Explore the vibrant world of WingStop and learn about the flavors that have contributed to the explosive growth in popularity of wings. This article takes us on a culinary tour of WingStop’s flavorful universe, rating their wing flavors according to the adoration and fervor they elicit among wing enthusiasts. A wide variety of mouthwatering flavors are available on WingStop’s menu, and each has a dedicated fan base. The wings come coated in a variety of flavors that entice taste buds far and wide, from ageless favorites like tart Lemon Pepper and flavorful Garlic Parmesan to fiery kicks like Atomic and tropical twists like Mango Habanero. Exploring the collective wing-flavor preferences of WingStop’s customers, our guide makes her way through the menu, revealing the order of popularity for each wing flavor. Come along on this tasty journey as we honor the most well-liked wing varieties and shine light on the tasty victories that have made WingStop a favorite hangout for wing lovers.
If you’re not a fan of sauced wings, the Louisiana Rub is a dry rub bursting with Cajun and Creole flavors. It consists of a blend of cayenne pepper, cajun spices, and a hefty amount of granulated garlic. The chicken wings have a nice, grainy crunch from the dry rub getting a tasty, deep-fried seal. These wings are a perfect balance of spicy and savory. I think they’re perfect for palates that like a spicy flavor without the heat that usually comes with it. I think this rub goes better with their boneless wings as dry rubs get a juicy compliment from the concentration of grease and juices that boneless meat exudes.
Another Louisiana-inspired flavor, Cajun, is a variation of the Original Hot flavor. It is spicy with a zesty Cajun kick. The spice most related to Cajun cooking is Cayenne pepper, a deep red powder derived from its deliciously spicy namesake pepper. It’s also the pepper used to make the crushed red pepper you see at your local pizzeria. Cayenne is hot enough to add some heat to the finish but not hot enough to make you regret scarfing down an extra two or three wings. This is a dry rub that really showcases cayenne pepper, which overpowers any other spice. I think it tastes great dipped in Ranch dressing to absorb some of the heat with a creamy, herby sauce.
Garlic Parmesan is an unconventional, gourmet flavor for a wing joint, but it is one of my personal favorites. These wings almost look like they’re breaded, as the crispy skin is completely covered in chopped garlic and powdered parmesan cheese. Butter binds the garlic and parmesan together, adding extra flavor and decadence. In my opinion, these wings taste like Chicken Parmesan. I like to dip them in marinara sauce or ketchup in a pinch to compliment the cheese with a bit of zesty sweetness. I recommend chicken tenders or boneless wings for this flavor, as the garlic and cheese need a larger ratio of meat to stand up to their salty and savory intensity.
Sweet and spicy is a flavor pairing championed by cultures around the world. Sweet flavors compliment the spicy flavor inherent in peppers while neutralizing the burn. This is the case with mango habanero. Mangos are some of the sweetest tropical fruits, and this yellow-tinted glaze uses the sweetest variety. Don’t be fooled by the initial sweetness. This glaze is one of their hottest flavors. Habaneros are much hotter than jalapenos or cayenne and are known for their intensely hot finish. With this flavor, you get a deceptive mango sweetness to start, followed by a serious burn. Fans of spicy hot flavors will not be disappointed!
If Mango Habanero isn’t spicy enough, Atomic will have you sweating, salivating, and begging for mercy! Atomic sauce has no fat to balance the heat from a blend of cayenne and jalapeno peppers. I also got a nice hint of black pepper and smokiness before the heat. Despite cayenne and jalapeno peppers having a lower Scoville score than Habanero, the two together offer a powerfully hot backburn. The peppery flavor hits you first, but that burn creeps up on you midway through the chew. I recommend an extra order of ranch or blue cheese to lighten the brunt of the spicy kick.
Hot honey is all the rage right now, and it’s clear why. Whether you drizzle hot honey on your dishes or you try WingStop’s hot honey wings, the sweet spicy combo is one you can’t miss. WingStop recently brought back the hot honey dry rub, but it’s only available for a limited time. They’ve offered hot honey before, and fans are hopeful that it will become a permanent fixture on the menu. I got to try it, and it’s easily a favorite dry rub. You get that hot honey flavor without the stickiness of honey since it’s a dry rub!
Hawaii may be a US state, but it’s closer to Asia than it is to the States. Hawaiian cuisine encompasses a blend of tropical fruits with Asian flavors like ginger and soy. The Hawaiian sauce from WingStop is their sweetest flavor with absolutely no spice. It is a thick, syrupy sauce that has hints of orange, pineapple, and sweet soy. I think it tastes very similar to the Chinese-American takeout favorite sweet and sour chicken. It is very sweet with a tangy vinegar finish. I enjoy the sauce on the breaded tenders as the crunch of the breading almost caramelizes with the sauce.
The mild flavor is essentially buttered chicken wings and is WingStop’s answer for spice-averse clientele. This will probably be a child’s favorite flavor. Still, fried chicken doused in mild buffalo sauce is a crowd-pleaser, whether you’re a spicy fan or not. This sauce is a butter-based sauce with light seasoning. This is a yummy sauce on regular chicken wings. I like to get an order of mild wings as a kind of palate cleanser to enjoy with stronger, spicier flavors. These also taste good with tangy and bold dipping sauces.
Hickory Smoked BBQ
Hickory Smoked BBQ is a surprisingly complex sauce that WingStop should be proud of, in my opinion. While many chain restaurant barbecue sauces are overwhelmingly sweet with a tangy tomato aftertaste, this Hickory Smoked BBQ covers a range of flavors. You can really taste the smoke and the distinct earthy hickory with the sweet and tangy barbecue flavors. You even get a peppery finish. This wing sauce is one of WingStop’s biggest sellers as it appeals to all ages and spice levels. It needs little embellishment and tastes great on any type of wing.
As the name suggests, Original Hot is the recipe that started it all, the reason for WingStop’s rise to the top of the chicken wing franchise food chain. Original Hot is WingStop’s version of the classic Buffalo Wing. It is a blend of butter and hot sauce, with a rusty red hue that’ll require a bib and plenty of finger licking. When in doubt, Original Hot is a solid choice for an introduction to chicken wings basics. It’s the perfect amount of spice, pepper, tang, and butter. It pairs well with blue cheese in my opinion. These wings are both the original flavor from WingStop and the original flavor for chicken wings. You can easily eat a whole order by yourself.
Lemon pepper is a well-balanced blend of lemon juice, black pepper, and butter. I find it to be one of WingStop’s more elegant flavors. It is slightly saucy, with a more delicate texture. The zesty lemon and butter are what hits your taste buds first, followed by a peppery kick at the finish. I enjoy this flavor on the bone-in wings as it reminds me of oven-fried drumsticks with a spritz of fresh lemon juice. I like dipping these in honey mustard as both the lemon and the pepper work well with the sweet and spicy notes in this dipping sauce.
Spicy Korean Q
Korean Barbecue has enchanted the world with its bold, sweet, spicy, and umami flavors. WingStop has capitalized on the flavor trend with Spicy Korean Q, a flavorful blend of garlic, ginger, crushed red pepper, and sriracha. The garlic and ginger shine with the first chew of these wings, getting a sugary compliment from honey. Sriracha and red pepper flakes together give this sauce a powerful spicy pepper flavor and a wealth of heat to finish. I think this is a step up from the Hawaiian flavor, especially if you like spicy wings. It isn’t as hot as Atomic or Mango Habanero, but it is as complex as the Hickory Barbecue.
Hot Lemon replaces the butter in the lemon pepper sauce with hot sauce. It’s equal parts spicy buffalo sauce and lemon. Tangy and spicy is an intense flavor pairing that doesn’t necessarily tamper heat. If you like the spicy sauce poured over green papaya salad or fresh jalapenos in your ceviche, you’ll enjoy the hot lemon flavor. This is a sauce that works best on the classic bone-in wings in my opinion. I think blue cheese dressing would work as a dipping sauce. I would compare the spice level to the Original Hot flavor. It’s manageable but not for the spice averse.
Wingstop describes Lemon Garlic as the marriage between lemon pepper and garlic parmesan. It debuted as a part of their remixes series, in addition to hot lemon. As a fusion of savory, salty, tangy, and peppery, this is one of WingStop’s boldest dry rubs. I like it on their boneless wings or as a chicken tender rub. Tangy citrus and garlic are a great flavor combo that reminds me of Mediterranean fish marinades or even Greek salad dressing. It may sound like an overpowering flavor combination, but I was surprised by how well I could taste each flavor in equal parts.