Air fryer lemon pepper wings are a delicious and crispy chicken wing appetizer. This is an easy, keto friendly, three ingredient recipe which results in juicy and delicious wings. Learn how to air fry frozen wings and make multiple batches quickly!
Chicken wings are one of my favorite things to make in the air fryer! Actually chicken in general is one of the things the air fryer cooks best, whether it is a whole rotisserie style chicken or crispy fried chicken.
But air fryer chicken wings are kind of in a league of their own, because chicken wings baked in the oven just aren’t anything special. Before I got an air fryer I made chicken wings once or twice year at the most.
But now wings are a regular part of my family’s meal rotation! We love to try out different flavorings and dry rubs.
Why You Will Love Air Fryer Lemon Pepper Wings
- These wings have a crispy skin with juicy and tender meat inside.
- Using an air fryer means you can make crispy chicken wings without extra oil.
- The lemon pepper wings cook fast and are ready in about 30 minutes – faster than baking in the oven.
- These air fryer lemon pepper wings are a finger food the entire family will enjoy.
- Chicken wings – This recipe uses fresh wings. My local grocery store always sells wings in one piece, so I cut them into wingettes and drumettes. If I had the option I’d buy them already cut apart!
- Lemon pepper seasoning – This seasoning is primarily a mixture of lemon zest with black pepper. You could make this yourself by zesting a bunch of lemons, but buying a jar is easier.
- Salt (optional) – Some lemon pepper seasonings have salt and some don’t so check the ingredients on your seasoning mix before you add more salt to the chicken wings.
- Baking powder – Adding baking powder to chicken wings is the key to getting them extra crispy. The baking powder chemically interacts with the skin and breaks down the proteins, making the skin brown more quickly.
What about oil? Chicken wings have a good amount of fat, which is one of the reasons they are so tasty after cooking. The fat renders out of the wings and makes them juicy. There is no need to add any extra oil to the air fryer lemon pepper wings as they cook.
Step by Step Instructions
1. Cut the Wings
If you have whole chicken wings the first step is to cut them into three pieces – the wingette, the drumette and the tip. Open the wings up on a cutting board and slice through the portions, trying to cut membrane, not bone.
If you haven’t cut chicken wings apart before check out this blog post for a thorough description. I generally throw out the wing tip, although you can also save it for making chicken stock.
2. Season the Wings
Once the wings are in pieces pat them dry with a paper towel. If the wings are damp they will steam more than fry.
Put the wings in a big bowl, add the baking powder and toss to coat. Then add the lemon pepper seasoning and salt, if using, and toss them until they are well coated.
3. Air Fry the Lemon Pepper Wings
I don’t usually preheat my air fryer for chicken wings, but it won’t hurt to preheat. Put the wings into the air fryer basket in a single layer.
I find I can fit about 2 pounds of wings (12-14 wings) in my 5.8 quart air fryer. This is plenty for serving as an appetizer or game day snack for my family of four.
See here for directions on making multiple batches. Don’t try to stack the wings or overfill the basket, the air needs to be able to circulate to cook the wings.
Air fry the wings at 360 F for 18 minutes, flipping them over after 10 minutes. It works better to use tongs to flip the wings than to try to toss them in the air fryer basket.
After the time is up turn the air fryer up to 400 degrees F and air fry the chicken wings for 6 more minutes. The higher temperature for the final part of the cooking process makes the lemon pepper wings extra crispy and delicious.
Use an instant read thermometer to make sure the wings are cooked through to 165 degrees F. If they need more time cook them for a few more minutes.
Always use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature, don’t try to cook based just on time. A thermometer is not expensive and the peace of mind they give you is priceless. Food poisoning is not fun! This is my favorite inexpensive meat thermometer, which you can buy on Amazon.
How to Serve
Serve the air fryer lemon pepper wings with a sauce for dipping, like ranch sauce or blue cheese dip. If I am serving the wings as an appetizer I like to include some celery sticks or carrots to the platter.
How to Reheat Wings
The air fryer is great for reheating chicken wings. Just put them in the air fryer and cook on 400 degrees F for 5-7 minutes. This also works great for leftover wings from a restaurant.
Making Multiple Batches
Sometimes you want more than 12 chicken wings! If you want more than one batch of wings, first preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
Then cook the first batch in the air fryer at 360 degrees F for 18 minutes and put it in the preheated oven to hold. While this batch is in the oven make another batch of wings completely.
Then serve the completed wings and put the first batch back in the air fryer to cook at 400 degrees F for 6-8 minutes. Doing it this way means you don’t have to wait the entire 24 minutes cooking time for more wings.
How to Air Fry Frozen Chicken Wings
It is possible to air fry frozen chicken wings, although the wings will not be as crispy as fresh. This recipe needs a few changes if the chicken wings are frozen.
1. Seasoning Frozen Chicken Wings
Seasoning won’t stick well to frozen wings, so there is little point in doing it. Sprinkle the lemon pepper seasoning and salt on the wings when you flip them, after they are partially cooked.
You can also wait and just toss the chicken wings with the seasoning after cooking. Do not use the baking soda, there is no point in using it on frozen wings.
2. Air Frying Time for Frozen Wings
Cook the frozen wings at 360 degrees F for 26 minutes, flipping them (and adding seasoning) after 15 minutes. Then increase the heat to 400 degrees F and cook them for another 6 minutes.
Make sure you check the internal temperature of the wings and ensure it has reached 165 degrees F before serving them.
Frequently Asked Questions
It won’t hurt to preheat it, but I don’t find it makes much difference with my Cosori air fryer. But if you usually preheat yours go right ahead.
For this recipe where the wings are coated with a dry rub extra oil is not needed. If you are breading the chicken, like for air fryer fried chicken, then you’d need to add oil.
It is not necessary to cut the wings apart before air frying them. However it is traditional and it does make them better finger food if they are separated.
In addition, from a practical standpoint, it is easier to fit the wings in the air fryer basket if they are separated. Whole wings are an awkward shape and not very many will fit without overlap.
I flip my air fryer chicken wings 1 time, after about 10 minutes of cooking. Flipping them once ensures they brown on all sides.
I’ve seen recipes that call for flipping them more frequently. But for me the air fryer is about making cooking easy, and flipping them over 4 or 5 times seems like a lot of effort without much payoff.
Find More Air Fryer Appetizers
- 2 pounds chicken wings
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 2 Tablespoons lemon pepper seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt, optional, depending on the salt content of your lemon pepper seasoning
- If your chicken wings aren't cut apart cut them into wingettes and drumettes. Discard the wing tips.
- Pat the wings dry with paper towels and put them in a large bowl.
- Add the baking powder to the bowl and toss the wings to mix.
- Add the lemon pepper seasoning and salt (if using) and toss to mix.
- Put the chicken wings in an air fryer basket, making sure not to overcrowd them. Keep them in a single layer.
- Air fry at 360 degrees F for 18 minutes, flipping them over after 10 minutes.
- After the 18 minutes is up increase the air fryer heat to 400 degrees F and air fry for 6 more minutes.
- Use an instant read thermometer to verify the wings are cooked to 165 degrees F.
For frozen wings don't add the seasoning at the beginning, it won't stick well to frozen wings. Cook at 360 degrees F for 26 minutes. Flip after 15 minutes and add the lemon pepper seasoning then, but skip the baking powder.
Then increase the heat to 400 degrees F and cook them for another 6 minutes. Check with an instant read thermometer to make sure they have reached 165 degrees F.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 751Total Fat: 55gSaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 31gCholesterol: 186mgSodium: 3133mgCarbohydrates: 25gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 39g
Nutrition facts are estimates.