Chinese Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings are a restaurant takeout that taste way better when made at home. Generously seasoned with salt and pepper and dredged in a light coating of cornflour makes these deep-fried chicken wings extremely moreish and crunchy. And I absolutely love the kick from the stir fried chilies and toasted garlic.
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Omg I can devour these wings day and night! The flavours are explosive and the crunch will blow your mind. And the best part about this dish is that it is so fuss-free and easy to make.
Of course, there is deep-frying involved which is somewhat of a hassle but for these wings, I’d say it is totally worth it. I mean, c'mon, is there anything better than fried chicken?! Still if you want something Asian yet baked check out my Sticky Asian Chicken Wings with Garlic Dip.
So many recipes call for double-frying. But my recipe will give you the ultimate crunch without this additional step. Although, I will also share below how you can air fry or bake these salt and pepper wings.
The savoury, peppery marinade especially when left overnight makes these wings super duper juicy and delicious. The chicken stock is a great substitute for Shaoxing wine if you want to keep it halal or non alcoholic. And it also gives that umami flavour which is usually acquired by MSG in most Chinese restaurants.
Then just dredge these in some seasoned cornflour (cornstarch) or potato starch and deep fry. Honestly, you can totally eat them at this point but this next step makes these wings more phenomenal. Stir fry in some fried garlic, spicy chilies and spring onion (scallions) and enjoy the fiery flavours.
- Chicken Wings - Get chicken wings with skin and cut them into wingettes (also known as the flat) and drumettes and discard the tip if not already pre-cut. In the picture above the wings have been shot in their marinade.
- Marinade - You need some salt, white pepper, black pepper, all-purpose soy sauce, chicken broth (which is a great alternative for Shaoxing wine), rice vinegar, ginger and garlic.
- Salt - Flaky sea salt would be ideal for this recipe. If you are using table salt use a little less as it is more potent.
- White Pepper - Adds a lovely heat to the wings.
- Black Pepper - Use freshly cracked black pepper. You can additionally add Sichuan peppercorns as well.
- Garlic - Apart from using in the marinade we will also stir-fry the garlic for topping.
- Spring Onion - aka scallions.
- Chilies - You can use the chili according to your spice preference. Thai, Fresno, Serrano or Jalapeno if you want it really mild. If you don’t like chili just use bell pepper. I like to use both green and red colours because it looks prettier. Also if you are out of chili, no need to run to the grocery store just add red pepper flakes.
- Oil - Of course, for deep-frying you need oil. Any neutral oil like sunflower, canola, vegetable, rapeseed oil will do. I stir fry in olive oil, you can use sesame oil or the same cooking oil you used for deep frying.
How To Make It
Marinate. Marinate the chicken wings overnight for deeper flavour. Otherwise let them sit for at least 30 minutes.
Dredge. Season cornflour (cornstarch) with white pepper and firmly press each chicken wing into it. Shake off any excess.
Deep-fry. Fry the wings on medium heat till golden and crispy. Drain on a wire rack and immediately season with salt and pepper.
Stir-fry. Add the aromatics to the oil. When the flavours are infused, toss in the chicken wings and serve hot.
- I highly recommend marinating the wings overnight. The flavours absorb better and the chicken broth makes them very juicy.
- Make sure the wings are totally covered with cornflour (cornstarch) and there are no bald spots. Press firmly, applying slight pressure so that the cornflour adheres well. This is what makes them super crispy.
- Fry the chicken wings in batches or they will stick together and also bring the temperature of the oil down, resulting in soggy chicken wings.
- Make sure you don’t burn your aromatics, especially garlic otherwise everything will taste bitter.
Air Fry Salt And Pepper Chicken Wings
Not only does air frying reduce the calories in this dish, it is also mess-free unlike deep-frying.
Pre-heat your air fryer, if it has this setting. Then after dredging in cornflour (no need to use baking powder), place the chicken wings in the basket in a single layer. Make sure they are not overlapping and there is sufficient space for the air to flow and crisp them up.
Spritz with oil and air fry at 200°C (390°F) for 14-16 minutes. Flip them after 7-8 minutes so they can cook equally from both sides.
Bake Salt And Pepper Chicken Wings
Line a baking tray with aluminium foil and place an oven-safe wire rack on top. In a single layer place the chicken wings on the rack and spray with oil. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 220°C (425°F) for 30-35 minutes. Don’t forget to flip them over midway! You can spray once again with oil when you flip them.
If your wings are larger they will require more cooking time.
These Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings are a wonderful appetizer to serve at a buffet party, barbecue, as a game day snack or take it to a potluck.
Serve this chicken with a dip of your choice like ranch dressing, hot sauce or just a squeeze of lemon. You can also serve them alongside some Greek-style Potato Wedges.
You can totally use boneless and skinless chicken breast or thighs instead of wings but the cooking time might vary. And if you love boneless fried chicken, check out my Crispy Homemade Popcorn Chicken.
They will definitely lose the crunch if you do. I’d suggest to dredge them in cornflour (cornstarch) and set aside. And deep fry just before serving.
It is hard to imagine there’d be leftovers. If there are, you can refrigerate in an airtight container. They will definitely lose some of the freshness but reheating them in an air fryer or oven will restore some of the crispiness.
More Asian Recipes
Did you try this and love it? Please rate the recipe or leave a review in the comments section. I'd love to hear from you!
Chinese Salt And Pepper Chicken Wings
- 16 (~750g ) chicken wings wingettes and drumettes separated
- neutral oil for deep frying
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- ½ teaspoon freshly crushed black pepper
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoon chicken stock
- 2 cloves garlic grated
- 1 tablespoon ginger grated
- 1 cup cornflour (cornstarch)
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
Stir Fry Topping
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2-3 cloves garlic finely sliced
- 1 green chili diced
- 1 red chili diced
- 2 spring onions green and white part separately sliced
- ¼ teaspoon white pepper
- pinch sea salt
- Add all the marinade ingredients to the chicken wings and mix well. Cover with the cling and for best results marinate overnight. Otherwise at least give 30 minutes for the flavours to gel together. You don't need to pat the chicken wings dry. The wetness will make cornflour stick better.
- Mix white pepper into the cornflour for the dredging mixture. Coat each chicken piece with this mixture. Press firmly on both sides and make sure you do not leave any bald spots. Shake off excess and set aside.
- Heat a pot of oil till it reaches 175°C (350°F) or when you put a chopstick/wooden skewer in bubbles appear around it. Make sure the oil is not very hot. On medium heat drop in the chicken wings in batches. Do not overcrowd the pan. Also let the wings crisp up from the bottom before touching or flipping them.
- Fry the chicken for a total of 10-12 minutes until golden and crispy. Make sure you change sides after 5-6 minutes. When done, remove and drain on a wire rack and immediately sprinkle some sea salt and freshly crushed black pepper. Don't put them on a paper towel as it will make them soggy.
- Heat olive oil in a pan. On medium heat, toast the sliced garlic until light golden. Then add in the chili and white part of spring onion. Stir fry for 1 minute.
- Toss in the chicken wings on medium-high heat. Mix in the white pepper and pinch of sea salt. Finally add the green part of spring onion and turn off heat.
- Remove on a plate and serve hot.
If you are using table salt, use a little less. It is more potent than sea salt.
Skip rice vinegar if you don't have any.
You can also make your own chicken stock by combining 2 tablespoon water with 2 teaspoon chicken powder or one-fourth chicken bouillon cube.
You can totally use boneless, skinless chicken breast or thigh instead of wings but the cooking time might vary.
Make sure you don’t burn your aromatics, especially garlic otherwise everything will taste bitter.
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