The best sporting event of the year, March Madness, starts tomorrow. I didn’t exactly have a ton of time during SXSW to research my brackets, so I’m guessing more than ever this year. Which most likely means I’ll win.

Speaking of basketball, every time I think about Bball, it always reminds me of playing hours of NBA Jam as a kid. For those of you that weren’t cool enough to be obsessed with video games, NBA Jam was one of the best sports games ever made. If one of your players made three baskets in a row he would be “ON FIRE.” The ball would turn on fire when he touched it and he couldn’t miss. An example from Youtube for those interested.

So I named these wings “You’re On Fire” wings because when I first had one, I thought, “Holy Milkshakes my mouth is on fire!”

They’re probably the hottest thing I’ve ever made. Proceed with caution.

Orange Habanero Wings

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Author: Nick Evans
Servings: 15 Servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Chicken wings fried and tossed with a very spicy orange habanero sauce. Can you take the heat?


  • 30 chicken wings, technically 15 cut into two parts
  • 10 habanero peppers, 5-6 would be a reasonably spicy amount
  • 3 Cups orange juice
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons chili garlic sauce
  • ¼ Cup brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Corn starch for wings
  • Butter for tossing wings
  • Oil for frying


  • Add sauce ingredients to a blender.  For peppers, cut off stems but leave seeds.  Pulse until smooth.
  • Move sauce to a pan over medium-low heat and bring to a simmer.  Simmer until reduced to a light syrupy consistency, about 30 minutes.
  • Cut wings into two parts, discarding wing tips.  Coat lightly in corn starch.
  • Fry wings at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes until they are golden brown.  Work in batches.
  • Remove wings and let them drain on a paper towel.
  • Toss fried wings with a few tablespoons butter and some of the sauce, just enough to coat.
  • Serve with lots of celery, blue cheese, or ranch.


Serving: 2Wings | Calories: 257kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 318mg | Potassium: 281mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 304IU | Vitamin C: 35mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Appetizers, Snack Time
Cuisine: American

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @crunchtimekitchen

The sauce

Ok. So I changed a lot of things from the recipe that gave me the idea to make some wings with a habanero sauce. For starters, there’s no way I’m putting 30 habanero peppers in something. I chatted up Dan about it and he told me they were edible, but I had my doubts. So I decided to tone it down to 10 peppers. They were still way too spicy for Betsy who isn’t afraid of spicy food.

I was able to eat a plate with this sauce though. It was painful, but in a good way.

sauce ingredients
10 is more than enough.

To make the sauce, just toss all the ingredients in a blender and pulse it up. For the peppers, just cut off the stems. Leave the seeds and everything for the sauce. Be sure to hold your breath when you remove the blender lid. The fumes are pretty potent!

Add this mixture to a sauce pan and get it simmering over medium-low heat.

Keep in mind as you make this sauce that it’s at its spiciest right now. As you cook it, some of the heat comes out and also when it’s coated on wings, it’s distributed a bit.

And for those people that think this sauce is all about the heat, it actually has some really delicious flavors going on. The orange works great with the heat and soy sauce and stuff. It’s a killer sauce.

sauce blended
This’ll make your eyes water.

This will need to reduce down pretty substantially until it’s thick like a glaze. It’ll probably take 30-45 minutes to get to the right consistency.

This was mine about halfway through. Still needs more reducing though.

Keep going…

Once your sauce is simmering, you can focus on the chicken.

The Wings

If you wanted to, you could soak your wings in buttermilk the night before for a little extra flavor. I skipped that step on this particular day because I was in a hurry and hungry.

I do like to buy whole wings and cut them up myself though. They’re cheaper and it isn’t that hard. When you start with a full wing, you want to cut it into three parts. The small tip can be thrown away and the two other pieces are what you probably recognize as wings.

I winged it!

I’ve experimented with a lot of different coatings for wings over the years. The one thing that I definitely don’t like is really cakey, heavy wings. I like them to be crispy, but not like fried chicken.

One good way to get this consistency is to use corn starch to very lightly coat the wings. It absorbs the extra moisture on the wings and forms a very thin, light crust around them which fries up beautifully.

the secret
The secret to crispy wings.

Just a light dusting does the trick.

These guys are ready to go.

A light coating is all it takes.

Frying the wings

Set up your fry station and heat the oil to 350 degrees. Fry these guys in batches to make sure they cook evenly and the oil doesn’t drop in temp too much. I did three batches for my wings, with about 10-12 wings per batch.

Fry them for about 10 minutes or until they are golden brown.

After a some time in the fryer.

Tossing the wings

I have a little secret when I make wings. After they drain for a minute when they come out of the fryer, I toss them in a bowl with a tablespoon or two of melted butter. That makes them extra good and mixes with the sauce.

Once you’re wings are buttered, add a few tablespoons of the orange sauce, which should be reduced to a thick, almost syrupy consistency. You just need enough sauce to coat the wings.

Drizzle in some butter and sauce…

Then stir the wings up or toss them until they’re evenly coated with the sauce.

They should have a nice orange color and smell really good.

So good.

Serve these guys with lots of celery and ranch or blue cheese. You’ll need it. Trust me.

Lot’s of blue cheese is necessary….

So. These were spicy. But they were definitely edible. I ate a dozen and they made me sweat a bit. But they were some of the best wings I’ve had. The thing about them is that while they’re spicy they also have incredible flavor. The habaneros are actually a bit sweet and they mix perfectly with the acidity from the orange juice.

If you’re worried about the heat, you could use less peppers without a problem.

These are good though. Give them a shot if you’re a wing fan!