BAKED LEMON PEPPER WINGS SPICE RUBBED THEN BAKED UNTIL CRISPY THEN SMOTHERED IN LEMON PEPPER BUTTER SAUCE!
This baked Lemon Pepper Wings recipe will have everyone swooning and is SO easy to make with a prep time of less than 15 minutes! These wings are also prep ahead friendly making them a favorite for game day, parties and snacks OR serve them with mashed potatoes and asparagus for a tasty dinner option. The Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings get enveloped in zesty lemon pepper seasoning with kicks of garlic, onion powder, salt and paprika then are baked (or air fried) for a healthier alternative to fried but still boast that coveted crunchy exterior. The Lemon Pepper Wings are delicious straight out of the oven but become increasingly tantalizing as they are drenched in a bright, refreshing, kickin’ lemon pepper butter sauce. So, get ready for them to fly off of the plate!
LEMON PEPPER WINGS RECIPE
Nothing says game day like chicken wings! Some of my favorite wing recipes include:
- Baked Honey Buffalo Hot Wings
- Baked Ancho Baked Chicken Wings
- Baked Chinese Baked Chicken Wings
- Baked Korean Chicken Wings
- Baked General Tso’s Sticky Wings
- Baked Chipotle Lime Wings
- And introducing Baked Lemon Pepper Wings!
As you can see, I LOVE baked chicken wings. They take minutes to prep and emerge juicy, flavorful and crunchy from my fool-proof oven technique. Here’s whey you’ll love this Lemon Pepper Wings recipe:
- DELICIOUS! These Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings are bright, peppery, buttery, lemony perfection. But we’re not talking just one-note lemon pepper flavor like many recipes call for. Instead, this lemon pepper wings recipe delivers a sultry yet simple flavor profile by including brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and paprika in the rub. Now, we get to enjoy lemon pepper wings with complex undertones to round out the bold lemon pepper seasoning.
- BAKED! These Lemon Pepper Wings are baked and not fried which means they are healthier and less messy than fried chicken wings – but they taste just as delicious! Baking the wings renders the fat and crisps up the skin which becomes even crispier by broiling until drool worthy.
- EASY! If you’ve never made chicken wings before, you will be AMAZED at how easy they are. In fact, baked chicken wings are one of the TASTIEST and EASIEST ways to prepare chicken! To make, simply shake the wings in a bag with seasonings, bake then brush with the super simple lemon pepper wings sauce.
- SIMPLE INGREDIENTS: Grab some chicken wings or keep them stocked in your freezer and you can make these Lemon Pepper Wings any time!
- PREP AHEAD: This Lemon Pepper Wings recipe is so quick and easy to prep, you really don’t need to prep ahead – but you can if you want to! Simply shake the chicken in spice rub, like on greased baking rack then refrigerate. When ready to make, just bake the chicken and whisk the lemon butter sauce ingredients together.
Ingredients for Lemon Pepper Wings Recipe
FOR THE WINGS:
- Chicken: select packages that are labeled “wing and/or drumstick” OR “1st and/or 2nd parts/segments.”
- Baking powder: is the secret ingredient I use in all of the baked chicken wings recipes to achieve golden, crispy skin; more info to follow. Look for aluminum free baking powder.
- Seasonings: lemon pepper seasoning and pantry friendly brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and paprika.
FOR LEMON PEPPER WINGS SAUCE
- Butter: adds that rich, buttery flavor we all love. Use unsalted butter so we can control the salt, especially because lemon pepper seasoning has salt in it.
- Lemon pepper seasoning: used in both the wings and the sauce. It’s a common American seasoning blend made with dehydrated lemon zest, black pepper, salt, garlic powder, and onion powder.
- Lemon juice: most of the lemon flavor will come from the lemon pepper seasoning but the lemon juice adds a splash of freshness.
- Honey: balances the lemon juice so it’s not too tart. If you would like more of a honey lemon sauce vs a lemon sauce, then add additional honey to taste.
WHAT IS LEMON PEPPER SEASONING MADE OF?
Lemon Pepper is the defining flavor in this Lemon Pepper Wings recipe – thus the name. If you’ve enjoyed these irresistible wings as an appetizer or my main course Lemon Pepper Chicken, you are familiar with the irresistible, bold flavor profile – and if you aren’t let me introduce you.
The “lemon pepper” in Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings comes from lemon pepper seasoning. Lemon pepper is a delightful flavor bomb of bright and tangy lemon with feisty pepper. It is made by mashing granulated lemon zest with cracked black peppercorns to infuse the pepper with the citrus oil.
I love lemon pepper because it delivers dynamic lemon flavor that is hard to achieve any other way other than marinating and the pepper pumps of the flavor. Anything you smother in lemon pepper seasoning is guaranteed to have flavor – and these Lemon Pepper Wings are no exception!
Where Can I Buy Lemon Pepper Seasoning?
Lemon Pepper Seasoning is very common which is good news for us! You should easily be able to find it in the spices section of your grocery store.
What else can I use Lemon Pepper Seasoning On?
Don’t be afraid to purchase lemon pepper seasoning because you think it might go to waste – it is AMAZING on so much more than this Lemon Pepper Wings recipe! Lemon Pepper is delightful on:
- Grilled or pan seared chicken
- Baked or pan seared salmon
- Baked or pan seared shrimp
- Vegetables: zucchini, Roasted Broccoli, Roasted Cauliflower, Roasted Green Beans or Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Roasted Potatoes or smashed potatoes
- Rice, quinoa, cauliflower rice
- Any pasta or pasta with olive oil, pasta salad or spaghetti squash
- Sprinkled on salads or avocado toast
- Mixed with butter to create a compound butter for lobster, crab, shrimp, potatoes, etc.
WHAT CHICKEN WINGS SHOULD I USE?
Whole chicken wings consist of three segments: the drumette, the wingette and the tip. For this baked Lemon Pepper Wings recipe, I recommend drumettes and wingettes. Here’s the breakdown:
- the first segment – the drumette: looks like a small drumstick. It is attached to the main part of the chicken. It is nice and meaty with a high ratio of meat to skin.
- the second segment – the flat, wing or wingette: are the middle part of the wing, attached to both the first and third segments. It is flat with two thin bones running down its length. It consists of tender dark meat.
- the third segment – the tip: are the end/tip of the wing. They consist of mostly bone, cartridge and skin, with little to no meat and as such, most packages of wings don’t include them.
HOW TO BREAK DOWN WHOLE CHICKEN WINGS
If you purchase whole chicken wings, you will need to break them into the first, second and third segments. You will want to separate the third segment/tips and not use them for Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings unless you like gnawing on just the skin. Instead, you can save them in the freezer to use for chicken stock.
BREAKING DOWN A CHICKEN WING IS VERY SIMPLE:
- Locate the two joints which attach the first and third section to the flat//wingette – you will be able to feel where they are connected through the skin.
- Using as pair of kitchen shears, snip through the center of each joint to separate them. You will be left with the drumette, flat and tip.
HOW DO YOU MAKE BAKED LEMON PEPPER WINGS CRISPY?
There are some food I prefer to fry because they taste so much better- like egg rolls or crab rangoons, for example. There are some foods, however, that I think taste just as good – or almost as good baked – chicken wings being one of them.
You can achieve tantalizingly crispy results for crispy Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings – or any other wings – by following my fool-proof technique: 1) use baking powder in the rub (don’t worry, you won’t be able to taste the baking powder), 2) bake on a baking rack, 3) bake at high heat and 4) broil the wings.
- BAKING POWDER: The simplified science behind baking powder NOT BAKING SODA is that baking powder is composed of an acid which raises the pH level in the chicken, which draws moisture to the surface of the chicken skin where it evaporates. The heightened pH level also causes the peptide bonds in the skin to break down which accelerates the browning process so your chicken can get nice and crispy!
- BAKE ON A RACK: Baking the wings on an elevated baking rack allows air to circulate underneath the wings, which not only helps render the fat, but allows the fat to drip away from the wings so the wings aren’t sitting in a pile of grease which would inhibit them from ever becoming crispy.
- BAKE AT HIGH HEAT: High heat first renders the fat underneath the skin and then proceeds to crisps up the skin as the moisture is drawn out. If you were to bake at a lower temperature, the wings would bake but the skin would not be crispy by the time you were ready to pull the chicken out of the oven.
- BROIL WINGS: You can achieve crispy wings by just baking, but this usually means over baked, dry chicken. Instead, by baking until pretty crispy and then broiling, we are able to enjoy juicy chicken and crispy chicken.
HOW TO MAKE LEMON PEPPER WINGS
These Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings are SO easy to make! Here’s how:
- STEP 1 – Prepare Pan: Line a baking sheet with foil, parchment paper or nonstick slip mat for easy cleanup. Top baking sheet with baking rack and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- STEP 2 – Spice Rub: Mix Rub Ingredients together in a medium bowl. Add half of the Rub to a large freezer bag. Add half of the wings and shake until coated evenly. Line wings on prepared baking rack so they are not touching. Add remaining Rub ingredients and wings to freezer bag and repeat.
- Step 3 – Bake: Bake wings on the upper middle rack for 35-45 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
- Step 4 – Broil: Move oven rack approximately 8″ from broiler and broil to desired crispiness, watching closely so they don’t burn. Optional but recommend: flip chicken wings over and broil the other side until crispy.
- Step 4 – Lemon Pepper Sauce: Whisk melted butter, lemon pepper seasoning, lemon juice and honey in a small bowl.
- Step 5 – Coat: Brush desired amount of sauce over the chicken wings. Serve immediately.
HOW TO AIR FRY LEMON PEPPER CHICKEN WINGS
The air fryer works great to create crispy wings, but the only down side is you can’t cook all of the Lemon Pepper Wings at once. I usually reserve the air fryer for reheating the wings, but you are welcome to air fry them to cook as well.
- Grease 2 racks for the air fryer oven. If your air fryer only has a rack and a basket, grease the basket instead.
- Place the wings on the greased racks in a single layer so they aren’t touching. You will need to cook in multiple batches.
- Cook for 15 minutes at 250 degrees F.
- Flip the wings over and switch the position of the trays, so that the top is on the bottom and the bottom tray is on the top.
- Increase temperature to 450 degrees (or the highest your air fryer goes). Air fry for 15- 20 minutes or until the chicken are wings cooked through and crispy.
TIPS TO FOR BAKED LEMON PEPPER WINGS
- Don’t wash your chicken first. Although this might be a touchy subject, there is a lot of research to back up that you should not wash your chicken first as it spreads germs all over your sink and kitchen. If you’re interested in learning more, you can google the topic. Also, for our purposes, washing the chicken wings will inhibit them from become crunchy.
- Dry chicken wings. Don’t just pat the wings dry with paper towels, but squeeze them VERY DRY (this is dry from the packaging not from washing). The drier the wings, the crispier they will get. Dry skin also helps the rub stick. You can even refrigerate your wings for up to 6 hours on a baking rack for the skin to dry out even more. If you do refrigerate the wings, be sure to bring them to room temperature before baking. This should only take about 15 minutes on the counter.
- Use a baking rack. Line a regular size baking sheet with foil for easy cleanup and then top with a baking rack. Spray baking rack with cooking spray – don’t forget this step or your wings will stick! The baking rack elevates the chicken wings so the air can circulate under the wings for crispier skin. It also lets the fat drip off the chicken instead of the wings sitting in a pool of grease.
- Don’t skip baking powder. Baking powder is composed of an acid which draws moisture to the surface of the chicken skin where it evaporates, accelerating the browning process so your chicken can get nice and crispy. Do NOT use baking SODA!
- Broil chicken. After baking, the wings will be fairly crispy for even crispier skin, you can move the oven rack 6-8″ from broiler and broil away to desired crispiness. Just watch closely so they don’t burn! When I’m smothering baked chicken wings in a sticky sauce, I usually don’t broil both sides, but for this Lemon Pepper Wings recipe, I recommend flipping the chicken over and broiling the underside as well.
- Customize lemon pepper kick. These Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings boast a good lemon pepper kick, but if you want even more lemon pepper goodness, you can add more lemon pepper to the butter sauce.
- Add heat. The pepper adds a punch of flavor but if you want to add some heat, add 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper to the spice rub OR you can add some hot sauce to the lemon butter sauce.
HOW TO MAKE LEMON PEPPER CHICKEN WINGS AHEAD
These Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings can easily be prepped ahead of time.
- Prepare the chicken up to baking, then refrigerate for up to 12 hours – you can cover for 6 hours then uncover for the last 6 to help dry out the skin.
- When it’s time to bake the wings, let them rest on the counter for 15 minutes then proceed to bake according to directions.
- The Lemon Butter Sauce can also be whisked together then refrigerated. You will need to reheat it in the microwave or stove before using as the butter will have solidified.
WHAT DO I DIP BAKED LEMON PEPPER WINGS IN?
These Baked Lemon Pepper Wings are delish plain smothered in the lemon pepper sauce but I also love to dunk them in ranch, blue cheese or honey mustard.
WHAT To Serve with LEMON PEPPER CHICKEN WINGS?
Lemon Pepper Wings are a favorite appetizer for all sorts of occasions from game day parties, viewing parties, potlucks, Christmas, New Years, etc. They are stand alone delicious but also pair well with these other appetizers and party foods we love:
- Party food mains: Crockpot BBQ Ribs, Cheesy BBQ Pork Taquitos, Pizza Pinwheels, Stromboli, Slow Cooker Brisket, Buffalo Chicken Pull Apart Bread, Philly Cheesesteak Pizza, Crockpot Chili and Carnitas.
- Party food sandwiches: French Dip Sandwiches, Italian Beef Sandwiches, BBQ Brisket Sandwiches, BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Cheesy Italian Meatball Sliders, Hawaiian Sloppy Joes, and Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches.
- Party food appetizers: Bacon Ranch Cheeseball, Jalapeno Poppers, Artichoke Dip Bites, Honey Buffalo Meatballs, Pretzel Bites, Carne Asada Fries, Spinach Dip French Bread, Philly Cheesesteak Egg Rolls, Southwest Egg Rolls, Cream Cheese Wontons, and Potstickers
- Party food dips: Chili Cheese Dip, Queso Blanco. Jalapeno Popper Dip, Spinach Artichoke Dip, Queso Verde Corn Dip, Best Bean Dip, Brie Spinach Dip, Queso Fundido, Taco Dip, Tzatziki and Whipped Feta Dip.
WHAT SIDES To Serve with LEMON PEPPER WINGS?
Although Lemon Chicken Wings are traditionally served as an appetizer, they also make a scrumptious meal as well – your kids will love it! Here are some delicious side options:
- Rice: Lemony chicken loves a starch such as rice, quinoa, or low carb cauliflower rice or broccoli rice.
- Potatoes: Instead of rice, pair the Lemon Pepper Wings with baked potatoes, twice baked potatoes, smashed potatoes, slow cooker mashed potatoes, or mashed sweet potatoes.
- Favorites: These sides include your favorite potluck sides that pair fantastically with chicken wings such as Mac and Cheese, Baked Beans, Corn Casserole, Potato Salad, Bacon and Pea Pasta Salad, and Rice Pilaf,.
- Veggies. Of course, every meal needs nutritious veggies! You can go as simple as pre-packaged stir fried veggies or serve with Roasted Broccolini, Roasted Carrots, Sautéed Brussels Sprouts, Roasted Root Vegetables or Roasted Squash.
- Salad. Fresh salad is a delicious, vibrant healthy side to Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings. Enjoy them with wedge salad, Apple Salad, Pear Salad, Beet Salad, Fall Salad, Roasted Butternut Squash Salad or Green Bean Salad.
- Fruit: Sweet, refreshing fruit is always a welcome addition to balance the tangy lemon pepper seasoning. Try Summer Fruit Salad, Perfect Fruit Salad, Creamy Grape Salad, Tropical Fruit Salad, Winter Fruit Salad, or Berry Salad in Honey Mascarpone.
- Bread: These Lemon Pepper Wings are pair beautifully with my favorite Garlic Bread, Moist Sweet Cornbread, Dinner Rolls, Parmesan Breadsticks, or Pesto Pull Apart Bread.
HOW LONG CAN YOU KEEP CHICKEN WINGS IN THE FRIDGE?
Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When properly stored, they are good for four days.
HOW TO REHEAT CHICKEN WINGS
You can reheat the chicken wing in the oven or the air fryer but they will get crispier in the air fryer.
- Line basket(s) with foil and spray with cooking spray.
- Add chicken wings in a single layer to baskets.
- Use the “snack” setting to reheat OR air fry at 360 degrees F for 4 minutes, then increase heat to 400°F and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes. Every air fryer is different, so I suggest keeping a close eye on them so they don’t burn.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a baking sheet with foil (for easy cleanup) and spray rack with cooking spray.
- Line wings on baking sheet so they aren’t touching.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until heated through.
How TO FREEZE BAKED LEMON PEPPER WINGS
Frozen Lemon Pepper Wings are tasty but won’t be as crispy unless reheated in the air fryer. To freeze:
- Line chicken wings in a single layer on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
- Place in the freezer to flash freeze until solid, about 1-2 hours. Flash freezing allows the chicken wings to be placed together in a freezer container without freezing together.
- Transfer frozen wings to a freezer safe container or freezer size plastic bag, squeeze out excess air to prevent freezer burn.
- Freeze for up to three months.
- When ready to serve, line a baking sheet with foil (for easy cleanup) and top with baking rack. Spray rack with cooking spray.
- Line frozen wings on the baking rack and transfer to the refrigerator to thaw.
- Once thawed, bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes or until heated through or follow the instructions for reheating wings in the air fryer.
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