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Instant Pot® Barbecue Chicken Wings

Nothing beats the convenience of an Instant Pot® for quick, easy, and healthier chicken wings. Once cooked, a quick trip under the broiler is all you need to get that nice crispy finish.

Instant Pot® Barbecue Chicken Wings

Instant Pot® Barbecue Chicken Wings
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Instant Pot® Barbecue Chicken Wings

Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Keyword chicken
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 16 minutes
Natural Release 10 minutes
Total Time 36 minutes
Servings 6

Equipment

  • Instant Pot®

Ingredients

  • 4-4½ lbs. chicken wings
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder, divided
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup water

Barbecue Wing Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 cup barbecue sauce
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

Instructions

  • Sprinkle wings with garlic powder and season with salt and black pepper, to taste.
  • Place a metal trivet inside the Instant Pot® and add one cup of water.
  • Arrange seasoned wings on top of the trivet before securing the cover in place. Switch the vent to “Sealing” and adjust the “Manual” setting to 8 minutes.
  • While the wings cook, in a medium bowl, whisk the barbecue sauce, melted butter, and remaining garlic powder until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
  • When done cooking, allow the pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes, then do a quick release for any remaining steam. Carefully remove the lid and transfer the wings to a large bowl. Set aside until just cool enough to handle.
  • Meanwhile, position the top oven rack in the top position and pre-heat the broiler to high.
  • Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a wire cooling rack on top. Set aside.
  • Pour 1/3 of the barbecue sauce on top of the wings and toss to coat.
  • Transfer the wings to the wire rack on the prepared baking sheet and place under the broiler for 3-4 minutes or until the wings start to get crispy and develop some color.
  • Turn the wings and repeat this process.
  • Remove the baking sheet from the oven and toss the wings with half of the remaining barbecue sauce.
  • Serve immediately with the remaining sauce on the side for dipping.

Notes

This recipe is written for fresh or thawed wings. If using frozen wings, add 3-4 minutes to the active cook time.

You can save time by purchasing already-trimmed wings. However, you can save some money by trimming them yourself. See the photo below for the approximate location of where to cut each whole wing. They are a little easier to trim AFTER they’ve been cooked. Immediately freeze the tips to make chicken stock later.

Where to cut for chicken wings

What’s the flap about chicken wings?

Do buffalos have wings? Of course not! But, when you cut up a chicken wing to look like a mini-drumstick and mini-thigh, then slather it with Buffalo sauce (named from the City, not the animal), you’ll have Buffalo Wings.

Of course, you don’t have to slather them with Buffalo sauce. You can use any kind of sauce you like. In this recipe, I suggested barbecue sauce, but honey mustard sauce would work just as well.

In fact, you can fry, grill, smoke, or bake the chicken wings before tossing them with a sauce, rub or glaze. This is where your kitchen creativity comes in.

The ubiquitous chicken wing bar snack was a happy accident, according to History Daily. A bar owner mistakenly ordered chicken wings, when she meant to order chicken necks. This was in 1964, and back then the wings were considered the throw-away portion of the chicken. Her husband convinced her to accept her error, and so necessity became the mother of kitchen innovation! She had so many of the darn things, she didn’t know what to do. So, one night she cooked them, tossed them in hot sauce and served them with celery stalks and bleu cheese dressing to her son and his friends. They loved them and the famous Buffalo Wings were born.

If you have wondered about the connection with football, check out this post from the National Chicken Council.

Creative Cooking Tips Banner

As I suggested above, you can easily make chicken wings with your own signature flair. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Choose your cooking method. Will you fry, grill, smoke, or bake your wings?
  2. Choose your flavor enhancer. Will your wings be slathered in a sauce? Messy, but yummy! Will they be rubbed down with herbs and spices? Less mess, but also tasty. Will you glaze them? Very similar to a sauce, but less messy. And one more idea to choose from: Will you marinate them?

That’s it. However, you can see that given those options, there are probably hundreds of combinations available to you.

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About the author

Carma Spence has been experimenting in the kitchen since she was four years old and loves trying out new recipe ideas. She is the author of Bonkers for Bundt Cakes and Your Perfect Pie, as well as author and contributor to several more non-food-related books. With Carma's Cookery, she is taking her passion for empowering people and blending it with her passion for cooking, gift-giving and entertaining.

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