On Mother’s Day, my family surprised me with an Instant Pot and have been experimenting and loving this new toy sooo much! I can’t wait to share lots of tasty recipes with you (I’ve got a great list started!) that will have instructions for the Instant Pot or any electric pressure cooker as well as other methods in case you don’t own one. But you really should own one. (January 16, 2018-This recipe was revised, with improved technique, to the recipe you see here with updated photos.)
Since my Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken Wings are consistently one of the most popular recipes on my site I figured the first Instant Pot recipe I should give you is Instant Pot Chicken Wings. This recipe will be excellent for time-savings, however the method has to produce BBQ wings as good (I’m thinking better even) as my slow cooker recipe.
Dear friend, these Chicken Wings from your Instant Pot or pressure cooker just might become your go-to, last-minute appetizer recipe. Ten minutes cooking time, 30 minutes start to finish!
I sampled a few recipes for IP BBQ wings and most just dump wings, sauce, and water in the pressure cooker and go. That works for “okay” wings, but stick with me and do just two extra super easy steps that I recommend and your wings are sure to be the hit of any get together.
I sprinkle Cajun Spice Mix on the wings and cook before placing in the Instant Pot and save the sauce for when you’re broiling them in the oven. A nice combination is to use barbecue sauce, hot sauce (Frank’s Buffalo Wing Sauce is true Buffalo wing flavor), and melted butter. See printable recipe for sauce and butter combination options for Buffalo Wings vs. BBQ wings.
A must-do task I recommend for every chicken wing recipe I make is take the time to trim a lot of the skin off the chicken. This makes a healthier meal and tasting the sauce on the meat is even better.
Other than tossing some great seasoning on the wings and trimming the chicken, into the Instant Pot or pressure cooker they go with water. The wings should be on a trivet or steamer tray so the wings don’t sit in the water.
For me, the Instant Pot took about ten minutes to reach pressure before it started counting down the 5 minute cooking time. After the cook time is up on the pressure cooker, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes.
Placing the wings in a large bowl and then tossing with half the sauce gets a good coverage on them and is easier than brushing the sauce on each wing. Then arrange wings on a foil covered baking dish with a cooling rack on top. Broil until desired crispness is reached, 5 to 10 minutes on each side. After the wings are as crisp as you want them, place them back in the bowl and toss with the remaining sauce.
The wings are just as moist and tender on the inside as if you cooked them low and slow for hours. But instead, you cooked them in minutes.
I highly recommend you keep a few pounds of chicken wings in the freezer, a bottle of your favority wing and BBQ sauce, and either Cajun Seasoning Mix or Blackened Seasoning on hand. Then the next time you have to bring an appetizer to a party and the thought of planning, shopping, chopping and hoping for “just the right thing” recipe sounds exhausting, or you find yourself with a house full of hungry teenagers, your husband, girlfriends, or drop-ins (bless them)… You can quickly whip these up with no fuss, little mess, and little $$. Oh and let me make one more quick, important, recommendation. Buy the best-quality, least processed chicken wings you can afford. Skip the big, frozen-since-who-knows-when bag in the deep freeze. You won’t be sorry and it really makes a difference in the freshness of this recipe.
- 4 lbs. chicken wings trimmed of fat and separated (tips discarded)
- 2-3 tablespoons seasoned salt - like Cajun garlic powder, or any favorite seasoning mix
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 1/4 cup favorite barbecue sauce, see note regarding ratio of BBQ to hot sauce.
- 1/2 cup hot sauce like Frank's Wing Sauce (if don't want heat, then just use 1 cup bbq sauce)
- 1/4 cup melted butter, if making Buffalo wing sauce (see step 13 for when to use the butter)
- After the chicken wings have been trimmed and separated (if necessary), pat dry and place in a medium bowl.
- Sprinkle seasoned salt or garlic powder over wings and toss until covered.
- Place a trivet in the Instant Pot.
Place the seasoned wings in Instant Pot or other tabletop electric pressure cooker, on the trivet.
Pour 1/2 cup cold water around the wings in the pot. (see recipe notes about using 1/2 cup water vs. 1 cup)
For Instant Pot - Secure and lock the lid of the Instant Pot and turn the pressure to SEALING function. Select MANUAL operation and the pressure should automatically show as HIGH. Using the + or - button, select 5 minutes pressure cooking time. The Instant Pot will indicate as ON while the pressure is being built to the appropriate level, typically taking about 10 minutes for pressure to rise. Indicator will switch to 5 once ready and will count down from there.
- Meanwhile, set your oven on Broil HIGH and place the oven rack one above center position. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a cooling rack on top of the foil-lined sheet. Spray the cooling rack with nonstick cooking spray. Set the sheet aside while the wings cook in pressure cooker.
Once the wings have finished cooking in the pressure cooker, let pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then turn the knob to the Venting position to release any additional steam. Remove lid.
Place the wings in a large bowl and pour half of the sauce over the wings. Using a large spoon, toss the wings until all are covered with sauce.
Arrange the wings on the wire rack and place in oven. Vent door and broil on each side until desired crispness is reached, 5 to 10 minutes. (You may want to rotate the sheet 1/2 way when turning the wings on second side)
Remove wings from oven when crisp as you'd like. Place wings back in the bowl, pour remaining sauce over the wings, toss to coat.
- Serve immediately with blue cheese dip, ranch dip, or as is. Accompany with carrot sticks, celery sticks, red pepper slices, etc. if desired.
For Buffalo style flavor: Use 1/2 cup hot sauce, 1/4 cup melted butter (1/2 stick), and 1/4 cup BBQ sauce. The BBQ sauce in this mixture is optional but it adds a nice tang that isn't too hot. Omit the BBQ sauce and increase hot sauce to 3/4 cup if you want fully classic Buffalo wing flavor and more heat.
For BBQ style flavor: Use either 1 cup BBQ sauce, or for a little more kick, mix 3/4 cup BBQ sauce with 1/4 cup hot sauce.
- Your Instant Pot manual suggests 1 cup of liquid be added to reach pressure but several for this recipe, that amount can make the wings near the bottom of the pot a little "soggy". 1/2 cup has yielded perfect wings many times over so make this adjustment with confidence. You may still use 1 cup if you feel the need.