This Chinese-style, Air-fried Salt and Pepper chicken wings will be your new favorite dish for game day and parties. They are quick, easy to make, and have the most amazing (but not overpowering) Sichuan peppercorn flavor and that unique tongue-tingling sensation that we love in Sichuan cuisine. Trust me, they are better than your local Chinese restaurant take-outs. On top of that, they’re Air-fried so you can use much less oil and you got the chance to adjust the flavorings to your choice.
A must for this Chinese-style salt and pepper wings recipe. In case you haven’t tried Sichuan peppercorns before, they are very different from black peppercorns. They have a very unique aroma and when you eat them, they have the ability to slightly numb the tongue and you’d feel a tingling sensation in your tastebuds.
I highly recommend getting a premium quality brand. They become weak and flavorless as they get old. And with some brands, you’d see a lot of residues added to them. So the quality of the peppercorns is very important when you cook with Sichuan peppercorns.
If this is the first time you use this ingredient, use a little bit first when you mix it in with wings. And then increase the amount you add, according to your taste.
Chinese cooking wine
Another must-have. You can easily find this ingredient in Asian stores. Or substitute it with dry sherry. It helps to get rid of the meaty aroma of any meat.
Use light or regular soy sauce (don’t use dark soy sauce in this recipe). Soy sauce adds flavor and saltiness to the wings. You can get this from any Asian store and even many local stores carry this ingredient now.
Make sure you use corn starch, NOT corn flour. A thin coating of cornstarch adds a nice crispiness to the chicken wings.
Available in most grocery stores. It adds a nice mild peppery flavor to the wings. You can use some black pepper as a substitute.
Oil (optional. add if you’re using all drums)
You can add a tiny amount of neutral cooking oil to the wings, especially if you’re using chicken drums/drumettes. Add it when you marinate chicken wings before air-frying.
How to serve?
These Chinese-style salt and pepper wings are amazing as it is and I usually make this for game days and fun events. That tingling sensation of Sichuan peppercorns always brings a smile to my guests who love a good surprise.
If you want to make it a meal, you can serve this with some Jasmine rice or some fried rice. here’s a lovely Chinese pork fried rice recipe if you’d like to give it a try.
If you love Chinese-style air-fryer recipes, try my salt and pepper bbq ribs recipe too.
Air-Fried Salt and Pepper Chicken wings
This Chinese-style, Air-fried Salt and Pepper chicken wings will be your new favorite dish for game day and parties. They are quick, easy to make, and have the most amazing (but not overpowering) Sichuan peppercorn flavor and that unique tongue-tingling sensation that we love in Sichuan cuisine.
To marinate chicken
To make the salt and pepper mix
Marinate and Air-Fry chicken wings
Add chicken wings to a bowl. Pat dry if they're too moist. Add soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, white pepper powder (and a tiny bit of oil if you have a lot of drums). Mix very well.
Add cornstarch to chicken wings and gently mix to lightly coat the wings.
Preheat the air-fryer at 375F (190C) for 5 minutes.
Place chicken wings in one layer in the air-fryer basket (if you have a smaller air-fryer, do it in two batches). Air-fry at 375F for 10 minutes.
Flip the wings. Increase the Air-fryer temperature to 390F and Air-Fry for another 3 - 5 minutes. (time may vary depending on the size of the chicken wings. To make sure your chicken wings are done, cook until the internal temperature reads 165F when you insert a meat thermometer)
Making pepper mix (Do while chicken wings are in the Air-fryer)
To a small pan, add Sichuan peppercorns and salt. Slowly roast them in medium-low heat until peppercorns turn brown in color and feels aromatic.
Transfer them to a mortar and pestle (You can also use a small spice/coffee grinder). Grind them to a powder.
Mix spices with chicken wings
Transfer chicken wings to a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle only 1 tsp of the salt and Sichuan pepper powder you just made. Shake and toss the bowl to coat the wings with salt and pepper powder. Taste and add more if you need.Do not add all spice powder at once. Start with a little bit and add as you taste. You can store leftover salt and pepper powder in an air-tight jar for some other time.
- corn starch adds a nice thin coating of flour. It adds up a little bit of crunch to chicken wings. If you like wings without any flour coating, you can certainly skip this.
- You'll probably have some extra salt and Sichuan peppercorn powder mix. Store that in an air-tight container to use next time. Or in any other dishes that require Sichuan peppercorns.