These crispy salt and pepper chicken wings don’t mess around. They’re salty, they’re peppery and they have great depth of flavour from the spring onions (scallions), chilli, garlic and ginger they are fried with at the end.
- Easy to make and loaded with flavour.
- Fried with a super crispy coating.
- Succulent and tender inside.
- Great for finger food, dinner, snacks and game day food.
- You can make salt and pepper chicken using strips of chicken instead!
I first discovered salt and pepper wings at my local Japanese takeaway and had to recreate them. Upon further research, I realised the version from my favourite restaurant was essentially the same as Chinese salt and pepper wings.
This recipe was first posted here on February 1st, 2018 and has been updated with new photos and information.
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Ingredients you’ll need
So often when ordering salt and pepper anything from a restaurant, they hold back on that flavour and it makes no sense to me. If it’s in the name, you want to taste it right? Well, this salt and pepper chicken wings recipe is loaded with flavour. It’s bold and punchy and you won’t be confused what flavour they’re meant to be.
Jump to the recipe for full ingredients and instructions.
- Chicken wings: The cooking time is based on large chicken wings and use free-range if you can. You can also substitute skinless chicken thigh or chicken breast cut into strips (the cooking time will reduce).
- Cooking saké: Cooking saké is a Japanese rice wine. You can also use Chinese shaoxing rice wine. Both Japanese cooking saké and shaoxing wine are available in large grocery stores. If you can’t find them you can use dry sherry in it’s place.
- Sesame oil: I love this stuff. Full of umami and sesame flavour, sesame oil adds something bold and punchy outside of the spice in this recipe.
- Flour: I use plain flour / all-purpose flour, to give these wings a crispy coating. Many recipes use potato starch (more traditional) or cornflour (cornstarch) instead and you’re welcome to use any of the 3.
- Salt: Of course, we need salt in salt and pepper chicken wings. There’s enough here to give the flavour we’re after without being too salty.
- Pepper: Another necessity for this recipe, the pepper is ground white pepper, so often used in Asian cuisines. You can also use ground black pepper or substitute half of the pepper for cracked Szechuan peppercorn.
- Chilli: I use a long red chilli or serrano chili in this recipe. You don’t have to stick to red chili, you can use green too, even jalapeno will work.
- Spring onions: Also known as green onions or scallions, spring onions add a light onion flavour but loads of umami.
- Ginger and garlic: Use fresh ginger. It adds a touch of sweetness, tang and heat. Then fresh garlic adds loads of umami to these wings.
- Vegetable oil: Use a vegetable oil like canola or sunflower oil or use rice bran oil. These all have high heating points so they’re great for deep frying.
How to make salt and pepper chicken wings
Now normally I like to bake my chicken wings, like these oven baked barbecue chicken wings and my crispy honey soy chicken wings, mainly because I don’t like the smell of oil in the house. But sometimes, just sometimes, frying is totally worth it and this is one of those times.
These crunchy Korean chicken wings recipe also uses the deep frying method but again, totally worth it. These are more of a shallow fry than deep fry so very easy and not particularly messy either.
Jump to the recipe for full ingredients and instructions.
- Prep the wings: Cut the wings through the joints into tips, wingettes and drumettes. Discard the tips and dry the rest with paper towel. Now toss them in the saké and sesame oil and set aside.
- Make the dredging mixture: Combine flour, salt and pepper in a large bowl and set aside.
- Prep the oil: Heat the oil in a wok or some type of deep skillet until a sprinkle of flour sizzles.
- Start cooking: Toss the wings in the seasoning mixture then deep fry in batches for 4 minutes each until golden brown. Set them aside on a baking paper lined baking sheet or plate to drain while you cook the rest.
- The second fry: Tip away the frying oil into a heat proof dish. Now fry up the flavourings – chilli, onions, chilli, garlic and a touch of salt and pepper. Once they’re smelling gorgeous (only a minute or so), add the wings and toss to coat them in the mixture.
- Serve immediately. Garnish your perfect crispy Chinese salt and pepper wings with some extra sliced chilli and spring onion.
All I know is, these salt and pepper chicken wings fry up like a dream. Super easy to make and even easier to devour.
Tips and tricks
- Use a neutral flavoured oil with a high smoke point. A vegetable oil is great, along with sunflower oil or canola oil. Don’t use olive oil – it’s not generally able to withstand very high temperatures and can sometimes give off a bitter taste.
- You can make this as spicy as you like by adjusting the type of chili you use and also adding in a touch of szechuan pepper too.
- I use a splatter guard over my wok to stop the oil spitting up at me or over the stovetop.
Aside from just salt, pepper and chicken wings, there is flavour from garlic, ginger, chilli and spring onions (scallions) too.
It’s best to season chicken wings (baked or fried) before cooking. Whichever cooking method you use, the act of cooking them will adhere the seasoning to the wings.
How to serve salt n pepper wings
Salt and pepper chicken wings are perfect served as an appetiser or finger food. They’re great for gameday but can even be served with some rice as a main meal.
As these salt and pepper wings are based on my local Japanese restaurant version, I serve them with Kewpie mayonnaise (a Japanese mayonnaise that tastes sensational) but you can also serve them just on their own or with a lovely chilli dipping sauce, or even a sweet and sour sauce.
Did you try this salt and pepper wings recipe?
Leaving a rating and comment below the recipe is so helpful!
- 1 kg chicken wings (6-7 large wings)
- 1 tablespoon cooking sake (notes 1)
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- ⅓ cup plain flour (all purp flour) (notes 2)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
- ½ long red chilli, finely sliced
- 4 spring onions (scallions/green onions), finely chopped
- 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, finely grated (notes 3)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups vegetable oil for frying
- Extra spring onion, chilli and Kewpie mayonnaise to serve
For best results, always weigh ingredients where a weight is provided
- Cut into the chicken wings into flats and drumettes, discarding the tips (or keep them to make some chicken stock).
- In a large bowl, coat the wings in the sake and sesame oil and set aside.
- Set up 2 plates both covered with a few layers of paper towel.
- Prepare the coating by combining the flour, salt and pepper.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a wok over high heat until dropping some crumbs in sizzle straight away. Drop the heat to med-high.
- Coat 4 wing pieces in the coating then carefully place in the hot oil (don’t drop them). Let them sizzle away, turning now and then for about 4 minutes, then transfer to one of the paper towel covered plates. Repeat with remaining wings.
- Top up the oil a little and let it get hot again. Deep fry the wings a second time until golden and crisp (another 4 minutes). Transfer to the second plate with paper towel. Repeat with remaining wings.
- Tip the hot oil away into a heat proof pan or dish and wipe the wok out with paper towel.
- Add 1 tablespoon of oil back to the wok until very hot and add the chilli, onions, ginger and garlic, plus another small pinch of both salt and pepper. Stir fry for a couple of minutes until very aromatic.
- Add the wings to the wok and toss to coat in the aromats, then tip out onto a serving platter.
- Taste and add more salt if required. Scatter over some chopped fresh spring onion and chilli. Serve with kewpie mayonnaise.
- Please take a moment to leave a comment & rating. It's appreciated and so helpful.
- I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon (4 teaspoons worldwide)
- Traditionally, potato starch would be used to coat the wings but flour and even cornflour (cornstarch) also work. Choose whichever you prefer or have on hand.
- There is no need to peel the ginger.
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