Korean BBQ Gochujang Chicken Tacos

Taco Tuesday with a twist — a Korean BBQ twist! Korean Gochujang Chicken Tacos for the weeknight dinner win!

Gochujang Chicken Tacos on a brown cutting board

One summer, my best friend took me to Marination Ma Kai — a Hawaiian-Korean fusion taco restaurant in West Seattle. We ordered two of everything and a few sides. Everything was amazingly good!

I came back to Toronto and wanted to make my own Korean-Fusion taco recipe at home.

Why Korean BBQ Chicken Tacos?

Family-friendly tacos are a regular part of our weeknight dinner rotation. Everyone loves Taco Night! To change things up, add the exciting flavors of Korean BBQ.

For some reason, Mexican cuisine mixes very well with Korean food. Take Roy Choi’s Kogi BBQ Taco trucks. Exciting LA street food that combines the best of two worlds!

For an easy, at-home version, I used spicy-sweet Gochujang Chicken as the protein base. A staple Korean BBQ item, the flavor is spicy-sweet and smoky, with charred little bits. As a bonus, it’s very easy to make at home.

The other elements are simple: sweet, juicy pineapple, crunchy cabbage, and spicy jalapeno. Stuffed into a tortilla, the flavor combo is unbelievably delicious!

Korean BBQ Tacos are easy enough for weeknight dinner. And fancy enough for dinner with friends!

Gochujang Chicken Tacos, ingredients

Ingredients:

Serve everything in separate bowls so people can assemble their own tacos. Now it feels like a party! Enjoy!

  • Gochujang Chicken. A Korean BBQ basic that’s so versatile! Spicy-sweet Gochujang makes everything taste better.
  • Tortillas. I recommend mini flour tortillas so that every bite is stuffed with flavor. Make it gluten-free with corn tortillas.
  • Shredded Cabbage. For fresh crunch. Use pre-packaged shredded cabbage to make things even easier.
  • Pineapple. Thinly sliced to add a deliciously sweet-tart element!
  • Jalapenos. Adds heat. If you have them, pickled jalapenos are delicious too.

To make it extra special:

  • Avocado. A taco-night staple! Swap with pre-made guacamole if you prefer.
  • Lime Sour Cream. Creamy + saucy. Adds just enough richness to tie everything together.
  • Hot Sauce. I like Cholupa or Tabasco.
  • Lime Wedges. Just a squeeze of fresh lime juice adds so much bright flavor!

Instructions:

To make Gochujang Chicken Tacos, the only cooking required is the Gochujang Chicken. Everything else is a matter of prep and assembly.

Make the Gochujang Chicken:

  1. In a bowl, combine Gochujang, soy sauce, garlic, sugar, Mirin (sweet cooking wine), sesame oil.
  2. Add chicken. If you can, marinate overnight.
  3. Broil chicken on a sheet pan, 5-6 minutes per side. Or Air Fry at 400F for 5-6 minutes per side.

Prep Toppings:

  1. Slice pineapple.
  2. Shred cabbage.
  3. Slice jalapeno.
  4. Slice avocado.
  5. Add lime zest to sour cream.
  6. Cut lime into wedges.
  7. Plate tortillas.

*At the minimum, I recommend pineapple, cabbage, and jalapeno. But if you’d like to go all out, add everything else!

Gochujang Chicken Tacos, ingredients

Pro Tips:

  • Marinate chicken overnight. If you can, marinating overnight results in the best flavor.
  • Broil or Air Fry chicken. Ensures all those charred, crispy bits! Essential to mimic that smoky, bbq flavor!
  • Add lime zest to sour cream. A little zest makes the sour cream special!
  • Thinly slice pineapple. Thick pineapple is difficult to eat. To make it easier, slice pineapple as thinly as possible. Avoid the core and cut around it, as it’s very hard.
  • Warm tortillas. Wrap in foil, tightly sealed, in 350F oven or Air Fryer for 5-10 minutes until heated through.

Variations:

  • Coleslaw. Swap out the shredded cabbage with slaw. Lime Cilantro Slaw is so flavorful, punchy, and bright!
  • Carnitas-style. Swap out Gochujang Chicken with Slow Cooker Gochujang Pork Carnitas. Different texture and vibe.
  • Taco Bowls. Leave out the tortillas and pile everything into a bowl with Coconut Cilantro Rice.
  • Nachos. Spread tortilla chips onto a sheet pan. Sprinkle Mexican-style shredded cheese all over. Add chopped up Gochujang Chicken. Heat in 350F oven until the cheese melts. Add pineapple, jalapeno, avocado, and sour cream and enjoy!
Gochujang Chicken tacos

FAQ:

Can I make it less spicy?

Yes, you can definitely make this dish less spicy. Reduce the amount of Gochujang, as noted in the recipe card below. If you cannot tolerate heat at all, I recommend using Chicken Bulgogi as a base instead.

What is Gochujang? Where can I find it?

Gochjuang is Korean fermented chili paste and a staple pantry item in Korean home cooking. The flavor is spicy-sweet with a deep, umami richness. The texture is thick and pasty.

Nowadays, Gochujang can be found in most grocery stores. Look in the international aisle. It comes in a tub or glass jar and needs to be refrigerated after opening. Or, visit a Korean grocery store for a wider selection. Sometimes, there’s a spicy level on the label ranging from 1-5. I recommend Gochujang that is made in Korea or manufactured by a Korean company.

Can I make this in advance?

Yes, Gochujang Chicken Tacos are a great make ahead meal. Prep everything in advance and store in the fridge, tightly wrapped in separate bowls. When it’s time to eat, simply reheat the chicken in the Air Fryer or microwave. Warm the tortillas. And arrange the pre-assembled toppings on the table. Note: slice avocados right before serving as it easily browns.

PIN FOR LATER:

Gochujang chicken tacos on wood board

More Weeknight Dinner Inspiration:

Gochujang Chicken Tacos on a brown cutting board

Korean BBQ Gochujang Chicken Tacos

The Subversive Table | Lis Lam
Taco Tuesday with a twist — a Korean BBQ twist! Korean Gochujang Chicken Tacos for the weeknight dinner win!
Prep Time 14 mins
Cook Time 16 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Fusion Food, Korean
Servings 6
Calories

Equipment

  • Large Sheet Pan or Air Fryer

Ingredients
  

Gochujang Chicken:

  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 2-3 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup Gochujang (Korean fermented chili paste) (use only 2 Tbsp for a less spicy version)
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 Tb soy sauce
  • 1 Tb Mirin or rice wine
  • 2 Tb sugar
  • 1 Tb sesame seed oil

Toppings:

  • 1/2 head small green cabbage
  • 1 pineapple
  • 2 jalapenos
  • 1 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 limes
  • 24 mini flour tortillas (6 inches) *make it gluten-free with corn tortillas

Instructions
 

  • If using the oven, preheat on BROIL function.  Preheat for at least 10 minutes on high heat. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil for easy clean-up.
  • If using the Air Fryer, preheat at 400F for 5 minutes.

Marinate Gochujang Chicken:

  • In a large bowl, add Gochujang, soy sauce, garlic, mirin, sugar, and sesame oil. Whisk well until there are not clumps.
  • Add chicken and mix with tongs until chicken is thoroughly coated with marinade.  If possible, marinate overnight for best flavor.

Oven Broil Instructions:

  • Arrange chicken on the foil-lined sheet pan in one single layer. Make sure not to overcrowd the pan and that there's enough space between the chicken.
  • Broil chicken on one side until little charred bits begin to show, about 6-8 minutes.  Flip the chicken and broil until chicken is cooked through and more charred bits begin to show, another 6-8 minutes.  
  • Remove chicken from the oven and transfer to a kitchen counter. Let the meat rest (on the sheet pan) for 5 minutes.
  • Transfer chicken to a cutting board and slice into thin strips.  Place in a serving bowl and set aside.  

Air Fryer Instructions:

  • Add a small piece of parchment paper to the bottom of the Air Fryer, making sure it does not touch the heat element on the top. (It can catch fire, if touching.)
  • Arrange chicken on the parchment-lined Air Fryer basket in a single layer. Make sure not to overcrowd the basket and that's there a little space between the chicken pieces. You may have to cook in the chicken in batches. Cook at 400F for 5 minutes until the edges are firm and no longer pink.
  • Flip to the other side and cook at 400F for another 5 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and charred bits begin to show.
  • Remove chicken from the Air Fryer and transfer to a plate. Let the chicken rest for at least 5 minutes. Repeat until all the chicken is cooked.
  • Transfer chicken to a cutting board and slice into thin strips.  Place in a serving bowl and set aside.  

Prep the Toppings:

  • Shred cabbage. Peel, core, and thinly slice pineapple. Thinly slice jalapeno. Slice avocado or use ready-made guacamole. Cut lime into wedges. As you prep each item, place in a separate bowl or platter.
  • Warm the tortillas. Tightly cover with foil and place in a 350F oven for 5-10 minutes until warmed through.
  • In a small bowl, add sour cream and lime zest (from 1 lime). Mix and set aside.

To Serve:

  • Bring everything to the table. Make sure to add hot sauce! People can assemble their own tacos. Enjoy.
Keyword Gochujang Chicken Tacos
30 minutes, All Recipes, Chicken, Dinner with Friends, Gochujang, Korean, Main, Sheet Pan, Weeknight Meals

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