How to Prepare Lemon-Pepper Chicken Wings


Start to Finish: 35 to 50 minutes, depending on method of preparation
Servings: 3 to 4, more as an appetizer
Difficulty Level: Beginning to Intermediate

Tart and just slightly spicy, the combination of lemon and pepper brings a big flavor kick to a batch of chicken wings. Fast-food outlets deep-fry their wings, but home cooks will find that grilling or oven roasting means less mess without sacrificing flavor. Skip the commercial lemon-pepper seasoning, too, since it's just as easy -- and much tastier -- to mix up your own custom wing sauce.


    • 3 pounds of chicken wings
    • 2 to 3 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup olive oil
    • 1 large lemon
    • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
    • Salt to taste

Before Cooking

  • Crack the peppercorns roughly in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. You can also place the peppercorns in a dish towel or sealed plastic bag and pound them lightly with a mallet or rolling pin to crack them.

    Separate the chicken wings at the joint into 3 pieces -- the drumette, the wing flat and the wing tip. Save the wing tips for another use, such as stock.

    Toss the jointed wings with the olive oil and a pinch or two of salt.

    Juice the lemon. Save the juiced halves.

    Combine the lemon juice, 1/3 cup olive oil and cracked peppercorns in a medium bowl.

Directions for the Oven

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahreheit. When the oven is ready, line a jellyroll pan or shallow roasting dish with parchment paper. Place the chicken wings in a single layer inside the pan. Pour the sauce over the wings. Add the juiced lemon halves to the pan. Scatter salt generously over the pan contents.

    Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, turning once, until the wings have turned golden brown and the sauce is pleasantly sticky. The meat should feel firm yet resilient when pressed. Serve.

Directions for the Grill

  • Prepare the grill so that you have an area of hot direct heat and an area of indirect moderate heat.

    Place the chicken wing sections on the grill over indirect heat and cover. Cook for 20 minutes, turning at least once.

    Remove the wings from the grill and toss them in the bowl with the sauce. Return the wing sections to the grill over direct heat. Cook, uncovered, for 5 to 10 minutes, until the wings are well browned and the flesh feels firm yet slightly resilient to the touch. Sprinkle on some salt and serve.

Tips and Warnings

  • Vary the recipe to your taste by adding to the sauce minced garlic or garlic powder; cayenne or chili flakes; or fresh or dried herbs such as rosemary, thyme or marjoram.

    Use melted butter in place of the olive oil.

    Because chicken wing sections are so small and thin, it is impossible to use a meat thermometer to accurately gauge their internal temperature. You will need to rely on appearance, timing and texture to determine when the wings are cooked.

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