Chinese Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings are a delicious restaurant-style appetizer, that will make you keep reaching for more.
These crunchy, deep-fried chicken wings are full of salt and peppery flavor, then topped with fried garlic and chilis, for an additional kick of flavor.
You'll Love these Chicken Wings
Easy Appetizer: These salt and pepper chicken wings are an impressive yet easy appetizer. The marinade is very simple with just a few ingredients. After marinating the wings all you have to do is dredge and coat them in cornflour, and deep fry!
So Crunchy: Since we use cornflour as the dredge here, the wings turn out super crispy. Another tip to keep the wings crunchy is to place them on a cooling rack, instead of a kitchen towel, as it helps to keep them crispy for longer.
Secret Ingredient: Well, this isn't so much as a secret ingredient in Chinese cooking, but I add a little bit of Ajinomoto for that extra flavor! This is an optional ingredient, and you can skip it if you don't have or want to use Ajinomoto.
What is the Secret to Crispy Chicken Wings?
Ever been disappointed by making chicken wings at home that just didn't turn out crispy?
Well, worry not, following a few simple tips you can make super crispy chicken wings at home!
Reduce Moisture: Start by patting your chicken wings dry with a kitchen towel, to get rid of excess moisture, which is the enemy of crispiness!
Coating: You will find many recipes for calling for different types of dredge coating for the wings. Some will call for a combination of all-purpose flour and cornstarch, potato starch, or even rice flour.
I've found that the crispiest results can be achieved just by using cornstarch. This is because cornstarch is really, really good at crisping up food when fried. Learn more here.
Oil: Using the right type of oil is important here, as we are deep frying on high heat. I like to use canola or vegetable oil. You can also use peanut oil if you have it on hand.
Wire rack: To make sure the chicken wings remain crispy after frying, transfer them onto a wire rack instead of a paper-lined plate.
The wire rack allows the air to circulate and doesn't allow steam to gather under the chicken wings, which would cause soggy chicken wings. I use this same trick when frying pakoras! It always works like a charm.
Ingredients You'll Need
- Chicken Wings: Use chicken wings with skin on, and ask your butcher to cut them into wingettes and drumettes. You can discard the wing tips as they do not have much meat on them. You can also use whole chicken wings if you like.
- Salt: I just used normal table salt, but if you have flaky sea salt on hand, that would be even better.
- Black Pepper: Freshly cracked black pepper is best here, as we want the flavor of black pepper to really shine out.
- Soy Sauce: Just a little bit of soy sauce adds a great depth of flavor.
- White Vinegar: To add a little bit of tang to the wings.
- Ajinomoto (MSG): Helps to bring out the umami flavor in these crispy chicken wings.
- Garlic & Ginger: Favorite aromatics that bring a delicious flavor to this recipe.
Cornstarch Dredge Ingredients
- Cornstarch: To make the chicken wings super crispy, we will be coating them in cornstarch. I prefer using just cornstarch instead of a combination of all-purpose flour and cornstarch.
- Seasonings: All you need is a little bit of salt and pepper, the rest of the flavoring in this recipe comes from the marinade and stir-fry topping.
Stir Fry Topping Ingredients
- Oil: We only need a little bit of oil to make this crispy, spicy topping.
- Garlic: Slice the garlic cloves thinly, so that they become golden and crispy when fried.
- Red chili: Increase the number of chillies as per your liking. I like to use either serrano or Thai chilies for this recipe.
- Spring onions: Adds another dimension of flavor and texture.
- Salt and pepper: Before adding the salt and pepper, taste the chicken wings to ensure they need extra seasoning.
How to Make Chinese Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings
Marinate the Chicken Wings
- Place the chicken wings in a large mixing bowl. Add all the marinade ingredients, and mix well until the wings are coated evenly. Cover with cling film, and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.
Coat with Cornstarch Dredge
- After the chicken wings are marinated, you have to coat each wing in cornstarch. In a large bowl, mix together the cornstarch, salt, and pepper.
- Coat each chicken wing, making sure it is covered fully in cornstarch. Place onto a baking sheet.
Deep Fry the Chicken Wings
- In a frying pan, add about 2 inches of canola oil, and heat it to medium-high (about 175 C or 350 F).
- Fry the chicken wings in batches, for about 6-7 minutes while flipping the wings, until crispy and golden brown.
- Transfer the fried wings to a cooling wire rack.
Prepare the Stir Fry Topping
- In a separate frying pan, heat the oil to medium heat.
- Add the sliced garlic, and saute for 2-3 minutes until lightly golden.
- Now add the white part of the green onion and sliced red chili, and stir fry for 1-2 minutes.
- Toss in the fried chicken wings, and toss to coat them in the topping.
- Transfer to a serving dish, and sprinkle over the green part of the chopped green onion. Enjoy!
Tip #1: Even though you can marinate the chicken wings for only 30 minutes, I highly recommend that you marinate them overnight. The flavor will be superior!
Tip #2: You can also make these chicken wings in an air fryer. In fact it's healthier (no deep frying) and much easier! Place the wings in the air fryer basket, and cook for about 15 minutes at 200 C (390 F). Flip the chicken wings around 7-8 minutes.
Tip #3: When deep frying the chicken wings, do so in batches, to avoid overcrowding the pan.
Tip #4: You can also use boneless chicken to make this recipe. I recommend using chicken thighs cut into chunks, as they are juicer and more flavorful than chicken breasts.
Make sure the chicken wings are coated evenly with cornstarch. Deep fry to ensure you get a crispy coating on the wings.
These crispy chicken wings are best served immediately, as they will lose their crunch factor. However, you can reheat them in the oven at 180 C for 10-15 minutes until they get crispy again.
More Delicious Appetizer Recipes
Chinese Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings
- Frying pan
- Wire rack
For the Wings Marination:
- 500 grams chicken wings
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly crushed black pepper
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon ajinomoto MSG
- 1 garlic clove grated
- 1/2 inch ginger grated
For the Cornstarch Coating:
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
For Deep Frying
- 1 cup oil
Stir Fry Topping:
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2-3 cloves garlic finely sliced
- 1 red chilli diced
- 2 spring onions
- A pinch of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Chicken Wings Marination:
- Place the chicken wings in a mixing bowl, and add the marination ingredients. Mix well and marinate for at least 30 minutes (or overnight).
- Coating the Chicken Wings:
- Mix the cornflour, pepper, and salt.
- Coat each chicken wing with the cornstarch, making sure there are not bald spots.
Deep Frying the Chicken Wings:
- Heat a pot of oil till it reaches 175 C (350F), and drop the chicken wings. Fry in batches, making sure not to crowd the pot. Make sure the oil is not too hot. Fry for 6-7 minutes, until cooked through and deep golden brown.
- Remove from the pot, and place on a cooling rack.
Prepare the Stir Fry Topping:
- Heat the oil in a frying pan.
- On medium heat, saute the sliced garlic, until light golden. Then add the chilli and white part of green onion. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the cooked chicken wings and toss to coat them in the topping.
- Transfer to a plate, and top with chopped green onion. Serve immediately.
- Chicken Wings: If you purchase whole chicken wings, you can ask your butcher to cut them into wingettes and drumettes. Discard the wing tips as they don't have much flavor, or use for chicken stock.
- Boneless Chicken: You can make this recipe with boneless chicken. I recommend using chicken thighs cut into chunks, as they are juicer and more flavorful than chicken breast. If using chicken breast, cooking time will be reduced.
- Marination time: The longer you marinate the chicken wings, the more delicious they will be. I recommend marinating for overnight, but if you're in a hurry 30 minutes is good enough.
- Ajinomoto (MSG): This is an optional ingredient, but does add an extra kick of umami.
- Air Frying: You can air fry the chicken wings at 200 C (390 F) for about 15-16 minutes. Flip halfway through for even cooking.
- Baking: You can also bake the chicken wings. Preheat the oven to 220 C (425 F), and place the chicken wings on a wire rack. Lightly spray with oil, and bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown. You will have to flip once halfway through, and coat the chicken wings with oil spray, for even cooking and browning.
- Storage: You can store the chicken wings in an airtight container for up to 1-2 days in the refrigerator. However, there will be a loss of crispiness.
- Reheating: To reheat, preheat the oven to 180 C (356 F), and place the chicken wings on a wire rack. Heat for 15 minutes, flipping once halfway through, until crispy.