Korean Fried Chicken Recipe

5 from 9 votes
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Make the best Korean fried chicken with super crunchy buttermilk fried chicken pieces tossed in an appetizing red spicy sauce. A delicious appetizer everyone will love!

A serving of Korean fried chicken topped with sesame seeds and spring onions

It’s time to level things up with this sweet and spicy fried chicken recipe from South Korea (yangnyeom chicken – aka the “other KFC”). This easy Korean-style chicken is perfectly tender and juicy inside, crispy and crunchy outside, and packed with bold flavors from the spicy chili sauce. It’s perfect as an addictive appetizer, snack, or main.

Half eaten piece of Korean fried chicken topped with sesame seeds

Watch how to make it!

Ingredients for Korean fried chicken

Ingredients for Korean fried chicken
  • Chicken breasts: I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts. To save time, buy it pre-diced. This recipe can also work with chicken wings, chicken thighs, and drumsticks, but they need more time to fry.
  • Buttermilk: To tenderize and flavor the chicken. If you don’t have buttermilk, you could make a buttermilk alternative.
  • Flour: Use regular all-purpose flour or, if necessary, a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend (like Bob’s Red Mill or King Arthur’s).
  • Cornstarch: Replacing a portion of the flour with cornstarch makes a crispy batter. Potato starch or rice flour works too.
  • Baking powder: Baking powder draws moisture from the surface of the chicken, making it dryer for an even crispier, fluffy crust. Don’t substitute baking soda.
  • Seasonings: You need a blend of garlic powder, paprika, sea salt, and black pepper.
  • Vegetable oil/canola oil: for frying the chicken.

For the chili sauce: I love making a sweet & spicy gochujang sauce. Replace that with tangy Korean BBQ sauce or soy garlic sauce for a milder flavor.

  • Gochujang: (aka Korean chili paste) A popular spicy, tangy, slightly sweet, fermented product. You can purchase it from most major supermarkets/Asian stores.
  • Soy sauce: Use dark, light, or reduced-sodium soy sauce. If you’re gluten-free, tamari or coconut aminos are great soy sauce substitutes.
  • Brown sugar: Or use honey/a mix of both. The sweetness balances the spice and tang.
  • Rice vinegar: You can use red or white rice vinegar; mirin would also work.
  • Toasted sesame oil: For a wonderfully toasty nutty depth.
  • Aromatics: Fresh ginger and garlic.

To garnish: optionally use some green onions, toasted sesame seeds, and Korean red pepper flakes (or sliced chili) to garnish.

How to make Korean fried chicken

Marinate the Chicken: First, pat the chicken dry with a paper towel, then chop it into 1-inch cubes. Then, transfer to a large mixing bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and add the buttermilk, mixing it well. Wrap/cover the bowl, then place it in the refrigerator to marinate for about 6 hours (min 4, max 24 hours; bring back to room temperature for 20 minutes).

Steps for marinating chicken breasts

Prepare the Gochujang Sauce: Mince or grate the ginger and garlic, then combine them with the remaining sauce ingredients (rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, gochujang, and brown sugar/honey) in a small bowl. Mix thoroughly and give it a taste – adjust anything to your liking. Then set it aside. Optionally, you can simmer the sauce to help dissolve the sugar or to achieve a more syrupy consistency (3-4 minutes).

Steps for preparing Korean chili sauce

Prepare the Crispy Coating: In a large, wide, shallow bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and seasonings (garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper). Stir well. Once the chicken has marinated, transfer the chicken to the flour mixture, shaking off any excess buttermilk first. Make sure every piece is fully coated.

Steps for coating marinated chicken pieces

Fry the Chicken: Prepare a large, heavy-based saucepan or Dutch oven (or use a deep fryer) by adding several inches of oil to the pan. Then heat it over medium until it reaches 350-375ºF/176-190ºC. Carefully lower batches of the chicken to the pan – just enough for a single layer with plenty of space in between. Fry them for 3-5 minutes until they’re cooked through and golden brown all over.

Steps for frying chicken

To test whether the meat is ready, insert a thermometer into a piece of chicken – it should reach 165ºF/74ºC to be safe to eat. Also, if you are frying chicken wings, chicken thighs, and drumsticks, the frying time will be longer: 8-10 minutes for wings or 14-17 minutes for drumsticks. Make sure to test for doneness with the meat thermometer.

Finally, transfer the batch of chicken to a wire rack above paper towels to drain while you cook further batches.

Assemble: When all the chicken is fried, pour the chili sauce over it in a large bowl and toss to thoroughly coat. Then, optionally, garnish with finely sliced green onion, sesame seeds, and Korean chili flakes. Alternatively, serve the Korean gochujang sauce alongside the fried chicken pieces as a dipping sauce.

Fried chicken coated with chili sauce

How to serve

Enjoy the Korean fried chicken as an appetizer, snack, or part of a larger meal with side dishes like:

Serving Korean fried chicken with lettuce and rice

If you try this Korean fried chicken recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

Korean Fried Chicken Recipe

5 from 9 votes
By: Samira
Make the best Korean fried chicken with super crunchy buttermilk fried chicken pieces tossed in an appetizing red spicy sauce. A delicious appetizer everyone will love!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients 
 

Korean chicken marinade

  • 33.5 oz chicken breasts 3 large or pre-diced
  • 1 cup buttermilk or a buttermilk substitute (milk + vinegar or lemon)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper

Korean chicken crispy coating

  • 4.2 oz all-purpose flour 1 cup; OR a gluten-free all-purpose blend
  • 0.9 oz cornstarch 1/4 cup; OR potato starch/rice flour.
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 6 cups vegetable oil or canola oil – for deep frying, adjust the amount needed to your saucepan

Sweet and spicy Korean chili sauce

  • 1/4 cup Gochujang (red chili paste)
  • 1 oz brown sugar 3 Tbsp; OR honey
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar red or white
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce dark, light, or reduced-sodium; if gluten-free, use tamari or coconut aminos
  • 2 tsp minced garlic from 2 medium cloves
  • 2 tsp minced ginger from 1/2 inch piece
  • 2 Tbsp sesame oil toasted

Garnish

  • 2 stalks green onions
  • sesame seeds toasted, a sprinkle
  • red chili flakes optional, a sprinkle

Instructions 

Marinate the chicken

  • Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel, then chop it into 1-inch cubes.
  • Transfer them to a large mixing bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and add the buttermilk, mixing it well. Wrap/cover the bowl and place it in the refrigerator to marinate for 6 hours or overnight.
    Leave it to marinate for a maximum of 24 hours and a minimum of 4 hours to tenderize it and infuse it with a ton of flavor. Bring it back to room temperature for 20 minutes.

Prepare the gochujang sauce

  • Mince or grate the ginger and garlic, then combine them with the remaining sauce ingredients (rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, gochujang, and brown sugar/honey) in a small bowl. Mix thoroughly, taste test, and then set aside.
    Optionally, you can simmer the sauce to help dissolve the sugar or to achieve a more syrupy consistency (3-4 minutes).

Prepare the crispy coating

  • In a large, wide, shallow bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and seasonings (garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper). Stir well.
  • Once the chicken has marinated, shake off any excess buttermilk and transfer the cubes to the flour mixture. Make sure every piece is fully coated.

Fry the chicken

  • Prepare a large, heavy-based saucepan or Dutch oven (or deep-fat fryer) by adding several inched of oil to the pan. Then heat it over medium until it reaches 350-375ºF/176-190ºC.
  • Carefully lower batches of the chicken to the pan – just enough for a single layer with plenty of space in between. Fry them for 3-5 minutes until they’re cooked through and golden brown all over.
    To test whether the chicken is ready, insert a thermometer into a piece of chicken – it should reach 165ºF/74ºC to be safe to eat.
  • Transfer the batch of chicken to a wire rack above paper towels to drain while you cook further batches.

Assemble and enjoy

  • When all the chicken is fried, pour the chili sauce over it and toss to thoroughly coat. Optionally, garnish with finely sliced green onion, sesame seeds, and Korean chili flakes.
    Alternatively, serve the Korean gochujang sauce as a dipping sauce alongside the fried chicken pieces.

Video

Notes

This version is for spicy Korean fried chicken with a sweet and spicy gochujang sauce. However, you could replace the sauce with tangy Korean BBQ sauce or soy garlic sauce for a milder flavor.
This method also works with chicken wings and drumsticks, though the frying time will vary: 8-10 minutes for wings or 14-17 minutes for drumsticks. Test for doneness with a meat thermometer.
Storage Instructions: Avoid adding the sauce to the portion you wish to store. That way, you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Then reheat and toss with the sauce.
How to reheat Korean fried chicken? Allow the chicken to come back to room temperature (for about 20 minutes), then spread it across a large baking tray (a wire rack is even better for airflow) with space between the pieces. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 350ºF/175ºC. Use the broiler for 1-2 mins at the end for extra crispiness.
Alternatively, air fryer it for 5-7 minutes at 375ºF/190ºC OR re-fry the chicken in oil until warm and re-crispy.
Check the blog post for serving recommendations!
Course: Appetizer, Main, Side
Cuisine: Asian, Korean
Freezer friendly: 3 Months
Shelf life: 3-4 Days

Nutrition

Calories: 469kcal, Carbohydrates: 31g, Protein: 38g, Fat: 21g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 106mg, Sodium: 1516mg, Potassium: 520mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 345IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 122mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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