As an avid entertainer of guests, I love foods that are a hit at gatherings.
And, you guys, This lemon pepper chicken wing recipe is definitely one of those hits!
What’s even better is that this doesn’t only function as an incredibly tasty appetizer, it also can double as a main course.
What are lemon pepper chicken wings?
Lemon pepper chicken wings are a great-for-every-occasion meal that consists of beautifully fried chicken wings that are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. Plus, they’re covered in a crazy tasty lemon pepper seasoning.
To begin with, who doesn’t love fried chicken? It’s probably the most well-known comfort food in America (or maybe just the south). The lemon pepper seasoning brings the zest of lemon, the zing of black pepper, and the classic combo of onion and garlic to the already tasty crunchy chicken wings.
But in the end, it’s the lemon pepper seasonings that really tips this recipe over the top. And though you can buy your lemon pepper seasoning, I prefer to make my own. You can find my recipe for it here: How to make lemon pepper seasoning.
Can these wings be made in advance?
Yes, you can – but with a catch.
You can prep the chicken wings by preparing all of the ingredients (the cutting the chicken wings, mixing the flour coating, etc) and storing them until ready to be fried. This is the method I recommend.
However, if you want to fry the chicken wings and serve them at a later date, keep in mind that you’ll need to take special care when reheating in order to maintain the crispiness of the chicken. And even when properly done, the outside of the chicken wings may not fully live up the crunchiness of freshly fried chicken.
How long are fried lemon pepper chicken wings good for?
Once prepared, the fried chicken wings can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to four days.
If you made the lemon pepper seasoning, any extra that you have can be stored in a sealed container at room temperature for up to two years.
How long can chicken wings be left out?
No matter the situation or circumstance, you never want to leave chicken sitting out for too long. This is especially important for chicken wings, as they are a popular party food and are easily forgotten on counters.
For most foods, the general rule of thumb is that a perishable item should not be in the “danger zone” for more than two hours. And by “danger zone”, this is usually at or just above room temperature. This time may vary depending on the temperature of the room.
Once you’re past the two-hour mark, make sure you either discard the wings or store them in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
Can I freeze my chicken wings?
Yes, you can definitely freeze your lemon pepper chicken wings!
Once prepared, allow the chicken wings to cool to room temperature before transferring them to a freezer bag, removing as much air as possible before sealing.
Once frozen, chicken wings can be stored up to four months.
How to Thaw your Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings
- Recommended: Remove from freezer and allow to thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
- In Cold Water: Place the wings in a sealed bag into a large bowl filled with cold water. Make sure that your wings are fully submerged; you can use a plate or other weighted item to hold them down. Flip the bag often and change the water out every 30 minutes or so to make the process faster.
- In Microwave: Use your microwave’s defrost setting to thaw your wings in the microwave. Take note to rotate your wings throughout the cooking process because the microwave can reheat them unevenly. Some microwaves will beep at the times it is necessary to rotate your wings.
- Never put wings out on the counter to thaw out. It can contaminate your chicken, allowing it to become unsafe to eat.
How to Reheat your Wings in the Oven
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place defrosted wings on the counter and bring them to room temperature (takes about 15 minutes).
- Grab a baking sheet and spray it with cooking spray.
- Arrange wings on a baking sheet, spaced about one inch apart.
- Reheat the wings for five to six minutes on one side.
- Quickly flip the wings, then bake for another five to six minutes.
- If you have a meat thermometer, test the internal temperature of the chicken wings. It should be at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
How to Reheat your Wings in a Frying Pan
Note that this method of reheating would remove some or most of the lemon pepper coating from the chicken, so you may want to use another method or have more seasoning handy to coat the chicken again.
- In a large skillet over high heat, pour in enough oil to cover chicken wings (two to four inches should do).
- While oil heats, place defrosted wings on the counter and bring them to room temperature (takes about 15 minutes).
- When oil is ready, drop chicken wings in and fry for two to three minutes. Make sure to toss the chicken around a bit to get all sides covered.
- Remove chicken wings and place them on a paper towel lined plate.
How to know if your oil is hot enough for frying
Whenever you’re frying chicken, it’s important that your oil is hot enough because if it’s not the chicken may absorb the oil and become too greasy. The good news is that there are two easy ways to check if your oil is hot enough before frying:
- Use a thermometer to measure the temperature (it should be between 350 and 375 degrees F.)
- Stick the end of a wooden spoon in the oil. If the oil starts bubbling around the wood, then the oil is ready.
Can I bake the chicken wings instead?
When ready to bake, there are three “ideal” time and temperature combinations for baking chicken wings, and they should all result in wings baked to perfection. The only real differences may come down to the unique calibration of your oven or how much time you have available for baking.
The three options are:
- 400 degrees F for 40-45 minutes (my personal favorite).
- 375 degrees F for 50-55 minutes.
- 350 degrees F for 55-60 minutes.
However, no matter what cook time you prefer, always check your wings before taking them out of the oven. The juices should run clear and a meat thermometer should have the internal temperature for 165 degrees F. Also, be sure to check that the skin is browned and crispy to your liking.
Notes & tips for lemon pepper chicken wings
- This recipe gets right to cooking and skips the step of preparing the chicken wings. If you’re not sure how to do this, check out this article: How to cut chicken wings.
- As mentioned above, you can make your own lemon pepper seasoning from scratch. I prefer to do this to have total control over the flavor.
- Although you can store or freeze chicken wings, lemon pepper wings are the best when served right after cooking.
- You can serve wings alone or with dips, like ranch or honey mustard.
- Deep frying foods require a lot of oil, but that also begs the question: Once you’re done frying, what do you do with the oil? You can either safely dispose of it (see this article for instructions: How to Properly Dispose of Grease and Oil) or store it for future fried goods (see this article for tips: How to Deal with Leftover Frying Oil.)
How to make fried lemon pepper chicken wings
This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.
Step 1 – In a large skillet, pour in vegetable oil so that it’s at least two inches deep (I typically use a whole 48oz bottle) and then heat it up until it’s 375 degrees F. See notes above for tips on how to check when the oil is ready.
Step 2 – While the oil heats, add the flour and salt to a large Ziploc bag. Seal the bag and give it a few good shakes to mix the salt and flour.
Step 3 – Add the chicken wings to the bag with the flour mixture, seal it up, and then give the bag a good shake. Do your best to coat each chicken wing thoroughly.
Step 4 – Drop the coated chicken wings in the hot oil and fry them to golden brown perfection. I recommend frying in batches of five to seven chicken wings and turning the chicken wings at least once. Once cooked, transfer the chicken wings to a plate or bowl lined with a paper towel.
Step 5 – In a small bowl, mix the melted butter with the lemon pepper seasoning.
Step 6 – Use a basting brush to coat the chicken wings, making sure to get both sides.
Step 7 – If desired, sprinkle the prepared wings with some fresh chopped parsley
Step 8 – Serve and enjoy!
Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings
These lemon pepper chicken wings are freshly fried and coated in melted butter and lemon pepper seasoning. Perfect as party food or a quick weeknight dinner!
Pat chicken wings dry with
paper towels. Line a large plate or bowl with a few paper towels. Set both nearby.
While oil heats, place flour and salt in a large
Ziploc bag. Gently shake bag to mix ingredients.
Add prepared chicken wings to Ziploc bag. Seal bag, then shake to thoroughly coat chicken.
Working in batches of 5-7, drop coated chicken wings in heated oil. Fry for 10-12 minutes, turning halfway through. Wings are done when they are a deep golden brown. Once cooked, place chicken wings on prepared paper towel lined plate. Repeat this step until all wings are cooked.
- Serve lemon pepper chicken wings immediately with fresh parsley and lemon wedges as garnish (optional).