Shatteringly crisp and downright delectable, my Oven Baked Salt and Pepper Chicken Wing recipe is finger-licking good!
This simple method for making baked wings calls for just a handful of ingredients, most of which you probably already have on hand.
As an added bonus, the amount of active cooking time is just 15 minutes, meaning this is not only an easy appetizer but a fast one, too! That means you’ll have plenty of time leftover for making other apps. Maybe try variations on a theme, complete with my Honey Garlic Chicken Drumettes, Slow Cooker Chicken Wings, and Crispy Baked Buffalo Wings!
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Why You’ll Love This Recipe
There are few appetizers more widely beloved than chicken wings, and for good reason. They’re easy to eat with your hands, are relatively inexpensive, and are high in protein, meaning they are heartier and more filling than a bag of potato chips (though I love me some chips, too!).
My salt and pepper chicken wing recipe is:
- Made with fewer than 10 ingredients. Nothing can turn me off a recipe as quickly as a long list of ingredients, especially if they are obscure or difficult to find. With just 9 total ingredients – more than half of which are pantry staples – this recipe is a snap to make.
- Healthier than the alternative. Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE fried chicken wings, but I also don’t want to feed my family deep-fried goods on the regular. This recipe for baked wings comes out just as tasty and crispy as the kind you’d get at your favorite sports bar, but with a fraction of the fat. Oh, and not using oil to fry your wings also means you don’t have to figure out how to dispose of your cooking oil.
- Versatile. The beautiful thing about simple recipes is how easy they are to tweak to your personal preferences. Check out the Optional Variations section below for ideas on how to make these salt & pepper wings perfect for your palate.
- Allergen-friendly. Made without soy, eggs, nuts, or fish, this is a recipe that most everyone can enjoy. You can also make it gluten-free by swapping out the AP flour for a gluten-free cup-for-cup substitute!
Ingredients and Substitutions
As I mentioned earlier, you don’t need a whole lot to make these crispy salt and pepper chicken wings a reality. Here’s what you’ll need to gather:
- Chicken Wings or Drumettes – Depending on your grocery store, you may need to buy whole chicken wings and cut them into flats and drumettes. Here’s how it’s done.
- Salt & Black Pepper – You can’t have salt and pepper wings without salt and pepper, now, can you? For the best flavor, I suggest using freshly cracked black pepper. Also, I use Kosher salt. If you only have table salt on hand, reference this handy salt conversion chart beforehand.
- All-Purpose Flour – To get your baked wings nice and crispy in the oven, you’re going to need a dredge. If gluten is off the menu, feel free to use your favorite GF cup-for-cup all-purpose flour substitute.
- Baking Powder – This common baking ingredient might sound like a weird addition to your savory chicken wings, but this is a crucial ingredient to getting the skin extra crispy. Why? Baking powder is actually an alkaline substance, so it increases the pH of the chicken skin, which then hastens the Maillard reaction (nerd speak for browning). Don’t use baking soda in its place here; it will cause your wings to taste bitter.
- Butter – I’m a firm believer that butter makes everything better, chicken wings included. If you and dairy aren’t friends, feel free to swap in your favorite plant-based butter substitute.
- Garlic – Fresh cloves are always my preference because they just taste better. That said, you can easily swap in jarred minced garlic, or use ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder for each clove called for.
- Green Onions – I know some people only prefer to use the whites of green onions, while others only like to use the greens. I, for one, am an equal-opportunity green onion lover! Use the whole stalk, less the root end and any scraggly looking greens, saving some of the bright green tops for your garnish.
- Red Pepper Flakes – I like adding a little extra heat to most things; feel free to omit them if you are not a spicy foods lover.
How To Make Baked Salt & Pepper Wings
Be sure to check the recipe card below for full ingredients & instructions.
Making deliciously crispy baked chicken wings in the oven is a snap. Here’s how it’s done:
- Dry Chicken: Pat the chicken wings dry with paper towels. Arrange them on a baking sheet (touching is fine), cover with paper towels, and place them in the refrigerator for several hours, preferably overnight. While this is technically an optional step, I highly encourage you to take the extra time to do it; moisture is the enemy of crispy anything, and this step will ensure your wings are as dry as possible! If you don’t have the time, you can skip this step, just be sure to dry them as thoroughly as possible with paper towels.
- Prep: Cover a large baking sheet with foil (for easy cleanup) and top with a baking rack. Spray the rack over the baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- Coat Chicken: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper. Add chicken and toss to coat with the flour mixture. Shake off excess.
- Bake: Arrange chicken on the rack, close together but not touching. Bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating the baking sheet about halfway through. You do not need to flip the chicken. NOTE – if they don’t look crispy right away, give them a few more minutes. But they will get crispier as they cool.
- Make Sauce: While the chicken is cooking, make the sauce. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add garlic, red chile flakes, and green onions, and saute for a couple of minutes over medium-low heat. You want the garlic to brown, not burn, so be sure to keep the heat low.
- Toss & Enjoy! Transfer crispy wings to a large bowl. Pour the sauce over the wings and toss to coat. Serve on a platter and garnish with fresh, thinly sliced green onions.
Sure thing! Set your air fryer to 400°F, then cook for 8-12 minutes per side. Be sure to keep an eye on them though; we don’t want them to burn!
Absolutely! Simply swap in your favorite plant-based butter, or reach for sesame oil instead.
You betcha! Use your favorite cup-for-cup gluten-free all-purpose flour mixture in place of the flour. You can also try using potato starch in its place!
Technically speaking, yes, you can. However, I don’t suggest that you do, primarily because you simply won’t be able to get the nice crispy exterior without *at least* patting the defrosted wings dry, and preferably air-drying them in the fridge overnight.
- Serve with dipping sauces. While I’m happy to eat my salt & pepper chicken wings as is, there are plenty of yummy sauces and dips to spice things up. Try serving them with creamy herb veggie dip, garlic whipped feta, blue cheese dip, or honey mustard sauce. YUM!
- As part of an appetizer buffet. The only thing better than a delicious appetizer is MULTIPLE delicious appetizers. Deviled eggs, cheeseburger sliders, and my creamy, spicy sausage dip are some excellent fan favorites.
- As a meal. Who says chicken wings are just for snacking? Double the serving size and add a wedge salad, mac and cheese, or stuffed mini peppers to the plate to round out your meal.
These crispy baked salt and pepper chicken wings are pretty perfect just the way they are, but there are always plenty of ways to customize your meals to your exact liking. Here are a few ideas to get your wheels turning:
- Make crispy baked chicken pieces – not just wings! Feel free to use the coating and sauce recipe to spice up full-sized drumsticks or any other bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces (preferably dark meat). Just be sure to adjust your cook time appropriately; all poultry should reach an internal temperature of 165F for food safety.
- Make it spicy. Increase the heat by adding more red pepper flakes or opting for a spicier alternative like cayenne or ghost pepper.
- Keep it kid-friendly. Kiddos are less likely to enjoy spicy foods, so reserve some of the baked wings before you add the sauce to the adult portion. Serve them dry with a more kid-friendly dipping sauce like BBQ sauce or honey mustard instead.
- Make it Asian-inspired. Make the sauce more Asian-inspired by swapping some of the butter for sesame oil, adding some grated fresh ginger, and adding a splash of Shaoxing wine or mirin.
Storing and Reheating
Storage: Leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Freezing: It’s best to freeze wings without the sauce, but either way will work. Place cooled wings in a plastic freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
Reheating: If you have an air fryer, that’s the best way to reheat wings. If not, arrange them on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F until heated through and crispy.
- Know your measurements. There’s nothing worse than hosting a party and running out of food. If you are serving these salt & pepper wings as part of a larger spread, I’d suggest offering 3-4 pieces per person; for a meal, I’d suggest 6-10 pieces per person. For your calculations, there are typically 10-12 pieces in a pound of wings (including wingettes and drumettes).
- Take the time to dry your wings in the refrigerator. Moisture and “crispy” are about as compatible as oil and water. If you can, plan in advance to air dry your wings (in the refrigerator, of course!) for at least a few hours and preferably overnight. You’ll thank me when you bite into your first crunchy wing!
- Use a rack if you have one. Having the additional airflow under the wings helps to achieve their extra crispy status. If you don’t have one on hand, you can cook the wings directly on foil that has been coated with non-stick spray, but you’ll need to flip them about halfway through their bake time.
More Chicken Wing Recipes To Try
Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings
- 3 pounds chicken wings or drumettes
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 4 teaspoons black pepper
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 bunch green onions chopped (save some of the greens for garnish)
- ½ teaspoon red chile flakes
- Pat chicken wings dry with paper towels. Arrange wings on a baking sheet (touching is fine), cover with paper towels and place in the refrigerator for several hours. Overnight is ideal. If you don’t have the time, you can skip this step, just be sure to pat them as dry as possible with the paper towels.
- Cover a large baking sheet with foil and top with a baking rack. Spray the rack over the baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Add chicken and toss to coat with the flour mixture. Shake off excess.
- Arrange chicken on the rack, close together but not touching.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, rotating the baking sheet about halfway through. You do not need to flip the chicken. NOTE – if they don’t look crispy right away, give them a few more minutes. But they will get crispier as they cool.
- While the chicken is cooking, make the sauce. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add garlic, red chile flakes and green onions and saute for a couple of minutes over medium-low heat. You want the garlic to brown, not burn, so be sure to keep the heat low.
- Transfer crispy wings to a large bowl. Pour the sauce over the wings and toss to coat.
- Serve on a platter garnished with fresh, thinly sliced green onions.