fried chicken with spicy Korean soy garlic sauce on a plate
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Korean Fried Chicken

Korean Fried Chicken, often known as chikin and sometimes abbreviated as KFC, has transcended its regional roots to gain a global following. Unlike its American counterpart, Korean Fried Chicken is known for its distinctively thin, crackly and almost transparent crust and spicy flavor made with chili paste (Gochujang), soy and garlic.

crispy and spicy Korean fried chicken on a plate

Making Korean Fried Chicken 

History of the dish dates back to the post-Korean War era and is sometimes attributed to when American troops stationed in South Korea introduced the concept of fried chicken and BBQ. The Korean rendition evolved, incorporating local flavors and ingredients, leading to the birth of this unique dish. The dish is also popular in other Asian countries, especially Singapore. For a full history, check out this wiki article

The secret to a good Korean fried chicken lies in the double-frying method, which renders out the fat from the skin and results in an audibly crunchy texture.

The chicken gets its start with a marinade. During frying, be sure to work in batches. Do not crowd the chicken. 

You can also air fry this recipe, coat the chicken in a bit of oil and air fry on high heat until crispy. I find the double oil frying gets the dish the most crispy though. However, making air fryer Korean chicken does lower the calories a bit. 

Then, after frying, it gets its spice from a sauce.  This recipe uses Gochujang, a Korean chili paste, for the sauce which is quite spicy but very delicious.  Then it adds flavors of soy, garlic, ginger, and some sweetness form a jam.  

fried chicken with spicy sauce


Serving Suggestions and Pairings

Korean Fried Chicken is traditionally served either as small drumsticks or wings, or in bite-sized pieces, making it a perfect dish for gatherings or a family meal. It’s often accompanied by pickled radishes that offer a refreshing contrast to the chicken’s rich flavor. Try it with Oi Muchim, which is a spicy Korean cucumber salad.  

If you have vegetarian friends, or want vegetarian version, try serving this Korean fried cauliflower version.  

When it comes to beverages, a cold glass of beer, known as “Chimaek” (a portmanteau of “chicken” and “maekju,” the Korean word for beer), is the go-to pairing. This combination is a staple in Korean leisure and dining culture.

To cool things off afterward, try a cool bowl of es teler or es cendol for dessert.  

fried chicken with spicy Korean soy garlic sauce on a plate

Uses for Leftovers

Leftovers can be creatively repurposed. For instance, shred the chicken and toss it into a salad or wrap for a hearty lunch. Alternatively, mix it with some rice, kimchi, and vegetables, and stir-fry to create a flavorful fried rice dish.

You can also shred the leftovers, mix with a bit of egg and panko, and fry into a patty to serve ad Korean fired chicken burgers.  Or serve shredded on a bun as a Korean fired chicken sandwich.  

Below is a recipe card. 

fried chicken with spicy Korean soy garlic sauce on a plate

Korean Fried Chicken

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

This crispy Korean fried chicken is easy to make and has a spicy chili paste (Gochujang), soy, garlic sauce. It is great made as wings, drumsticks, or bite-size pieces.


  • For the Chicken:
  • 2 lb chicken drumsticks and wings
  • 2 tbsp walnuts, chopped
  • 1 tbsp rice wine
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • ½ tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • For the Sauce:
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • ¼ tsp powdered ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 4 tbsp Korean chili paste (Gochujang)
  • 2 tbsp rice wine
  • 2 tbsp corn syrup
  • 2 tsp white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp strawberry or apricot jam


  1. Marinate the Chicken: In a small bowl, combine rice wine, powdered ginger, black pepper, and salt. Whisk until well mixed. Place the chicken in a large bowl, pour the marinade over, and rub it onto each piece. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate for at least an hour.
  2. Prepare the Sauce: Blend garlic, onion, and ginger into a smooth puree. Transfer the puree to a saucepan and cook for a minute. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and stir until well blended. Cook over medium heat until the mixture boils, then simmer for 5-6 minutes until it thickens. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Coat the Chicken: Place the marinated chicken in a resealable plastic bag. Add cornstarch and shake well until each piece is evenly coated.
  4. Fry the Chicken: Heat canola oil in a heavy skillet to 180°F. Fry the chicken in batches until lightly browned, about 4-5 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels. Once all pieces are fried, fry them again until golden brown and crispy, another couple of minutes.
  5. Coat with Korean Fried Chicken Sauce: Place the chicken in a large bowl. Pour the sauce over the chicken and toss to coat evenly.
  6. Serve: Enjoy your Korean Fried Chicken with your favorite Asian dipping sauce or on its own.


You can also air fry this recipe. For Air fryer Korean fried chicken, coat the chicken in a bit of oil and air fry on high heat until crispy. Try double air frying for extra crispiness. It will not be as crispy as the oil method though. However, it does lower the calories.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 465Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 196mgSodium: 1066mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 1gSugar: 16gProtein: 39g

Did you make this recipe?

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Last Updated on January 24, 2024 by Carleen

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