The Best Crispy Korean Fried Chicken
Ultimate Korean fried chicken recipe! These chicken wings are extra crispy on the outside and wonderfully moist inside, all coated in a mouth-watering red spicy glaze made from gochujang sauce. They’re perfect for game nights or as a main dish served with rice.
“I have been using your recipe for KFC for ages now, and just wanted to say that it is the BEST! My partner even thinks it is better than any KFC he has had before (in restaurants)!”bianca
Imagine crispy, golden chicken wings, deep-fried to perfection and generously coated in a sweet and spicy sauce. That’s Korean fried chicken for you.
It’s super popular all over the world. If you haven’t tried it yet, you’re missing out on an amazing Korean dish. They call it ‘the other KFC,’ and it’s definitely worth a try.
These wings are essential for a Chimaek party, a popular Korean tradition of enjoying chicken with beer. Personally, I don’t drink alcohol, so when I’m hanging out with friends, I dive straight into enjoying this delicious chicken.
That means more chicken for me, right?
Crispy Korean Chicken Wings
Korean fried chicken, also called yangnyeom chicken (양념치킨), stands as one of Korea’s most beloved chicken specialties. It features crispy, deep-fried chicken wings generously coated in a unique sauce that balances spicy and sweet flavors. This sauce is made with gochujang, a chili paste, combined with a variety of other delicious ingredients.
What makes these chicken wings incredibly crispy is the double frying technique used to cook them. This makes the outside super crispy while keeping the inside soft and juicy.
Korean style fried chicken is so popular that there are many famous restaurant chains like Kyochon and Bonchon that serve it all over the world. In Korea, there are also lots of smaller, local places that have their own special twist on the recipe.
With this recipe, you can make your own delicious Korean chicken wings at home. You’ll get to enjoy a unique and tasty version of one of the best fried chickens out there.
A lot of people mix up this Korean yangnyeom chicken with dakgangjeong, which is similar to Korean popcorn chicken. Dakgangjeong is made of small, bite-sized pieces of boneless chicken thigh. But even though they might look alike, they’re different. The main thing that sets them apart is the sauce. Each dish has its own special sauce recipe that makes it unique.
The Korean fried chicken gets its unique taste from the yangnyeom sauce (양념소스), a delicious red spicy sauce. This homemade sauce is a mix of gochujang (Korean chili paste), ketchup, sugar, vinegar, and a special ingredient – apricot preserve or strawberry jam!
It strikes the perfect balance of sweet, salty, tangy, and a gentle spice that’s even kid-friendly. Adding fruit preserve or jam is a clever trick used in restaurants. It brings a subtle, fresh twist to the sauce without being too strong.
Making the sauce is easy: just mix everything in a pan and heat it up. You can then brush it onto the chicken or toss the chicken in it to coat thoroughly.
My Tips for the Best Crispy Chicken
Here are a few tips to help you make the crispiest, most delicious Korean chicken you’ve ever had:
- Cornstarch in the Coating: Use cornstarch in your chicken coating for a crunch that lasts longer. This technique will help you make mouth-watering fried chicken with just the right texture.
- Baking Powder in the Coating: Mix baking powder into the cornstarch coating. When heated, baking powder releases carbon dioxide gas, creating tiny air pockets in the batter. This leads to a puffier and even crispier coating.
- Double Deep-Frying: For the ultimate crispy texture, fry the chicken twice. The first round of frying at a lower temperature cooks the chicken evenly. The second round, at a higher temperature, removes extra moisture and crisps up the coating beautifully.
- Sweet and Spicy Gochujang Sauce: Boost your chicken’s flavor with a special sauce. Combine pureed onion and apricot preserve or strawberry jam for a unique take on the traditional recipe.
- Gluten-Free Option: This recipe is great for those on a gluten-free diet as it uses cornstarch without any wheat flour. Just remember to use gluten-free gochujang for the sauce.
Ingredients You’ll Need
For the Chicken
- Chicken Party Wings: Fresh wings are best, but frozen ones work too. Just make sure they’re fully thawed.
- Rice Wine and Ginger Paste: These help reduce any gamey smell and add a subtle aroma.
- Salt and Pepper: For seasoning.
- Cornstarch: This is key for a crispy coating. It helps the chicken bind with the coating.
- Baking Powder: Helps in browning the surface, making it more appetizing.
For the Sauce
- Onion, Garlic, Ginger: These savory ingredients form the base of the sauce.
- Korean Chili Paste (Gochujang): It’s essential for flavor, heat, and thickness in the sauce.
- Soy Sauce: Adds seasoning and depth of flavor.
- Ketchup, Rice Vinegar, and Rice Wine: These ingredients contribute to the tanginess and help create a bright red color.
- Sugar: Sweetens the sauce.
- Apricot or Strawberry Jam: Adds a unique, fruity flavor.
- Corn Syrup: Gives the sauce a nice sheen.
How to make Korean Fried Chicken
Seasoning the Chicken
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together chicken wings, pureed ginger, rice wine, salt, and pepper. Ensure the wings are well coated with the mixture.
- Let the chicken marinate for 10 minutes.
Preparing the Fried Chicken Sauce
- Blend diced onion, garlic, and rice wine in a mini blender until smooth.
- In a small saucepan, combine this onion-garlic puree with all the other sauce ingredients. Stir everything together well.
- Cook the sauce over medium heat until it starts to bubble and thickens slightly, which should take about 2-3 minutes. Remember to stir occasionally.
- Once done, take the sauce off the heat and set it aside to cool. It will thicken as it cools down.
Coating the chicken
- In a large plastic bag, combine cornstarch and baking powder.
- Add the marinated chicken wings to the bag and shake well to ensure each wing is evenly coated.
- Before frying, shake off any excess coating from the wings.
- Heat oil in a wok or skillet over medium-low heat until it reaches about 330˚F. Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature.
- Gently add a few chicken pieces at a time, making sure to shake off any extra cornstarch coating, into the oil. Deep-fry them for 3-4 minutes.
- Remove the wings and place them on a cooling rack or a baking sheet lined with paper towels.
Pro Tip: The oil shouldn’t be too hot; let the chicken fry gently. If the oil bubbles too vigorously, lower the heat. To keep your fried chicken extra crispy, fry in small batches to avoid crowding the pan. Crowding can lower the oil’s temperature and lead to uneven cooking. After each batch, use a strainer to remove debris from the oil.
- After frying all the batches once, increase the heat to medium (about 350˚F).
- Fry the chicken again until the coating turns deep golden brown, which should take about 1-2 minutes. Watch the heat to prevent over-browning.
- After frying, let the excess oil drip off by placing the chicken on a wire rack.
Brushing the gochujang sauce
- With the chicken on the wire rack, use a pastry brush to apply the gochujang sauce evenly on the hot chicken wings.
- Alternatively, you can pour the sauce over the chicken and toss to coat. Brushing is preferred if you want to control the amount of sauce on each wing.
- Finally, garnish the chicken wings with toasted sesame seeds or finely chopped nuts.
Serve the chicken hot to enjoy its crispy and crunchy texture at its best. Pair it with a cold drink like beer or soda for a classic experience. Many people also love having these wings with white radish cube pickles. The pickles add a refreshing taste that nicely balances the rich flavors of the chicken.
The best way to reheat the chicken while keeping its taste and texture is in the oven. Heat your oven to 400˚F and place the chicken in it, uncovered.
Reheat for 10-15 minutes until it’s hot all the way through, turning the chicken over halfway through the time.
More Popular Korean Dishes
Korean foods are trending. Get to know some of the most popular Korean recipes. Here are a few you can start with:
The Best Crispy Korean Fried Chicken
Korean fried chicken sauce
- 1/4 large onion , diced
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tbsp sweet rice wine (mirim)
- 1 tsp pureed ginger
- 3 tbsp Korean chili paste (gochujang), see note for a gluten-free gochujang
- 2 tbsp soy sauce, low sodium if possible
- 3 tbsp ketchup
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp apricot preserve or strawberry jam
- 2 tsp rice vinegar, or white vinegar
- 2 tbsp corn syrup
For the chicken seasoning
- Combine chicken wings, pureed ginger, rice wine, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl; toss well together and set aside for 10 minutes.
For the sauce
- Put diced onion, garlic, and rice wine in a mini blender and process until smooth.
- In a small saucepan, combine all the sauce ingredients and pour in the onion garlic puree; mix well. Bring the sauce to boil over medium heat until it bubbles up and thickens slightly, about 2-3 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. The sauce will thicken as it cools.
For the deep-frying
- Mix cornstarch and baking powder in a large plastic bag. Add the chicken wings and shake them well to coat. Shake off extra coating from the chicken wings.
- For the first fry: Heat oil in a wok or skillet over medium-low heat, to reach about 330˚F. Drop the chicken wings, shaking off the extra cornstarch coating, into the oil, and deep-fry for 3-4 minutes. The oil temperature shouldn’t be too hot and the chicken will fry slowly. If the oil bubbles vigorously, reduce the temperature.
- For the second fry: When all the batches of the first deep fry are finished, raise the heat to medium, about 350˚F. Drop the chicken again into the hot oil and deep-fry until the coating turns a deep golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. Adjust the heat if it browns too quickly. Shake off the excess oil from the chicken and place them on a wire rack to allow the remaining oil to drip off the chicken.
- Brush or coat with sauce: Using a pastry brush, apply sauce on the hot chicken wings. Alternately, you can pour the sauce over the chicken and toss them to coat. Garnish chicken wings with toasted sesame seeds or finely chopped nuts. Serve these wings with your favorite cold beverage.