Slow cooker wings with chipotle-pomegranate sauce

Sweet meets heat in this unique sauce

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This fun wing recipe gets its sweet nature from pomegranate, but be careful. The chipotle makes it just a bit sassy with a hint of heat.

Think you can't make amazing wings in a slow cooker? Think again. This sweet marinade makes the chicken fall-off-the-bone tender while the sticky chipotle-pomegranate sauce adds an extra kick of flavor.

Slow cooker wings with chipotle-pomegranate sauce recipe

Serves 2-4

Ingredients:

Wings:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for searing
  • 2 pounds chicken wings
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup pulp-free orange juice
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate molasses (make your own using the tip below!)
  • 2 tablespoons canned chipotles (canned in adobo sauce), finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons adobo sauce
  • 2 tablespoons red plum jelly
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon high-quality Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic or garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 pinch nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 pinch clove (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha hot sauce (optional)

Sauce:

  • 1/3 cup pomegranate molasses
  • 2 tablespoons red plum jelly
  • 2 tablespoons canned chipotle (in adobo sauce), finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 pinch cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 pinch nutmeg (optional)
  • 1 pinch clove (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons sriracha hot sauce (or to desired heat)

Directions:

  1. Place 2 to 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil into a large skillet and allow to come to medium to high heat.
  2. Sear wings on each side for 2-4 minutes. Let cool. You're not trying to cook them through, and instead are just putting a good sear on them for flavor and to prevent them from literally falling off the bone when you remove them from the slow cooker.
  3. Mix 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, water, orange juice, pomegranate molasses, chipotles, adobo sauce, jelly, vinegar, agave nectar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, cumin, garlic, and salt (and cinnamon, nutmeg and clove if desired) well. If you'd like a little extra heat, add some sriracha (the chipotle may make it too smoky and mask the fruitiness).
  4. Place the seared chicken wings in a sealable plastic bag with 1 cup of marinade and shake to coat. Place sealed bag in a glass or plastic container (to help prevent accidental spills) and refrigerate overnight (or at least 2-3 hours), turning halfway through to ensure the marinade gets to all sides. Refrigerate the remaining marinade mixture in a separate, airtight container until you're ready to use it.
  5. Remove the marinated wings, discarding the marinade liquid, and place the wings and the unused marinade into the slow cooker.
  6. Cook on high for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until chicken wings are cooked through and have reached your desired tenderness. Do not overcook.
  7. Meanwhile, make the basting sauce by mixing all sauce ingredients well. Add extra sriracha for more heat. Refrigerate until the wings are cooked.
  8. If you'd like crispier wings, preheat the oven to broil. Carefully remove the wings from the slow cooker, placing them on a platter if you want them to remain more tender and on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper if you'd like slightly crispier wings.
  9. Brush the wings generously with the basting sauce (anything left over can be used as a dipping sauce if desired).
  10. For crispy wings, broil in the oven for 3 to 5 minutes.

Quick tip: Make your own pomegranate molasses by boiling down (over medium to high heat) pomegranate juice, sugar and lemon juice (stirring constantly) until it's reduced by a quarter of its original volume (about an hour). Use 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup lemon juice per 4 cups of juice.

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Heather Barnett is a freelance writer and foodie whose work has been featured in blogs, websites, magazines, and TV and radio ads. She spends her free time relaxing with her soulmate, Keith; her dog, Mosby "The Fly Slayer;" and Felix the Fish. You can follow her on Twitter @HireHeather.

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