasco. You just sorta gotta experience them to understand.Renee Schettler Rossi

A pile of Tabasco chicken wings on a white plate with some ranch dip.

Tabasco Chicken Wings

5 / 4 votes
These Tabasco chicken wings, which are deep-fried and tossed in a spicy Tabasco butter sauce made with chili sauce, vinegar, and cayenne, are not your ordinary chicken wings.
David Leite
Servings12 servings
Calories640 kcal
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time2 hours 5 minutes
Total Time2 hours 30 minutes


  • 3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature (and yes, really, 3 sticks)
  • 2/3 cup store-bought or homemade Tabasco sauce
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 3/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 pounds chicken wings
  • 4 to 6 cups vegetable oil for frying


  • In a large bowl, mix together the butter, Tabasco, sugar, chili sauce, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, paprika, and cayenne.
  • In another large bowl, combine the flour and remaining 2 1/2 teaspoons salt.
  • Dredge the chicken wings in the flour mixture to coat, and then place them on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 90 minutes.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a deep fryer or in a deep stock pot until it registers 350°F (176°C) on a deep-fry or candy thermometer.
  • Fry the floured chicken wings in small batches until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. (Be careful not to crowd the chicken wings or they’ll steam and turn soggy rather than fry and turn crisp!) Transfer the chicken wings to a plate lined with paper towels or to a brown paper bag as they come out of the oil. Let cool ever so slightly.
  • Toss the chicken wings with the sauce, pile them on a platter, and serve with plenty of napkins!
Hot Stuff

Adapted From

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Serving: 1 servingCalories: 640 kcalCarbohydrates: 28 gProtein: 22 gFat: 49 gSaturated Fat: 21 gMonounsaturated Fat: 15 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 139 mgSodium: 1047 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 4 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2012 Adams Media. Photo © 2012 iStockphoto. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

This Tabasco chicken wings recipe is an interesting take on traditional hot wings. It has a really intriguing flavor that I liked. It’s not a traditional Buffalo or hot wing, nor a barbecue wing, nor even an Asian style wing. It has its own unique flavor. It’s a bit sweeter than what I’d expected from a hot wing; however, the balsamic vinegar cuts a little of the sweetness. This will definitely be a new addition for our Super Bowl party.

I’ve been a fan of Buffalo wings ever since I was introduced to them as an undergrad at Syracuse, not far from the birthplace of the famed little heat bombs. As a youngin’, I liked them hot as hell, but over the past few years I’ve found myself drawn to variations that roll back the heat slightly in favor of a more nuanced sauce. These little lovelies are just such a wing. The sauce still packs a punch, but the brown sugar, chili sauce, and balsamic bring a sweetness that, along with the copious amounts of butter, soften and round the whole deal.

If you like “hot,” you’ll love these wings. I don’t particularly care for “hot” foods and so my preference would have been to use a lot less Tabasco sauce, but all of my tasters loved them. I halved the recipe for 4 people and they were all gone!

These are delicious and the recipe is correct in that they aren’t your typical Buffalo wings so you can serve them both. I also served an Asian-inspired wing as well so I had three varieties to choose from. I thought at first that there wouldn’t be enough sauce to coat the entire 5 lbs of wings but there was, they weren’t dripping sauce but there is certainly enough to flavor the wings.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I love this recipe. Really delicious, but not for the feint-of-heart, as it has quite a kick if you follow the recipe as written. You can vary the degree of heat, of course, as its your world, but it’s great as it is for those of us who go through life pushing the envelope!