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Crispy Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings

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Baked salt and pepper chicken wings, a simple recipe for Chinese-style wings using five ingredients, ready in about 40 minutes.

chinese salt and pepper wings ina bowl on a black board.

These simple salt and pepper chicken wings are fantastic! And one of the best things about them is that they are perfectly crispy and delicious, although they are baked and not deep-fried. I am not much into fried food (the mess, the lingering smell, the calories), so I am happy whenever I can swap frying for baking!

And if you like chicken wings, check out more delicious recipes: Pan-Fried or Soy Garlic Chicken Wings or Buttered Chicken Wings. Or learn How to Parboil Chicken Wings or How to Cook Frozen Chicken Wings.

Recipe ingredients

listed ingredients for making salt and pepper wings on the table.
  • Chicken wings: 2 lbs (900 g) – about 8-9 whole wings or 16-18 split or party wings. If all you have are whole pieces, you can easily cut them in two (See Tips).
  • Salt: I use good quality sea salt or Kosher salt. I would not use table salt for this recipe unless I have no other choice. If you choose table salt, use a bit less, it’s more powerful.
  • Pepper: Coarsely ground black pepper.
    • I use 1 ½ teaspoon, and this amount imparts the wings a delightfully spicy, peppery flavor.
    • If you don’t have any coarsely ground pepper, it’s preferable to grind whole black peppercorns in a mortar with a pestle.
    • Black pepper that’s been ground to a fine powder is not very suitable for this recipe.

Chinese 5-spice powder: It imparts the wings a Chinese-style flavor. Although delicious, using this spice powder is not mandatory; you will love the salt and pepper wing recipe with or without it.

Other ingredients: Vegetable oil, spring onions, and red chili or red chili flakes to garnish the dish.

A slight variation in the recipe

  • If available, use smoked black pepper; I think you will love the smokey flavor. It’s not readily available in a regular grocery store, but you might be able to get it in specialty stores, at the farmer’s markets, or online. I love it, and I use it every time I want to enhance the peppery-smokey flavor of various dishes.

Additional topping

  • Make the topping I made for Salt and Pepper Chicken.
  • Slice ½ onion and four garlic cloves. Cut 2-3 green onions into thin rings. Deseed ½ red bell pepper and a long green chili. Slice them finely. Stir fry them in 2 tablespoons oil and season with salt and pepper.

Step-by-step instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 220°C/ 425°F. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil and place an oven-safe wire rack on top.
  • Prepare wings: If the wings are whole, cut them in two (See Expert Tips). Pat chicken wings dry with paper towels and place them in a large bowl.
  • Season chicken: Rub with the oil. Mix salt, pepper, and Chinese spices in a small bowl. Sprinkle the black pepper mixture over the pieces and stir well to coat.
  • Bake: Place on the rack in a single layer (1) and bake for about 40 minutes until crispy and golden brown (2).
  • Garnish the crispy chicken wings with finely chopped green onions and fresh chilies or red chili flakes.
collage of two pictures of chicken wings before and after baking.

Expert tips

  • Foil: For this salt and pepper chicken wings recipe, it’s preferable to use aluminum foil to cover the baking sheet instead of parchment paper. The baking temperature is high, and if the parchment temperature is not suitable, it might start to burn.
  • Washing chicken: Don’t want chicken meat before cooking. The bacteria will not be destroyed. Instead, you will spread it all over the sink. The bacteria will only be killed during the cooking process.
  • It’s recommendable to use a wire rack; the rack allows the hot air to circulate, making the wingettes and drumettes nice and crispy.

How to split the wings at the joint?

  • Place one whole wing on a cutting board. Hold the tiny drumstick (drumette) and stretch the joint open. The flat part (wingette) should still be on the work surface. Cut through the joint.
  • If there is any resistance, move the knife a few millimeters more on the right or left until you find the right place to go through the skin and between the bones quickly.
  • Remove the wing tips as well if still attached. Use them to make chicken stock.
collage of two pictures of splitting chicken wings into flats and drumettes.

Recipe FAQ

Can I grill the wings?

Preheat the grill and cook the seasoned chicken on medium to medium-high heat for about 20 minutes or until the skin is crispy and golden brown and the meat is cooked through. Flip them regularly with tongs. Check that they are cooked through before serving.

Can I deep fry the wings?

Heat about 4 – 5 cm/ 1 1/2 – 2 inches of oil in a large pot; the hot oil should reach a temperature of 180°C/ 350°F. Fry the seasoned wings in batches until well browned and cooked through (check). Drain on paper towels to remove the excess oil. Or use a deep fryer.

How to check if the chicken is done?

Use a meat thermometer or pull the meat off the bone of one larger piece, the meat should be white, and there is no pink allowed.

What is the proper internal temperature for chicken?

75°C/ 165°F.

How to store and reheat?

Don’t leave the meat at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for about 3 days.
Freeze them for 2-3 months in an airtight container or freezer bag. Defrost in the fridge.
Reheat in the preheated oven at 180°C/ 350°F for 10-15 minutes or until hot.

overhead view of crispy wings with salt and pepper.

How to serve them?

  • As an appetizer: The salt and pepper chicken wings will serve 5-6 people. You can serve them with a dipping sauce if you like, but I rarely do; I love them just the way they are. Choose an Asian-style sauce if desired. Arrange on a serving platter with the chosen dip and fresh vegetables (carrots, cucumbers, peppers, celery sticks, etc.).
  • These sticky wings are perfect for any game day during the Super Bowl or the football season, for Memorial Day or Father’s Day. They are great for parties or barbecues.
close up crispy wings sprinkled with spring onions.

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close up of a plate with many crispy salt and pepper chicken wings sprinkled with green onions.

Crispy Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings

Baked salt and pepper chicken wings, a simple recipe for Chinese-style wings using 5 ingredients, ready in about 40 minutes.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Chinese
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 339kcal
Author: Adina

Equipment

  • Baking sheet
  • Oven-safe wire rack

Ingredients 

  • 2 lbs chicken wings split, 900 g Note
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt or Kosher salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoon black pepper coarsely ground
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
  • 1-2 green onions optional for garnish
  • red chili flakes or 1 fresh red chili optional for garnish

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 220°C/ 425°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place an oven-safe wire rack on top.
  • Prepare wings: If the wings are whole, cut them into wingettes and drumettes (Note). Dry them very well with paper towels and place them in a large bowl.
  • Season: Rub the wings with the oil. Mix salt, pepper, and Chinese spices in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the wings and stir well to coat.
  • Bake for about 40 minutes until crispy and golden brown.
  • Garnish with finely chopped green onions and fresh chilies or red chili flakes.

Notes

Split wings:
  • Place one whole wing on a cutting board. Hold the tiny drumstick (drumette) and stretch the joint open. The flat part (wingette) should still be on the work surface.
  • Cut through the joint. If there is any resistance, move the knife a few millimeters more on the right or left until you find the right place to go through the skin and between the bones quickly.
  • Remove the wing tips as well if still attached.

Nutrition

Serving: 4g | Calories: 339kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 1270mg | Potassium: 224mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 217IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 2mg
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