Food & Drink

Bourbon-Glazed Chicken Wings

An all-American match made in heaven

Chicken wings in a bowl.

Photo: Jessica Ebelhar

Chicken wings are one of the most iconic dishes in American cuisine. (I read somewhere that the average American will consume about 18,000 chicken wings in a lifetime.) So I wanted to create a recipe for chicken wings that uses the one truly American spirit: bourbon. They’re a classic combination. This recipe is a golden egg of a recipe—a sticky bourbon-soy-glazed delight of a wing. Make sure to use whole chicken wings because they have more surface area for the sauce to cling to. —Edward Lee, Bourbon Land: A Spirited Love Letter to My Old Kentucky Whiskey, with 50 Recipes

Read more about Edward Lee’s new book here


  • Bourbon-Glazed Chicken Wings (Yield: 6 servings)

  • For the wings:

    • 4 lb. whole chicken wings

    • 2 tbsp. canola oil

    • 1 tbsp. smoked paprika

    • 1 tbsp. kosher salt

    • 1 ½ tsp. granulated sugar

  • For the glaze:

    • 2 cups bourbon

    • ½ cup sorghum syrup

    • ½ cup brown sugar

    • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar

    • ¼ cup Tabasco

    • 2 tbsp. soy sauce

    • ¼ cup crushed toasted peanuts, for garnish

    • ½ bunch scallions, thinly sliced, for garnish


  1. Position a rack in the upper third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F. 

  2. Prep the wings: In a large bowl, toss the wings with the canola oil, paprika, salt, and granulated sugar until evenly coated. Let the wings sit at room temperature while you prepare the glaze.

  3. Make the glaze: In a medium saucepan, whisk together the bourbon, sorghum, brown sugar, vinegar, Tabasco, and soy sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for about 15 minutes, until the liquid has reduced to a thin syrup. Remove from the heat and let cool.

  4. Bake the wings: Meanwhile, arrange the wings on a sheet pan in an even layer. Bake for 20 minutes, then increase the oven temperature to 450°F. Flip the wings and bake for 10 minutes more; they should be cooked through at this point. The wing bone should easily pull out of the meat and the skin should be golden brown.

  5. Transfer the wings to a large bowl (reserve the sheet pan; you’re going to use it again). Pour the glaze over the wings and toss to evenly coat, then return them to the sheet pan. Pour any remaining glaze over the wings and bake for 10 minutes more, until sticky and lightly charred. Return the wings and any liquid on the sheet pan to the bowl with the glaze. 

  6. Toss again to evenly coat the wings with the glaze. Arrange the wings on a platter and sprinkle with the toasted peanuts and sliced scallions before serving.

Excerpted from Bourbon Land by Edward Lee (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2024. Photographs by Jessica Ebelhar.


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