Carla Hall’s Root Beer Glazed Chicken Wings

Yield: 6 servings


  • 3 pounds chicken wings
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, mixed with 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 cup Root Beer Glaze (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a half-sheet pan with parchment paper and fit a wire rack into the pan. Place the chicken wings in a large bowl and drizzle with the olive oil; massage the olive oil into the meat, then toss with salt and orange zest mixture. Arrange in a single layer on the prepared rack and roast in the oven about 30 minutes, until the skin is taut and the meat is par-cooked.

Transfer the wings to the parchment paper-lined pan and pour the glaze over the wings, tossing to coat evenly. Arrange the wings in a single layer.

Roast the wings for 30 minutes, turning them over and spooning the glaze over them every 10 minutes, until the wings are glazed and caramelized. Using tongs, transfer the wings to a serving platter and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Root Beer Glaze

Yield: about 2 cups

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 medium habanero pepper, seeded and minced (reserve some seeds)
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated on a microplane
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated on a microplane
  • 2 cups root beer
  • 1/2 cup date syrup
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons cracked black pepper

Heat the vegetable oil in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat, then add the cinnamon, cocoa, smoked paprika, and ancho chile powder and toast, stirring for 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the habanero, garlic, and ginger and stir for another minute until fragrant, then add remaining ingredients and stir well to combine. Bring just to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, until slightly thickened. Using an immersion blender, purée until completely smooth (alternatively, transfer to a blender carafe and blend until smooth). If the mixture is overly thick, you can thin it with a little water, 1/4 cup at a time. If you want to amp up the heat, add some of the reserved habanero seeds to the mixture before puréeing.

Root Beer Glazed Poppables

Yield: 5 servings

  • 1 5-ounce bag Lay’s Poppables Sea Salt Potato Snacks
  • 3/4 cup Root Beer Glaze (recipe above)

Preheat an air fryer to 400°F. Toss the Poppables with the root beer glaze in a large mixing bowl  until coated. Spread the coated chips in an even layer in the basket of the air fryer and bake for 1-2 minutes, until the glaze is set. Remove from air fryer and serve immediately!


Photo by: Kristen Hartke