The Best Crispy Lemon Pepper Wet Wings

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Make the best lemon pepper wet wings the way I learned to make them in Atlanta. These crispy wings are fried with my homemade lemon pepper seasoning blend for seriously tangy flavor and tossed in a tangy, buttery lemon pepper sauce. A perfect game day appetizer for all wing lovers!

Looking for more tasty wings? Try these baked gojuchang wings, air fryer garlic parmesan wings, or honey lemon pepper wings.

lemon pepper wet wing sauce being poured over fried lemon pepper wings

Crispy Chicken Wings Tossed in Zesty Lemon Pepper Wet Sauce

When I was 22, my family lived in Atlanta, Georgia, and lemon pepper wings were a well-known local delicacy. In the South, wings are top tier celebration food.

But when Donald Glover on the Atlanta tv show showcased J.R. Crickets' lemon pepper wet, the lemon pepper wing phenomenon went absolutely wild on the mainstream stage.

And honestly, I can't blame y'all. They're that good. These wings are crispy on the outside and so juicy on the inside, coated in a delicious lemon pepper butter sauce. It is insanely good.

This homemade lemon pepper wings recipe calls for deep frying so we have the crispiest classic wings, but I do have a recipe for air fryer lemon pepper wings if that's your thing.

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Why You'll Love these Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings

  • You'll Learn how to Deep Fry - deep frying scares a lot of people, but I want to reassure you: it's a lot simpler than you think! A pot of oil with a thermometer is all it is.
  • Great for a Party - if you're making game day appetizers, this recipe needs to be on your menu.
  • Super Crispy and Full of Flavor - Because the chicken is deep fried, you'll get that earth-shattering crunch from the seasoned crust and keep the chicken juicy and tender inside. Not to mention all the good flavor from the lemon pepper butter sauce! Mm!

Origins of Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings

The actual origins aren't clearly documented, but many people believe that lemon pepper wings were first created in Atlanta, Georgia.
The story goes that local people used lemon pepper seasoning on their buffalo wings to cool the spice down, as lemon helps negate spicy food.
While the original mix was buffalo sauce and lemon pepper seasoning, lemon pepper eventually caught on as its own flavor, and boom, a food craze was born!

What you'll need to make this Chicken Wing Recipe

Full ingredients, measurements, and printable instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

ingredients for lemon pepper wet wings labeled
  • Chicken wings - Getting them segmented, or cut into 'drums' and 'flats', will often be called party wings when you look for them in a pack. At Costco I was able to get about 6 pounds of wings for 20 bucks, so check there for them!
  • Lemon Pepper Seasoning - The whole point of lemon pepper wings right here! You can buy store bought or make your own lemon pepper seasoning.
  • Flour, Cornstarch, and Baking Powder - These three together make the crispiest, crunchiest crust on your wings! Argue with your mama on this one, this is science. It's the same mix I use in my southern fried chicken.
  • Eggs and Milk - Dip the wings in this mixture so the seasoned flour will stick. I add hot sauce to it for flavor. Layers of flavor, y'all. Layers.
  • Fresh lemon juice and lemon zest - I add fresh lemon zest into my lemon pepper sauce for extra lemony flavor. Just make sure you only grab the zest, not the bitter white pith underneath the yellow skin.
  • Spices - I use a blend of the good stuff: smoked paprika, onion powder and garlic powder, and some kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  • Unsalted butter and hot sauce - the OG version of lemon pepper wings was buffalo sauce mixed with lemon pepper seasoning. I keep the essence of that with hot sauce in my recipe, though you can use cayenne pepper instead. But that butter is getting mixed with seasonings and tossed with wings. Mmm!

Homemade Lemon Pepper Seasoning Ingredients

  • Grated Lemon Zest - this is where the lemon flavor comes from, not just 'sour' like in the juice.
  • Coarsely Ground Black Pepper - the coarseness really allows you to enjoy the pepper flavor, that bite of spice in peppercorns that people often miss when 
  • Kosher Salt
  • Garlic Powder
  • Minced Onion

How to Make Lemon Pepper Wet Wings

a gloved hand coating chicken wings in a hot wing egg mixture

Step 1 | whisk up the hot sauce, spices, milk, and eggs and mix the chicken wings in the egg mixture. You can do this step a day ahead!

a gloved hand tossing wings in a seasoned flour dredge

Step 2 | whisk together the flour, corn starch, baking powder, lemon pepper seasoning and other spices, then coat the wings in the seasoned flour mixture.

fried lemon pepper wings sit on a wire rack over a baking sheet

Step 3 | Deep fry the wings in 350 degrees F oil for 6-7 minutes until they are golden brown and mega crunchy. Carefully lay the wings in a single layer on your wire rack to get rid of the excess oil.

a bowl of lemon pepper wet butter sauce

Step 4 | Melt your unsalted butter with the lemon juice, lemon pepper seasoning, lemon zest, salt, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Whisk it up good!

fried wings tossed in a bowl of lemon pepper butter sauce

Step 5 | toss the wings in just a small bit of the melted butter mixture for Atlanta style 'regular' lemon pepper wings. But pour on about ¼-1/3 cup of lemon pepper sauce and give a hearty toss to make the famous lemon pepper wet wings. The green in the photo is fresh parsley for some *fancy*.

a view of atlanta lemon pepper wet wings in a bowl with lemon wedges

Step 6 | Serve your juicy chicken wings with lemon wedges and extra lemon pepper butter sauce. Enjoy them hot!

Pro Tips

  • If you have whole chicken wings that you are breaking down, save those wing tips for a tasty chicken stock. They're also perfect for throwing into a ramen broth.
  • When using baking powder, always make sure it's 6 months old or less. Baking powder loses its potency as it ages, which means that amazing bubbly-crisp action we want for a seriously light, crispy chicken wing crust won't happen.
  • While we're on baking powder, get the aluminum-free kind so there's no metallic taste!
  • And don't skip the cornstarch. Cornstarch absorbs some of the water on the chicken, swelling up and locking in the rest of the juiciness inside the chicken, like a starchy shield. Then, when the wings fry, the water evaporates from the cornstarch, making that shield create a complex little starch network that expands and crisps up.
  • The butter sauce does solidify when cold. Just rewarm it in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stove over medium-low heat to make it nice and loose again.

Make Ahead, Storage, and Reheating Instructions 

  • Make Ahead: Marinate the chicken wings in the egg mixture overnight and make the lemon pepper butter sauce the day before. Keep both in the fridge, then move on the the rest of the recipe when ready to serve. 
  • Store: Keep unsauced wings and the sauce in separate airtight containers in the fridge for up to 3 days. They'll stay crispier without the sauce.
  • Reheat: Put the leftover lemon pepper wings on a baking sheet in one layer, on a wire rack and reheat at 300 degrees F in your oven until they are warmed through.
a bowl of lemon pepper wings wet with lemon pepper butter sauce

Equipment Needed

  • Dutch oven - if you don't have a deep fryer, a dutch oven is your best bet. It's large, heavy, and holds heat evenly. This is the most used pot I have!
  • Candy Thermometer - I love a digital candy/deep fry thermometer whenever I fry. You can keep the temperature as even as possible with it, so each batch is consistent!
  • Microplane - this tool is so great for zesting just the right amount of citrus peel without digging into the pith.
  • Tongs - I use two sets: one for the raw chicken, and one to grab the fried chicken from the hot oil. Use tongs that are sturdy with metal ends so they are sure to grasp the slippery chicken wings.
  • Baking sheet - the base of your after-frying set up.
  • Paper towels - these will sit on the baking sheet to grab the excess oil from the chicken wings after they're done frying. No super greasy wings around here!
  • Wire Cooling Rack - this lays on top of your paper towel-lined baking sheet, holding the wings up so they don't end up getting soggy on the paper towels.


What does 'lemon pepper wet' mean?

To ask for 'lemon pepper wet' wings just means that the wings are tossed in double the amount of sauce at your local Wingstop or wing restaurant. And since you're making lemon pepper wings at home, you can make as much as you want!

What is lemon pepper seasoning?

Lemon pepper is a popular seasoning blend made with lemon zest and freshly ground black pepper. Depending on the blend you find at the store, it can also include granulated onion and garlic, salt, different types of pepper, paprika, real lemon juice crystals (which I actually really enjoy, it adds a bright, tangy flavor!), and other spices.

Many store bought lemon pepper blends have preservatives and artificial lemon flavorings, which kinda taste like how lemon pledge smells to me so I have my own recipe for homemade lemon pepper seasoning.

More Tasty Chicken Recipes!

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📖 Recipe

a bowl of lemon pepper wings wet with lemon pepper butter sauce

Lemon Pepper Wet Wings

Eden Westbrook
Make the best lemon pepper wet wings ever! Crispy, juicy chicken wings are fried and tossed in a lemon pepper wing sauce.
4.86 from 62 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Appetizers
Cuisine Southern
Servings 36 wing segments
Calories 132 kcal


  • 3 lbs chicken wings segmented
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Seasoned Flour

  • 2 cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoon lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoon onion powder

Lemon Pepper Wet Butter Sauce

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


  • In a large dutch oven, pour in about 3 inches worth of vegetable oil. Begin heating the oil to 350 degrees F (176 degrees C) while dredging the chicken wings.
    Vegetable oil
  • In a large mixing bowl beat together the eggs, milk, 1 tablespoon kosher salt, and hot sauce.
    3 large eggs, ¼ cup whole milk, 1 tablespoon hot sauce, 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • Then, in a gallon sized zip top bag, or in another large mixing bowl, mix all the ingredients for the seasoned flour together until well combined.
    1 tablespoon kosher salt, 2 cup all purpose flour, ½ cup cornstarch, 2 teaspoon baking powder, 2 tablespoon lemon pepper seasoning, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 2 teaspoon garlic powder, 2 teaspoon onion powder
  • Take the chicken wings and put them into the egg mixture in batches, ensuring all the wings are coated in egg.
    3 lbs chicken wings
  • Take about 5-6 egg-mixture-coated wings and put them into the seasoned flour. Give a really good shake (if in the zip top bag) or toss and stir them well (if using a bowl) to coat the wings in flour. Let them rest on a plate while you continue coating more batches of wings, until all the wings are done.
  • When the oil has come to temperature (using a candy/frying thermometer is important here) fry the lemon pepper wings in batches, about 5-6 at a time, so you don't overcrowd the pot and lower the temperature of the oil.
  • Line a baking sheet with paper towels and then place a wire rack on top for the cooked wings to rest on.
  • Fry the wings for about 7 minutes per batch, then use a slotted spoon or tongs to take them out of the oil and place them on the prepared wire rack. Repeat with all the chicken wings until all of them are done frying. Make sure to check on the temperature before every batch, we don't want the heat to be higher than 360 degrees F (182 degrees C)or lower than 350 degrees F (176 degrees C).
  • 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.
    1 cup unsalted butter, ¼ cup lemon juice, ½ teaspoon lemon zest, 2 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Serve hot, with any leftover sauce on the side to dip in.


Want to reheat any leftover lemon pepper wings? Put them on a baking sheet in one layer, on a wire rack and reheat at 300 degrees F in your oven until they are warmed through.
When using baking powder, always make sure it's 6 months old or less. Baking powder loses its potency as it ages, which means that amazing bubbly-crisp action we want for a seriously light, crispy chicken wing crust won't happen.
While we're on baking powder, get the aluminum-free kind so there's no metallic taste!


Serving: 1wingCalories: 132kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 5gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 507mgPotassium: 62mgFiber: 0.4gSugar: 0.2gVitamin A: 241IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 25mgIron: 1mg
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