Korean Fried Chicken, known for its crispy texture, is a crowd-pleaser with its spicy and sweet flavors. This dish features a crunchy cornstarch-coated chicken, typically wings or drumsticks, fried to perfection. It's then tossed in a distinctive sauce made with gochujang (Korean chili paste), soy sauce, and honey, creating a rich, flavorful coating.
This fried chicken variant stands out with its double frying technique, ensuring an extra crisp texture, while the spicy-sweet gochujang adds a distinct depth. It's a versatile choice, perfect for a main course or an appetizer, and goes beautifully with sides like pickled radish, kimchi, or steamed rice.
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Ingredients and Substitutions Overview
To whip up this delectable Korean Fried Chicken, you'll need a few key Asian pantry items. These essentials are widely available in most Asian grocery stores. Let's take a look at what you'll need for this flavorful dish:
For Marinade and Flour Coating:
- Chicken (wings, drumsticks, or boneless cuts): The star of the dish, providing a savory base. Remember, cooking times vary depending on the cut.
- Grated garlic: This brings an aromatic and intense flavor that really makes the chicken pop.
- Gochujang: Essential for that signature spicy-sweet flavor in Korean fried chicken. If needed, regular chili paste can be a substitute, but keep in mind it may alter the dish's authentic Korean taste profile.
- Cornstarch: Key to that perfect crunch in Korean Fried Chicken. For alternatives, try potato starch or all-purpose flour, both offering a similarly crispy texture.
- Black pepper: Just a pinch to add a little heat and depth.
For the Sauce:
- Sesame Oil: This oil brings a subtle, nutty aroma that beautifully unifies the dish's flavors.
- Aromatics (Ginger, Garlic, Dry Red Chili): Ginger adds a refreshing zing, garlic contributes depth, and chili introduces a kick of spice.
- Honey & Brown Sugar: These sweeteners meld together to create the perfect glaze, adding a luscious sweetness.
- Rice Vinegar (or White Vinegar): Just a splash adds the right amount of tanginess, balancing the sweet and spicy flavors.
- Gochujang & Ketchup: A tangy and rich combination, these ingredients offer a touch of umami complexity.
- Soy Sauce: It's the key ingredient for that indispensable savory depth.
- Frying Oil (Canola, Corn, Peanut): With their high smoke points and neutral flavors, these oils are excellent choices for frying, ensuring a crispy, non-greasy finish.
How to Make Korean Fried Chicken at Home?
Dive into the world of Korean Fried Chicken with our step-by-step guide, featuring photos and video to make your cooking experience even more engaging. Follow along as we walk you through the process, from marinating and coating the chicken to achieving that perfect crispy finish.
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Korean Fried Chicken
- 2.25 lb Chicken
- 1½ tbsp Garlic, grated or paste
- ¾ tsp Black Pepper, powder
- Salt, to taste
- 1½ tbsp Gochujang (Korean Chili Paste)
For Flour Mixture
- 1½- 2 cups Cornstarch, or potato starch
- 1½ tsp Salt, or adjust to taste
- ½ tsp Black Pepper, powder
For Korean Fried Chicken Sauce
- 2 tbsp Sesame Oil
- 1½ tbsp Ginger, minced
- 2 tbsp Garlic, minced
- 4 Dry Red Chili
- 2 tbsp Brown Sugar
- 3 tbsp Soy Sauce
- 1 tbsp Rice Vinegar
- 4 tbsp Gochujang (Korean Chili Paste)
- 1½ tbsp Ketchup
- 2 tbsp Honey
- Oil, for deep frying chicken
- Sesame Seeds, to garnish
- Green Onion, to garnish
To Marinate and Flour Coat Chicken
- In a mixing bowl, toss together chicken pieces like wings, drumettes, and drumsticks. Boneless chicken breasts or thighs work too. Season with ginger, garlic, black pepper, gochujang, and a pinch of salt. Ensure everything is well mixed, then set the chicken aside to marinate while you prep the flour mix.
- On a tray, blend cornstarch or potato starch with a seasoning of black pepper and salt. Start with a smaller amount to avoid waste; you can always mix more if needed.
- Thoroughly coat each chicken piece in the flour mix. Make sure they're fully covered and ready to take a dive into the fryer.
To Fry Chicken
- Start by heating enough oil in a wide pan over medium heat for frying. Once hot, add the chicken wingettes and drumettes, ensuring not to overcrowd the pan for even cooking.
- Fry the wingettes and drumettes for about 5 to 6 minutes, flipping them occasionally, until they achieve a golden color. Keep in mind, cooking times may vary based on their size and thickness.
- Once fried to a golden hue, remove the drumettes and wingettes from the oil and place them aside.
- Now, it's time for the drumsticks. Add them to the same hot oil and fry for approximately 10 to 12 minutes, turning them occasionally. Drumsticks generally require a bit more time than wingettes due to their larger size and thickness.
- After they've turned golden and are cooked through, remove the drumsticks from the oil and set them aside with the rest of the fried chicken.
To Double Fry Chicken
- For the second fry, heat the oil to medium-high. Return the previously fried drumettes and wingettes to the oil, frying them for an additional 4 to 5 minutes until they are a deeper golden brown.
- Follow the same process with the drumsticks, frying them for another 6 to 7 minutes until they reach a similar golden brown color. Once done, remove them from the oil and set aside. This double frying technique is key to enhancing the chicken's crispiness, making it irresistibly crunchy for longer.
To Make Sauce and Coat
- Begin the sauce by heating sesame oil in a pan over medium heat. Add ginger, garlic, and dry red chili, sautéing until aromatic.
- Stir in brown sugar, gochujang (Korean chili paste), ketchup, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and honey. Mix well and simmer until the sauce thickens to a sticky consistency.
- Toss the double-fried chicken in this sauce, ensuring an even coat. Garnish with sesame seeds and green onions for a final touch. Serve immediately to enjoy the perfect blend of flavors and textures.
- Enjoy the delicious combination of sweet, spicy, and crispy flavors in this Korean Fried Chicken, ideal as either an appetizer or the main course. Complement it with a side of white or jasmine rice, your choice of pickles, or a refreshing salad to round out the meal.
Chef's Notes and Tips
- Flavorful Marinade: The charm of Korean fried chicken lies in its marinade. Ingredients like ginger, garlic, gochujang, and black pepper infuse the chicken with depth. Marinate for at least 30 minutes to enhance the meat's flavor.
- Double Frying Technique - Enhance crispiness by double frying: first, cook until light golden, rest briefly, then fry again for a golden brown finish. Though not mandatory, this method is favored in Korean fried chicken for its crunchy exterior and juicy interior.
- Cornstarch or Potato Starch Coating: For an extra crispy crust, opt for cornstarch or potato starch over regular flour. These starches create a lighter, crunchier texture. Mixing a bit of all-purpose flour can balance the texture and add flavor.
- Proper Oil Temperature and Drainage: Maintaining the right oil temperature is crucial for frying. Too cold, and the chicken becomes greasy; too hot, and it burns outside before cooking inside. Proper drainage after frying is also key to avoid sogginess.
Disclaimer: We’re not nutrition experts. Nutritional info is estimated and should be used as a guide. For precise details, consult a professional.
Discover a wide range of crispy, savory fried chicken recipes, including some delightful Asian dishes. Complement these with an assortment of fresh salads, dips, and sauces, perfect for gatherings, these dishes are sure to delight your palate and enhance any dining occasion.
Korean Fried Chicken pairs wonderfully with a variety of sides to enhance your meal:
- Pickled Radish: Often accompanied by "danmuji," the tangy and refreshing pickled radish offers a delightful contrast to the chicken's crispiness.
- Kimchi: This fermented vegetable dish is a Korean staple, adding a spicy and tangy dimension that complements the chicken's flavors beautifully.
- Rice Dishes: Serve with steamed white, or jasmine rice for a neutral, soothing base. Rice balls or a side of rice make for a more substantial meal.
- Salad: A light cabbage or cucumber salad, dressed in a simple vinaigrette, adds a refreshing crunch, balancing the fried chicken's richness.
For storing Korean Fried Chicken, it's best when savored fresh, showcasing its unique crispiness and flavors. If you do have leftovers, they can be refrigerated for up to two days. While reheating may not fully restore the original crispness, the chicken still remains tasty. Even when enjoyed cold, the flavor persists, though the texture will be altered.