Crock Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken Wings have been a potluck favorite in my family since the 70’s when my Mom stumbled upon a recipe which she adapted over the years. I remember them well and always noted that there were never any left at the end of any party.
Making your own sweet and sour sauce is easy and economical and starts with ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. Don’t be lured in by a jarred sauce – you’ve got this! All you need is some sugar, apple cider vinegar, ketchup, and a dash of soy sauce. Easy right? Ok – so let’s get to it.
If you like, you can add some pineapple chunks and some chopped bell pepper, but it is totally optional. If you add pineapple with juices, you will want to cut the amount of sugar in half. In the 70’s, a jar of maraschino cherries was also often added to the sauce. This gave the sauce a deeper red color. I’ve left out the maraschino cherries as they are not a family favorite.
Dusting the wings with cornstarch allows the sauce to thicken as the chicken cooks. However, due to the added water content in most chicken these days, I always find myself adjusting the sauce at the very end of cooking to thicken it up just a bit more. For serving: you can serve the wings as they are or you may choose to quickly broil them in the oven to brown them. I chose to brown them for photos but they are delicious without this step.
Crock Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken Wings
Yield 3 lbs
- 3 lb chicken wings
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- For the Sauce:
- 1 cup sugar [See Note]
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 can chunk pineapple [See Note], optional
- 1 bell pepper, seeded and cubed, optional
- Optional Garnishes:
- Sliced scallions
- black sesame seeds
- In a small saucepan, combine the first five ingredients. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until sugar is dissolved.
- Meanwhile, using a sharp knife, cut through the two wing joints; discard wing tips. Transfer wings to a 5-qt. slow cooker; add sugar mixture. Cover and cook on low until chicken juices run clear, 3 to 3-1/2 hours.
- Transfer wings to a serving dish; keep warm. Skim fat from cooking juices; transfer to a small saucepan. Bring liquid to a boil. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth. Gradually stir into pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until thickened, about 2 minutes. [See Note]
- Spoon thickened sauce over chicken. Serve with a slotted spoon.
1) if you use pineapple chunks with juice, decrease sugar to 1/2 cup. If the sauce is not sweet enough at the end you can always add more. 2). Pineapple and green bell pepper are optional. If you add pineapple, see note 1. 3). If you prefer, you can thicken the sauce with cornstarch instead of boiling it to thicken. Skim the fat off the top of the sauce with a serving spoon. In a small dish, add 1 -2 tbsp of cornstarch with 1-2 tbsp cold water and mix until combined. Add cornstarch mixture into the crock pot. Stirring to combine with the sauce. The sauce should thicken pretty qucikly, about 1-2 minutes.