Kirbie's Cravings

Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings

If you love salt and pepper wings at Chinese restaurants, you need to try this chicken wings recipe. They’re crispy and seasoned with garlic, chili, and two kinds of pepper. They taste just like the restaurant ones! It’s a great wings recipe to make for parties and game days.

 a close-up photo of a bowl of salt and pepper chicken wings

Salt and Pepper chicken wings are a popular dish at Chinese restaurants that are often ordered in party-size trays for gatherings.

The wings are deep fried to a crunchy golden brown and then tossed in a garlic, red chili, white, and black pepper mixture that makes them so savory. Another key ingredient in most restaurant versions is a generous douse of MSG.

salt and pepper chicken wings in a white bowl

Mr. K and I made our own homemade fried chicken wings 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.

 a close-up of salt and pepper chicken wings garnished with scallions

Mr. K did the frying, and he’s getting better at it. He was really proud of 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 and using the salad bowl to defrost the chicken…you get the picture.

a container of salt and pepper seasoning for fried chicken

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 our next game day party.

a bowl of salt and pepper chicken wings

More Recipes to Try

Salt and Pepper Wings

Servings: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Main Dishes
Cuisine: Chinese
Salt and pepper chicken 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 addictive. They are a popular dish at Chinese restaurants that are often ordered in bulk for Asian potluck parties.
4.89 from 9 votes


  • 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 1/3 cup water
  • 22 chicken drummettes
  • vegetable oil for frying

For the Seasoning

  • 1 head of garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bunch of green scallions finely chopped
  • 1-2 tsp red chili flakes
  • pepper salt seasoning for fried chicken (see note)


  • Pour enough vegetable oil into a pot so that it is about 2 inches deep. Heat on medium-high until oil reaches 350°F.
  • 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.
  • The chicken will be fried twice. Work in small batches, about 6-8 pieces at a time. Fry for 8 minutes. The chicken will be a light golden color. Drain excess oil on paper towels. Set chicken aside to wait for the 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.
  • In a wok, add olive oil and bring to medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add in garlic. Cook and stir until the aroma of garlic comes out and garlic is lightly browned (about 1 minute). Lower heat and add in chili flakes and scallions and cook about 1 minute on low heat. Turn off heat and place finished chicken into the wok and toss the chicken in the garlic mixture. Sprinkle white pepper mix evenly over chicken. Taste and adjust as needed.


Look for salt and pepper seasoning at Asian markets or you can make your own by mixing 2 parts black pepper with 1 part each of white pepper and salt. The white pepper adds a lot of flavor without making it too spicy.

The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.

Did you make this recipe?I'd love to see it! Mention @KirbieCravings and tag #kirbiecravings!

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Recipe Rating

100 comments on “Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings”

  1. Best wings

  2. Would it be possible to do this recipe with regular drumsticks instead of wings?

  3. Yeah, chicken comes in precise sizes and weight DOH!

    What a STUPID question!!!!

    • Not sure what you’re referring to, but we don’t know the weight for the chicken wings – so, instead, indicate the number that we used which is listed in the recipe.

  4. Can I sub cornstarch for potato starch? 

    • We haven’t tried potato starch, but it is a sub for cornstarch with a 1:1 ratio in most recipes. If you try it, please let us know how it works!

  5. Planning on making this. Any suggestion on traditional sides for this? 🙂

  6. Thank you for this . I am a lover of chicken wings. I will definitely give this recipe a tryout. But with extra chili for a hotter flavor.

  7. Hi looks delicious thank you,
    How many grams approximately would 22 chicken drumettes come to please? As we usually buy in grams, and incase I use different pieces and not all wings as not all of my family likes wings.

  8. Best wings I’ve ever cooked (and I’ve cooked a lot of wings). Super crispy and tasty. Great recipe! 

  9. So I made these wings tonight, followed the recipe almost exactly (I used lemon pepper instead of regular salt & added thinly sliced serrano peppers to the seasoning portion) and they were FANTASTIC!!! I was skeptical because the slurry had no seasoning but they were good! I probably will add a little seasoning next time though.

  10. Delicious!! Will make again soon.

  11. I really enjoyed making this. So easy, simple and delicious. I noticed I didn’t need to fry the chicken a second time as it was cooked and golden the first time. It started to burn the ones I fried the second time so I stopped. Other than that loved it 

    • I’m glad it worked out for you! The first fry is enough for many people as the wings are already crispy (and traditional Chinese salt and pepper wings are usually only fried once). I like the double fried technique which is used in Korean fried chicken because it keeps the chicken crispier longer and renders more fat off of the skin of the wings.

  12. Can these be done in the oven ? 

  13. I just made this today. I’ve ordered this dish many times in Chinese restaurants. This chicken was better than some of the restaurants I’ve eaten at. It was easy to make which is a big plus. This is the first time I’ve commented on a recipe. This is how good I thought it was. 

  14. Fabulous I made them and they were just like you get from a Chinese Buffet probably better overall i recommend this recipe, A little tip when you first put them in the fryer five the basket a good wiggle to stop them sticking to the bottom

  15. Our family is from San Diego and craves these salt pepper chicken wings from National City. Can’t find these anywhere we’ve been stationed – Georgia, Virginia, Kentucky. Nope! So we happily tried this recipe today with the 2:1:1 DIY salt pepper mixture. Even without the MSG these wings are like the addicting “crack” chicken wings we remember from Chopstix and Royal Mandarin. Until we retire from the Army and return to San Diego, we plan to make these again and again! Thank you for sharing your recipe.

  16. Is your 2:1:1 ratio in tablespoons? I live in Oklahoma and I’m from San Diego so finding a asian market is a bit difficult.

    • you can definitely do the ratios in tbsp and then save the rest. You will likely need less than 1 tbsp to sprinkle over the chicken.

  17. They turned out just like the ones I remember eating at Golden Chopsticks, Royal Mandarin, and many a potluck at work! We’ve been craving them ever since we moved Back East. Thank you for the recipe… Feels like I’m back in San Diego! 

    I have celiac disease and cannot eat wheat gluten. We substituted a gluten free flour blend in place of wheat flour. Couldn’t tell the difference.

  18. why does it need to be fried twice?

    • this recipe uses the twice-fried technique. It renders off all the fat from the skin so the skin itself is crispy instead of just the batter coating the skin.

  19. Do I need to have cornstarch when making this or can I just coat my wings in flour?

  20. Where can i find the spice mix? I live in San Diego, Ca and we have asian stores here, i.e, ranch 99 market, sea food city. It would be nice to know the brand name of the product which would make it easier to find.

    • this was purchased from Ranch 99. There is a picture of it in the post. The brand is written in Chinese characters which is why I didn’t list it.

    • I just made these and stopped at my local ranch 99 in Chula Vista off L st and they didn’t have the same one in picture but they have one in a clear bottle with green lid and red label that says “white pepper salt” and it was perfect! Just FYI in case you never found it

  21. 16 minutes of frying time sounds like it would result in dried out chicken? I normally deep fry my wings for 7 minutes total, so I may try this cutting the cook time in half. I love salt and pepper wings, and look forward to trying the spice blend for the end. Our local Chinese restaurant adds jalapeños with seeds as well, tastes so good with a little bit of heat. Thanks for the recipe!

    • this recipe uses a double fry technique which is why the wings are fried so long. the idea is to render off the fat of the skin on the wings so that the skin itself is super crispy instead of just the batter around the wing. Because it uses a wet batter, your chicken will not dry out.

  22. Where can I find that salt and pepper?

  23. I made these and added De-seeded jalapeño round slices to the wings when frying them.  They were delicious!

  24. Definitely a keeper! Tastes just like the wings from my favorite Chinese place. I omitted the msg and used boneless chicken thighs since that’s what I had on hand. Sooooooo good!

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

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

  27. 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.

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

  29. 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. 

  30. 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.

    • 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.

  31. 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 

  32. 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!  😀

  33. 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?

  34. 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!

    • 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

  35. 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 🙂

    • 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

  36. 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!!

  37. This Recipe was damn fine… Yum Yum

  38. 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.

    • 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.

  39. 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.

    • 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.

  40. 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.

    • 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.

  41. 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.

    • 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!

  42. 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! 😀

  43. 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’.

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

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

    • 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.

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

  47. 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…

    • 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.

    • If you don’t want to use MSG you can use accent food flavor enhancer