These Honey BBQ Wings are coated in the best citrusy sauce you’ve ever had! Each wing is crisp on the outside, tender in the middle, and sinfully delicious all over! You can air fry, bake or grill these, and they come out perfect every time!
Disclosure: I partnered with Florida’s Natural for this BBQ Wings recipe post, but all opinions expressed here are my own. I am grateful for authentic partnerships like this.
Every summer, I obsess over barbecued chicken. As long as the grill is hot, there’s most likely some kind of marinated poultry sizzling away on it. Growing up, my daddy would throw wings on the grill on Summer Sunday afternoons. We’d sit out and munch, giggling and sipping on sweet tea: it was my personal heaven.
Not much has changed since then. There is simply nothing and no one that will ever get between me and my wings! With summer in full swing, I’m deep into my grilling obsession, and I’m slinging wings just about every other night. What kind of wings you ask? These Orange Honey BBQ Wings of course! Florida’s Natural orange juice takes these over the top, offering such a perfect zesty flavor to this recipe. These juicy and tender wings are tossed in a slightly sweet, perfectly spiced citrus glaze in this epic grilling season recipe.
So, grab a pair of tongs and some wings because it’s time to grill y’all!
Perks and Highlights of these Honey BBQ Wings
Cuisine Inspiration: American with a Citrusy Spark
Primary Cooking Method: Baking/Frying
Dietary Info: Gluten-Optional, Meat Lover’s Dream
Key Flavor: Smoky BBQ sweetness balanced with an invigorating orange zest
Skill Level: Easy (Perfect for kitchen newbies and seasoned chefs alike!)
- Not Just a Wing Thing: These aren’t your run-of-the-mill wings. They’re a backyard BBQ hero with a zesty personality, thanks to that citrusy sparkle!
- Double-Duty Deliciousness: Why choose between honey BBQ and orange chicken when you can unite them in mouthwatering matrimony? The harmonious balance will have everyone singing your praises.
- Game Day Go-To: Get ready to be the MVP of any game day, gathering, or casual Tuesday night. These wings don’t discriminate; they bring the flavor any day of the week!
- Kid-Approved: Sweet, tangy, and fun to eat! These wings are a surefire hit with the little ones, making mealtime a breeze.
- Easy Peasy: Don’t let the explosive flavor profile fool you; these bad boys are simple to whip up, making them perfect for busy bees who don’t want to compromise on taste.
BBQ Wings Seasoning Blend
Since the wings will be coated in a bold sauce, keeping the seasoning simple and to a minimum is important. Seasoning tenderizes the meat and creates a base flavor for the sauce to build off of.
Salt and Black Pepper- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper will always be my go-to choice. Feel free to add more to taste.
Garlic and Onion Powder- Both spices are pungent yet sweet, and offer tons of roasted garlic and onion-ey flavor.
Cayenne Pepper- A little heat never hurts anybody, am I right? Add as much or as little cayenne as you’d like!
Baking Powder- This may seem a bit odd, but baking powder simply helps this skin to get nice and crispy.
Honey BBQ Sauce Ingredients
Oh man, how do I even begin to describe to you how good this sauce is? Citrusy, buttery, smokey, sweet, peppery, and downright devilish, this sauce is iconic. Y’all, I’m smothering everything from pan-fried tofu to steak in this deliciousness!
Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
Orange Juice is the star ingredient in this recipe! Squeezed from fresh oranges, grown right in the Sunshine State, Florida Natural’s is the best you can buy. This sweet, vibrant juice is 100% premium, 100% Florida and 100% delicious. It truly takes this recipe to another level.
Salted Butter creates a smooth, creamy base for the sauce. Unsalted butter can be used, just add a pinch of salt.
Garlic adds warmth and fragrance to the mix. Be sure to finely mince the cloves to avoid large chunks throughout the sauce.
BBQ Sauce will determine the overall taste and texture of your sauce. I recommend buying something thick and flavorful. Lean into your own preferences with this one!
Orange Blossom Honey has a sweet, mild flavor, and a light fruity taste. The citrus notes in this variety of honey compliment the orange juice perfectly.
Light Brown Sugar adds a caramel-like flavor to the sauce. The molasses is key! It also aids in achieving that sticky texture needed to coat the wings.
Cayenne Pepper is added to provide a little extra heat. If you’re not hip to it, replace it with smoked paprika or omit it completely.
How to Make Honey BBQ Wings
- SEASON THE WINGS- Start by patting dry 2 pounds of chicken wing dings. Place the wings in a large bowl, spoon in the baking powder, and toss to fully coat. In a smaller bowl, combine the salt and pepper, garlic and onion powder, and cayenne pepper. Sprinkle half of the seasoning mix onto the chicken, toss to coat, and repeat with the second half.
- GRILL, BAKE OR AIR FRY- This recipe includes instructions on how to grill, bake, or air fry these wings. Each method is simple, straightforward, and foolproof. Let me know in the comments below which one is your favorite!
- PREPARE THE SAUCE- The base of this sauce begins with garlic cooked in butter over medium heat. BBQ sauce, honey, orange juice, brown sugar, and cayenne pepper are added to the saucepan, then everything gets whisked together to combine. Bring the sauce to a simmer, then lower the heat and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Make sure to continuously whisk the sauce.
- TOSS IN THE SAUCE- Once the chicken wings have finished baking, air frying, or grilling, transfer them to a large bowl and pour the Orange Honey BBQ sauce on top. Gently toss to combine, then transfer again to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. You can also try this Cherry Chipotle Sauce to switch things up too.
- BAKE AND SERVE- To get that sticky, caramelized coating, we have to cook the wings for a second time. Either bake or air fry the wings at 400 degrees for 7-8 minutes. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes and enjoy!
Storage and Reheating
If stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, leftover chicken wings will last for up to 4 days. Just be sure to allow the wings to come to room temperature before tucking them away.
To reheat leftover chicken wings, first remove them from the fridge and allow them to come to room temperature (about 15-20 minutes is good). Place the wings in your air fryer, making sure there is enough space in between each piece so they will evenly reheat. Set the temperature to 400 degrees, reheat for 5-10 minutes, and remove wings from the basket. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then enjoy!
Alternatively, chicken wings can be reheated in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, spread your wings on a baking sheet in a single layer, and reheat for 10-20 minutes.
Best Chicken Wings
There’s no occasion that can’t be made a little better with a few (dozen) wings! Try out a few of my wildest wing recipes:
- The Best Buffalo Wings
- Southern Baked Chicken
- Baked Turkey Wings
- Honey Garlic Jerk Wings
- Lemon Pepper Wings
- Mango Jerk Wings
Orange Honey BBQ Wings
For the Seasoning Blend
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 1/2 lbs party chicken wing dings they should be disjointed with tips removed
- 2 tsp baking powder
For the Orange Honey BBQ Sauce
- 2 tsp salted butter
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1 cup fave thick bbq sauce
- 1/2 cup orange blossom honey
- 1/4 cup Florida's Natural Orange Juice, No Pulp
- 2 tbsp light brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
For the Chicken Wings
- In a small bowl, whisk together salt, black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne until combined.
- In a large bowl, pat dry chicken wings with a paper towel then sprinkle with baking powder to make sure they stay dry.
- Then sprinkle on seasoning mix in two intervals until chicken is thoroughly coated.
- Line all the wings onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 425°F (220°C) for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the wings and flip them to the other side. Return to the oven and bake for another 25 minutes. While wings are baking, prepare the Honey BBQ Sauce.
For Air Frying
- Set your air fryer temperature to 400 degrees. Spray rack using a cooking oil spray and arrange chicken wings evenly on the rack. Make sure you don’t overcrowd the wings so they can cook evenly.
- Allow wings to cook for 15-17 mins making sure to flip halfway. They should be pretty much done.
- Oil your grill rack, preheat to medium heat (about 350) and grill your wings for about 12 minutes. Turn your wings occasionally to help slowly render the fat and cook the flesh without burning.
- Place the wings on direct heat to get charred marks if desired when they are close to being done.
For the Honey BBQ Sauce
- Add butter to a medium sized pot over medium heat until it melts then add garlic and cook until fragrant for about 30 seconds.
- Next add bbq sauce, honey, Florida’s Natural Orange Juice, brown sugar and cayenne pepper.
- Allow the sauce to simmer then decrease the heat to a low and continue stirring allowing the flavors to come together, for about another 10 minutes.
To Assemble Wings
- When the wings have finished baking, air frying or grilling, place them all into a large bowl. Pour the Orange Honey BBQ Sauce over the wings, then toss the wings to completely coat.
- Now return the wings to an oven or air fryer to get that sauce super sticky. Add them to a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for about 7-8 minutes on 400 degrees or in the air fryer at 400 degrees. The sauce should be sticky, caramelized and bubbly.