The Best Chicken Wings In Austin

Great spots to get some chicken wings around town.
The Best Chicken Wings In Austin image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

For many people, chicken wings are associated with bar snacks and football games. But to us, they’re for weekday evenings, date nights, picnics, and maybe even a quick breakfast in a pinch. They’re small and portable, great for just about any event, and they can make you feel like a giant eating a tiny drumstick.

Fortunately, Austin is home to a wide range of flavors and styles—from hot, Korean-fried wings to smoked barbecue—that it’s difficult to ever tire of them. We can’t give you wings—this isn’t a Red Bull commercial—but we can definitely tell you where to find them. Here are our favorite spots for chicken wings in Austin.


photo credit: Richard Casteel


East Austin

$$$$Perfect For:Casual Weeknight DinnerLate Night Eats
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Most people probably know Delray Cafe as “that little food truck outside of Nickel City,” and while it’s technically correct, it’s really not giving enough credit to the folks slinging some of our favorite sliders and wings in town. The wing menu only leaves you with a few options—buffalo mild, buffalo hot, barbecue, and lemon pepper—but our not-very-scientific poll of five friends told us that roughly four out of five people would have ordered one of those flavors anyway. Wings here are sold by the pound—if, like us, you’re not much of a chicken mathematician, that’s about six wings per pound. At Delray, they’re not trying to do anything fancy. Just simple wings, done well.

The wings at Tommy Want Wingy have developed an almost cult-like following in Austin, with people clamoring for their distinct, frenched chicken wings. There’s no debate about flats vs. drums here—all the wings start as a drumette before being cleaned into a lollipop-like shape with a little bone handle. It makes them easy to eat, which probably comes in handy when you’ve got the munchies after a long night out. There are two locations: one at Cosmic Coffee + Beer Garden, the other at Barton Springs Saloon on South Lamar.

The Vietnamese restaurant Le Bleu in North Shoal Creek might specialize in bánh mì and vermicelli bowls, but the menu also includes a broad variety of appetizers like smoky grilled octopus skewers and some shatteringly crispy chicken wings. Topped with fried garlic, sesame seeds, green onions, and radish, the best part about the wings is the sauce. It’s a sweet, funky, and spicy combination of passion fruit, garlic, chili, and fish sauce. Get extra napkins.

There’s an element of surprise when you order wings at The Potluck, a 24/7 trailer in South Austin serving wings, po’boys, and fries. The wings are huge, with a very fine breading that adds a little extra crunch. While a few of the options like “pineapple sunrise” or “supreme sriracha” give hints about the flavors, most of the wings have names like “hot girl” or “star dust” with emoji descriptors that only offer a vague indicator. Our favorite is the “loose cannon,” topped with a thick dusting of (probably) cajun and ranch seasonings. If you’re OK with just a little mystery, tell them what you like—spice level, and wet or dry—then sit back and enjoy a surprise at any hour of the day. 

Umami-rich and spicy, the chicken wings at the Lao food truck SXSE are worth the trip to St. Elmo no matter where in town you find yourself starting. First they’re marinated in fish sauce, dried lemongrass, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Then they’re fried naked until crispy, dressed in an absolutely delicious caramel fish sauce, and then topped with fried garlic and chili flakes. The caramel fish sauce is so good you’ll probably want a little bottle of it to walk around with.

There’s a good chance you’re already familiar with the wings at the Tavern. Their signature “white wings” are of the boneless variety—bacon-wrapped and jalapeño-stuffed—but this isn’t a boneless wing guide (so we can only say unofficially that these should be part of your order as well). Fortunately, their classic wings are just as good—juicy on the inside with a crispy, almost-charred exterior tossed in everything from lemon pepper to ghost pepper. They’ve also got over 30 TVs inside, making this a great spot to come and watch some sports to accompany your wings.

Visiting East Meets Wing feels like a quick jaunt through Southeast Asia, all in one tiny building near I-35 and Airport. There are six flavors here that pull inspiration from the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, China, and India, resulting in things like tangy sinigang wings and mouth-numbing Sichuan peppercorn dry rubs. The toughest part is deciding which direction you want to go, but if you show up on Fridays you can get all of the flavors in a “wing flight,” which means you can remove any future remorse from the equation. 

The oak-smoked wings at the barbecue spot Stiles Switch are flash-fried and then tossed in one of their sauces—either Alabama white, buffalo, or honey barbecue. These used to be a special only available on Sundays—to go with pro football games. And that’s exactly what they’re aiming to be: classic sports bar-style wings, with the requisite ranch for dipping and some celery sticks for good measure. Lucky for you though, because these wings are now available six days a week.

Tucked in a strip mall next to the Hancock H-E-B, Wingzup looks kind of like a generic sports bar from the outside. Finding wings here isn’t much of a surprise, but finding out how well they do them sure is. The sauce and dry rub menu reminded us a bit of Austin wing mini-chain Pluckers—with similar flavors displayed on a color-coded, sliding scale of spice. But the wings here come in six different styles—original, grilled, smoked, golden (marinated then fried), country (battered then fried), and boneless (if you even consider those wings). We usually go with the original, grilled, or smoked, but you can mix and match styles and flavors for just a few extra dollars.

The Rolling Rooster makes some of the best chicken and waffles in town, and the chicken wings here are just as good. The hot wings come in a variety of classic flavors—like garlic parm, lemon pepper, and buffalo. We’re fans of the wings with waffles, because it somehow makes us feel like we’re eating a more balanced meal. Whatever choice you make, you’ll be met with some perfectly fried wings, and some incredibly juicy chicken. It's located near MoPac and Wells Branch Parkway.

Hi Wings makes some of the best intensely crispy Korean fried chicken wings in town. The menu is, as you could probably guess, all about chicken. You can get whole chickens, thighs, drumsticks, tenders, and, of course, wings. The wings come naked or battered, but you’re definitely going to want to try the latter here if you’re going for ultra-crispy. Our favorites are the honey garlic parmesan and the sweet-and-spicy, but there are over a dozen sauces and dry rubs to choose from.

The jerk chicken wings at Winston’s, a Jamaican trailer in South Austin, have quickly made their way into our monthly rotation. They’re smoky and tender inside with bits of char on the skin. These wings are a little more focused on flavor and tenderness than ultra-crispy skin, but when they’re coated in an intense layer of spicy jerk seasoning like this, that’s a compromise we’re willing to make. They’re also priced by the wing, so you can make a full meal out of them, or just order a couple to accompany your oxtails.  

Green Mesquite has been around since the late ‘80s, so it’s fair to say they’ve had some time to figure things out. The focus here is barbecue—something they do very well—but you’re not reading a barbecue guide right now. Here the wings are smoked, and tossed in a tangy barbecue sauce, with just enough heat to make it a little fun. And the smoke flavor really makes it all the way through the wings. There are three locations: the original off Barton Springs, one in the Southpark Meadows shopping center, and one in San Marcos.

The wings at Hold Out Brewing are brined and fried, then tossed in one of three seasonings—house buffalo, lemon pepper garlic cotija, or our favorite, the Thai PB&J. It’s basically a Thai-style satay wing with peanut sauce and chili jam—it’s spicy, a little sweet, and it’s one of the most unique combinations of flavors we’ve come across in our chicken wing research. Whatever you decide, you can get it with a side of miso ranch that adds a little savory punch to an already great dip. 

The chicken wings at CM Smokehouse spend some time on the smoker, followed by a quick dip in the fryer before getting tossed in one of their sauces (we like the sweet chili sriracha), resulting in some large wings that are really tender with a crispy outside. And if chicken wings aren’t really your thing (first off, why are you reading this?), they’ve also got smoked cauliflower and baby back rib “wings.”

photo credit: Raphael Brion



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Sazan is primarily a ramen restaurant, but you’d be doing yourself a great disservice if you didn’t also order their “indomitable” chicken wings. The wings are fried and then seasoned with a salty, spicy, and umami-laden curry rub—with the crispy skin reminiscent of a Dorito. We wish there were indomitable wing-flavored Doritos, but we’ll just stick with the wings, for now.

In a lot of ways, The Cavalier is the perfect neighborhood pub, with plenty of parking, cheap drinks, and, perhaps most importantly, excellent wings. The wings at Cavalier are some of the biggest we’ve encountered—we asked if they came from a turkey, but they said no— and with some fun sauces like Twisted Tea BBQ and Jamaican Jerk, you can keep coming back to work your way through them all. We usually end up with the Korean BBQ—they’re sweet and sticky in all the right ways, with nice crispy edges that make them almost fun to eat.

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