Spicy-sweet Gochujang. Easy-to-love chicken drumsticks. Throw Spicy Gochujang Chicken Drumsticks in the oven for a simple, crowd-pleasing way to spice up dinnertime.
There’s something about drumsticks. They’re so easy to love. Maybe it’s the built-in handle that begs to be held. Or the petite size (compared to thigh or breast) that makes you want to eat just one more. Either way, it’s easy to fall under the spell of childhood nostalgia when eating drumsticks.
I like to serve chicken drumsticks as a casual, friendly option for dinner. They convince even the pickiest eaters that everything is all right. There’s nothing snooty or high brow about drumsticks.
The spicy-sweet Gochujang glaze makes these especially irresistible! Make for easy weeknight dinners. Pack leftovers into lunch boxes. Or bring Spicy Gochujang Chicken Drumsticks to your next potluck or family dinner. Spicy-sweet, sticky bites of chicken — what’s not to love?
What is Gochujang?
Gochujang is Korean fermented chili paste. It’s got a spicy, sweet flavor and tastes great as a sauce, marinade, or glaze.
Gochujang comes in a plastic tub and needs to be refrigerated after opening. The good thing about Gochujang is that it keeps a really long time, like ketchup or sriracha.
Gochujang also comes in varying degrees of spicyness. Look at the label and choose low, medium, or hot, depending on your personal preference. (I usually choose medium — you can add more spice but it’s hard to take it out.)
Gochujang can be found at most Asian grocers. I’ve found Gochujang at regular grocery stores in the International/Asian food section but it really depends on individual stores. Even Amazon sells Gochujang now.
- Chicken Drumsticks. Accessible, affordable, easy-to-handle chicken drumsticks for the win!
- Gochujang. Korean fermented chili paste.
- Soy Sauce. For deep, salty, umami flavor.
- Mirin. Sweet cooking wine.
- Sugar. To balance the spicy heat!
- Sesame oil. Adds fragrant nutty flavor.
- Garlic. Lots of fresh garlic adds a punchy kick.
- Whisk marinade in a bowl. Reserve 1/3 cup of the marinade and set aside for later glazing.
- Score chicken drumsticks. The scoring will ensure maximum Gochujang flavor!
- Mix drumsticks with marinade (not the reserved 1/3 cup for later glazing).
- Bake until chicken is halfway cooked through, about 15 minutes.
- Apply reserved sauce as glaze. Brush every 5 minutes, until fully cooked — about 10-15 minutes more.
- Broil for the last 5 minutes to get those charred, crispy bits.
- Use Parchment Paper. The gochujang glaze will drip and burn. For easy clean up and removal.
- Be careful — Gochujang burns easily. In the last 5-minute broil, watch closely!
- Double or triple for a larger crowd. This recipe is very easy to multiply.
Other easy recipes with Gochujang:
- Gochujang Roasted Carrots
- Cheese Buldak
- Korean BBQ Gochujang Chicken Tacos
- Spicy Pork Belly Bulgogi
- Bibim Guksu (Spicy Korean Cold Mixed Noodles)
- Slow Cooker Gochujang Pork
- Spicy Galbi Jjim (Braised Spicy Pork Ribs)
Spicy Gochujang Chicken Drumsticks
- 8-10 chicken drumsticks (about 2 lbs, depending on size)
- 1/4 cup Gochujang (Korean fermented chili paste)
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp mirin (or rice wine)
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp sesame oil
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- Whisk Gochujang, soy sauce, mirin, sugar, sesame oil, and garlic in a large bowl. Scoop 1/3 cup of the marinade and set aside in a small bowl, for later glazing.
- Score chicken with 2 or 3 cuts to each drumstick. Make sure not to cut down to the bone.
- Add scored drumsticks to the marinade, mixing until the chicken is fully coated. Turn on the oven to 350F/175C and let the drumsticks marinate while the oven preheats, about 10-15 minutes.
- On a parchment lined baking sheet, add drumsticks in an even layer. Make sure not to crowd the pan so the skin gets crispy. Bake until halfway cooked through, about 15 minutes.
- Add the reserved sauce from before, as a glaze. Brush chicken every 3-5 minutes until fully cooked, an additional 10-15 minutes. That's 25-30 minutes in total. This will ensure a deeper-flavored, glazed coating vs. roasting alone.
- When the chicken is fully cooked, broil for the an additional 3-5 minutes to get those charred, crispy bits. Watch carefully so it doesn't burn!
- Garnish with sesame seeds and green onion (optional). Serve immediately or at room temperature.