Why Are Chinese Fried Chicken Wings Yellow?

Last Updated on May 28, 2023 by Lauren Beck

As someone who has relished numerous Chinese fried chicken wings servings, I’ve always been intrigued by their appealing yellow color. But what causes these wings to have that distinctive golden hue? 

Join me as we uncover the secret behind the delightful yellow appearance of Chinese fried chicken wings and explore what makes them so visually enticing. Prepare yourself for a delectable journey!

5 Reasons Why Are Chinese Fried Chicken Wings Yellow

  1. Soy Sauce Marinade: Chinese fried chicken wings often undergo a marinating process that includes soy sauce. The soy sauce contains a natural pigment called melanoidin, which contributes to the golden color during frying.
  2. Turmeric Powder: Turmeric is a common ingredient in Chinese cooking and can be added to the marinade or coating for chicken wings. Turmeric lends a vibrant yellow hue and also adds a subtle earthy flavor.
  3. Cornstarch Coating: Many Chinese recipes call for a cornstarch coating before frying. Cornstarch provides a crispy texture and helps achieve that appealing golden color during the frying process.
  4. Deep-Frying Technique: Chinese fried chicken wings are typically deep-fried at a higher temperature, allowing the exterior to crisp up quickly and develop a beautiful golden hue.
  5. Caramelization: The combination of the marinade ingredients, cornstarch coating, and high heat during frying promotes caramelization on the surface of the chicken wings. This caramelization process adds depth of flavor and contributes to the yellow coloration.

How Can You Make the Skin on Fried Chicken Wings Crispy?

To achieve that coveted crispy skin on your fried chicken wings, consider the following tips:

  1. Start with dry wings: Pat the chicken wings dry with paper towels before seasoning or coating. Moisture on the surface can hinder crispiness.
  2. Use baking powder: Tossing the wings in a mixture of baking powder, salt, and spices can help draw out moisture from the skin, resulting in a crispy texture.
  3. Double frying method: Fry the wings at a lower temperature first to cook them through, then increase the heat for a second round of frying to achieve maximum crispiness.

Is Eating Fried Chicken Wings Unhealthy?

While fried foods should be enjoyed in moderation, occasionally indulging in some crispy chicken wings can be part of a balanced diet. 

The key is to control portion sizes, opt for homemade versions to have more control over ingredients, and pair them with healthier side dishes like fresh salads or steamed vegetables.

How Do You Make Chinese Fried Chicken?

To make Chinese-style fried chicken, follow these steps:

  1. Marinate the chicken wings: Combine soy sauce, ginger, garlic, and spices in a bowl. Add the chicken wings and marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight for enhanced flavor.
  2. Coat the wings: In a separate bowl, mix cornstarch, flour, and additional spices. Coat the marinated wings in this mixture, ensuring they are evenly coated.
  3. Heat the oil: Heat vegetable or peanut oil in a deep pot or skillet to around 350-375°F (175-190°C).
  4. Fry the wings: Carefully add the coated chicken wings to the hot oil, frying them in batches for approximately 8-10 minutes until golden and crispy. Ensure they are cooked through by cutting them into one and checking that the juices run clear.
  5. Drain excess oil: Remove the wings from the oil using a slotted spoon or tongs, and place them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain any excess oil.

How Long Should You Deep Fry Chicken Wings For?

fried chicken wings in a plate

The cooking time for deep-frying chicken wings depends on their size and the oil temperature. 

As a general guideline, fry them for about 10-12 minutes [1] until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).

However, it’s always advisable to use a meat thermometer to ensure they are fully cooked.

What Kind of Flour Do Chinese Restaurants Use?

Chinese restaurants often use a combination of all-purpose flour and cornstarch for coating fried chicken wings.

This combination provides a crisp texture while allowing for the desired golden color.

Do You Put Dry Rub on Wings Before or After Frying?

For dry rubs, it’s best to apply them before frying. Coat the chicken wings with the dry rub mixture and let them sit for a while to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat. 

This way, the rub enhances the flavor throughout the frying process.


In conclusion, the captivating yellow color of Chinese fried chicken wings adds to their irresistible appeal. The combination of soy sauce marinade, turmeric powder, cornstarch coating, and caramelization during frying contributes to their yellow color. 

These wings are a visual feast that promises a flavorful experience. Now armed with this knowledge, you can recreate this stunning color at home and elevate your chicken wing game. 

So, embrace the art of Chinese fried chicken wings, savor the vibrant colors, and enjoy the mouthwatering delight they bring to your table. 


Lauren Beck
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