Grilled Lemon-Garlic Wings Recipe

grilled lemon-garlic wings recipe

The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 75 mins
Brine Time: 90 mins
Total: 3 hrs 5 mins
Servings: 4 to 5 servings
Yield: 12 whole wings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
1129 Calories
83g Fat
51g Carbs
46g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 5
Amount per serving
Calories 1129
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 83g 106%
Saturated Fat 25g 127%
Cholesterol 223mg 74%
Sodium 7188mg 313%
Total Carbohydrate 51g 19%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 22g
Protein 46g
Vitamin C 27mg 134%
Calcium 76mg 6%
Iron 4mg 20%
Potassium 530mg 11%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

These tender, juicy grilled chicken wings get their fabulous flavor from a generous amount of garlic and lemon juice. The wings make an excellent appetizer, but the recipe works equally well with larger chicken pieces, such as thighs, drumsticks, or leg quarters. 

Brining the wings ensures moist, juicy chicken wings because salt helps to tenderize the meat. The salt in the brine helps the meat absorb water and aids in the breakdown of tougher muscle fibers. This brine is simple, with only 3 ingredients: salt, sugar, and water. If you like a little heat, add a tablespoon or two of crushed red chili flakes or milder Aleppo pepper, or add some black pepper. 

The lemon sauce gives the wings wonderful, slightly tart, garlicky flavor. Feel free to add a few more cloves of garlic if you like, and be sure to toss the chicken wings with the remaining sauce as soon as they come off the grill.

"The grilled chicken wings were flavorful and easy to prepare and cook. For perfectly juicy, tender chicken wings, brine them for the full 90 minutes. They make a great main dish or serve them as an appetizer with lemon-garlic aioli." —Diana Rattray

Grilled Lemon Garlic Chicken Wings/Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


For the Brine and Chicken:

  • 1/2 cup kosher salt

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1 quart water

  • 3 pounds chicken wings

  • Canola oil, for the grill

For the Lemon-Garlic Sauce:

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

Steps to Make It

Brine and Grill the Wings

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ingredients to brine grilled lemon garlic wings

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  2. In a large bowl, mix the salt, sugar and water together, stirring until the salt and sugar dissolves.

    salt, sugar, and water mixture in a bowl

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  3. Put wings in a 1 gallon resealable bag with the brine and allow to marinate in fridge for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Discard brine, rinse the wings briefly with cold water, and pat them dry with paper towels.

    raw chicken wings soaking in brine in a plastic bag

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  4. Prepare your grill for indirect cooking, medium heat (350 F to 375 F). Clean and oil the grill grates. Grill the wings on the indirect side of the grill, turning occasionally so they brown evenly, 1 to 1 1/4 hours.

    chicken wings cooking on a charcoal grill

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

Prepare the Lemon-Garlic Sauce

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ingredients to make lemon garlic sauce

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  2. On a cutting board sprinkle a little salt on the minced garlic and mash together to form a paste.

    minced garlic on a wood cutting board

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  3. Heat the oil and garlic together in a small saucepan over low heat until the garlic is fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat.

    minced garlic heating in oil

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  4. Whisk the oil and garlic with the lemon juice and thyme in a large, nonreactive baking dish or bowl (glass, ceramic, stainless steel, or enamel-lined) and set aside.

    lemon garlic oil with herbs in a bowl

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

Finishing Grilling the Wings:

  1. When wings have about 15 to 20 minutes cooking time left, remove them from grill, toss in the lemon-garlic sauce, and return to grill.

    chicken wings cooking on a charcoal grill

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  2. After another 10 minutes baste the wings with the remaining lemon-garlic sauce.

    basting grilled chicken wings with lemon garlic sauce

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck

  3. When the wings are cooked through, coat them one last time with the lemon-garlic sauce and serve.

    grilled lemon garlic wings in a casserole dish

    The Spruce/Julia Hartbeck


  • If your chicken wings are not as brown as you like, move to direct heat for 1 or 2 minutes.
  • The minimum safe temperature for chicken is 165 F.

How to Store and Reheat Chicken Wings

  • Refrigerate cooked chicken wings within 2 hours and consume within 4 days.
  • Cooked, cooled chicken wings may be frozen for up to 6 months. Place them in a resealable freezer bag and label with the name and date. Defrost them in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
  • To reheat chicken wings, place them on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer and bake in a preheated 350 F oven for about 15 minutes, or until they reach 165 F.

Are chicken wings white meat or dark meat?

Chicken wings are considered white meat. The high proportion of skin on the wings helps keep them moist and tender, and not as prone to drying out as chicken breasts.