The world number nine swept aside tour rookie Riley Parsons 6-0 at the York Barbican to seal his spot in the last 64, notching four half-centuries en route to a comfortable win.
He will now take on Marco Fu in the second round on Saturday.
Having reached the quarter-final stage at the tournament 12 months ago, Wilson admitted he took time to settle into his first round match, but believes he captured some of his finest form after finding his rhythm.
“I felt a bit nervy in the first frame,” he said. “But it’s the perfect scoreline for round one, and I’m just pleased to get through what could’ve been a potential banana skin tie.
“Once I got going I felt I played really well. Based on my practice form and some of the games I’ve played recently I think I’m actually playing better now than I was last season.
“It’s important to kick on at these big events and winning the close games is the difference between titles and not quite getting there so that’s what I need to do here.
“I had a good run the last time I was here before bumping into Stuart Bingham who was on fire, but it’s a really enjoyable time of year for a snooker player now, there are fantastic crowds here and I'm loving it.”
Next up for the 2019 German Masters champion in his bid to add to his three ranking event titles is Hong Kong’s Marco Fu, who beat Craig Steadman 6-3 in the day’s early session.
And while running into the former world number five will provide Wilson with a stern test in the tournament’s early stages, he believes it could in fact benefit his title prospects in Yorkshire.
Wilson said: “Marco’s a lovely guy and a brilliant player. It’s probably the toughest second round match you could get but I quite like that. It keeps you on your toes and it keeps you sharp.
“If you want to win a tournament like the UK Championship you know you have to play someone of Marco Fu’s class at some point. It’ll be an interesting game and one I’m looking forward to.
“York is one of the best venues we play at and I’m excited to get back out there in front of the big crowds and the TV cameras at the weekend, and see what I can do.”
Watch the UK Championship live on Eurosport and Eurosport Player with analysis from Jimmy White and Ronnie O’Sullivan.