Baked Lemon Pepper Wings are crispy zesty chicken wing perfection! Simply bake them in your oven, then glaze with a melted butter honey sauce.
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Honey Butter Baked Lemon Pepper Wings
You’re gonna love these wings. They have the classic citrusy punch from lemon zest plus a tiny kick from black pepper. However there’s also a hint of sweetness from the honey.
These chicken wings have it all; sweet, sour, salt, and spice (not 5 alarm heat but a nice background heat). But wait, there’s more!
Read on to find out the secret ingredient that helps produce the crispiest oven baked wings without sacrificing interior moisture.
How Do You Love Your Chicken Wings?
There are two types of chicken wing lovers in the world…flatties and drummies. Which one are you? I personally love the flat part (or wingette) of the chicken wing. It’s takes me less than 5 seconds to strip the bones clean.
There are also those among us who love spicy wings (like my Maple Gochujang Wings) or saucy wings, the messier the better. I prefer mine dry and crispy, just like these baked lemon pepper chicken wings.
Ingredients List for Honey Butter Baked Lemon Pepper Wings
- chicken wings
- baking powder
- lemon pepper seasoning
Most grocery stores will sell split chicken wings with the very tip removed. Some places will sell the wingettes and drumettes separately but I suggest buying a mixture of the two for variety.
The lemon pepper seasoning used in this recipe is a store bought brand which contains lemon peel, salt, dehydrated onion and garlic powder, among other spices including black pepper.
Any type of honey will work in this recipe as it is melted with the butter to create a butter sauce.
How to Split a Chicken Wing
If the chicken wings are fully articulated, they are really easy to separate at home (and often a cheaper price). A sharp knife and a sturdy cutting board are all you need.
Place the inside of the wing facing upward on the cutting board. Stretch the wing out and slice through the joint in between the tip and the drumette. Discard the wing tip or save to use in stock at a later time.
Next, find the joint in between the drumette and wingette. Use your finger to find the higher ridge and cut just below the ridge. If there’s some resistance, slide the blade around a bit and you should feel the joint.
The ‘Secret’ Ingredient for Great Baked Chicken Wings
The not so secret to crispy oven baked wings is baking powder. That’s the simple answer.
However, more of an in depth explanation is what you are here for (if not feel free to skip to the next section). Baking powder is made of baking soda mixed with a powdered acid. This makes it slightly alkaline.
Adding a slightly alkaline coating to the chicken wing raises the pH of the skin. According to J. Kenji López-Alt (author of the James Beard Award–nominated column The Food Lab) raising the pH of the chicken skin helps to both brown it (via the good old Maillard reaction) and crisp it.
While there are immediate benefits to coating the dry wings with baking powder, allowing an overnight desiccation session produces the crispiest oven baked wings. Give it a try and let me know how it goes!
How to Make Baked Lemon Pepper Wings
To begin, preheat the oven to 400 F. Place a wire rack over a parchment lined rimmed sheet pan (optional…do it without paper if you have non stick pans).
Inspect the wings for any remaining loose bone fragments or rogue feathers. Pat the wings completely dry with paper towel then place them in a bowl. Sprinkle salt over the wings and massage it in.
Next, sprinkle half of the baking powder and toss the wings to coat. Keep on sprinkling and tossing until each wing has a thin coating of baking powder. Arrange coated wings in a single layer on the wire rack.
Bake the wings for 25 minutes or until they just begin to turn golden and crispy. Remove them from the oven and quickly flip over so they don’t stick. Bake for another 10-15 minutes.
Remove wings from the oven and place in a clean bowl. Drizzle melted honey butter over the wings and turn to coat. Sprinkle 1/3 lemon pepper blend over and mix well. Add second portion of seasoning.
Place the wings directly on the original baking sheet (or parchment) then sprinkle remaining 1/3 seasoning over all. Use more if you think the wings need more.
Cook the wings for another 10 minutes until they are nice and crispy. If you like, squirt fresh lemon juice over the wings before serving.
Tips for Making the Best Crispy Oven Baked Wings
- Hot oven temperature. This recipe bakes at 400 F because my oven is generally hotter than most. Consider baking your wings at 425 F if you oven is consistently on the cool side.
- Dry the wings with paper towel completely.
- Coat the wings with baking powder.
- Desiccation time. If you have time, place the baking powder coated wings uncovered on a rack in the fridge overnight.
- Bake once more after the honey butter sauce. If you love saucy wings, you can skip this last step because the wings are already cooked.
How to Store and Reheat Baked Chicken Wings
These wings are the perfect ‘make ahead’ game day or party appetizer. Once fully cooked and seasoned, allow them to cool to room temperature. Store them in an airtight container (or vac pac) and freeze them for up to six months (four day in a refrigerator).
To Reheat wings from frozen, thaw overnight in the fridge then place on a baking sheet. Reheat in a 350F oven until the internal temperature of the wing reaches 165 F (74 C).
If you have leftovers after the big party…consider throwing the wings out. They are extremely perishable and considered unsafe to eat after even 2 hours at room temperature (68 F or 20 C).
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