Harissa Baked Wings vs Smoked Wings: a taste test!

Harissa is one of my favorite spice blends and I used it on wings for the Superbowl this year. The husband is big on smoking meat so he did his thing by smoking some wings and we had a taste-off! Find an easy recipe for the harissa-baked wings below, and guess which wing prep was the winner! 🙂

Plate of harissa baked wings and smoked wings with parmesan topping
Plate of harissa baked wings and smoked wings with parmesan topping
Jump to Recipe

Harissa Rub or Harissa Paste?

Harissa is a North African blend of spices that typically includes smoked chile peppers, cumin, coriander, caraway, cinnamon and salt & pepper.

Frequently you will find it for purchase as a paste rather than a dry spice blend. Just know that the heat level of the harissa pastes vary quite a bit. Some are scorching hot.

I prefer more complexity of the chile blends rather than just overpowering heat, so the paste that we make at Heathglen involves 7 different chile peppers, ranging from mild to very hot.

Harissa can also be found as a dry spice blend, although it is more common to see it as a paste. The dry spice blend is great as a rub on proteins and vegetables. It is a go-to blend for me for sheet pan dinners.

The paste is preferable if you are making a finishing sauce or if you want to use it as a side condiment for dipping vegetables in. It’s also great as a topping for quinoa and various grains!

Baked Wings vs Smoked Wings

Wings are incredibly popular, especially for athletic event watching. It doesn’t seem to matter much how you make them as long as you provide a big plate of them!

I chose baking the wings, simply because it was the easiest. I used the harissa spice blend as a rub and baked them on a sheet pan for 25 minutes. Easy!

I did make an additional harissa sauce to drizzle over the top after they were done. Using a prepared harissa paste made that process very easy also, but be warned that it also makes for messy eating.

My husband smoked his wings with a garlic rub and then dusted them with parmesan while they were still warm.

Both were awesome. Since I was the single judge the taste test went to the harissa baked wings of course. I will say however, that if you prefer non-spicy food then go for the smoked wings.

The best way to please your guests of course is to provide both! As long as you have a couple of cooks in the house that works great.

To make your own harissa paste, click here. There are a number of recipes on this site that use harissa rubs or harissa pastes. Here is a Mexican casserole recipe , but enter harissa into the search bar on this site for many more!

And if you want to purchase either the sauce or the dry spice from us, click here.

Plate of harissa baked wings and smoked wings with parmesan topping
Print Recipe
5 from 2 votes

Harissa Baked Wings

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Keyword: baked wings, harissa, harissa wings, wings
Meat & Poultry: chicken
Servings: 4
Calories: 731kcal
Author: dorothy stainbrook

Ingredients

  • 22 chicken wings
  • 5 Tbsp harissa spice see below for DIY spice blend
  • 4-5 Tbsp harissa paste
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup honey (optional)

SPICE BLEND

  • 2 Tbsp ground cumin toasted if possible
  • 2 Tbsp ground caraway toasted if possible
  • 2 Tbsp ground coriander toasted if possible
  • 2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup smoked chile peppers
  • salt (to taste)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Place some parchment paper over a sheet pan
  • In a large bowl, combine chicken wings with harissa spice blend and rub together thoroughly with your hands. Spread wings on the parchment papered sheet pan, leaving a bit of room between each one. Bake for about 20 minutes
  • Remove the wings from the oven after 20 minutes and turn them over. Bake for another 10 minutes.
  • While wings are finishing baking, make a harissa sauce by adding the harissa paste and the butter together over medium heat. Add honey if desired to make it more sticky. I didn’t think it needed the honey, but if you prefer a sweeter, stickier sauce, add a bit of honey.
  • Remove wings from the oven and drizzle the harissa sauce over the wings. Serve with a tzatziki or dipping sauce of your choice.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 731kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 50g | Fat: 55g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 234mg | Sodium: 500mg | Potassium: 570mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 879IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 124mg | Iron: 5mg

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