Korean pickled radish has the perfect balance of sour, salty, and sweet. Also called chicken mu (치킨 무), this pairs great with Korean fried chicken or other heavy foods.
This crunchy Korean pickled radish is a quick and easy pickled radish that you can enjoy as a Korean side dish or banchan. It's ready to eat in one day and requires only five ingredients!
It's also called 'chicken mu' 치킨 무, which translates to 'chicken radish'. This is because it's almost always served with Korean fried chicken. The sour, vinegary, crunchy radish helps cut through the heaviness of fried chicken.
If you've ever been to a Korean fried chicken restaurant like Bonchon, this is the pickled radish side dish that's served alongside the fried chicken.
In Korean cuisine, there are many pickled radish side dishes that all use different varieties of radish. Out of all the radish side dishes, this is one of the easiest ones you can make!
Ingredients you'll need
- Korean radish - Make sure to buy Korean radish for the best result. You can substitute with daikon if it's not available (more on this below).
- White vinegar - Distilled white vinegar has the cleanest, brightest taste that lets the radish flavor shine through. You can substitute with rice wine vinegar but I wouldn't recommend using other varieties of vinegar.
Korean radish has a rounder, shorter shape compared to a daikon radish and the top third or half of the radish is a greenish yellow. Look for one that feels heavy for its size without major blemishes.
Why do I recommend using Korean radish? It has a stronger flavor and crunchier texture than daikon radish. I find it also has slightly less water content than daikon radish which helps it keep its bite in the pickling liquid.
Step by step instructions
- Stir together the ingredients for the pickling liquid until the sugar dissolves.
- Peel the radish and cut it into half inch cubes.
- Add the radish pieces to the pickling liquid and store it in the fridge overnight.
- Serve chilled. It tastes best after 2 days.
What to serve with this
Korean pickled radish is usually served with meals that are deep fried or heavy on meat because the bright, tangy radish lightens up. You can serve this with any of these meals:
Frequently asked questions
I recommend using Korean radish because it has a stronger flavor and crunchier texture than daikon radish. I find it also has slightly less moisture than daikon radish which helps it keep its crunchy in the pickling liquid.
You can certainly substitute with daikon if Korean radish is unavailable.
Let the radish pickle for at least 24 hours in the refrigerator before serving, though it tastes best after 2 days. I recommend serving it chilled and consuming this within 4 to 5 days.
You can find it in any Korean grocery store and at most Asian grocery stores. Look for one that feels heavy for its size and is not blemished. The top part of the radish should have a green hue.
More Korean side dishes to try:
- Spicy Korean Radish Salad | Musaengchae
- Korean Perilla Leaf Kimchi
- Korean Dried Zucchini Side Dish
- Spicy Korean Cucumber Salad (Oi Muchim)
- Korean Shiitake Mushroom Side Dish
- Korean Soybean Sprout Side Dish – Kongnamul Muchim
Korean Pickled Radish - Chicken Mu
- 1 lb Korean radish - - cut into ½ inch cubes (about 4 cups)
- ⅓ cup white vinegar - - substitute with rice wine vinegar
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup filtered water
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- halved chilis or sliced jalapenos for spice - - (optional)
- Peel and cut the radish into ½ inch cubes.
- Mix together the pickling liquid until the sugar dissolves and then add the cubed radish pieces. See Note 1.
- Transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the fridge for at least 24 hours.
- Serve chilled. See Note 2.
✎ Recipe Notes
- I prefer a 1:1:1 ratio of vinegar, sugar, and water. If you prefer a more mild pickled radish, increase the amount of water and adjust the salt to taste.
- You can enjoy this 24 hours later but if you prefer a stronger pickled flavor, wait until 48 hours later.
- Store in the fridge in an airtight container for 7 to 10 days, but it tastes best within 4 days.
- As this is a quick pickling recipe, sterilization of the jar isn't required since it's meant to be consumed within a few days. Keep it in the fridge until ready to serve.
- Serve with Korean fried chicken.
*Nutritional information is an estimate, calculated using online tools.
Can the radish be lightly fermented before adding the liquid?
Hi Elaine, I haven't tried that before so can't so for sure but I don't see why not.
I have made this recipe twice now, and just love it. The flavour of the brine is really good with the radish. I added some fresh chilli last time, and it made it look so pretty!
I am keen to see what else I can pickle next - I love the idea of having a fridge full of different jars of goodies!
Thank you Mary! That's so great you've made this twice now. I love the idea of adding some chilis to the radish! I love a bit of spice myself. 🙂
Question! Call me dumb, but I've never really made my own pickled anything before. I wasn't impressed with the pickled radish I got at the Korean grocery store, everyone says it's better when you make it...
So I want to make your recipe! Do I need the containers I put this in to be sterilized beforehand? I see people boil jars a lot but I don't know if it's necessary for pickled items...?
Hi Giggs! You're right that homemade pickled radish is so much better. 🙂 As this is a quick pickling recipe, sterilization of the jar isn't required since it's meant to be consumed within a few days. Just keep it in the fridge until you're ready to serve. I recommend consuming this within 4 days for best flavor. Hope you enjoy this!
I made this and it is so yummy. Thank you for posting.
Thanks Han! So happy to hear that! 🙂
I made this and it was absolutely delicious!!! The 1:1:1 ratio is awesome!! Thank you!
This was absolutely delicious! I added a bit more water to submerge the radish and an extra pinch of salt.
So simple and delicious. I’m a big fan of pickles of all kinds, and this Korean pickled radish is so delicious!
Yum! I just made a batch and we are really pleased with the result. Would it work if I added some carrots next time?
Thanks Ashley! Absolutely you can add carrots. Just dice them to be the same size as the radish so they absorb the pickling brine at the same rate.
I was unable to find Korean radish, so I used a daikon and it worked really well! I am going to see if I can find a Korean radish for next time, but I am really happy with how this recipe worked out, so will be making it again for sure!
Is this recipe possible for a food truck business, I mean in bigger volume of fried chicken.
This is a great recipe for pickles! I used the rice wine vinegar as it is my favourite, and we devoured the jar of pickles SO fast.
I think I will make a double batch next time! I am so excited to try your chicken also and serve them together! That sounds amazing! What a great combination!
Thanks Lucy! Oh it's a must with fried chicken! They don't call it chicken mu for no reason lol. 🙂
I just wanted to let you know that last night I made your pickled radishes and Korean Fried Chicken.
They were both utterly delicious, and I am so pleased to have found your blog with recipes that really work.
Thank you - I am going to subscribe now, and look forward to trying some more of your dishes.
I saw that in the above comment, if I don't have enough brine to submerge the radish in, I should make more 1:1:1 brine. However, will that make it too salty/sweet? Should I simply add more water instead, or will that then over-dilute the flavor?
Hi Tiffany! I usually increase the brine and haven't found it too salty or sweet. If you do find it too strongly flavored, you can adjust it by adding some water. It's a pretty forgiving recipe. 🙂 Otherwise you can try storing it in a flat container or even a zip lock bag if that helps.
I finally got to try this and it turned out great! The radish was perfectly pickled.
Amazing recipe, and so easy! Just one question - is there any way to make them keep longer? I like making a whole bunch and consume it over the course of a month or more
Question: I've never pickled anything before, but if I followed the ratios correctly, but not all of the radish is submerged in the liquid what should I do? Add more water or increase the proportions of water/vinegar/sugar/salt?
Hi Bingsu! Yes, you can simply increase the proportions of water, vinegar, sugar, salt until the radish is submerged. 🙂
I like how crunchy and tasty the radish is. I do not know how long these pickles can keep
Thank you! So glad you liked these pickled radish! You can store them in an airtight container for 7 to 10 days in the fridge.
This was really delicious and so easy to make. I am going to get more radish tomorrow to make this again!