This is the best Korean fried chicken recipe of its kind with crispy and crunchy chicken wings coated with a slightly spicy gochujang sauce. You can easily make it to gluten-free Korean fried chicken recipe. These Korean chicken wings make a perfect game night food and for a Chimaek to share with family and friends.

Korean fried chicken is best served with cold drinks or beer (Chimaek).

“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

What is Korean Fried Chicken?

Yes, they are known as the other “KFC” – Korean Fried Chicken (yangnyeom chicken, 양념치킨). They have become world famous for their addictive, crunchy texture coupled with a thick, sweet and spicy gochujang sauce. Who would not love them?

Bonchon chicken is perhaps one of the well-known Korean fried chicken franchise restaurants in the U.S. But with this recipe, you can make the best homemade Korean fried chicken, if not better. And it’s not that difficult to make.

The chicken party wings (or drumettes) are coated with cornstarch and deep-fried to a deep, golden brown crispiness. The red chili sauce is rich and flavorful with a slight hint of spicy heat and a tang. This is why Korean fried chicken is so good.

Korean fried chicken wings are brushed with gochujang based spicy sauce. Better than Bonchon.

It comes together very fast – just mix the ingredients in a pan and heat it up. The sauce is then brushed (or otherwise coated) onto the crispy chicken wings. They are sweet, salty, and mildly spicy – mild enough that even young kids can handle the heat.

It’s easy to adapt this recipe to be a gluten-free Korean fried chicken by using gluten-free gochujang in the sauce.

People often confuse these Korean chicken wings with another dish, Korean chicken nuggets called dakgangjeong. Dakgangjeong is made with boneless chicken thigh pieces. They are like chicken nuggets coated with a sticky sauce. That sauce recipe is different. I have shared the recipe for crispy Korean chicken nuggets on my website. I also published another dakgangjeong recipe with a very different sauce, so be sure to check out my cookbook.

A bunch of fried chicken wings coated with spicy sauce is inside bowl lined with parchment paper

These Korean chicken wings are a great Super Bowl food, game night finger food, or impressive potluck party food to wow your friends and family. In fact, the combination of Korean fried chicken and beer is called “Chimaek (치맥)” and is an iconic cultural food in Korea to enjoy when watching popular sports, such as soccer.

What is Chimaek (Chimac)?

The term ‘Chimaek (치맥)’ combines the English word “chicken (치킨)” with the Korean word for beer (maekju 맥주). This popular pairing of Korean fried chicken and beer is not only a game night finger food, but it also takes center stage every Friday after work during happy hour get-togethers among friends and co-workers in Korea.

You will find numerous chimaek restaurants in back allies in business districts or the downtown area of major cities. There are more chimaek restaurants in South Korea than there are McDonald’s in the entire world! Chimaek is a significant social phenomenon in South Korean drinking culture. You will often find chimaek scenes in Korean movies and K-dramas.

We don’t drink alcoholic beverages in my household, so we enjoy it with our favorite soda drink: root beer!

A piece of spicy red sauce fried chicken piece is on the plate next to the whole batch with root beer bottle

Recipe Tips

Gluten-free recipe

Using cornstarch instead of wheat flour makes these chicken wings not only crispier but make them gluten-free chicken wings as long as you use gluten-free gochujang in the sauce.

Add a touch of baking powder in the coating

A small amount of baking powder mixed in with the cornstarch will enhances the browning of the chicken. The tiny air pockets created in hot oil makes the coating of the chicken crisper and crunchier.

Double deep-fry

Double deep-frying always creates a crispier texture for any deep-fried dishes. The first frying should maintain a low temperature (about 330˚F), par-cooking the chicken to cook evenly, so it takes longer than the second frying. The second frying is at a higher temperature (about 350˚F) and takes a short time to complete. It is to brown the chicken coating and to crisp it up.

The sauce

The crispy texture is one thing, but the flavor of the sauce is another. Try my recipe for KFC sauce. The addition of pureed onion and apricot preserve (or strawberry jam) in the sauce adds a layer of flavor that differentiates it from others.

Ingredients you’ll need

For the chicken:

  • chicken party wings – fresh or frozen (thawed)
  • pureed ginger
  • rice wine
  • salt and pepper
  • cornstarch
  • baking powder

For the sauce:

  • onion
  • garlic
  • pureed ginger
  • Korean chili paste (gochujang) – adds flavor, heat and thickness to the sauce
  • soy sauce
  • ketchup – adds the tanginess and helps the bright red color in the sauce
  • rice wine – Korean sweet rice (mirim)
  • rice vinegar – adds the tanginess in the sauce
  • sugar
  • apricot or strawberry jam – adds a fruity delicious taste in the sauce
  • corn syrup – brings a nice sheen to the sauce

How to make best Korean fried chicken

Chicken party wings are seasoned and set aside

Chicken seasoning: Combine chicken wings, pureed ginger, rice wine, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl; toss well together and set aside for 10 minutes.

Onion and garlic are pureed in a mini blender

Put diced onion, garlic, and rice wine in a mini blender and process until smooth.

Sauce ingredients for Korean fried chicken recipe is combined in a pan.
Kroean fried chicken sauce is boiling in a pan

Sauce: In a small sauce pan, combine all the sauce ingredients and pour in the onion garlic puree; mix well. Bring the sauce to boil until it bubbles up and thickens slightly, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. The sauce will thicken as it cools.

Seasoned chicken wings gets coated with cornstarch in a zip bag.

Chicken coating: 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.

Coated chicken wings enters hoil oil for deep frying.

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 to low.

Tips: Do the deep-frying in small batches so that you don’t crowd the pan. Too much meat in one batch can drop the temperature of the oil and won’t cook the meat evenly. After each batch is finished, skim off any floating debris with a mini fat strainer to keep the oil clean for the next batch.

Chicken wings are deep-fried for the second time to ensure the crispiness.

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.

These double deep-fried Korean chicken wings are gluten-free.
Fried chicken wings are brushed with gochujang sauce

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. I prefer brushing so that I can control the amount of sauce per chicken. Garnish chicken wings with toasted sesame seeds or finely chopped nuts.

What do you eat with Korean fried chicken

As always, fried chicken tastes best when it is hot. You’ll want to enjoy the crispy and crunchy texture of of skin coating. It’s best to serve with a cold beverage, such as your favorite beer or soda. Often these crispy Korean wings are served with pickled white radish cubes.

You can also serve this Korean fried chicken as a main dish. In that case, serve with rice and simple Korean side dishes.

How to reheat

Reheating in the oven is the best way to maintain taste and texture. Place the chicken in the preheated 400˚F oven, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes until piping hot throughout, flipping halfway through.

Korean fried chicken is paired with root beer for chimaek.

This recipe was originally posted in January, 2012. I’ve updated the recipe with a minor change, new photos, and more information.

Other party food ideas

Korean food is great for parties. Check out my Korean appetizer recipes for ideas. Some of my favorites are;

Korean fried chicken is best served with cold drinks or beer (Chimaek).

Best Korean Fried Chicken Recipe (Chimaek)

This Korean fried chicken recipe makes crispy and crunchy party wings. Coated with a slightly spicy and sweet gochujang sauce, they make a perfect game night food. Serve with your favorite cold beverage.
5 from 3 ratings

Ingredients

For chicken

For gochujang sauce

Instructions 

For the chicken seasoning

  • Combine chicken wings, pureed ginger, rice wine, salt and pepper in a 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 sauce pan, combine all the sauce ingredients and pour in the onion garlic puree; mix well. Bring the sauce to boil until it bubbles up and thickens slightly, about 2-3 minutes. 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 to low.
  • 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.

Notes

Gochujang:
Most gochujang sold in the market include wheat flour in the paste. Check this gluten-free gochujang if you want to avoid it.
Deep-frying tip:
Do the deep-frying in small batches so that you don’t crowd the pan. Too much meat in one batch can drop the temperature of the oil and won’t cook the meat evenly. After each batch is finished, skim off any floating debris with a mini fat strainer to keep the oil clean for the next batch.
How to reheat Korean fried chicken:
Reheating in the oven is the best way to maintain taste and texture. Place the chicken in the preheated 400˚F oven, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes until piping hot throughout, flipping halfway through.
Calories: 1069kcal, Carbohydrates: 53g, Protein: 30g, Fat: 82g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 21g, Monounsaturated Fat: 46g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 118mg, Sodium: 786mg, Potassium: 371mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 26g, Vitamin A: 328IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 82mg, Iron: 2mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @beyondkimchee on Instagram. I love to see your masterpiece.