Sweet and Tart Cranberry BBQ Chicken Wings (Baked)

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Cranberry BBQ Chicken Wings are like nothing you’ve ever had. The sweet tang of the barbecue sauce married with tart cranberry makes for a tastebud tantalizing flavor explosion.

Now, you’re probably thinking…cranberry and BBQ? Does that really work? I’m here to tell you it does.

If you can’t make Cranberry BBQ Chicken Wings now, pin them to make later.

A platter of cranberry bbq chicken wings.

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Why You’ll Love This Recipe

There are so many reasons to love these oven-baked barbecue chicken wings.

  • They are oven baked, not fried.
  • They are tangy and sweet.
  • Perfect as a meal or appetizer.
  • Make them for game day and watch them disappear.
  • It’s easy to adjust the recipe for more or fewer servings.

Ingredients for Cranberry BBQ Chicken Wings

With the exception of the wings, you could possibly have all you need on hand to make this recipe. 

  • Chicken Wings
  • Barbecue Sauce (I use Kraft, use your favorite)
  • Jellied Cranberry Sauce (not whole berry)
  • Onion
Cranberry onion sauce in a saucepan with a green spatula on the side.

Tips and Tricks for Making the Marinade for Cranberry BBQ Wings

Start with putting the jellied cranberry sauce for these chicken wings in a large bowl. The bowl needs to be large enough to hold all of the wings. Do not use whole-berry sauce. You will not get the same results.

Add the barbecue sauce to the bowl. Use your favorite barbecue sauce. We like Kraft and it’s all I use. I do suggest a simple flavor, not honey or overly spicy because the flavors may not compliment the cranberry sauce. 

Using a whisk, break up the cranberry sauce and whisk together with the barbecue sauce to combine.

You want a larger dice on the onion. Why? Because you’ll get some of those bits when you serve the wings and they add a mildly sweet flavor. Add onion to the bowl and stir to combine.

Add the wings and toss with your hand to cover the chicken. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours but overnight is even better.

When you line up the wings on the foil-lined baking sheet, DO NOT discard the marinade. Just don’t do it! You need it!

Chicken wings on a baking sheet covered in a sauce ready for the oven.

More Tips and Tricks

  • I cannot stress enough how important it is to line your baking sheet with aluminum foil. Not parchment, but aluminum foil. Near the end of cooking, some of the marinade can burn on the baking sheet and it’s better to be able to just throw away the foil.
  • There is debate about heating a marinade that has raw chicken in it. I’m here to tell you I’ve never had a problem. It is IMPERATIVE that you transfer the leftover marinade to a saucepan and bring it to a boil before using it to baste the wings.
  • Boiling the marinade and brushing the wings halfway through baking will kill any bacteria that could linger. You’re baking at a high temperature which helps as well.
  • Don’t skip turning the wings and basting them with the marinade. This adds more flavor and cooks them evenly.
  • Completely remove the baking sheet when basting. Basting while the oven door is open just lets heat escape and brings the oven temperature down, which will affect the baking time.
Cranberry BBQ Chicken Wings Twitter Image.

These chicken wings are moist and delicious. Cranberry BBQ chicken wings are a great game day appetizer though I also serve them as our main course.

Even better they are on the healthy side because they are baked and not fried. They make a perfect meal, especially in the fall to incorporate the cranberry flavor. The flavor is smoky from the barbecue sauce and slightly tart from the cranberry.

I make these every year when my family sits down to watch the Daytona 500. They are always a hit and I seem to make more each year. In addition to these wings, other favorite recipes include Polynesian chicken wings, raspberry-glazed chicken wings, and mango-habanero wings.

Did you make this recipe? If so, please leave a comment and 5-star review on the recipe card below. If you really love this recipe, please share it on your social media!

Cranberry BBQ Chicken Wings

Cranberry BBQ chicken wings are perfect as an appetizer for game day or a weeknight dinner.
5 from 47 votes
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time55 minutes
Total Time1 hour 5 minutes
Course: Appetizers and Snacks
Cuisine: American
Servings: 30 wings or 3 servings of 10 wings each

Ingredients

  • 30 chicken wings drumettes and wing
  • 1 16 ounce can jellied cranberry sauce
  • ½ cup barbecue sauce use your favorite
  • cup chopped onion

Instructions

  • Cut each chicken wing at joints into 3 pieces; save tips to make stock or discard.
  • In a large bowl mix cranberry sauce, barbecue sauce and chopped onions. Use a spatula to break up the cranberry sauce and combine ingredients. Add chicken; stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • Heat oven to 375° degrees. Line 10- by 15-inch baking sheet with aluminum foil; lightly spray foil with cooking oil. Remove chicken from marinade, reserving marinade, and place on baking sheet.
  • Bake 50 minutes or until well browned and no longer pink in the center.
  • While chicken is cooking, heat marinade in a saucepan to boiling over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium, cook 3 to 4 minutes longer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened. Brush chicken with sauce half way through baking. Serve wings hot.

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2 Comments

  1. I made these last night for my “wing loving” family. They were a huge hit! I baked my wings and finished them off on the grill. I was worried as I am not a cranberry fan but this combination truly works! If you love wings, give this recipe a try.

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