Traditionally, fried chicken wings are floured or battered and then pan-fried, deep fried, or pressure fried. The breading adds that nice, crispy exterior that many enjoy. But let me offer you an alternative. How about intensely flavorful and fall-off-the-bone tender fried chicken wings? Here is my quick and easy pan fried chicken wings recipe that everyone in my family enjoys, especially the kids. These pan fried wings win by a wide margin over many other fried wing recipes we tried. They are first pan seared for added flavor then cooked covered, coming out very tender and juicy.
Seasoning pan-fried chicken wings
The flavors are amazing thanks to high-heat pan searing and the spices. Fresh garlic and sesame oil do wonders to the overall flavor profile of the chicken wings. Pan searing and further slow cooking also helps render off excess fat from the skin, making it intensely flavored and tasty.
Getting the best flavor for your wings
The wings in this recipe benefit from marination, but I sometimes skip it when I am pressed for time. The results will still be great, but if you have the luxury to marinate – do it, it’s totally worth it. Marination really helps tenderize the meat and distribute flavors evenly.
To expedite preparation in the evening, I often throw the wings and the spices in a Ziploc bag in the morning and they are perfectly marinated by the time I get back from work.
Frying chicken wings covered allows the steam inside the pan tenderize the meat. You can control how tender and soft the chicken wings are by reducing the cooking time. They will be perfectly done after 15 minutes or so of pan frying under the lid, the extra time will tenderize and soften them further.
If you want your chicken wings to be crispier and less ‘fall off the bone’ tender, you can pan fry them over medium heat uncovered until they are done, about 10-15 minutes.
Update on June 30, 2016:
Improving chicken wing flavor
I’ve seen some sources stating that thirty minutes of marination will suffice for chicken wings. Some say that even 15 minutes will make a noticeable difference. My experience shows that you need at least 4 hours of marination to see the noticeable results. Overnight and up to 24 hours of marination is ideal for the wings.
However, there is a way to achieve similar results in a much shorter time. I got the idea from Flavorize: Great Marinades, Injections, Brines, Rubs, and Glazes, my go-to source of amazing marinades, rubs and more. This book is truly inspiring. Anyway, one of the recipes in this book suggests injecting chicken wings with an injection mixture. I had never thought of injecting chicken wings and was quite skeptical at first, but I tried this approach and liked it.
First, I liquefied the marinade in a blender to get is as smooth as possible and injected into meat. I did about 1 teaspoon per drumette/wingette, using my Grill Pro Marinade Injector. I then rubbed the rest of the marinade all over the wings and let them marinate in the fridge for about 20 minutes. There was a huge improvement with regard to flavor distribution inside out. It was as if the wings marinated overnight or longer. Not bad!
How to Fry Chicken Wings Extra Tender
- 2 lbs chicken wings (organic or free range preferred)
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 2 garlic cloves (pressed)
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp dry dill
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
- In a large bowl, combine all the seasonings, add chicken wings and mix by hand ensuring even coating.
- Transfer the wings to a suitable size Ziploc bag. Refrigerate for at least half an hour. Marinating up to 24 hours is perfectly acceptable and will only be beneficial.
- Preheat a large frying pan. Sear chicken wings on both sides over high heat for about one and a half to two minutes per side.
- Reduce heat to low, cover with a lid leaving a small crack, and continue cooking for about 20 minutes until the meat is tender. Flip the wings twice or three times during cooking.
This post was updated on November 4, 2018
Oh my God, these are FABULOUS !! I almost never leave reviews but I just had to . I was after tender and moist chicken wings , basically just to learn a technique on how to make them this way . I planned on making them without the seasoning so I can smother them in red hot sauce . But I went ahead and followed your recipe exactly . And they’re so so so good . I didn’t even marinate them . Just coated them and straight in the pan . They’re definitely the best wings I have ever made . Already saved the recipe and will only make them this way now . Thank you so much , I’m so thankful I finally learned how to make them tender and soft as opposed to crispy and tough . You are a wee star !! And you get ALL the stars for this fab recipe !
So happy to hear that, Marci. You are very welcome! Enjoy!!!
EXCELLENT RECIPE! No dill, used a white wine garlic butter seasoning powder instead. Cooked off perfect!Marinated for 20 minutes, poked with a fork. Next time will do without the cover! YUMMY! THANK YOU!!! 🤸🏽♂️🤸🏽♂️🤸🏽♂️🤸🏽♂️🤸🏽♂️🤸🏽♂️🤸🏽♂️
You are very welcome. Enjoy!
Absolutely delicious! Prepared exactly as written and they were perfect, will definitely make again and again. Marinated for 6 hours. Thanks for the recipe, Victor, excited to try some of your others 🙂
You are very welcome, Jane-Marie. Happy cooking!
If I want to cook this with the different Hot Ones sauces do I need to make any adjustments?
Nope, a different sauce is fine, the cooking process is the same.
You are very welcome.
I used freshly ground pepper and Himalayan sea salt, and cooked 5 free range medium to large wings in olive oil covering them on medium heat for 5-6 minutes each side and did this 4 times. They came out tender and tasty. I made one of those smallish Taylor farms kale & ansagio cheese which comes with everything, then divided it into individual round plastic containers to take for work lunches. The dressing is a light creamy lemony one and I put just one wing with each of the 3 work lunches ate the other 2 wings with a salad with cabbages, nuts, bacon bits and a maple vinaigrette
Your recipe helped me a lot! Thanks so much for sharing! I might try your spices when I have more time…bet their good!
Are we supposed to put oil in the pan when heating? Or do we just put the wings in by themselves?
Either way is fine, same results.
I really enjoyed the wings. I followed the recipe exactly as written and they were the best I have ever eaten. I would like to try this technique on larger pieces but I don’t know what time to use for the bigger pieces. Can you help me? Let me know
Hi Andy, glad to hear that you liked my recipe. For larger pieces, 25-30 minutes or so. This will also depend on the heat of your burner. That said, don’t worry about the time. Sear, cover and let them cook for 20 minutes, then check for tenderness. Flip if needed as they may begin to brown too much, cook for another 5 minutes and check again. Pull once the meat is fall of the bone tender. You won’t easily overcook thighs or drumsticks, this recipe is perfect for them. Chicken breasts, I don’t like cooking chicken breasts this way, here is my favorite chicken breast recipe for pan-frying. Enjoy!
Really outstanding!!! I only made two swaps because of what I had handy — fresh lime juice instead of lemon and thyme instead of dill. The hallway of my apartment building smells delicious and many neighbors perked up! Glad I made 4 pounds.
Glad to hear that. Happy cooking!
This recipe is hands down one of the best !!!!!
I tried this with crab boil seasoning and made the best crab pot wings ever !!!!
Thank you so much !
Great for keto diets
You are very welcome. Happy cooking!
Ok here’s a stupid question but I have to ask. Are output putting the sesame and olive oil on the wings at once to marinade or are you frying with the olive oil?
Hi Alicia, not a stupid question at all, I should have been more clear on that. I normally just mix everything together, including both oils, marinate then dump on a heated pan. You can also marinate with just sesame oil (for the flavor) and reserve the olive oil (or any other cooking oil) for the frying. Both methods work fine.
Absolutely delicious! I cooked them for 20 minutes and the meat was so tender, falls right off the bone! Thank you for this recipe, I’ve made it 5 times now and each time they come out perfectly 👌😀
just finished eating these and they were delicious! I was really skeptical for some reason. Maybe I thought the sesame oil flavor would get lost during cooking as I’ve always been told that sesame oil looses its flavor when heated. The sesame flavor didn’t seem to be front and center but more a slight accent. That makes these wings really versatile with any sauce. I ate them plain right out of the skillet and they were incredible. they would be great with buffalo sauce or anything. I’m also glad I cooked them for the full 20 mins. I almost took them out at 15 mins.
Thanks for your feedback, Marc. Glad you liked my recipe. Happy cooking!
real buffalo wings are not breaded. they are seasoned, and deep or pan fried at high heat. after cooking they are placed in a tupperware contaner with good lid, and tossed in a mixture of Franks hots sauce and butter. Thats it.
This is not a recipe for Buffalo wings.
Not sure what recipe James read!lol Anyway, I have many awesome oven fried wing recipes. Some start with a pan sear and finish in the oven. however, it’s 90 degrees here so my oven is not being turned on, I came across your recipe and I can’t wait to try it tonight!
Happy cooking! Hope you liked it.
I was skeptical, but after trying this recipe, I totally agree…BEST WINGS EVER!!! I didn’t have the luxury of time to marinate them long, so I marinated them for about 45 minutes on the kitchen counter, and the flavor was SO Intense! Can’t wait to try them again with a longer marinating time. The only thing is it wasn’t real easy to clean up the pan afterwards! But, that’s ok, totally worth it!
Followed the recipe to the T.
Marinated over night. My wings were delicious. We have a family rating.
Restaurant Worthy. It definitely was.
Happy to hear that you liked my recipe, Kathleen. This method works very well with other types of meat – chicken breasts, thighs, sausages, meatballs, etc.
This is a very tasteful and satisfying recipe that my family loves! I just kicked it up another notch by using Pompeian OlivExtra Premium, Mediterranean Blend that has Canola Oil, EVOO, Grapeseed Oil… So much exotic flavors, all in one and the color it made my chicken wings… PARFAITE😘😘😘 plus, I’m tossing them in Jim Bean’s All Natural, Gluten Free, Maple Bourbon BBQ Sauce… Must try!
2nd time making these use different seasoning but man the turn out great.
i ommited fresh garlic and just added a small shake of powdered garlic. I also used veg oil and olive oil in my fyer, no sesame oil. I didnt have lemon juice, so i used lime juice. I also added a heaping teaspoon of webers mesquit seasoning that had black pepper in it. the other secret i put in the mix was 2 charcole caps i opened n mixed in. Marinated 4o mins, then deep fried for 18 mins at 340. Man, this was the best ever wings I made! Thank you so much for this recipe! I will seriously covet this one!
You are very welcome. Your seasonings sound very good. Glad you enjoyed the wings.
I nervously tried making wings for the first time tonight and followed this recipe. I cooked them for 25 minutes just to make sure they were done, and they were the most tender, juicy wings we’ve ever eaten! My husband said they’re wayyyy better than Buffalo Wild Wings! I only had time to marinate them for about an hour, but they were AMAZING!
So happy to read about your success, Jessica. Bravo! Glad my post helped you. Thank you for taking time to post your feedback. I love reading my readers’ success stories.
You say brava when a woman impresses you. great recipe btw
Just tried it this afternoon. Let the chicken marinade for 5 hours and cooked it for 24 mins. It was da bomb!
Simple and DELICIOUS.
Love love love!!!!!! This receipe. Finally found a chicken that actually tells u how much oil to use. My goodness who knows what an inch of oil is when fying chicken. I cooked 20 mins . I turned 4 times 5 mins each time tuned out great. Thanks so much. Hope to see more of these easy receipts😊
You are very welcome, Mary and thank you for your feedback. There will definitely be more recipes so make sure to subscribe to not miss new recipes. All the best to you and your family!
loved this recipe will definitely be making again!
Thank you very much for this recipe! Chicken wings were a success.
Loving all the flavours and spices going on in this chicken marinade definitely looks delicious and something I would LOVE to eat.
i love fried chicken wings. thanks a lot for sharing your recipe.