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This air fryer lemon pepper wings recipe is the best recipe for getting incredibly flavorful, super crispy wings with very little effort! This easy recipe is made with a diy lemon pepper dry rub to make insanely crispy skin and done in 20 minutes. Make these delicious wings for an easy crowd pleasing game day appetizer or a tasty snack!
Y'all when I posted my Lemon Pepper Wings recipe the first comment I got was 'Can I make this in the air fryer?'
Chile, no. You cannot make that recipe in the air fryer, please for the love of baby Jesus don't do that. It will not work out for you, honey. It involves lots of liquids, dredging, and deep frying, that is
Which is exactly why I immediately bought a new air fryer (actually it's the Ninja Foodi Grill XL, which air fries, dehydrates, grills, does all kinds of stuff!) to make you guys an air fryer chicken wing recipe. And honey, that learning curve was intense! I burned quite a few batches trying to figure out the air frying process. But I got it down y'all!
These easy lemon pepper chicken wings are now a new fave and they're perfect for a quick snack or game day parties.
How to Make Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Wings
Okay so I might actually love making these crispy lemon pepper wings more than deep frying (though those will still have a place deep in my heart) because they are so fast and easy to make. Way less labor intensive and the cooking process is simpler, it's literally is only three ingredients and requires no dredging.
It's a great option for those of us who want to indulge in classic, fun dishes like fried chicken wings but still want something healthier. These wings are perfect for people on the keto diet!
It's also way faster than the deep fried way, taking me 25 minutes from start to plate in the air fryer, with only 3 simple ingredients!
Unlike traditional methods, we do not need flour to air fry these wings so they rely on an entirely different process to make the skin crispy!
Chicken Wing Segments. You can find them segmented in your local grocery store in the meat section. If you are using whole chicken wings, use a small sharp knife (like a utility knife) to cut the drumette, the wingette (also called the flat), and the wing tip. Pro Tip: Don't discard the leftover wings tips! They are perfect to use to make homemade chicken stock or even to use when making tonkotsu ramen broth. They're full of tiny bones and connective tissue, exactly what stock and soup broth need!
Lemon Pepper Seasoning. Now, y'all know I have my own DIY Lemon Pepper Seasoning recipe because I like being in control of the flavors I put into my dishes. My lemon pepper blend has lemon peel, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and plenty of black pepper. If you're using lemon pepper seasoning, make sure they use actual lemon peel.
Baking Powder without Aluminum. The secret to these insanely crispy air fryer wings is baking powder (you can NOT substitute baking soda, y'all!). Aluminum can make your wings taste extremely bitter, so make sure you grab the baking powder that says 'without aluminum' at the
Why We Use Baking Powder on Chicken Wings
Baking powder is a mix of baking soda, cream of tartar, and cornstarch. Cornstarch is a super star ingredient when making crispy fried food; it's used a lot in Chinese-American takeout foods like General Tso's Chicken or Mongolian Beef and it's one of my secret weapons when making southern fried chicken.
But the reason why we specifically use baking powder is not only dries out the skin thanks to the cornstarch, but that the chemical reaction of the sodium bicarbonate (aka baking soda) in baking powder raises the pH level in the chicken skin making it more alkaline, breaking down the peptides in the skin, and helps give the chicken uniform browning and extra crispy skin.
This technique applies for conventional oven baked 'fried' chicken wings as well as air fryer recipes. The air circulates around the the wings, letting the fat render on all sides and the surface moisture dry out to make us some extra, extra crispy chicken wings.
Making the Lemon Pepper Wings
First step, take your chicken wings out and pat them dry with a paper towel. This will help the dry rub stick to them. I like to take them out about 30 minutes before I plan to cook them to bring them closer to room temperature so they cook more evenly.
Next, make your dry rub by mixing the baking powder and the lemon pepper seasoning. If your lemon pepper blend is not as well seasoned as mine feel free to add in about 1 tsp garlic powder and ½ tsp onion powder. You can put it into a gallon sized ziplock bag or a large bowl to toss the wings (or shake them like a mad man in the ziplock bag) and coat every nook and cranny with the baking powder/lemon pepper mixture.
After that, preheat your air fryer. I used a Ninja Foodi Grill to air crisp the wings so I had the temperature at 390 degrees F, but I also have instructions for the classic air fryer, which has to have the temperature a bit higher than the Ninja Foodi Grill at 400 degrees F.
Drizzle or spray a little bit of oil onto the wings. Don't use extra virgin olive oil, it has a low smoke point and burns easily in high heat. You can use light olive oil, grapeseed, vegetable oil, avocado oil, any oil with a high smoke point.
Put the seasoned and oiled wings into the basket of your air fryer in one single layer. How many you can put in there depends on the size of your air fryer. Try to keep the wings as separate as possible so the air can circulate around them.
Cook the wings from 17-20 minutes, flipping them half way through the time or shaking the air fryer basket to turn the wings.
Serve these wings as is with celery sticks and your favorite dipping sauce or you can toss them in my favorite 'lemon pepper wet wing' sauce aka lemon pepper butter sauce. It's a simple recipe made with fresh lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon pepper seasoning, and melted butter whisked together and then tossed with the hot crispy wings.
More instructions on the lemon pepper sauce can be found in my deep fried lemon pepper wet wing recipe.
So there you have it! The best way Io get amazingly crispy air fried lemon pepper wings! An easy big game appetizer or game day snack that not only cuts down on the cook time but also on the calories of conventional wings.
If you want more air fryer recipes, let me know in the comments!
Looking for chicken dishes? Check out these recipes:
- Chicken and Waffles with Spicy Honey Butter Sauce
- Arroz con Pollo (Hispanic Chicken and Rice Dish)
- One Pan Roast Spatchcock Chicken and Potatoes with Lemon Garlic Pan Sauce
- Crispy Chicken Sandwiches
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- 3 pounds chicken wing segments
- 1 tsp baking powder, without aluminum
- 2 tbsp lemon pepper seasoning
- Drizzle of oil, optional
- Optional step: 30 minutes before cooking, take the chicken out of the fridge to take the chill off of them. This helps them cook more evenly.
- Pat each chicken wing dry with a paper towel. The drier they are, the crispier they'll be.
- Mix the baking powder and lemon pepper seasoning in a large bowl or ziptop bag and toss the wings thoroughly in the dry rub to coat them.
- Preheat your airfryer. For the Ninja Foodi Grill preheat to 390 degrees F, all other air fryers preheat to 400 degrees F.
- Drizzle a little high heat oil like grapeseed, avocado, etc. lightly over the wings, if using oil, before placing them in a single layer in your air fryer. How many fit in there depends on the size of your air fryer basket.
- Cook the lemon pepper wings for 20 minutes, flipping them at the half way point with tongs or shaking the basket to flip them.
- Serve the crispy air fryer lemon pepper wings hot with your favorite dipping sauce or tossed in lemon pepper butter sauce to make lemon pepper 'wet' wings.
- Keep leftover wings in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Reheat by putting into a 325 degree F oven on a baking sheet until the wings are warmed through.
To Make Lemon Pepper Butter Sauce
Mix the melted butter, lemon zest and juice, lemon pepper seasoning, garlic powder, and kosher salt in a small bowl. Put the wings in a clean mixing bowl and pour some of the sauce over the wings. Give them a really good toss, and if you want to make lemon pepper 'wet' wings, add all the sauce to the wings.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 461Total Fat: 34gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 112mgSodium: 1122mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 23g
All nutrition facts are estimations. Please see a physician for any health-related inquiries.
Eden Westbrook is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Sweet Tea and Thyme. A classically trained chef, Eden has inspired home cooks into the kitchen with cultural comfort foods, easy family-friendly eats and sweets, and glorious spreads for date night and entertaining since 2015.