These paleo sticky Asian chicken wings are crispy, sweet, spicy, and perfect for game day. With this simple recipe, you’ll get a big batch of healthy finger-licking sticky wings out of your oven or air fryer—and they’re gluten-free and Whole30-compatible to boot!

An overhead shot of a bowl of Asian chicken wings. There's a red banner at the bottom that says they are paleo, Whole30, and gluten-free. There is also a yellow badge that says includes air fryer instructions.

Baking powder is the secret to crispy chicken wings

A few years ago, I learned the secret to oven-baked crispy chicken wings: pat them dry with paper towels before tossing the wings in a combination of baking powder and salt prior to baking. No deep frying necessary! But how does baking powder add crispness?

According to the smarties at Cook’s Illustrated:

“Baking powder is composed of an acid and an alkali and acts like a salt: The salt helps draw moisture to the surface of the poultry skin, where it can evaporate. (Adding table salt to the baking powder, which we do in this recipe, enhances this effect.) The acid helps break down proteins within the skin, and the alkali accelerates the browning process, meaning that the skin can crisp more quickly.”

Ooh—food science at work!

How to Make a paleo, grain-free baking powder

If you’re avoiding grains ’cause you’re doing a Whole30 or following a paleo lifestyle, you’re probably avoiding store-bought baking powder because it contains cornstarch. Luckily, you can make grain-free baking powder at home by mixing together cream of tartar, baking soda, and arrowroot or tapioca starch.

Go ahead and mix up a batch using this magic ratio:

2 parts cream of tartar : 1 part baking soda : 1 part arrowroot or tapioca starch

Bake the wings on a wire rack!

Another way to boost the crispiness of your oven wings is to place them on a stainless steel wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet. Longtime Nomsters know that I’ve been telling everyone to do this for years with all my other chicken recipes—and for good reason: this technique hasn’t failed me yet. Just make sure you don’t crowd the wings and remember to soak the racks in hot soapy water afterwards to make clean-up easier!

Two trays of golden brown crispy oven baked chicken wings on the counter.

How to make Whole30-compatible sticky Asian chicken wings

I like to use honey as the sweetener in the hot and sweet sauce, but you can substitute 100% fruit juice-sweetened jam if you’re doing a Whole30. I buy St. Dalfour brand (it’s not a sponsor—I just like the stuff, and it’s pretty widely available), and its plum, apricot, and peach spreads work equally well in this recipe—the flavor can’t be beat!

Three jars of St. Dalfour Whole30-friendly jam. There is a plum, apricot, and peach jam bottles.

Also, your sriracha need to be Whole30-compatible but lucky for you, I’ve got a Whole30 Sriracha recipe. (No sriracha? Tabasco sauce also works!)

Air fryer instructions

Yes, my friends, you can certainly cook these sticky wings in an air fryer. Place the wings in a single layer in the air fryer basket and cook ’em at 400°F for 18 to 20 minutes, flipping the wings over at the halfway mark. Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may need to cook this in several batches.

Ingredients

For the wings

  • Chicken wings, cut into drumettes and flats
  • Cream of tartar
  • Baking soda
  • Arrowroot starch or tapioca starch
  • Diamond Crystal kosher salt

For the sauce

  • Coconut aminos: I use this sauce in place of soy sauce.
  • Honey or peach, plum, or apricot jam sweetened only with fruit juice (for Whole30)
  • Sriracha
  • Garlic cloves
  • Arrowroot starch or tapioca starch (optional)

For the garnish

  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Sliced green onions

How to make Asian chicken wings

Heat the oven to 400°F on convection mode or 425°F on standard mode with a rack in the upper middle position and another in the lower middle position.

A closeup shot of a wall oven display that shows 400 F as the temperature.

In a small bowl, mix together cream of tartar, kosher salt, baking soda, and arrowroot starch to make grain-free and paleo baking powder.

Adding the ingredients for grain-free and paleo baking powder in a small bowl.

Pat the wings dry with a paper towel and place them in a large bowl. Pour the flour mixture on top and toss well to combine.

Tossing chicken wings in grain-free paleo baking powder with a pair of tongs.

Arrange the chicken wings on two greased wire racks set in two rimmed baking sheets.

Arranging chicken wings in a single layer on wire racks in two rimmed baking sheets .

Place the tray of wings on each rack in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

An open oven with chicken wings on two different racks.

Then, flip each chicken wing over and swap the top tray with the bottom one.

Someone using tongs to flip the chicken wings before rotating the trays in the oven.

Bake for another 20 to 25 minutes or until the skin is crisp and golden. You may need to switch the pans again if the top one is browning too quickly.

An open oven that shows the chicken wings are golden brown and ready to eat.

While the wings are baking, make the sauce! Add the coconut aminos, honey, sriracha, and minced garlic to a small saucepan and cook on high heat until boiling.

Adding coconut aminos, honey, and sriracha to a small saucepan to make the sauce for the Asian Sticky Wings.

Lower the heat to simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes or until slightly thickened and reduced.

An overhead shot of simmering sauce in a small saucepan.

Want a thicker sauce? Add an arrowroot starch slurry! Mix a teaspoon of arrowroot starch with an equal amount of water in a small bowl to make a slurry.

A small glass bowl filled with arrowroot and water and stirred with a spoon.

Stir the slurry into the sauce until thickened. Then, remove the saucepan from the heat.

Pouring arrowroot slurry into the Whole30 and paleo asian sauce for sticky wings.

Transfer the sauce to a large mixing bowl and add the crispy baked wings.

A saucepan is pouring sauce into a metal mixing bowl and adding crispy chicken wings in the bowl.

Toss the wings with the sauce.

Someone tossing crispy oven chicken wings in sticky sauce with a maroon spatula.

Sprinkle on some toasted sesame seeds and green onions and serve immediately!

An overhead shot of a bowl filled with Asian Sticky Wings topped with sesame seeds and sliced scallions.

How to save leftovers

Leftover Asian chicken wings can be stored in a sealed airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. They won’t be as crispy when you reheat them but they’ll still be delicious!


Looking for more recipe ideas? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes in my cookbooks, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2013), Ready or Not! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2017), and Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2022).


PRINTER-FRIENDLY RECIPE CARD

Sticky Asian Chicken Wings (Paleo, Whole30, Gluten Free)

4.75 from 31 votes
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time55 minutes
Servings 8
These paleo Asian Chicken Wings are crispy, sweet, spicy, and perfect for game day. With this simple recipe, you’ll get a big batch of healthy finger-licking sticky wings out of your oven or air fryer—and they’re gluten-free and Whole30-friendly to boot!

Ingredients  

For the wings

For the sauce

  • ½ cup coconut aminos
  • 2 tablespoons honey or 3 tablespoons peach, plum, or apricot jam sweetened only with fruit juice (for Whole30)
  • 1 tablespoon Whole30 Sriracha or Tabasco sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon arrowroot starch or tapioca starch (optional)

For the garnish

  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 scallion thinly sliced on the bias

Instructions 

  • Heat the oven to 400°F on convection mode or 425°F on standard mode with a rack in the upper middle position and another in the lower middle position.
  • In a small bowl, mix together cream of tartar, kosher salt, baking soda, and arrowroot starch to make grain-free and paleo baking powder.
  • Pat the wings dry with a paper towel and place them in a large bowl. Pour the flour mixture on top and toss well to combine.
  • Arrange the chicken wings on two greased wire racks set in two rimmed baking sheets.
  • Place the tray of wings on each rack in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  • Then, flip each chicken wing over and swap the top tray with the bottom one.
  • Bake for another 20 to 25 minutes or until the skin is crisp and golden. You may need to switch the pans again if the top one is browning too quickly.
  • While the wings are baking, make the sauce! Add the coconut aminos, honey, sriracha, and minced garlic to a small saucepan and cook on high heat until boiling.
  • Lower the heat to simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes or until slightly thickened and reduced.
  • Want a thicker sauce? Add an arrowroot starch slurry! Mix a teaspoon of arrowroot starch with an equal amount of water in a small bowl to make a slurry. Stir the slurry into the sauce until thickened. Then, remove the saucepan from the heat.
  • Transfer the sauce to a large mixing bowl and add the crispy baked wings. Toss the wings with the sauce.
  • Top with sesame seeds and scallions and serve immediately!

Video

Notes

Air Fryer Instructions:
Place the wings in a single layer in the air fryer basket and cook ’em at 400°F for 18 to 20 minutes, flipping the wings over at the halfway mark. Depending on the size of your air fryer, you may need to cook this in several batches.
Whole30 version:
For the sauce, use Whole30-compatible jam (100% fruit juice sweetened) in place of honey and use Whole30-compatible sriracha or Tabasco sauce.

Nutrition

Calories: 326kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 21g | Fiber: 1g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this? Leave a comment below!

About Michelle Tam

Hello! My name is Michelle Tam, and I love to eat. I think about food all the time. It borders on obsession. I’ve always loved the sights and smells of the kitchen. My mother was (and is) an excellent cook, and as a kid, I was her little shadow as she prepared supper each night. From her, I gained a deep, abiding love for magically transforming pantry items into mouth-watering family meals.

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35 Comments

  1. Looked delish! How could I modify of using drumsticks instead of wings? Assuming upping the cooking time – any other tips? I have an excess of drumsticks 😂

  2. 5 stars
    We made these for the Super Bowl last winter and loved them. Today was the first day it actually felt like fall here in NYC, so we made a roast duck and topped it with this sauce. Delicious!

    1. They’ll get a little chewy if you don’t serve them right away. Maybe try my Magic Wings recipe or Chinese chicken wings instead?

  3. 5 stars
    These are my go-to wings in the air fryer. I’m not a true Paleo follower, so I modified to using regular baking powder, allulose liquid for the honey (reduce the sugar), and I grated in some ginger. Delicious!

  4. 5 stars
    Yum! These were awesome! I left them on the racks after I tossed them in the baking soda/salt/cream of tartar/arrowroot to dry uncovered for a few additional hours in the fridge and they baked up super crispy. I think adding the arrowroot to the sauce to make it thick and sticky is key so the sauce sticks to the wings. Used Thrive’s apricot jam that has no added sugar. My family gave them an enthusiastic two thumbs up!!!

  5. 5 stars
    My husband cooked these for dinner tonight and they were sooooo good! The sauce was sticky, savory, and delicious (we used fruit juice sweetened apricot jam), and the texture of the wings was perfect! This recipe is a keeper, and the technique would work well with any wing sauce.