Haitian-inspired crispy whole chicken wings with a Creole lemon kick served with shredded vegetables and arugula salad tossed in a citrus scotch bonnet vinaigrette, creating delicious citrus chicken wings.
Transform your kitchen into a Haitian paradise with these Best Air Fryer Caribbean-style Citrus Chicken Wings, the perfect recipe for a romantic dinner for two or a game night feast. Imagine golden brown wings, crispy to perfection, quick and easy Creole lemon seasoning for a zesty kick.
Served with shredded vegetables and arugula, adding a refreshing crunch, tossed in a citrus scotch bonnet vinaigrette, delivering a flavor familiar to the islands with a twist in every bite. This amazing recipe is quick, easy, and bursting with Caribbean vibes, creating a beautiful dish to impress your date or wow your game night crew.
The vibrant and flavorful traditional Haitian dish, pikliz, inspires this recipe. Pikliz is a condiment of pickled vegetables, chili peppers, and spices mixed in an acidic citrus and vinegar juice. It is commonly used to add more heat to dishes.
Haitian meat is usually seasoned with aromatic ingredients like chopped parsley, onion, garlic, and bell pepper. Fresh citruses like sour orange and chili peppers like scotch bonnet or habanero peppers are added to the mix to give the dish its unique flavor.
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First, cut the cabbage, carrots, onions, and red bell pepper into thin strips and place them in a resealable bag. Then, make the vinaigrette by blending freshly squeezed orange and lime juice, apple cider vinegar, honey, scotch connect pepper sauce, ground black pepper, and kosher salt.
Combine the shredded vegetables with the dressing to make the slaw, and marinate them in the fridge. Next, season the whole chicken wings with lemon pepper, Creole seasoning, avocado oil, and air fry until golden brown and crispy.
Before plating, drain the liquid from the shredded vegetables into a container and add fresh chopped parsley, orange, and lime zest. Finally, plate up the dish by mixing the slaw with fresh baby arugula and place it on the dish with the chicken wings and more of the dressing. Voila!
See the inspired Haitian fried chicken recipe card for quantities.
Follow the instructions and cooking tips below using the step-by-step picture guide.
An immersion blender can conveniently emulsify the ingredients with the oil to create the citrus vinaigrette.
Instead of a jar, the ingredients are placed in a sealable bag to allow the cook to massage the vegetables with the vinaigrette since this is a quick marination.
Patting the chicken dry with a paper towel allows for the seasoning and oil to adhere to the meat to create crispy golden skin.
Tuck the tips of the wings under the neighboring chicken to prevent burning in the air fryer.
Have everything out and ready for plate up, including a bowl to toss the salad and a container to finish the vinaigrette.
Tips on How to Stack Whole Chicken Wings
Follow the step-by-step tutorial below for the presentation of the wings.
To begin with, place the flatter side of the wing horizontally near the salad.
Place the second wing in the opposite direction to achieve both contrast and stability.
Place the last wing with the flat side facing up for a nice presentation.
Busy Folks - Become a better home cook with cooking tips to help you cook more efficiently on Cook's Notebook tab. In addition, some related detailed steps can be found there. Learn more about high smoke point oils and why I used avocado oil instead of olive oil for the air fryer.
- This delicious citrus chicken wings recipe is already dairy-free.
- Bonus! This recipe is also gluten-free.
- I do not have a substitute for this recipe to make it vegetarian or vegan. However, I suggest checking out Vegan Haitian Recipes: Griot & Pikliz on Haitians Who Blog. Traditional Haitian Griot is citrus and chili pepper marinated pork that is fried, so it's it has a similar technique to my recipe.
- Sliced Cabbage and Carrots - Try using store-bought pre-cut slaw vegetables, usually in your local market's salad section.
- Red Bell Pepper - Use green bell pepper; red is used for presentation.
- Apple Cider Vinegar - Use white vinegar; traditional pikliz uses white vinegar. I used ACV instead to make it flavorful for a vinaigrette.
- Scotch Bonnet Pepper Sauce - Fresh, thinly sliced scotch bonnet or habanero peppers.
- Avocado Oil - I used a high smoke point oil since it goes into the air fryer, but you can replace it with a neutral vegetable oil with a high smoke point.
Change Heat Level - Modify the citrus chicken wings recipe's heat level to your liking and learn more about the Scoville Scale and Chili Pairings. Scotch bonnets are used because they are traditionally used in Haitian food and have a unique taste.
Some chili peppers carry heat and have a unique flavor profile, making them compatible only with certain other ingredients.
- The Chicken - Use other parts of the chicken, such as chicken breast or chicken thighs.
- Resealable Bag - Used to marinate the shredded vegetables conveniently.
- Immersion Blender - To blend the vinaigrette. I developed this recipe using the KitchenAid Cordless Variable Speed Hand Blender, which comes with its own blending jar.
- Air Fryer - The air fryer is a faster alternative to deep-frying chicken wings. I use the 4-quart Ninja AG301 Foodi 5-in-1 Indoor Electric Grill and develop my air fryer recipes to cook them. If you're using an oven instead, I recommend baking the wings on a baking sheet with a wire rack at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 45 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on the size of the wings, it may take up to 60 minutes to bake them thoroughly.
- Paper Towels - To pat dry the whole chicken wings.
- Large Bowl - This is used to mix the shredded vegetables with the baby arugula.
Kitchen Must Haves - Find other tools I use here.
- Refrigerator - To store in the fridge, you can place the chicken wings in a shallow 2-inch container to cool down quickly. Then, store it in an airtight container. You have a choice to place the dressing back with the shredded vegetables or to keep them separate. I suggest not mixing the arugula and shredded vegetables separately since the arugula needs to be kept dry to last longer. As a result, the meal will last up to three days. However, if you keep the vegetables marinated, it can last up to a week.
- Freezer - Follow the refrigeration process for the chicken wings mentioned above. Then, place them in the freezer in a labeled, airtight container. I use a labeled resealable freezer bag.
Air Tight Food Containers - I use Glass Food Storage Containers with a plastic clipping lid to store food. For example, I always suggest glass storage containers since you can microwave them and hold food without staining the container, and the glass keeps them at a more stable temperature, which keeps the food fresher longer.
Perfect Appetizer - Turn these into a treat for the crew for a great game night by multiplying the recipe and separating the whole chicken wings into flats and drummettes before seasoning and air frying them.
Frequently Asked Questions
Chicken can dry out in the air fryer, but not if you follow these simple tips! Use bone-in, skin-on chicken for added moisture and cook at lower temperatures for longer. That's why bone-in chicken wings are great for air fryers.
This helps lock in juices and ensure your chicken remains perfectly crispy and tender. Remember, even using these tips, overcooking can still lead to dryness, so keep an eye on your internal temperature!
Haitian cuisine is a vibrant tapestry of flavors reflecting its rich and complex history. It's primarily influenced by West African, French, and Spanish culinary traditions, each leaving its mark through ingredients, cooking techniques, and unique spices.
This unique blend is further refined by local ingredients and traditions, resulting in a truly distinct and delicious cultural expression on the plate.
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- Cook chicken to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C).
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food that previously touched raw meat to prevent foodborne illness from contaminated uncooked meats.
- Wash hands after touching raw meat to prevent cross-contamination.
- Don't leave food at room temperature for extended periods; this can breed bacteria.
- Never leave cooking food unattended to prevent burns and fires.
- Use oils with a high smoke point to avoid harmful compounds.
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
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