Salt and Pepper chicken wings is a popular dish at Chinese restaurants that is often ordered in bulk for Asian potluck parties.

Wings are fried to a crunchy golden brown and then tossed in a garlic, red chili, white and black pepper mixture, that makes them flavorful and addicting. Another key ingredient in most restaurant versions is a generous dousing of MSG.

Mr. K and I made our own homemade version this weekend. Because I don’t enjoy ingesting too much MSG, I used a very limited amount, but I also upped the other spices to compensate. The result was quite tasty. Mr. K did the frying and he’s getting better at it. He was really proud at how perfectly golden the wings came out. I won’t get into all the problems he caused in the process of getting ready to fry the wings…but it includes pouring boiling hot water into a plastic bowl, using the salad bowl to defrost the chicken…you get the picture.

While grocery shopping, I came across this salt and pepper mixture, labeled “pepper salt for fried chicken.” It contains a mix of salt, white pepper, black pepper, and msg. I sprinkled a little of this on the wings at the end, giving them an extra bit of flair and keeping the msg dose to just this. If you can’t find this mix, you can just sprinkle white pepper, black pepper, salt and msg separately.

We really enjoyed these wings and they didn’t take very long to make. We’ll have to bring these to the next potluck we attend or make them for Superbowl Sunday.

Print Print Recipe

Salt and Pepper Wings


1 1/3 cup flour
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1 1/3 cup water
about 22 chicken drummettes
vegetable oil for frying
1 head of garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 bunch of green scallions, finely chopped
2 tbsp red chili flakes
white pepper (add more of this than the other seasonings and make sure not to leave it out. it's key to the addicting flavor)
black pepper


1. Pour enough vegetable oil into a pot or wok so that it is about 2 inches deep. Heat on medium-high until oil reaches 350F.
2. Whisk flour, cornstarch, and water in a medium-sized bowl until no lumps remain. Pat chicken wings dry with paper towel. Coat chicken in slurry and then place into hot oil.
3. Chicken will be fried twice. Work in small batches, about 6-8 pieces at a time. Fry for 8 minutes. Chicken will be a light golden color. Drain excess oil on paper towels. Set chicken aside to wait for second fry. Continue until all your wings have been fried once for 8 minutes. Then, again working in small batches (though you can increase to about 8-10 pieces per batch since chickens are less likely to stick together now that they have a crunchy batter rather than the wet coating), fry chicken a second time for 8 minutes (chicken does not get coated again in the slurry!). Chicken should now be golden and crunchy. Set finished chicken aside. Repeat with remaining chicken until all wings have been fried twice.
4. In a wok, add olive oil. Once oil is hot, add in garlic. Once aroma of garlic comes out, add in chili flakes and scallions and cook a few minutes. Turn off heat and place finished chicken into wok and toss chicken in the garlic mixture. Sprinkle white pepper, black pepper, salt and msg to taste. If you can find it in your Chinese grocery store, you can also use a salt pepper mix designed specifically for fried chicken.


46 Responses to “Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings”

  1. sarah toasty — January 7, 2014 at 1:43 am

    How much of a difference would there be just not using the msg at all? They look amazing, but I too try to avoid MSG and most spice blends in general if there is salt in there.

    And the double frying is making me think of belgium fries, need that…

    • Kirbie replied: — January 7th, 2014 @ 11:39 am

      I think you can get away with no msg. I only sprinkled a little on because the wings usually have them and I couldn’t find a pepper mix without any msg. Make sure to definitely add white pepper though. I’ve found it also gives the wings a more addicting taste.

  2. Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence — January 7, 2014 at 10:33 am

    Yum, these wings look soooo good. I could eat that whole bowl!

    • Kirbie replied: — January 7th, 2014 @ 11:34 am

      They are really addicting. I have to make them again soon.

  3. Tina — January 7, 2014 at 11:06 am

    Yum, at least Mr. K cooks! My guy makes nachos, and…that’s about it.

    • Kirbie replied: — January 7th, 2014 @ 11:31 am

      I don’t really think he can cook. He hasn’t even successfully made me eggs before. He learned to fry chicken last year, so he’s got that down, but that’s about it. I guess one step at a time.

  4. Christina @ Sweet Pea's Kitchen — January 7, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    Oh yeah! These wings look delicious. These would be so perfect for our Superbowl party! I’m pinning these babies for sure! :)

    • Kirbie replied: — January 8th, 2014 @ 9:53 am

      they would make a great superbowl party food!

  5. caninecologne — January 7, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    Great job on the wings Mr. K!!! I am so afraid to fry things myself. Those wings look so good – I can almost taste them, haha. I like the msg, just not too much tho’.

    • Kirbie replied: — January 8th, 2014 @ 9:53 am

      hehe, I used to be really afraid of frying too! Managed to somehow get over it with practice.

  6. Hanna @ — January 8, 2014 at 7:33 am

    Oof, those look ridiculously tasty, and I really like your inclusion of white pepper – it’s hard to go wrong if white pepper is involved! :D

    • Kirbie replied: — January 8th, 2014 @ 9:47 am

      The white pepper really helps! You should definitely try them out!

  7. Mary — January 8, 2014 at 11:10 am

    Ooo, homemade salt & pepper wings! Man those are so good and these look awesome. I’ll have to try this one out! We have a little mini fryer with a lid so it makes frying less scary.

    • Kirbie replied: — January 9th, 2014 @ 12:42 am

      We have a mini fryer too. I’ve fried them in that and also on the stove. Both work pretty well. Definitely try it out!

  8. Sandy — January 13, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    I tried this over the weekend, and I’ve decided to leave the salt & pepper wings to the pros :-) I think the clean-up took almost as long as the frying! The spice mix had too much star anise for my liking. I should have mixed some white & black pepper with msg to try it out.

    • Kirbie replied: — January 13th, 2014 @ 1:49 pm

      Aw =( What spice mix did you use? the one I used doesn’t have any anise, just salt, white and black pepper and msg. I really like the white and black pepper combo with a little msg.

  9. Sandy — January 13, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    It was the same spice mix in your photo (thanks for including it – it made it easier to find at Ranch 99 Market). I didn’t look at the list of ingredients, but the taste made me think of star anise.

    • Kirbie replied: — January 14th, 2014 @ 1:17 am

      Oh. Hmm. Weird. I have another similar bottle that has anise which I used for the popcorn chicken, but I thought this one didn’t. I could be wrong though. Maybe if you make it again, get a helper (having Mr. K do the frying really made it feel easier) and just do your own white, black pepper and msg blend.

  10. Elgen P — February 25, 2014 at 1:21 am

    I don’t know I’ve been dying to make these but they weren’t that good to me. I followed the recipe exactly and mine weren’t good. The red pepper flakes overwhelmed the whole dish for me. It was too much. Also, I didn’t like the batter because it was really goopy. Not sure what I did wrong, but mine came out nothing like the picture.

    • Kirbie replied: — February 25th, 2014 @ 9:33 am

      the batter shouldn’t be goopy at all. it should just be a smooth slurry. maybe you needed to add more water to thin it out. also when you got the wings, it should just be a thin coat. it sounds like if your slurry as too thick, most likely too much of it was on the wings as well. As for the pepper flakes, you can always reduce them to your personal preference but it was just the right amount for me.

  11. Mark — March 9, 2014 at 5:19 am

    This Recipe was damn fine… Yum Yum

    • Kirbie replied: — March 9th, 2014 @ 10:21 am

      glad you enjoyed it!

  12. Lynette — March 18, 2014 at 11:50 am

    I’ve had these before, in a resturant and homemade. Very good stuff!! You can also do it nugget style! Instead of wings, cut bonless chicken breast, tenderloin or boneless thigh meat into bite size pieces. Prepare the same way as you would the wings, and it is just as good if not better than the wings cause now ur just poppin a bite size delicious morsel in your mouth! Give it a try!!

    • Kirbie replied: — March 19th, 2014 @ 12:13 am

      How funny, I was just thinking that it would be fun to do a boneless version of this

  13. Charlotte — March 20, 2014 at 2:21 am

    Mm! Made these last week and they were fantastic! White pepper makes all the difference. Made them again today and not as good, but I think its cos I accidently used self raising flour instead of plain so the batter was really thick!

    Will try again another time :)

    • Kirbie replied: — March 20th, 2014 @ 11:39 am

      ooh, yeah you want to avoid self raising flour because that has rising agents in it. I agree, the white pepper makes it super addicting

  14. Brian — July 4, 2014 at 12:02 am

    These are really delicious, but I have given up on the double batter frying as I find it is too much trouble and probably too fattening :) I just put a good flour and seasoning mixture on the wings and refrigerate for 90 mins and then fry once. Compared to the double fried version, personally I like this better.

    Anyway, to each his own…and thanks for posting and sharing this!

    • Kirbie replied: — July 4th, 2014 @ 8:31 am

      i like how well the double fried wings hold up. they stay crunchy all day. it also helps if you have a deep fryer or a helper in the kitchen

  15. Shirley — August 14, 2014 at 10:05 am

    Hi, so I fry the first batch for 8 minutes, take it out.. Do another batch for 8 minutes and take the first batch I took out and put it back in the batter and fry it again for another 8 minutes?

    • Kirbie replied: — August 14th, 2014 @ 12:48 pm

      no, you don’t put it in the batter a second time. you just put it back in for a second fry as it is.

  16. Chantel — August 22, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!  I fell in love w/ these wings when I visited my son and his family in San Diego two years ago & have been craving them ever since!  I just tried your recipe & it is exactly like the ones I remember!  My son & his wife are now on the east coast & have been missing the wings, too.  Will definitely share w/ them!  :D

    • Kirbie replied: — August 22nd, 2014 @ 6:20 pm

      that is so wonderful to hear! I’m so glad you were able to recreate them. I really love this recipe!

  17. John — August 27, 2014 at 11:50 am

    Great recipe ! The Pepper Salt for Chicken does have a star anise smell to it , But it doesn’t come through while eating the chicken wings 

    • Kirbie replied: — August 27th, 2014 @ 11:55 pm

      that’s my feeling too. =)

  18. Paul Dalangpan — October 25, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    Amazing! I did this today, and I can see how with a little tweaking in my flour, cornstarch, and water ratio that I should be able to duplicate the wings from “Golden Chopsticks” in San Diego (National City). I’m really excited about the next batch. The main lesson learned this first go about, is that the “slurry” should  not be so thick, and the wings should not be coated too heavily. I’m thinking that I’ll use less flour next time, may be increase the water content (may be), and pour small amounts at a time into the wings until they are all coated LIGHTLY. The double frying technique works well in this application. I can’t help but wonder though what would happen if I started this process with precooked wings from a regular pot of billing seasoned water? Then cooled. Then dried. Then coated. Then I can increase frying temperature. Hmmm. If I still can’t get it, I’m considering adding “Wondra” flour in the slurry. By the way, I did use MSG and the seasoning flavor was fine. Not because i did not want to, but because apparently MSG is not  so easy to find. Thanks so much for this recipe.

    • Kirbie replied: — October 25th, 2014 @ 10:01 pm

      Yes, you don’t want the slurry too thick. I usually dip it and then sort of shake the wings a little so it just becomes a thin coating. I’ve seen another method that involves freezing the wings that I want to try at some point.

  19. Britrany — November 8, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    Currently eating these I used chicken strips and I just added kosher salt black pepper&  white, and a jalopeno ( excuse my spelling on that)  best thing ever I’ll never fry chicken the other way again 
    Thanks for the recipe. 

    • Kirbie replied: — November 8th, 2014 @ 11:04 pm

      awesome! so glad you are enjoying your chicken strips!

  20. Sandra — August 24, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    This what I have looking for since I moved to Georgia . Thank you.

    • Kirbie replied: — August 25th, 2015 @ 8:44 am

      glad you found it!

  21. Noly — December 31, 2015 at 2:06 am

    I made this chicken using this recipe and it turned out delicious!!!! My kids were missing it since we now live overseas but I’m so happy I’m able to give them a taste of home. Thank you so much for sharing this.

    • Kirbie replied: — December 31st, 2015 @ 9:35 am

      so glad you enjoyed! I plan on making some soon!

  22. Lora — January 31, 2016 at 5:12 pm

    Thanks for the recipe! This is one of our family faves, going to try it real soon!

    • Kirbie replied: — February 1st, 2016 @ 12:39 am

      hope you enjoy!

  23. Arielle — September 17, 2016 at 6:59 am

    For the Second fry how long do you let the wing cook for?

    • Kirbie replied: — September 19th, 2016 @ 8:29 am

      the second fry is also 8 minutes

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