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May 15, 2024

Grilled Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings

These super duper spicy-zesty, messy-good lemon pepper wings are here to rock your grilling world!

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Grilled Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings on a platter drizzled with Lemon Pepper Sauce with a bowl of extra sauce for dipping
Photography by Gayle McLeod

Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings? Heck Yes, Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings!

Fear not the lemon pepper chicken wing! Rather, embrace this spritely riff on chicken wing deliciousness. Our lemon pepper wings are big on punchy flavors and light on, well, NOTHING. We’ve pulled out every single stop in our chicken wing seasoning playbook! You want lemon? OK, how about if we use the fresh squeezed zest AND lots of freshly squeezed juice. You want pepper!? OK, how about tons of freshly cracked black pepper AND some cayenne and some Tabasco in the mix, too? You said you like lemon pepper? Well, how about a homemade lemon pepper spice rub AND a lemon pepper “wet” sauce for the wings, too?! All the things, people! This lemon pepper wings recipe is literally all the things!

ingredients for Grilled Lemon Pepper Chicken wings in bowls on the counter including chicken wings, spices and parmesan

Wing Seasoning Round 1: Lemon Pepper Spice Rub

The very first step to making the best ever lemon pepper wings is to whip up the best darn lemon pepper seasoning! And we do not mean reaching for some pre-packed stuff. You need to make it yourself because lemon zest sings with flavor because of the oils in the skin and those oils just have to be fresh fresh fresh! That’s kind of all there is to it. You’ll mix these seasonings together and then you’ll use this spice rub in two ways—you’ll season the wings with it, and you’ll use some of this spice rub to flavor the “wet” sauce that’ll coat the wings after they’re cooked. Here’s all the ingredients you’ll need to make our lemon pepper spice mix:

  • lemon zest

  • salt

  • smoked paprika

  • garlic powder

  • onion powder

  • cayenne

  • black pepper

lemon zest, salt, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, and black pepper in a bowl for lemon pepper spice rub
raw chicken wings in a glass mixing bowl
raw chicken wings covered in homemade lemon pepper spice rub in a glass mixing bowl
mayo, yogurt, honey, mustard, lemon, hot sauce, garlic, Peppe and lemon pepper being whisked in a bowl for lemon pepper sauce

Wing Seasoning Round 2: Lemon Pepper Wing Sauce

We do not relish this term but yes, this wing recipe features a wet sauce! They’re wet wings! OK, now that’s out of the way, this lemon pepper sauce seriously rocks. You’ll use half of it as a sauce to coat the wings with before cooking, and then the rest of it gets served with the grilled lemon pepper wings as a dipping sauce on the side. YUMMMMMM. Here are all of the ingredients you’ll need for this delicious, finger-licking lemon pepper wing sauce recipe:

  • Mayonnaise

  • Sour cream

  • Honey

  • Dijon mustard

  • Lemons

  • Tabasco

  • Garlic

  • Freshly cracked black pepper

  • A bit of the reserved lemon pepper spice rub

homemade lemon pepper sauce being poured onto raw chicken wings that have been coated in lemon pepper spice rub
raw chicken wings coated in lemon pepper spice rub then tossed in lemon pepper sauce

How Do You Make Lemon Chicken Wings?

This recipe might look like a lot of work, but it’s pretty easy! It really just has 3 big components and you’ll slowly bring them all together to make for a show-stopping BBQ centerpiece that’ll have your friends and family raving and begging for the recipe. Here’s how to make the best ever lemon pepper wings:

  1. Make the lemon pepper spice rub!

  2. Coat the wings in it!

  3. Make the creamy, garlicky, honey-spiked lemon pepper sauce!

  4. Coat the wings in it!

  5. Grill the wings!

  6. Eat the wings!

lemon pepper chicken wings being grilled on a grill pan
Grilled Lemon pepper chicken wings topped with parmesan and parsley, drizzled with lemon pepper sauce on a serving platter

Tools You’ll Need:

More Grilled Chicken Recipes

Grilled Lemon pepper chicken wings topped with parmesan and parsley, drizzled with lemon pepper sauce on a serving platter
Grilled Lemon pepper chicken wings topped with parmesan, parsley and lemon pepper sauce with extra sauce beside for dipping

Worth the Mess!

Oh yeah, these crispy lemon pepper wings are SO worth the mess! Just keep a bunch of napkins handy, and everything will be more than OK. When you grill these chicken wings, please let us know how it all goes! Share a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see your stuff! Happy eating!

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Grilled Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time:  10 min
  • Cook Time:  20 min
  • Calories: 604

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds chicken wings
  • Vegetable oil, for grill or grill pan
  • 1/4 cup Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Finely minced flat leaf parsley, optional

Lemon Pepper Spice Rub

  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, from 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Lemon Pepper Sauce

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, from 2 large lemons
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Method

  1. Make the lemon pepper seasoning. In a large bowl mix together the lemon zest, salt, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, and black pepper until combined. Set aside 1 teaspoon of the lemon pepper seasoning to mix into the lemon pepper sauce you’ll be making later.

  2. Pat the chicken wings dry with a paper towel and add them to the large bowl with the lemon pepper seasoning and toss until the wings are evenly coated.

  3. Make the lemon pepper sauce. In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, yogurt, honey, mustard, lemon zest, lemon juice, hot sauce, garlic, black pepper and reserved 1 teaspoon of the spice mix, whisking until smooth. Scoop out 1/2 cup of the sauce and add it to the bowl with the wings, tossing again until all the chicken is evenly coated in the marinade.

  4. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium heat. Oil the grill grates or the grill pan with the vegetable oil. Add the wings to the grill and cook, flipping occasionally, until the skin is golden brown and the chicken is cooked through, 165°F with an instant-read thermometer, about 15 to 20 minutes.

  5. Transfer the grilled wings to a platter and sprinkle with the freshly grated Parmesan cheese and parsley, if using. Add more black pepper to taste. Serve the remaining lemon pepper sauce on the side for dipping.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories604
  • Protein44 g
  • Carbohydrates7 g
  • Total Fat44 g
  • Dietary Fiber1 g
  • Cholesterol263 mg
  • sodium818 mg
  • Total Sugars4 g

Grilled Lemon Pepper Chicken Wings

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

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  • Angela

    What is your favorite brand cast iron grill pan ? So many to choose from.

    Staub is excellent but a higher price point. Lodge makes a great one at a lower price point.

  • Julia

    Would these turn out okay in the oven around 350-400 and then broil for a few minutes at the end?

    Should be fine!

  • Anne

    Hi. I am wondering if you have done these wings in an air fryer and if so how did they turn out with the wet sauce being added before cooking?

    Thank you
    Anne

    We have not tested these in the air fryer. We'd love to hear if you give it a try.

  • Paulette

    Could I make this with boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breast?

    Absolutely you will just need to adjust the cook time.

  • Tracy

    Can I put them in the air fryer? This looks amazing !

    We haven't tried it in the air fryer but imagine it would work.

  • Kevin

    I found this recipe last night. It was one of the first lemon pepper wing recipes that popped up. So, we decided to try. It looked like a lot of prep work, but my wife said it wasn't bad. I'm the griller, so I was first skeptical that the wings would burn with the sauce on them. I sprayed my grill with Pam Grilling Spray instead of vegetable oil. Grilled them for 20 minutes at 350, turning them every three minutes. They grilled perfectly. I tried one without the extra sauce and was impressed. I would give them 4 and a half stars at that point. I then rolled them in a little of the sauce. You really nailed it with the sauce. The sauce took the wings to another level. Best grilled lemon pepper wings that I've ever had. 5 stars now. We had a good amount of the sauce left over. I can't wait to cut up some fresh zucchini, carrots, cauliflower, and mushrooms to dip them in. The will taste spectacular. By the way, I'm a Frank's Hot Sauce guy, but my wife prefers a little hotter with the Tabasco brand. I used the Tabasco as recommended. It may have been the difference maker. I'll never use store bought lemon pepper spice for my wings ever again. This will forever be in my wing rotation!

    Thanks Kevin, this is so great to hear. We are so glad you both loved them!

  • Loren

    Made this for a work get together and they were a huge hit! Great flavor. I made them in the oven instead of grilling and they were fantastic.

    Thanks Loren, so happy they were a hit!

  • Heather

    15/10 recommend. Mad flavor, sauce is key, and just overall delicious! I used larger drummy legs and turned out great.

    Thanks Heather, we are so glad you loved these!

  • Mandy

    Literally the best wings I've had ... this will definitely be a go-to recipe

    YAY! Thanks Mandy, that is so great to hear!

  • Allie

    These were some of the best wings I’ve ever had! The wings stayed incredibly juicy and flavor blasted. These will definitely become a staple and can’t wait to put the sauce on other things!

    Thanks Allie, so glad you loved them!