Baked Lemon Pepper Wings — It doesn’t get any better than chicken wings with crispy skin and juicy fall-off-the-bone meat! The baked chicken wings are tossed in a delectable, buttery, lemon pepper sauce that clings to the wings perfectly! Serve them for summer holidays, backyard get-togethers, game day parties, or any wing-worthy moment! Air fryer instructions also provided.
Table of contents
- Baked Lemon Pepper Wings Recipe
- Ingredients in Lemon Pepper Baked Chicken Wings
- Making Dried Lemon Zest for Baked Lemon Pepper Wings
- How to Make Lemon Pepper Wings in the Oven
- What to Serve with Baked Lemon Pepper Wings
- Storage Instructions
- More Easy Chicken Appetizers:
Baked Lemon Pepper Wings Recipe
Everyone’s favorite appetizer, snack, and party food just got a lemon pepper makeover! These baked lemon pepper wings have a wonderfully crispy exterior while the interior is tender and juicy. No dry chicken wings here!
That’s because after baking, the chicken wings are tossed in a homemade buttery lemon pepper sauce that is fabulous. It’s sweet, tangy, sticky, and there’s very slight heat from freshly cracked black pepper.
Because I use cornstarch in the lemon pepper wing sauce, it clings to the wings perfectly and keeps them super flavorful and juicy.
Whether you want to serve these for Memorial Day, graduation parties, Fourth of July, casual backyard get-togethers, Labor Day, game day parties, or holiday entertaining, I can’t think of anyone who’ll be able to refuse these delectable baked chicken wings!
Ingredients in Lemon Pepper Baked Chicken Wings
For these crispy, juicy, and fall off the bone tender baked lemon pepper wings, you’ll need the following basic and common ingredients:
- Baking powder
- Garlic powder
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Chicken wings
Lemon pepper sauce:
- Dried lemon zest (from fresh whole lemons)
- Unsalted butter
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Kosher salt
Note: Scroll down to the recipe card section of the post for the ingredients with amounts included and for more complete directions.
Making Dried Lemon Zest for Baked Lemon Pepper Wings
Lemon zest is critical to give you the luscious lemon flavor that these baked lemon pepper chicken wings have.
To make dried lemon zest:
- Zest four lemons and place the zest on a plate and allow it to sit out overnight so the zest is completely dried.
- Alternatively, you can zest your lemons as you’re making the sauce and use them in the sauce immediately. However, I prefer the subtle flavor and texture difference if you zest the lemons the night before.
- As a last resort you can use store-bought dried lemon zest.
The zest of 4 lemons equals about 2 tablespoons of dried lemon zest. Then when you’re making the buttery lemon pepper sauce for the chicken wings, your lemon zest will be ready to go.
How to Make Lemon Pepper Wings in the Oven
Homemade lemon pepper wings are so easy to make! Follow these basic oven-baking directions.
Bake the Wings
- Preheat your oven to 425F and line a half sheet pan with wire rack with foil for easier cleanup.
- Mix together the baking powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and toss the wings in it.
- Bake the wings for 1 hour, turning every 20 minutes.
- While the wings bake, make the lemon pepper wing sauce.
Make the Lemon Pepper Wing Sauce
- Melt the butter in a saucepan.
- Add the honey, pepper, garlic and onion powders, salt, and whisk to combine.
- Add the cornstarch, whisk, and heat for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Place the baked wings in a large bowl, drizzle the sauce over them, toss to combine, and dig in!
The sauce thickens more as it cools so I suggest making it in the last 20 minutes or so of baking time rather than immediately after you start baking the wings. Feel free to hold a little bit back and save some for direct dipping.
How Long Should Chicken Wings Be Baked?
Cooking the wings for an hour ensures a crispy exterior, but it also makes the meat extremely tender.
Technically, chicken only needs to cook until an interior temperature of 165°F, and they may reach that temp before one hour passed, but I recommend giving them the full hour in the oven so they are at peak crispiness and tenderness.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
Make sure that if you are going to make your own dried lemon zest, that you plan ahead and zest your lemons the night before and let it sit out on a plate. If you don’t plan ahead, there are other options as mentioned above but worth repeating to plan ahead.
When you’re baking the lemon pepper chicken wings, make sure the wings are not touching each other on the wire rack. I know this may be tricky because there are a lot of wings in 4 pounds but do your best. This will ensure they are crispy.
Make sure when zesting your lemons to only use the yellow bit of the lemon peel, and not the white (pith). The pith is bitter so avoid that when zesting your lemons.
When making the buttery lemon sauce, make sure to use freshly cracked black pepper. Put away that shake-on little can of pepper you’ve had in your pantry forever and get crackin’ the fresh stuff!
Adding fresh herbs to the lemon butter sauce including parsley, scallions, or chives adds extra fresh flavor and is a nice touch visually speaking as well.
I prefer using fresh over frozen wings. If you’re using frozen, they need to be thawed first before beginning the recipe for baked lemon pepper wings.
You can use either drums, or drumettes, which look like little chicken legs and have one single main bone running through the middle. Or you can use whole wings. If you’re using whole wings, separate the flat part of the wings from the drumette by slicing directly through the joint. Separate the tip of the wing from the flat by again slicing down through the joint. Discard the wingtips.
The baking powder is what makes the wings crispy and that’s what we love. However, if you don’t want a crisp exterior, you can leave that omit the baking powder. Truthfully speaking though, who doesn’t want a crispy wing? Although still toss the honey lemon pepper wings in the garlic powder, salt, and pepper if you’re omitting the baking powder.
For the wing sauce, cornstarch is optional but highly recommended because it helps to get a thicker sauce onto the wings. Normally lemon pepper wings can tend to be on dry side but with this sauce, they’re juicy and bursting with tons of lemon pepper flavor.
As it pertains to the wire rack, I do believe it’s necessary for the crispiest, most perfectly cooked wings. It’s worth the investment in a sheet pan with wire rack for the best tasting wings. Plus, you can use it to roast potatoes or other veggies, too.
However, if you don’t have a wire rack for your wings, bake them on a sheet pan, turn them frequently, and make absolutely sure they’re not touching.
What to Serve with Baked Lemon Pepper Wings
Wings are a universal favorite appetizer, snack, and party favorite. They will go well with almost anything! From ham and cheese sliders to bacon potato salad, serve them with whatever tickles your fancy.
These baked lemon pepper wings are best hot and fresh from the oven. Although extra wings will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days and in the freezer for up to 4 months.
Note that the skin will lose its crispiness once they are refrigerated or frozen.
Pin This Recipe
Baked Lemon Pepper Wings
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 pounds chicken wings*
Lemon Pepper Wing Sauce
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 5 tablespoons honey
- ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons dried lemon zest**
Baked Chicken Wings
- Preheat oven to 425F, line a half sheet pan with wire rack with foil for easier cleanup; set aside. Tip - I highly recommend using a pan with a wire rack for the crispiest wings although a regular sheet pan without a rack may be substituted.
- To a large bowl, add the baking powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and stir to combine.
- Add the wings to the dry mixture and toss well to coat evenly. Note - If using whole wings, separate the flat part of the wings from the drumette by slicing directly through the joint. Separate the tip of the wing from the flat by again slicing down through the joint. Discard the wingtips.
- Place the wings on the wire rack and bake for 1 hour, or until golden browned and crisp. Turn every 20 minutes.
Lemon Pepper Wing Sauce
- I recommend making the sauce in the last 20 minutes or so of wing baking. To a medium saucepan, add the butter and heat over medium-low heat to melt, stirring frequently to encourage melting.
- Add the honey, freshly ground black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and stir to combine.
- Add the corn starch, whisking constantly after you add it.
- Heat the sauce for 2 to 3 minutes, or until you see the sauce just barely start to simmer. The sauce should have thickened and be free from lumps.
- Take it off the heat, whisk in the lemon zest, and set aside. Note - The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools so even if it doesn't seem very thick initially, it will thicken as it cools.
- Transfer the cooked wings to a large bowl, evenly drizzle the sauce over the wings, and toss well to combine. Serve immediately.
Air Fryer Instructions
- Preheat your air fyrer to 360F, let it preheat for 5 minutes, and then spray the air fryer basket with cooking spray or olive oil spray. I recommend an XL air fryer to minimize the amount of batches you’ll have to take in and out of your fryer.
- Add the wings to the basket, not touching, and air fry for 12 minutes. Tip: Do not crowd the wings!
- Flip, and air fry for an additional 12 minutes.
- Repeat and cook the wings batches until all the wings have been cooked.
- Make the sauce as directed and then when they’ve all been air fried, toss them in the sauce.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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