Move over buffalo sauce, this chicken wing marinade is the only recipe you’ll need from here on out. With a combination of salty, sweet and spicy ingredients, the wings bake to sticky caramelized perfection and will leave you craving more after the last bite.

Marinated baked chicken wings on a plate.
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Chicken wings are one of the most crave-worthy foods to exist. No sports game watching party is complete without them and in fact, they’re perfect for almost any casual get together when a crowd-pleasing appetizer is needed.

That’s why you need the very best marinade recipe to go with them.

Sure, buffalo sauce is a long-time favorite but if we’re being honest, it’s kind of overrated in my opinion. That’s not to say it’s not delicious and I have plenty of buffalo sauced food on here from buffalo sauce beef jerky to buffalo air fryer chicken tenders to prove it, but there’s something about a sweet and sticky savory chicken wing that wins out 9 out of 10 times.

This chicken wing marinade is just that. It coats the wings in sticky perfection by caramelizing in the oven as they bake and brings a sweet, salty and spicy flavor combination that’s irresistible.

Chicken wing marinade in a glass bowl with a wire whisk.

What’s In The Marinade?

This marinade is simple and to the point but packs a TON of flavor into each bite. You’ll need these ingredients:

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Tamari – This is a gluten-free soy sauce. Regular soy sauce can also be used interchangeably.
  • Maple syrup
  • Minced fresh garlic
  • Minced fresh ginger
  • Sriracha
  • Lime juice
  • Chicken wings

Fresh is best when it comes to the garlic and ginger but a prepared minced option can be used in a pinch.

Swap out the sriracha for another hot sauce of your liking or feel free to omit it altogether if you don’t want any spice. The marinade is still crazy delicious with just the salty sweet garlic ginger combination and almost the same exact recipe I use on these air fryer salmon bites both to marinate the fish and serve as a dipping sauce.

How To Marinate Chicken Wings

Place the chicken wings in a large bowl or sealable bag.

Whisk all the marinade ingredients together until thoroughly combined. Pour over the wings either in the bowl or bag and toss so that each chicken wing is well coated.

If you’re using a sealable bag, you can manipulate the chicken with your hands in the closed bag to make sure the marinade covers each piece.

Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least two hours. The chicken can sit in the marinade for as long as overnight. A minimum of two hours marinade time ensures maximum flavor.

How To Bake Marinated Chicken Wings

Once the wings have sufficiently marinated and soaked up all that delicious flavor, it’s time to bake them off.

Preheat an oven to 400°F. Set a wire rack on top of a large heavy duty baking sheet and transfer the wings from the marinade to the wire rack. Arrange them in an even layer so they’re not touching each other.

Bake for 40-50 minutes, flipping halfway through and basting with the extra leftover marinade a few times throughout the cooking process.

The chicken wings are fully cooked when the internal temperature reaches 165°F. They can be broiled during the last couple of minutes to get the skin nicely golden brown and crisp.

Alternatively, cook the marinated wings in the air fryer or make these Ninja Foodi chicken wings if you have their multi-cooker appliance.

For a more hands off recipe, try these slow cooker chicken wings.

Raw chicken wings marinating in a glass bowl.

Why Use A Marinade For Chicken Wings?

Marinades are a great option for both tenderizing and adding flavor to any meat not just chicken wings.

Typically, it’s an important step for tougher cuts of meat but it’s still a delicious and simple way to improve the taste of anything you want to cook, even tempeh and tofu.

What’s The Best Amount Of Time To Marinate Chicken Wings?

A minimum of two hours is suggested to get a good amount of flavor into the wings.

They can be marinated, however, for up to 24 hours (overnight).

Don’t go much beyond 24 hours with any chicken marinade. After that, the meat will start to break down too much from the acidity.

What Makes A Good Marinade?

Marinades can be super simple or complex with a slew of ingredients. The essentials, however, are a basic sweetener, a salty component and something acidic. Once those are selected, you can add whatever flavors in the form of spices or herbs you like.

In this chicken wing marinade the tamari, maple syrup and lime juice break down the fibers in the chicken wings while the garlic, ginger and sriracha bring flavor.

Close up of chicken wings marinating in a glass bowl.

Why You’ll Love This Chicken Wing Marinade Recipe

Most people will agree that a good chicken wing needs to be piping hot with crispy golden skin and fall-off-the-bone tender.

After that, the flavor is up to personal preference but if you like sticky, salty, sweet flavors with a touch of tanginess and a hint of spice this is the chicken marinade recipe for you!

How To Use Up Leftover Marinade

If there’s still extra marinade even after basting the wings during cooking, don’t throw it out! Turn it into a sauce to either drizzle over the wings when they come out of the oven or dip them in when eating.

The key step in turning marinade into sauce is that you must bring the mixture to a boil. Because it’s been exposed to raw chicken, boiling the marinade is necessary to kill off any bacteria.

If you want to have a substantial amount of sauce I suggest doubling the marinade ingredients. Pour any leftovers into a small sauce pot and bring to a boil. Add a small amount of cornstarch or tapioca slurry to the pot and whisk until thickened.

Easy marinated baked chicken wings on a plate with a neutral colored kitchen towel.

More Chicken Recipes To Try

Air fryer chicken leg quarters or Instant Pot chicken leg quarters can both be marinated with this recipe.

Have drumsticks on hand? Try this maple miso chicken recipe or marinate them instead using this chicken wing marinade.

Need some chicken breast recipes? This pecan crusted chicken is a long-standing favorite. Or, give this quick and easy parmesan lemon chicken and broccoli for a one-pan meal that gets dinner on the table quickly.

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4.81 from 77 votes

The Best Chicken Wing Marinade

Servings: 4 servings
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 50 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total: 3 hours
Marinated baked chicken wings on a plate.
Sticky, sweet, salty and spicy – the perfect chicken wing marinade combination. This chicken wing marinade puts buffalo sauce to shame with its irresistible flavor.

Ingredients 

  • 2 pounds chicken wings
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup tamari, substitute soy sauce or coconut aminos
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic, about 4 cloves
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha

Instructions 

  • Place chicken wings in a large mixing bowl or gallon sized sealable bag.
  • Whisk together all the remaining marinade ingredients in a small bowl until throughly combined.
  • Pour the marinade over the chicken in the bowl or bag. Toss to coat each wing. Cover the bowl or seal the bag and place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 2 hours up to overnight.
  • When ready to bake, transfer the chicken to a wire rack on top of a large heavy duty baking sheet arranging so that the wings are spread out evenly and not touching each other.
  • Bake at 400°F for 40-50 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F. Flip the wings half way through cooking and brush any leftover marinade on top of them a few times throughout the baking process.
  • Broil the wings during the last couple of minutes for extra crispy golden brown skin.
  • Serve hot and enjoy immediately.

Notes

*Soy sauce can be used if you don't need the recipe to be gluten-free. Coconut aminos are another gluten-free substitute for tamari.
**Fresh garlic and ginger are best but prepared can be used in a pinch.

Nutrition

Serving: 1SERVINGCalories: 908kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 40gFat: 69gSaturated Fat: 21gPolyunsaturated Fat: 42gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 186mgSodium: 2002mgFiber: 1gSugar: 8g

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

Additional Info

Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: American
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Founder and Writer at Running to the Kitchen | About

Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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12 Comments

  1. I love a traditional Buffalo wing but this marinade was out of this world. Perfectly balanced and extremely delicious. Bookmarking this again to make for company!