In America, we’re blessed with a truly impressive selection of great drinking food, from the best pizza in America to the best burgers in America to the best BBQ restaurants in America. While all these classic dishes go down easy alongside a cold ale, the undisputed king of munchies is certainly the humble chicken wing. From a spicy General Tso variety to a luscious stuffed version, these are the most delicious chicken wings in America.
Best chicken wings in America
Los Angeles is home to the best Thai food in America, and Night + Market is easily one of the best Thai restaurants in LA. Chef/owner Kris Yenbamroong serves a menu like none other in town, inspired equally by the night-market street foods of Bangkok and the rustic hillbilly cooking of rural northern Thailand, where he still has distant relatives. Both here and at the Silver Lake location of Night + Market Song, Yenbamroong’s “party wings” are a surefire win, meaty and tossed in a smoky, spicy sauce.
This no-frills Newton sports pub is consistently packed with a varied crowd, spanning ages, styles and drink orders. What most visitors have in common, though, is their preferred order from the pub’s limited menu: the wings. In a city packed with wings-frying bars, Buff’s stands out, consistently taking top honors from local publications for its juicy, perfectly seasoned specimens. Served unfussily and classically alongside blue cheese dressing and some celery spears, the wings are available tossed with a variety of sauces, of which our favorite is the sweet-spicy honey hot.
Twin Texpats Justin and Jonathan Fox helm this Austin-by-way-of-Atlanta restaurant near downtown’s Little Five Points. The freewheeling menu at Fox Bros. culls from the entire American barbecue diaspora: think chicken-fried pork ribs, Tater-Tots covered in brisket chili or Brunswick stew and pulled-pork sandwiches accompanied by crispy fried okra. Smoked chicken wings are a crowd-pleaser, juicy and kissed by hardwood flames.
Andy Ricker, raised on ski-town grub in Vermont, flipped for Thai food years back, as a rudderless vagabond wandering across Southeast Asia (working on boats in the Pacific). His immersion started in Chiang Mai, where great local cooks took him under their wings. His interpretation of their flavors and techniques pays off big time in this Columbia Waterfront favorite’s, well, wings. Fish-sauced, spicy, sticky and finger-licking in the extreme, they’re the top sellers at all six of Ricker’s restaurant locations around the country.
This no-frills K-Town spot is an LA favorite for crisp, greaseless wings in a lively atmosphere and for a fair price. The double-fried wings come brushed with a choice of soy garlic, hot and sweet or honey glazes, and each option is as addictive as the next. We only wish the spot served beer: grab your wings to go if the suds craving hits.
This Union Square Thai eatery delivers on big, bold flavors with aromatic chiles, lime leaves and soy threading through the focused menu. The restaurant’s Pretty Hot Wings more than live up to their name, thrumming with a sweet-hot tamarind-sriracha glaze and juicy with a savory fish sauce and garlic marinade.
The Miami outpost of this Philly favorite specializes in fried doughnuts and chicken—both served hot, crispy and made to order. What sets this doughnut place apart from the others is its menu of twice-fried chicken, which is available by the piece or in sandwich form. The quick-to-sell-out wings are addictive, available tossed in all sorts of seasonings (za'atar, coconut curry) or glazes (honey ginger, chili garlic).
Since 2003, this come-as-you-are wing joint has been offering live music, cold house-brewed suds and free-range chicken wings fried ‘til golden and crispy. Choose from a variety of sauces ranging from Jamaican jerk to bourbon chipotle, or call your tastebuds to arms with the El Jefe challenge: eat 15 of these insanely hot wings in three minutes, and you’ll win an “El Jefe survivor” T-shirt. Buyer beware: you have to sign a waiver before participating.
The melting pot of Los Angeles may have birthed the idea of Korean tacos, but Austin's first tortilla-wrapped kimchi came courtesy of Chi’lantro, who has grown into give brick-and-mortar locations with expanded menus since its first trailer launched back in 2009. The mini-chain’s Korean fried chicken wings are among the city’s best: perfectly breaded, faultlessly crisp and available tossed in a variety of sweet-spicy sauces.
This tiny storefront in the Lower Haight narrows its focus like a laser beam onto its exceptionally prepared wings: available tossed with a variety of sauces and rubs, the house specialty is always juicy and well-seasoned. We’re partial to the titular Wing Wing sauce, a sticky soy glaze enlivened by ginger and ponzu.
This tiny chicken joint in Lakeview is constantly packed, and for good reason. The wings are fresh, of good quality and come slathered in three different sauces: a sticky barbecue, a hot sauce–laced Buffalo and a sesame-soy glaze dubbed “Seoul Sassy.” You can’t go wrong with your sauce choice: even unadorned, the chicken stands out for its juicy meat and crunchy black pepper–dotted crust.
In a narrow alleyway off of 13th Street in the Gayborhood lies this gem that’s just loaded with character. You’ll notice that as soon as you walk in the door, as you look over the dimly lit dining room that’s decorated with vintage artwork, frilly lamps and even taxidermied fish. Grab a table for dinner or sit around the bar for a selection of beer, wine and cocktails. The food menu features upscale bar fare, of which the craveable chicken wings are our favorite beer-friendly choice.
Breaded wings at Nate’s Wings and Waffles in Seattle, WA
Choice is the name of the game when it comes to this Central District wings-’n’-waffles joint: opt for your bird naked or breaded, and select from seven Asian-inflected sauces. You can’t go wrong with any of these options, but we’re partial to the golden-brown breaded wings tossed with either tangy honey sweet chili or fragrant coconut-jalapeño-lime.
This friendly BBQ-and-bluegrass joint has been an Austin favorite since 1988. Its crowd-pleasing, reasonably priced plates run the gamut from brisket sandwiches to catfish po’boys, but you’ll particularly love to chow down on Green Mesquite’s exceptional smoked wings. Kissed by hardwood and incredibly juicy, they’re dangerously easy to scarf down by the dozen.
Amid the swank food sanctums sprouting around Park Avenue South, this classic tavern remains a shrine to unchanging values. Most old-time Old-Towners go for the much-praised burger, which we found in need of a little salt. Better to opt for the damn good buffalo wings, spicy and served in the classic fashion with rich blue cheese dressing and cooling celery sticks.
Deboned, stuffed chicken wings are a classic Vietnamese preparation, one that was introduced to famous NOLA chef Emeril Lagasse by Miss Hay, one of his longtime cooks. She still prepares them daily at this French Quarter tavern: stuffed with a moist, fragrant mix of ground pork, wood ear mushrooms and fish sauce, the baked-then-fried wings are served with sweet hoisin and a showering of chopped peanuts.
Plenty of celebrity chefs have staked a claim in Washington in recent years, but few have done it as well as Wolfgang Puck. The Source, located adjacent to the Newseum, feels less like an absentee-chef outpost and more like a vibrant part of the city. A fine dining menu is served in the upstairs dining room, but we like to hang out in the downstairs lounge, sip a cocktail and graze the menu of Chinese snack foods. Of these, the General Tso’s chicken wings are a standout: glossy with s sweet soy glaze, they’re tossed with fiery wok-fried chiles and plenty of cooling cilantro.
The Asian night market–inspired menu at this West Town favorite feels overwhelming at first. There are about two-dozen dishes, many of which require peppering your server with questions. Once you’ve ordered, the stress of dining at Mott St. is over and a parade of dishes starts to arrive. Make sure it includes the Everything Wings, which arrive extra-crispy, glazed with sweet soy and tossed with sesame seeds, poppy seeds and fried shallots.
Sports Grill has seven outposts in South Florida, and each is exactly as advertised: a spot to kick back and enjoy the game. Pick your balling poison, whichever one of Miami’s professional sports franchises, and they’ll be playing on Sports Grill screens. During Monday Night Football, feel like a billionaire with the 65 cent wing special, 4pm until closing. The classic bar-style wings are available tossed in a number of zesty sauces, from BBQ to teriyaki to an Italian-style garlic.
This spacious, casual tavern places an emphasis on suds, offering 20 craft beers on tap and a selection of 100 bottled beers. It’s no wonder, then, that the tasty food menu is long on excellent drinking snacks ranging from chicharrones with chile aioli to warm pretzels bites served with a four-cheese dipping sauce. Wings-lovers come from all over Denver to dig into the exemplary garlic chile variety on offer here: crispy and juicy, they’re tossed in a finger-lickin’ garlic chile glaze and served with a zingy cilantro ranch dipping sauce.