We are a huge fan of chicken wings in this household, whether it's wet wings such as my gochujang air fryer chicken wings recipe or dry Chinese salt and pepper chicken wings. These wings are marinaded in a generous mixture of ginger, garlic, salt, pepper and Shaoxing wine, then deep-fried for a delicious crispy result. Topped with a buttery coating of chilies and scallions, you get the perfect Chinese crispy chicken wings.
- Chicken wings: You're free to use any type of chicken meat. You will have to adjust the cooking time, if you do so. Boneless chicken will likely require shorter frying time. I would not recommend using chicken breast for frying.
- Shaoxing wine: I am always a fan of using Shaoxing wine when I cook any type of meat. Shaoxing wine helps to remove any gaminess and to enhance the aromatics in the dish.
- Ginger and garlic: Necessities for the marinade!
- Potato starch: You'll find that many fried Asian recipes use potato starch instead of cornstarch because it provides the lightest and crispiest results. Potato starch can be found at all Asian grocery stores. If you can't find any, you can always sub for cornstarch. Bob's Mills also has a potato starch product now.
- Unsalted butter
- Red chilies, scallions (green onions), garlic: The final aromatics that are lightly sautéed in butter before tossing with the fried chicken.
- Pat chicken wings dry. Marinade in ginger, garlic, Shaoxing wine, salt, and black pepper mixture for at least 30 minutes. I'd highly recommend marinading for more than 30 minutes, even overnight if you can, to really let the flavors set in. If you don't have Shaoxing wine, you can sub with dry sherry.
- Heat up pot of oil to prepare for frying. While waiting for oil to heat up, prepare potato starch. You can sub with cornstarch if you don't have potato starch on hand. Don't coat the chicken wings in the starch until the oil is ready for frying. The chicken will absorb the starches if you let them sit for too long before frying.
- Once oil is 350 F, lightly dredge chicken wings in potato starch, dust off excess and drop into oil. Fry 7 minutes on each side. If you're using a smaller pot to fry and the chicken is fully submerged, then let fry for 13-15 minutes total.
- Remove chicken and place on paper towel to remove any excess oil.
- In a separate pan, add unsalted butter until melted. Stir-fry red chili peppers, chopped scallions, and minced garlic until fragrant.
- Add fried chicken wings to the buttery sauce and give it a quick toss to evenly coat.
- You’re ready to serve! I like to serve on parchment paper to absorb any extra oil. Make a hot dipping sauce to complement the wings if you're looking for something with an extra kick!
Can I make salt and pepper chicken with boneless, skinless chicken?
Absolutely. You can follow this recipe using any part of the chicken that suits you. I would highly recommend going with fattier cuts of chicken such as the wings or thighs so your final result is still crispy and juicy. The low fat content in chicken breasts will end up extremely dry once fried.
If you're using boneless, skinless chicken thigh, you can cube the meat and follow this recipe accordingly. Shorten the frying time by a couple of minutes.
What type of oil can I use for frying chicken wings?
We always have canola oil on hand, which is a great neutral oil. However, any neutral-flavored oil with a high-smoke point will be ideal for deep-frying such as vegetable, peanut, or corn oil.
Do not use olive oil the flavor is too overpowering and will overtake anything else.
Can I sub starches with all-purpose flour?
Potato starch is popular in Asian recipes when it comes to deep-frying (seen in my air fryer Taiwan popcorn chicken recipe) as it results in a light but extremely crispy texture. Potato starch can be harder to find sometimes so you can easily sub with cornstarch.
However, if you have neither and only have all-purpose flour, you can still make this recipe. Keep in mind that the gluten content in flour will not yield as light or crispy results!
Is it hard to deep-fry at home?
Trust me, I used to be terrified of deep-frying at home. The thought of a bubbling vat of hot oil wasn't my cup of tea. However, I've found that having this splatter guard has given me more peace of mind and made clean up a lot easier.
Additionally, I prefer using these long chopsticks when placing and removing food from the hot oil.
Chinese Salt and Pepper Chicken Wings
- ½ tablespoon unsalted butter
- 3 red chilies
- 3 stalks scallions
- 1 clove garlic
- Pat chicken wings dry. Marinade in ginger, garlic, Shaoxing wine, salt, and black pepper mixture for at least 30 minutes.
- Heat up shallow pot of oil to prepare for frying. While waiting for oil to heat up, prepare potato starch.
- Once oil is 350° F, lightly coat chicken wings in potato starch and drop into oil. Fry 7 minutes on each side.
- Let chicken drain on paper towel after to remove excess oils.
- In a separate pan, melt unsalted butter. Stir-fry chili peppers, chopped scallions, and minced garlic until aromatic.
- Add fried chicken wings and give it a couple quick tosses to evenly coat.
- You’re ready to serve!