These 4-ingredient crock pot chicken wings are slow-cooked in the crockpot and then caramelized in the oven afterward to make the bbq sauce incredibly sticky and delicious!
Since we’re game day fanatics and love hosting parties, we made sure to keep this crockpot chicken wings recipe extra simple so that you can focus on your guests (and your frozen margaritas).
Use fresh or frozen chicken wings and slather them with bbq sauce. Then cook them in the slow cooker on high for 2 hours or low for 4 hours. Eat as is, or take the extra step to crisp them up in the oven or on the grill.
What do you need for this crockpot chicken wings recipe?
This crockpot chicken wings recipe requires just four ingredients: uncooked chicken wings (fresh or frozen), your favorite BBQ sauce, and salt and pepper to taste. The BBQ sauce is the star, infusing the wings with a flavor profile that can be spicy, smoky, sweet, or savory, depending on your preference.
Fresh or Frozen Wings?
First things first. Fresh or frozen wings? There are lots of options out there when it comes to chicken wings and we have some good and bad news for you:
Good news: You can buy either frozen or fresh chicken wings at the grocery store and either will work. Actually, we recommend buying them frozen because you’re more likely to find a drummies + wings combo frozen than fresh!
The other nice thing about buying them frozen is you’re more likely to be able to find the drummies and wings already separated than having to do it yourself, which is a mess. We know this from experience.
Bad news: if you buy frozen wings, we recommend thawing them before cooking them in the slow cooker. No worries, all you have to do is let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight and you’re ready to go!
The reason why we suggest thawing them first is to make sure you eliminate any kind of food borne illness from happening.
Ingredient Swaps and Variations
- Seasonings: in addition to salt and pepper, add more flavor to your wings with all-purpose chicken seasoning, chicken dry rub, taco seasoning
- BBQ Sauce: you can either use store-bought BBQ sauce or make your own at home. Toss the wings in the sauce to make sure everything is fully coated in BBQ Sauce. Don’t worry, you’ll use more sauce later.
- Other sauce ideas: not a fan of bbq? Use 1/2 cup of a different sauce such as teriyaki, firecracker sauce, buffalo, or honey garlic.
How long do you cook chicken wings in the slow cooker?
- high for 2 hours
- low for around 4
You know your slow cooker chicken wings are done cooking once they reach an internal temperature of 165ºF.
Your wings will be extremely moist once they’re done cooking, but don’t worry, we’ll teach you how to crisp them up a bit!
How to Serve Crockpot Chicken Wings
Want to eat your wings as-is? Since the chicken wings have reached an internal temperature of 165ºF (feel free to use a meat thermometer if you’re unsure!), they are safe to eat and ready to go.
Straight out of the crockpot they will be tender and moist.
Want to crisp them up a little bit and caramelize the bbq sauce? Remove slow cooker chicken wings from the crockpot using a slotted spoon and place them on a pan. Brush both sides of all the wings with more sauce. By brushing the wings with sauce before you cook them again, the BBQ sauce will caramelize and become super delish.
- Bake: Bake wings at 400ºF for 5-10 minutes, flipping halfway.
- Grill: Grill wings at 450 for 5 minutes, flipping halfway. <– grilling them is our preferred way because we love a little char.
- Broil: Broil on high for 2-5 minutes, flipping halfway.
How do I cook a lot of wings?
The best way to cook a lot of wings is actually in the slow cooker! Good news for you, you’re already on a recipe that cooks 3 lbs. of wings. Scroll down to the recipe card to learn how to do so!
What do I serve with chicken wings?
We love serving chicken wings with celery sticks and carrot sticks, and of course, dipping sauces like ranch or bleu cheese.
Are chicken wings bad for you?
Chicken wings get a bad wrap because they are classically breaded and fried. If you make them at home, like in the slow cooker, for example, they are much better for you! So, if you’re hoping to make a better-for-you wing, use this recipe!
Can I cook a lot of wings in the slow cooker?
Absolutely! This recipe can handle up to 3 lbs of wings.
Let the chicken cool completely before storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
To reheat: place on a microwave-safe plate and reheat in the microwave for 60-90 seconds.
Freezing Chicken Wings
Yes, you can freeze crock pot chicken wings. If you plan to freeze your chicken, we recommend freezing immediately after cooking in the slow cooker.
- Once fully cooked, let cool for 30 minutes.
- Then, transfer into a freezer-safe gallon-size bag and remove as much air as possible and seal closed.
- Freeze for up to 3 months.
Serve your crock pot chicken wings with your favorite dipping sauces such as ranch, blue cheese dressing, green goddess dressing, or Greek yogurt dressing. Accompany them with fresh veggies like celery and carrot sticks for a complete game day spread.
BBQ Crock Pot Chicken Wings
- 3 lbs. uncooked chicken wings fresh or frozen
- 1 cup BBQ Sauce divided (or more if desired)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Begin by prepping chicken wings. If frozen, thaw chicken wings in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight. Then, season uncooked wings with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Spray the bottom and sides of your slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray and place chicken wings on the bottom.
- Pour in 1/2 cup of bbq sauce and mix until chicken is fully coated
- Cover slow cooker and cook on high for around 2 hours or low for around 4 hours. You know your wings are done when they reach an internal temperature of 165ºF.
- Once fully, option to eat immediately. Or, we recommend caramelizing sauce and crisping them up a bit.
- To do so, remove chicken wings from slow cooker and place on a greased baking sheet. Brush on an additional 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce to both sides of the chicken wings.
- – Bake: Preheat oven to 400ºF. Bake chicken wings for 5-10 minutes, flipping halfway.– Broil: Preheat oven to high broil. Broil on high for 2-5 minutes (depending on how hot your oven gets), flipping halfway.– Grill: Preheat grill to 450ºF. Grill chicken wings over direct heat for around 5 minutes, flipping halfway.
- The goal for baking, broiling, or grilling your wings after is to create a caramelized coating of bbq sauce. This should also harden the skin a bit so it’s not so moist from the slow cooker.
- Let cool for 5 minutes and then eat with your favorite sauces.
Tips & Notes
- Nutrition information is for 8 servings and uses Annie’s Organic BBQ Sauce.
- As always, feel free to add more sauce or bake longer, if desired.
- We wanted to make a note that because you aren’t deep frying your chicken wings, they won’t get super crunchy like at a restaurant.
- If you want to crisp up your chicken wings after slow cooking: we found that the higher the heat, the more restaurant-like they will be. Remember, they just sat in a crockpot for 2 hours and are super moist!