Peppery Chicken Wings

In these peppery chicken wings, the usual intensity of classic buffalo wings is tempered and usurped by a delicious, untraditional blend of beguiling spices. Even better, they’re baked, so no standing at the stovetop getting splattered with crazy hot droplets of flying fat.

A rimmed baking sheet filled with peppery chicken wings

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 tempered here, usurped by a warm–though not incinerating–blend of spices. Truth be told, we rather prefer the defiantly untraditional, beguiling blend of paprika, allspice, cayenne, and clove to the incendiary heat of most Buffalo wings. That said, if you crave a more intense flavor, double the amount of ingredients for the rub—both spices and oil—and marinate for the full 12 hours. And if you like crisp skin, leave them in a little longer. If you like your wings tender and moist, pull the chicken out of the oven just shy of an hour. 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. Originally published January 30, 2012.Renee Schettler Rossi

Peppery Chicken Wings

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 2 H, 15 M
  • Serves 4 to 8
5/5 - 1 reviews
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  • 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


  • 1. 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. Cover and refrigerate the chicken wings or 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.)
  • 2. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • 3. 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. If you like your wings super crisp, you can leave them in the oven a little longer for a total of 75 or 90 minutes. Dive into the chicken wings when they’re hot, warm, at room temperature, even cold. Just don’t forget the napkins.

Peppery Chicken Thighs Recipe

  • 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.

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.


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

  2. Made these for Super Bowl. Marinated for 24 hours and baked for about an hour and fifteen minutes and they came out crisp, moist, flavorful, and fall-off-the-bone delicious. I questioned whether the cooking time would dry out the wings, but I should have known better if the recipe was on David’s website. Another winner.

    1. Lovely to hear you like these unconventional wings as much as we do, Marilyn! Thank you for taking the time to let us know. Those are all qualities we adore in wings and won’t let a recipe on the site if they don’t share them!

    1. Absolutely, why not? Garrison Keillor (of “Lake Wobegon” & “Prairie Home Companion” fame) recently told a caller that to introduce people to Minnesotan food, change all the “casseroles” to “cassoulets” and throw some parsley on top. I bet it works!

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