Make these double fried, crunchy, and crispy Korean fried chicken wings covered 2 sauces - sweet gochujang sauce or sticky soy garlic sauce! Read more about the different batters and sauces we used to perfect this recipe!
If you're looking for a comprehensive guide to making the best Korean fried chicken, you're in the right place!
As a Korean American, I grew up eating this my whole life! For this recipe, I borrowed from my mom's recipe and tried countless variations and techniques, to come up with my best version of Korean fried chicken wings!
Continue reading below to see the results of experimenting with 4 different batters and two sauces, or skip to the recipe below!
What is Korean fried chicken?
Korean fried chicken is a popular dish in South Korea that is called "KFC" or "chikin" in Korea. It was first introduced from the U.S. military during the 1960s and has gained popularity ever since. What sets it apart from other fried chicken is that it's double fried to achieve the ultimate, crispy, crunchy crust that doesn't get soggy once covered in sauce.
It can go by several different names in Korea:
- huraideu chikin 후라이드 치킨 or peuraideu chikin 프라이드 치킨 - which are both the phonetic spelling of "fried chicken" in English.
- dak-twigim 닭튀김 - which means "deep fried chicken" in English.
- yangnyeom chicken 양념 치킨 - Korean fried chicken that's covered in a spicy, gochujang based sauce, called yangnyeom sauce. This translates to "seasoned or sauced chicken."
This dish is typically served with Korean pickled radish as a side dish and consumed with alcoholic beverages such as beer or soju.
In fact, it's so common to serve this with beer in Korea, that this pairing is referred to as "chimaek" in Korea, which is a combination of the word "chikin" (meaning fried chicken) and "maekju" (meaning beer).
Popular fried chicken restaurants in Seoul are BHC or Hanchu Chicken, which are my two favorite places. In the U.S., Gol Tong Chicken, Bonchon, and KyoChon Chicken are at the top of the list!
Why this recipe works
- Double fried - Double frying helps render out the fat from the chicken skin and gives it a crispy, crunchy exterior. It also helps the crust get golden brown and keep its crunchy texture after any sauce is applied.
- Four types of batter to choose from - We've tested this recipe with all purpose flour, cornstarch, potato starch, and a wet batter. Read further below to see the results of each batter and choose your favorite!
- A spicy and non-spicy sauce - Both of these sauces have the perfect, syrupy consistency to coat the fried chicken without making them soggy. Choose between a spicy gochujang sauce or a sweet and tangy soy garlic sauce!
Wet batter vs dry batter
If you're a fan of those crunchy bits when eating fried chicken, I recommend going with a dry batter. It creates a crackly, blistered crust that has tons of crunchy texture.
The photo below shows fried chicken made with a dry flour batter. It has lots of crunchy golden brown bits attached and the surface is more irregular creating more crunch and texture.
If you're a fan of a lighter, crispier tempera style crust, I would recommend using the wet batter. It's a smoother, thinner crust that still has a crispy texture, though it's more delicate than a dry flour coating.
Which flour is best?
Korean fried chicken is commonly made with cornstarch, all purpose flour, or potato starch, or any combination of the above. We decided to test out all three to see which is our favorite and compare their texture and flavor.
Our favorite ended up being cornstarch for it's blistered crust and crackly texture! But the all purpose flour and potato starch were a close second, so I'd say it's up to personal preference when deciding which flour to use.
Here's a breakdown of what we found:
- All purpose flour - thickest crust with the most crunch.
- Cornstarch - crispy, crackly texture with a blistered crust.
- Potato starch - has the best flavor, thinner crust with a light, delicate crisp. While flour and cornstarch are pretty flavorless, potato starch has lots of flavor!
Korean fried chicken sauce - Spicy or Mild
This is by far the most popular sauce for Korean fried chicken. It's an easy sweet and spicy sauce made with gochujang that sticks to your fingers!
It takes less than 10 minutes to make and you can serve it with so many other dishes! Two ingredients in this sauce is strawberry jam and ketchup, which is commonly added to fried chicken sauce in Korea.
This soy garlic sauce is a sweet and tangy glaze made of soy sauce, honey, garlic, and rice wine vinegar. An equally delicious sauce that's perfect for those who prefer a non-spicy or mild wing sauce. Or you can skip the sauce entirely and eat them plain!
Ingredients you'll need
- Flour - choose all purpose flour, cornstarch, or potato starch based on your preference for what type of texture you prefer. See the photos above for comparison.
- Chicken wings - I used skin-on, bone-in drumettes and flats
For the wet batter, coat each wing with cornstarch and then dip it into a wet batter made of flour, water, and cornstarch.
Step by step instructions
- Season your chicken with salt and other spices if desired.
- Batter the chicken wings with either a dry flour coating or a wet batter.
- First fry: Working in batches, fry the chicken in cooking oil heated to 345 degrees F for 5 to 7 minutes.
- Let it drain on a cooling rack and add in the next batch.
- Second fry: Raise the temperature of the oil to 375 degrees F and fry in batches until the exterior becomes crunchy and golden brown.
- Let it drain on a cooling rack and work on the next batch.
- Serve immediately if you wish to eat them plain. Otherwise, add the wings to a large bowl and add your sauce and toss to evenly coat. (If desired, add sliced jalapenos and chili for added spice, like the restaurant Gol Tong Chicken.)
- Serve immediately with extra dipping sauce!
Frequently Asked Questions
What sets Korean fried chicken apart is that it's double fried to achieve, a crispy, crunchy golden brown crust.
The first fry is at a lower temperature to render out the fat from the skin and partially cook the chicken. For this reason, the temperature of the first fry should not be too high, otherwise you'll burn the chicken.
The second fry is at a higher temperature that completely cooks the chicken, makes the skin crispy, and makes the batter crunchy. This ensures that any sauce that's added to the chicken doesn't make the batter soggy.
What to serve with this:
- Crunchy Korean Pickled Radish – Fast and Easy!
- Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad (Oi Muchim)
- Korean Potato Side Dish – Gamja Jorim
- Korean Soybean Sprout Side Dish – Kongnamul Muchim
- Asian Sesame Broccoli Salad
- Korean Shiitake Mushroom Side Dish
- Korean Perilla Leaf Kimchi
More Korean recipes:
- Easy Japchae (Korean glass noodle stir fry)
- Kimchi Fried Rice with Spam
- 15 Minute Korean Beef Bowl
- Instant Pot Korean Short Ribs
- Korean Beef Tacos with Cabbage Slaw and Pickled Cucumbers
Best Korean Fried Chicken
- 3 lbs chicken wings - about 30 to 36 wings
- 2 cloves garlic - finely minced
- ½ teaspoon ginger - grated
- 1 Tablespoon mirin
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- vegetable oil for frying
Dry Batter (see notes below for wet batter)
- 2 cups flour or cornstarch or potato starch - see photos above for comparison
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Season the wings with garlic, ginger, sea salt, and mirin and let it marinate for at least 1 hour.
- Mix the ingredients for the dry batter in a large bowl. Coat each wing thoroughly with the dry mix, being sure to completely cover the entire surface.
- Pour enough oil to get 1 ½ to 2 inches of depth in a large pot. Heat the oil to 345 degrees F. Add the wings and fry them for 5 to 7 minutes. Work in batches and avoid crowding the pot. Let it drain on a cooling rack and repeat with the remaining wings.
- Once done, raise the temperature of the cooking oil to 375 degrees F. Double fry the wings in batches until the exterior becomes crunchy and golden brown. Let it drain on a cooling rack. *See Notes for the benefits of double frying.
- Serve immediately if you wish to eat them plain without sauce. Otherwise, coat with soy garlic sauce or gochujang sauce and serve.
Soy Garlic Sauce or Gochujang Sauce
- Add all the ingredients in a medium pot and bring it to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce it for 2 to 3 minutes or until it's reduced to your liking. Drip a small amount onto a plate and let it cool to test the consistency. If it's too thick, add a teaspoon of water at a time to thin it out. While still hot, drizzle the sauce onto the wings and toss to coat.
- Flour, cornstarch, and potato starch yield different flavors and texture. See comparison photos in the post above to choose your favorite.
- Double Frying: What sets Korean fried chicken apart from other recipes is the double frying technique. The first fry renders out fat from the chicken skin which is why it's done at a lower temperature. The second fry crisps up the exterior while fully cooking the chicken which is why we raise the temperature.
- Leftovers - store leftovers in an airtight container and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- Reheating - reheat in the oven at 350 degrees F until warmed through. If the sauce starts to burn, lower the heat and cover the top with foil.
- 2.5 cups water
- 1.25 cup cornstarch
- 1.25 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 cups cornstarch - for coating the wings before dredging into the wet batter
*Nutritional information is an estimate, calculated using online tools.