Lemon pepper chicken wings are not only a game day staple, but a weeknight family favorite! The homemade lemon pepper sauce is buttery, citrusy, and a little spicy, but in the best way possible!
Here’s why we love them so much:
- Crispy chicken skin!
- Roasted, not fried! No deep-fryer here! Note: oven temperatures above 400F = roasting, while temps below 400F = baking. So no, these are not baking chicken wings, but we promise you’ll prefer roasted chicken wings for that crisp skin!
- Spicy, but bright pepper sauce! Yes, black pepper packs a punch, but it is beautifully balanced by the citrusy flavors of lemon zest and lemon juice. You will lick your fingers clean!
- Easily feed a crowd! It is so easy to scale up or scale down chicken wing recipes based on how many trays you can fit in your oven at once. Go on, feed the whole neighborhood!
Ingredients For Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings
First, you should know that we will not be using store bought lemon pepper seasoning for this recipe. There is just no replacement for fresh lemon zest and freshly ground black pepper. If you want to take you chicken wings to the next level, leave the spice blend behind and make your own lemon pepper sauce!
- Fresh chicken wings! We’re using 2-3 lbs — make sure the flats and drumettes have been separated. You can discard the tips, as they have very little meat.
- Extra virgin olive oil: to help crisp up the chicken skin! If you want to use less oil, coat the wings with cooking spray.
- Baking powder
- Garlic powder
- Sweet paprika
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
For the lemon pepper sauce: grab some unsalted butter, 2 lemons (using lots of lemon zest and lots of fresh lemon juice!), a heaping teaspoon of black pepper (plus more for serving), and chopped fresh parsley. Feel free to serve ’em up with lemon wedges if you’re as big of a citrus fan as we are!
How To Make Crispy Chicken Wings Without Frying
First, make sure to pat the wings dry with a paper towel. The goal is to remove excess water and moisture before seasoning. Place the wings in a large bowl, then drizzle with a couple tablespoons olive oil. This will help to crisp up the chicken skin.
Season the chicken wings with garlic powder, sweet paprika, Kosher salt, and black pepper. Baking soda alters the pH of the skin and is used to help brown and crisp up the wings. Please be sure to use baking powder and NOT baking soda, which will give the wings an off putting taste. (And thank you, Serious Eats and Kenji Lopez, for hours of research to procure this tip!)
Place wings on a wire rack set on top of an aluminum foil lined baking sheet. Cook for 40-45 minutes at 425F, flipping once halfway through. The wings should be golden brown and crispy on both sides, as the wire rack helps air to circulate all around.
Toss the wings in the lemon pepper sauce, then garnish with additional lemon zest, black pepper, and fresh parsley, if using! These are best piping hot!
Homemade Lemon Pepper Sauce
The lemon pepper sauce for these wings could not be easier to make or more delicious! The instructions are so simple: melt together in a pan!
Add butter to a medium saucepan, then melt over medium heat. Next, add remaining sauce ingredients: lemon zest, lemon juice, and black pepper. Turn off the heat, stir it all together, then marvel in how unbelievably amazing your kitchen smells!
If you make this before the wings are fully cooked, simply reheat the melted butter mixture when ready over medium heat before tossing with the chicken.
How To Cut Chicken Wings
If you end up with a package of wings from the store that needs to be broken down, here’s how to clean them:
- Flip the chicken wings over so that they are skin side down. This makes it easier to see the joints.
- Place a sharp chef’s knife on top of the ridge between the wingette and drumette, then press down firmly. The knife should easily cut through the joint with little resistance.
- If there’s a tip on the wing (coming off of the wingette), repeat step 2, placing your knife on top of the ridge of the joint between both pieces. Cut all the way through until each piece of the wing has been separated.
How Long Will Chicken Wings Keep?
Cooked chicken wings will keep for 3-4 days in a fridge in an airtight container. Reheat wings in a 350F oven until the skin crisps up again, about 7-9 minutes.
Air Fryer Chicken Wings
We don’t own an air fryer (it’s really impractical for feeding a larger family), but there are tons of recipes out there. Feel free to cook wings in an air fryer, then toss afterwards with our homemade lemon pepper sauce. For that matter, feel free to grill them, as well!
What To Serve With Lemon Pepper Wings
You really don’t need a sauce, but no one could fault you for serving them up with ranch or blue cheese dressing — classics are classic for a reason! And for that matter, carrots and celery sticks are more than welcome to join the party too. We usually skip vegetable side dishes and go straight for a bucket of wings, but you do you.
Wing lovers unite! These are sure to become a staple in your game day wing menu rotation!
If you make this Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings recipe, please let us know by leaving a review and rating below!
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More appetizers to try!Crunchy Fried Goat Cheese Balls! Crispy Pan Fried Sweet Potato Fritters Whipped Feta Dip 5-Minute Green Olive Tapenade (In A Food Processor) Sweet & Salty Prosciutto-Wrapped Melon Slices 25-Minute Cheeseburger Sliders with Gruyere
Crispy, Roasted Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings
For the chicken wings
- 2-3 lbs chicken wings broken into flats and drumettes
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 ½ tsp Kosher salt
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp sweet paprika
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
For the lemon pepper sauce
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 3 tsp lemon zest plus more for serving, if desired
- 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 heaping tsp freshly ground black pepper plus more for serving, if desired
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley for serving
- Season the chicken wings. Preheat the oven to 425F. Pat the wings dry with a paper towel. Place in a large bowl, then season with 2 Tbsp olive oil, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 ½ tsp Kosher salt, 1 tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp sweet paprika, and ¼ tsp black pepper. Toss to combine. Place the wings on a foil lined baking sheet on top of a wire rack. Keep the wings in a single layer with a little space in between each.
- Roast the chicken wings. Cook the wings until the skin is crispy and the meat reaches an internal temperature of at least 165 F, about 40-45 minutes, flipping once halfway through.
- Make the lemon pepper sauce. With 5 minutes left in the cook time, make the sauce. Melt 4 Tbsp unsalted butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add 3 tsp lemon zest, 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice, and 1 heaping tsp freshly ground black pepper. Remove from the heat, stir well, then set aside.
- Toss the wings in sauce, then serve. Transfer the cooked wings to a large bowl. While hot, pour the lemon pepper sauce on top. Toss well to thoroughly coat, then sprinkle with remaining 2 Tbsp chopped parsley. Give a final toss. Serve immediately with additional lemon zest and freshly cracked black pepper, if using!
Photography by: Haley of Cozy Cravings