As chef David Tanis says of this peppery chicken wings recipe, “there’s something wonderful about a big pile of peppery chicken wings for a casual supper.” Amen to that. The intensity of the classic buffalo wing is replaced here  by a defiantly untraditional yet  beguiling blend of paprika, allspice, cayenne, and clove (yes, clove) . And if, like us, you really swoon to the magnificent multipurpose peppery-ness of these exquisite wings and simply can’t get enough of it, try the spice rub on chicken thighs—bone-in, skin-on—whether as a game-day starter or a simple weeknight supper.–Renee Schettler Rossi

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A rimmed baking sheet filled with peppery chicken wings

Peppery Chicken Wings

5 from 1 vote
In these peppery chicken wings, the usual intensity of classic buffalo wings is tempered and usurped by a delicious, untraditional, easy blend of beguiling spices. Even better, the wings are baked, so they’re not only healthy but there’s no standing at the stovetop getting splattered with droplets of crazy hot flying fat.
David Leite
Servings4 to 8 servings
Calories785 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time2 hours 15 minutes


  • 5 pounds chicken wings, wing tips removed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed to a paste with a little salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil


  • Place the chicken wings in a big bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add all the other ingredients and give the chicken wings a massage to completely coat them.
  • Cover and refrigerate the chicken wings at least an hour or as long as overnight. (Trust us, marinating them for as long as possible makes quite the difference in terms of depth of flavor.)
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • Place the chicken wings in a single layer in a roasting pan or on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Roast until nicely browned and crisp, about 1 hour. Dive into the chicken wings when they’re hot, warm, at room temperature, even cold. Just don’t forget the napkins.


Peppery Chicken Wings Variation

You can use the same seasoning and technique for chicken thighs, if you prefer, says author David Tanis. Simply use the same poundage of chicken thighs.
Even Spicier Peppery Chicken Wings
If you crave a more intense flavor, simply double the amount of ingredients for the rub—both spices and oil—and marinate for the full 12 hours.
Crispier Peppery Chicken Wings
If you like crazy crisp skin, let the wings in the oven 75 to 90 minutes.
Juicier Peppery Chicken Wings
If you like your wings tender and moist, pull the chicken out of the oven just shy of an hour.
Heart of the Artichoke

Adapted From

Heart of the Artichoke

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 785 kcalCarbohydrates: 3 gProtein: 57 gFat: 60 gSaturated Fat: 15 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 12 gMonounsaturated Fat: 27 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 236 mgSodium: 226 mgPotassium: 546 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 1 gVitamin A: 1523 IUVitamin C: 4 mgCalcium: 51 mgIron: 3 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2010 David Tanis. Photo © 2010 Christopher Hirsheimer. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

We loved the pile of peppery chicken wings on the table! My testers—two grandsons and my husband—said this recipe is a keeper! These chicken wings were fast to prepare, moist, spicy and delicious. I served bowls of the traditional blue cheese dip (and lots of paper napkins), but they were also perfect without the dipping.

I lined my baking sheet with foil for easy clean up and the wings came out golden and crisp. It seemed hard to get the olive oil and spice paste all over the chicken pieces, so next time I’ll increase the recipe for the rub by half. I refrigerated my chicken overnight. This is the perfect hors d’oeuvre for the holiday buffet or that fast dinner when the shopping isn’t completed.

The flavors for these peppery chicken wings elevate them to a more elegant level than your sticky, messy, BBQ-sauce-covered wings. Great for a party. I took them to a holiday party of about 20 people and only about four wings were left. Of course, not everyone took 1, but the ones that did, ended up eating about 5 or 6 wings each. They raved. I marinated the wings for about 5 hours before cooking them. Absolutely delicious.

These chicken wings are crunchy, savory, and easy to put together. As with any recipe of this kind, the longer you can let them marinate the better, but even after 1 hour, you have tasty, tender chicken with a crispy skin to die for, though you miss out on the more subtle spice flavors. I used a mix of drums and thighs to great effect—keep an eye on the chicken towards the end of the cooking time, as smaller wings may be ready sooner.

Five pounds of wings sounds like a lot to make, but these went very quickly. The spice paste was very easy to make, and even though the wings only marinated in it for just over an hour, they were very flavorful.

The 5 pounds served 4 very generously, with not too much left over for later. I think with veggies and /or a salad this would do 6 or 8 quite nicely. The only minor complaint I have is that they don’t really get very crisp, and I prefer a really crispy wing. That aside, this is a keeper recipe, and we didn’t even need the beer.

This is a different version of the “hot chicken wings” craze that dominates kitchens during football season. I was intrigued by the combination of spices used. I used the option for chicken thighs this time, but will use wings next time. I think wings would actually turn out better, because they would get crunchy and crisp more than thighs did. Next time I will decrease the amount of allspice, because it seemed to me to overtake the other spices. We use allspice a lot here in Cajun-land, and it never seems to be quite as dominant as in this recipe.

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. This spicing is very Levantine…Lebanese Syrian Palestinian Jordanian, maybe with a squeeze of lemon in addition!