If you’re ready to up your game in the chicken wing department, and score big points with your home team, these oven-baked Chinese Chicken Wings are exactly what you should make for your next party. These are the best crispy baked chicken wings and they’re tossed in a easy-to-make dry rub that’s bursting with spicy, smoky flavor.
Skip the sauce, save your furniture, and take your tastebuds on the adventure of a lifetime.
This recipe for spicy baked chicken wings relies on a sweet and fragrant dry rub made with Sichuan peppercorns, which is what makes them so addictive.
When I first tasted a Sichuan peppercorn (also called Szechwan peppercorn), it was at a Chinese restaurant and I had ordered a dish called Mala chicken. The meal arrived with these little peppercorns sprinkled liberally on top of the plate. Not immediately knowing what they were, I popped one in my mouth, then another, then a few more, just to see if I could identify them. They were so interesting, almost floral tasting. Delicious!
What were they?
After awhile, my mouth began to tingle, then get numb. The server explained that Sichuan peppercorns are used to counteract the heat from the peppers, so diners can enjoy spicy food. The electrifying feeling in my mouth was just a result of eating a relatively large amount of Sichuan peppercorns.
When you aren’t expecting it, it can definitely feel a little weird! But when you know it’s supposed to happen, you just take another wonderful bite and enjoy the ride, tingles and all.
That’s the fun of it, with these Chinese chicken wings. And oh, what delicious fun it is!
Making wings for a big shindig, or just need a double batch of the dry rub? Click and slide the number next to “servings” on the recipe card below to adjust the ingredients to match how many you’re feeding—the recipe does the math for you, it’s that easy.
Are baked chicken wings healthy?
Compared to eating deep fried chicken wings, oven baked chicken wings are so much better! I think this is the best baked chicken wings recipe ever, and here’s the reason: this recipe uses a tiny dusting of baking powder to make the most delicious, impossibly crispy chicken wings you’ll ever eat outside of a deep fryer.
Making oven-baked chicken wings with baking powder lets the chicken skin dry out overnight in the refrigerator so when you bake them, they crisp up beautifully. It’s super easy, and so completely satisfying.
How do you make crispy chicken wings at home?
You don’t need to go to your favorite bar to get crispy wings; you can do it in your kitchen, even in your very own oven. The secret to the crisp is baking powder. Tossing the wings in a small amount of baking powder, and then letting them sit overnight (or the morning) in the refrigerator draws a lot of the moisture out of the chicken skin. After a few hours, you’re guaranteed professional, crispy results.
How do you make Chinese Chicken Wings in the oven?
After you toss the wings in the salt and baking powder and let everything work its magic for a few hours, it’s time to bake the wings. Preheat an oven to 450 degrees. Slide the baking sheet into the oven with the wings still on the rack, and cook for about 20 minutes. At that point, you can flip the wings to make sure they crisp up on all sides. After another 15-20 minutes, when they’re toasty looking, they’re ready to come out and get tossed in the spice blend.
What are Sichuan peppercorns?
Also called Szechwan or Szechuan peppercorns, this spice isn’t a pepper at all—it’s actually the pink-red dried outer husk of the prickly ash shrub. This spice is quite unique; not only is it incredibly aromatic and flavorful, but it has a numbing property, which in China is known as “ma”, that produces a light tingling sensation in the mouth.
Sichuan peppercorns are used commonly in the Sichuan region of China, along with lots of garlic and hot pepper, to make several regional dishes. I use them here to create a dry rub that makes oven baked chicken wings the most exciting thing you’ll taste all year.
Where do you buy Sichuan peppercorns?
You might be tempted to make these wings without the peppercorns, but trust me, they really make this recipe pop. But I get it—sometimes finding Sichuan peppercorns can be tricky without a well-stocked Chinese grocery store nearby, so I buy my peppercorns online (jn small amounts) to get the freshest, most tingly spices I can get.
How to store Sichuan peppercorns?
Be sure to store leftover Sichuan peppercorns or ground Sichuan peppercorn in a clean, dry, sealed jar away from light. If the peppercorns have lost their tingle, more than likely they’ve gone stale. Time to re-up.
Can you make baked chicken wings from frozen ones?
While other recipes call for just throwing frozen wings into an oven, the wings in this recipe need to get dusted with the baking powder and salt mixture and rest in the refrigerator awhile before cooking. I recommend thawing out the wings first, before starting this recipe. You’ll be so happy you did.
When making baked chicken wings, how long do you cook them?
In this recipe, the wings bake up at 450 degrees in about 40 minutes for the ultimate crispy chicken wing.
What goes with baked chicken wings?
These wings are so addictive, you can’t eat just one, so maybe make extra. Depending on how much dry rub you toss the wings with, they can get a little spicy. I recommend some thinly sliced cucumbers dressed in sesame oil and lemon juice. Or try my recipe for Pot Stickers to keep things exciting!
Chinese Chicken Wings
- 4 pounds chicken wings cut into drumettes and flats (see notes)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder divided
- 1 tablespoon Salt or to taste, divided
- 1 tablespoon whole cumin seed
- 1 teaspoon whole fennel seed or anise seed
- 1 tablespoon red chili pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon whole Szechuan peppercorns (see notes)
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 cup cilantro loosely chopped, for garnish (optional)
- Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a rack inside. Gently pat chicken wings dry with paper towels.
- Place half of wings in a large bowl and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder. Toss until evenly coated. Place on rack so that wings are not touching.
- Repeat with remainder of wings, salt, and baking powder. Place baking sheet in the refrigerator and allow to rest, uncovered, at least 6 hours and up to 18.
- Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and preheat oven to 450 degrees. Add chicken wings and cook for 20 minutes. Flip wings and continue to cook until crisp and golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes longer.
- Meanwhile, combine cumin, fennel seeds, peppers, and Szechuan peppercorns in a small skillet and toast over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder, add the sugar and the remaining salt and grind into a rough powder (or use mortar and pestle).
- When wings are finished, transfer to a large bowl and toss with oil. Add half of the spice blend, toss to coat, and then taste one wing. Add more spice blend to taste if desired. Garnish with cilantro if desired.
- Szechuan peppercorns can be found at Asian groceries or online.
- To separate the drumette from the flat, cut the skin at the inside of the joint then bend the joint backwards to expose the area where the joints connect. With a knife, cut between the bones to separate.