These honey lemon pepper wings are incredible. Sweet and lemony, with a nice kick from the black pepper, crispy on the outside and tender, moist inside. Not to mention that they are so easy to make!
We love chicken wings! In any form: deep-fried, pan-fried, sweet, hot, breaded … you name it! But these baked honey lemon pepper wings are one of our favorite finger foods. No messy deep-frying, no breading that takes time. Just the chicken, some honey, a bit of lemon juice, and spices.
This super delicious recipe is great for dinner; it's a perfect appetizer for parties or Super Bowl. And it's ready in less than one hour. For more delicious game-day recipes, have a look at the Baked Cajun Chicken Wings, Air Fryer Frozen Chicken Wings, Quick Pork Belly Bites, or the Easy Margherita Flatbread Pizza. To cook wings faster, learn How to Parboil Chicken Wings.
What do you need?
- 3 lb – in my case, 3 lb was 16 fresh chicken wings, but that can vary a bit depending on the size of the pieces you have.
- You can buy them either fresh or frozen. If frozen, defrost overnight in the refrigerator.
- They can be whole or already cut into wingettes and drumettes. The wingettes, also known as flats, are the flat part of the wing, while the drumettes are those pieces that look like mini drumsticks. The pre-cut ones are often labeled as "party wings."
- If they are jointed, you can go ahead with baking them. If they are whole, you should divide them at the joint and remove the wing tip if it's still there (it's already removed most of the time).
- A fantastic seasoning made from granulated lemon zest and black pepper. The citrus oils infuse the crushed peppercorns, and the mixture is then baked and dried (Wikipedia). Although it can be used for fish and other meats, I use it mostly for chicken; the two are a perfect match.
- You will need about one tablespoon of lemon pepper seasoning.
- Always fresh lemon juice, it has the best flavor.
Honey: Runny, clear honey.
Spices: one teaspoon garlic powder, fine sea salt (or Kosher), ground black pepper.
How to make honey lemon pepper wings?
How to divide chicken wings at the joint?
- Place a piece on a cutting board.
- Cut the tip of the wing with a good sharp knife. I never discard the tips; I use them to make chicken stock.
- Hold the drumette in your hand and stretch the joint open while the wingette still lies on the board.
- Find the right spot between the bones and cut with the knife through the joint; you should not encounter much resistance. If you do, it means that you hit the bone. Move the knife a little bit more on the right or left side of the joint until you find the right spot. It should be very easy to cut through the skin, between the two bones.
How to bake chicken wings?
- Pat dry with a paper towel.
- Season: Place the pieces in a large bowl. Toss with oil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Rub well to coat with the spices. If you have the time, you can place the wings on a tray in a single layer and refrigerate them, uncovered, for a few hours or overnight; they will dry out and will be even crispier. However, this step is optional; the honey lemon pepper chicken wings will still be delicious without waiting.
- Preheat the oven. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil; this will make cleaning up easier. Place a rack over the tray.
- Arrange the wingettes and drumettes on the rack.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, until crispy, golden brown, and cooked through. Check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer; it should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit/ 74 degrees Celsius.
- Prepare the glaze, shortly before the roasting time is through.
- Glaze: Once the chicken parts are cooked through, remove them from the oven and brush them generously with the glaze.
- Return to the oven and roast for another 5 minutes until the chicken wings are shiny and sticky.
How to make lemon pepper honey glaze?
- Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat on the stove, let it come to a gentle boil, turn down the heat to low, and simmer gently for about 2-3 minutes.
- The glaze should be thick enough to coat the spoon without dripping off too quickly.
- However, don't overcook the mixture, or it will set too much, and you will not be able to glaze the chicken properly.
How to serve?
The lemon pepper chicken wings are best served immediately. However, you can reheat them in the preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit/ 180 degrees Celsius for 10 – 15 minutes or until heated through.
Sprinkle them with chopped parsley, toasted sesame seeds, or finely chopped green onions if you wish.
We mostly have them as they are; I never make a dip because they are very spicy and flavorful. Eat them with your fingers, and make sure you have enough napkins close by. And don't forget to squeeze the lemon wedges directly on the hot wings when serving; I find those few drops of juice make them even better.
When serving them as a main dish, I make a green salad or coleslaw and cut some crusty bread to have on the side. You can serve them with mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, or a simple rice dish for a complete meal.
How to store?
- Refrigerate: Let come to room temperature and refrigerate for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
- Freeze for up to 3 months in freezer bags. Defrost in the fridge and reheat in the oven before serving (as instructed above).
No, don't wash the meat. The bacteria are only destroyed during the cooking process; washing will spread it all over your sink.
Yes, definitely. You can spice the honey with lemon zest and cracked black pepper if you don't have lemon pepper. Or another spice blend you like.
Instead of honey, you can glaze the wings with Gochujang, Teriyaki, BBQ, sweet chili, or hot sauce.
Try it on drumsticks, thighs, or chicken breasts. You might want to double the glaze recipe; in this case, I always need more for legs.
It's easy even without using baking powder, as many recipes do.
Dry them well with paper towels before coating them with spices.
If possible, let them dry out in the fridge for several hours. The less moisture left on them, the crispier they will be.
Cook them on high heat.
Cook them on a rack; this way, the heat will circulate all around them, and they will not sit in their own released juices.
You can deep fry these spicy wings, but baking has a lot of advantages. Baked wings are healthier; you will not have to deal with the deep-frying mess and smells, you don't have to stand by the stove. And they will be just as crispy, tender, and delicious.
Line the baking sheet with parchment paper or heavy-duty aluminum foil. Bake as instructed, but flip the pieces halfway through to ensure crispy skin all around.
After all, the pieces are small, right? But the fat needs some time to render, and this makes the wings crispy. However, this time is stress-free; if you use a rack, you don't even have to flip them.
Quick appetizers for the football season
Give my quick recipes a try for your next family meal! Feel free to reach out if you need any assistance!
Honey Lemon Pepper Wings
- Baking tray
- Small saucepan
- 3 lb chicken wings about 16
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil canola, sunflower oil
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ cup honey
- 1 tablespoon lemon pepper or to taste, it depends on the brand
- 2 garlic cloves
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- lemon wedges for serving
- Divide the chicken wings at the joint if necessary (Note). Place in a large bowl and toss with oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. If you have the time, place them on a tray in a single layer and in the refrigerator to dry for a few hours or overnight. If not, cook them immediately.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius). Line a baking tray with heavy-duty aluminum foil and place a rack on top. Arrange the wings on the rack.
- Bake for about 35-40 minutes until crispy and cooked through. Check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer; it should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius).
- Glaze: Remove from the oven and brush with the honey lemon pepper glaze. Return to the oven and bake for another 5 minutes until sticky and shiny. Serve immediately.
Honey lemon pepper glaze:
- Cook glaze: Place honey, lemon pepper, grated garlic cloves, and lemon juice in a small pan. Heat on the stove, let it come to a gentle boil, turn down the heat to low, and simmer gently for about 2-3 minutes. It should thicken slightly, coat the spoon and not drip off the spoon very quickly. You should be able to brush the wings with it, without it dripping off the meat. Don't over-boil it.