Dirty Fried Wings with Candied Jalapenos and Spring Onion Crema

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I’m so excited to share my dirty fried wings with you guys. Yep, you read that right. Dirty fried wings.

This recipe is a gift that keeps on giving, because I have paired my fried wings with the perfect balance of sweet and heat…. candied jalapenos. They are also affectionately known in many a circle as ‘Cowboy Candy’, and for good reason.

dirty fried wings

This quaint little condiment packs a flavourful punch and I always keep a jar in the fridge. It’s really simple to make and without being blow-your-head-off spicy, makes for a really fun and delicious topping for anything from cheese, to burgers, to…

…fried wings!

It’s no coincidence that I chose to pair my candied jalapenos with my dirty fried wings. So put down the KFC bucket, because I am serious when I say I have mastered the art of the dirty bird… and one of the secrets is in the prep. A little kiss of smoke before dredging and frying is the key to incredible flavour.

I really hope you enjoy this dish. Top it all off with a lashing of fresh and cooling spring onion crema and you have an incredible combination of sweet, heat, crunch and cream, all in a single bite. Perfect for game day and any other entertaining. Pro tip: double the recipe, because chicken wings never tasted so good!

Enjoy with gusto,

Dirty Fried Wings with Candied Jalapenos and Spring Onion Crema

Take game day to the next level with these smoked and fried wings, paired with the perfect balance of sweet and heat!
Servings 4
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes


For the dirty fried wings

  • 1 kilogram chicken wings
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper freshly ground
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • ¼ cup hot sauce (see note)
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
  • Vegetable oil or lard for frying

For the candied jalapenos

  • 500 grams jalapeno peppers (approximately 12 chillies)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons garlic minced
  • Juice and zest of 1 lime

For the spring onion crema

  • 1 bunch spring onions finely sliced
  • 250 ml crème fraiche
  • Salt and pepper


  • First of all, prepare the candied jalapenos. Using gloves, finely dice the jalapenos, discarding the stems but keeping the seeds. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, vinegar, garlic and lime and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the sugar as completely dissolved.
  • Add the diced jalapenos and stir to evenly coat with the syrup. Allow to simmer for a further 5 minutes, and until darkened in colour.
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer the candied jalapenos to a clean jar and allow the syrup to continue to simmer for a further 5 minutes.
  • Once the syrup has reduced, remove from the heat and pour into the jar over the diced jalapenos. Set aside while you prepare the chicken wings.
  • Rinse the wings well under cold water, then pat dry with paper towel. On a cooling rack over a baking tray, lay out the wings and season well on both sides with salt and pepper.
  • Next, pre-bake the wings. Light your fire and preheat your smoker to 250°F. Place the prepared wings in the smoker and cook for 2 hours, maintaining your fire to keep the temperature steady. After 2 hours, remove the wings from the smoker and allow to cool to room temperature.
  • While the wings are cooling, preheat your oil to 200°C either in a heavy pan or deep fryer. While the oil is heating, prepare your dredging station. In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk and hot sauce, ensuring the mixture is deep enough to submerge the wings.
  • In a second bowl, combine the flour, garlic powder and onion flakes, season well with salt and pepper. Place this bowl next to your buttermilk mixture to form a production line.
  • Take the pre-smoked wings from the refrigerator and one at a time, submerge in the buttermilk mixture. Then, place them in the flour mixture and using clean hands or kitchen tongs, turn to ensure they are coated thoroughly.
  • In batches, gently place the wings into the hot oil. Cook for 10-12 minutes, or until golden and crunchy.
  • Meanwhile, make the spring onion crema by combining the sliced spring onions, crème fraiche and salt.
  • Remove the chicken from the fryer and drain well on paper towel. Arrange the wings on a platter or tray and drizzle generously with the candied jalapenos. Serve immediately with the spring onion crema on the side… enjoy!


I used Frank’s Classic Hot Sauce for this recipe, but you can use any hot sauce you like.
Author: Jaimie A.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American

Did you make this recipe?

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