There's something about air fryer lemon pepper wings that I just keep coming back to. Maybe it's the secret ingredient that makes them extra crispy… or maybe it's the fresh lemon zest or sticky honey lemon glaze. Either way, I'll be making these over and over again because they never get old. Especially during the summer months or anytime I need a little sunshine!
While the ingredients for Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Wings are available year-round, we enjoy it best in the spring and summer months.
Why you'll love these Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Wings:
- The skin gets ultra crispy, thanks to our secret ingredient
- All ingredients are fresh and from scratch
- Only 8 ingredients
- Ready in 30 minutes
- Super zesty and bursting with flavor!
Why make lemon pepper wings in the air fryer?
The air fryer is the perfect way to make these lemon pepper wings. There’s less mess than frying, and the convection in an air fryer helps make every surface super crispy.
Air fryers also cook quickly, so these are done in only 22 minutes.
While there are plenty of air fryer options out there, I use the Instant Pot with Air Fryer Lid. It's the perfect minimalist duo that I can also use in my camper van!
Air Fryer Essentials:
Related: Van Life Kitchen Essentials
And a good pair of tongs will help protect your fingers when it's time to pull those tasty little morsels from the basket.
Why is this ‘from scratch’ recipe better?
Dried processed lemon zest doesn’t sound that tasty does it? At least not as tasty as the fresh zest you’ll use in this recipe! Do you even have it in your kitchen now? Why buy another spice when all you need is a lemon, black pepper and garlic powder?
How do the wings get crispy? What’s the secret ingredient?
Get ready to have your mind blown - the secret ingredient is baking powder! Do you remember when I told you that I used to be a science teacher? Or how about that my partner is a chemist?
We brought out the science on this one! The baking powder in our spice mix helps to break down the fat in the chicken skin allowing it to get crispier then normal. No batter needed, and you'll never miss it .
This simple recipe has just a few easy steps:
Step 1. Rinse and dry those chicken wings. Rinsing and drying the chicken wings makes the skin a little bit sticky. This helps it hold on to as much of the flavorful spice mix as possible.
Step 2. Mix the spices in a small bowl. Create a 'rub' by mixing the spices and baking powder in a small bowl.
Step 3. Coat the wings with spice rub. Press the skin-side only of the chicken wing in the spice rub. This gives lots of crispy flavor and prevents sticking to the air fryer basket. This also means you won't need to flip the wings mid way.
If you choose to coat both sides, you'll need to double the spice rub recipe. However, you may want to keep the same pepper amount and simply double the other ingredients. My partner and I disagree on how peppery we like them.
Step 4. Place the wings in the air fryer. Place the wings skin-side up in the air fryer basket.
Air Fry for 22 minutes at 400 degrees F. I choose not to flip them halfway because there was no difference when I did.
Mix the glaze. Mix together the glaze ingredients. The starch really brings out the zesty lemon flavor!
Step 5. Drizzle the glaze over the finished wings just before serving!
Voila -- Amazing, sticky, sweet and salty Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Wings! You won't be able to stop yourself from sneaking the first one off the plate 😉
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Amazing Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Wings from scratch
Super zesty and healthy Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Wings! They use only 8 real from-scratch ingredients. Ready in 30 minutes. Gluten-free, Paleo.
- Prep Time: 8
- Cook Time: 22
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 3 1x
- Category: Meat, Appetizer
- Method: Air Fryer
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Gluten Free
- 1 pound chicken wings
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (1 tablespoon = about ½ lemon, juiced)
- 3 teaspoons tapioca starch
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest, grated
- Rinse chicken wings under cool water and pat dry with a towel until skin is slightly sticky. Mix spice rub ingredients in a small bowl.
- Roll the skin side of a chicken wing in the spice rub, coating completely. Then lay skin-side-up in the air fryer basket. Repeat with all remaining wings. You can arrange drumsticks so they stand vertically, leaning against the outside of the basket, if more space is needed.
- Air fry at 400 degrees F for 22 minutes. I do not disturb or flip the wings during the cooking process. While cooking, add glaze ingredients to a jar and whisk or cover with a lid and shake until well mixed.
- When finished cooking, gently remove the chicken wings from the air fryer basket with tongs or a spatula. Arrange on a serving dish and drizzle with glaze just before serving. Sprinkle with fresh lemon zest and enjoy!
You can double the spice mix and coat both sides of the chicken wings for an extra kick. Note that they will be very peppery in this case (my partner loves this).
Storage: Store wings in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days. I recommend refrigerating the wings before adding the glaze if possible. They will lose some of their crisp after refrigerating, though reheating them in the air fryer can help restore some of the original texture.
Keywords: air fryer chicken wings, chicken wings with dry rub, lemon pepper chicken wings