Korean Fried Chicken

A thin, crackly batter for maximum crunch. A spicy, sweet sauce that will leave you licking your fingers. The BEST Korean Fried Chicken recipe!!

Korean fried chicken, held by hand

One year for Thanksgiving, Halmoni asked if we could skip the traditional turkey. Turkey was dry and tasteless, in her opinion. Why not make something really special instead — like Galbi and Korean Fried Chicken?

So that’s what we did. We grilled Galbi. And we double-fried chicken to crispy, crackly, lip-smacking perfection. Can you guess what was the overall favorite when everyone sat down to eat? Yup, Korean Fried Chicken!

Since then, I’ve felt a certain freedom during the holidays. Tradition aside, why not make something that’s truly spectacular but completely non-traditional?

Everyone likes turkey. But do you know what people LOVE? FRIED CHICKEN. And the Korean version is SO delicious!

platter of Korean fried chicken, on wood background

What makes Korean Fried Chicken different?

Korean Fried Chicken is FRIED TWICE for maximum crunch and crispiness. Double frying chicken renders out the fat, resulting in chicken that is impossibly crunchy.

Korean Fried Chicken also has a THIN, CRACKLY BATTER. Koreans use potato starch for a non-greasy, light, and impossibly crunchy coating. There’s no heavy batter that leaves you feeling weighed down.

Then there’s the SAUCE. Sauce is kind of a big deal to Koreans and there’s lots of different kind. But my favorite flavor? A basic salty-sweet-spicy sauce (soy sauce + ginger + garlic + corn syrup + chile flakes) that’s all kinds of tasty addictiveness!

Make your next holiday meal special with this Korean Fried Chicken recipe! Everyone will love this finger-licking, lip-smacking dish!

Key Ingredient: Potato Starch

Potato Starch. Potato Starch is the secret ingredient for the crispiest Korean Fried Chicken ever!

Potato Starch absorbs water very well. Adding potato starch to chicken wings allows excess moisture to be absorbed. Then, when dropped into hot oil, the potato starch molecules move around and begin to separate. As the remaining water evaporates, the starch molecules stay behind and lock into place — producing the crunchiest, crispiest texture!

Look for Potato Starch at your local Asian grocer. Corn Starch is an acceptable substitute. But do not use regular flour for this recipe! It won’t taste the same.

bag of Korean Potato starch

Other Ingredients:

Chicken Wings. I like a mixture of chicken wings and drummettes. Look for meaty chicken wings!

Garlic Powder + Ginger Powder + Curry Powder. For the chicken marinade, dried powders (vs fresh garlic + ginger) work best. Again, we are looking to take away moisture, not add it.

Corn Syrup. An essential ingredient in Korean cooking, there is not substitute. I’ve tried subbing with maple syrup, honey, date syrup, agave, and regular sugar. But corn syrup is ESSENTIAL for creating that hard, crispy coating for fried chicken.

Frying Oil – If you don’t have peanut allergies in your house, peanut oil works best. The high smoke point and high fat content makes it a very stable oil for deep frying. But if peanut oil doesn’t work for you, Vegetable Oil is a good 2nd choice and the kind I use.

Also, I reuse deep-frying oil. When the oil has cooled to room temperature, drain over a fine mesh sieve into a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. The oil should keep indefinitely. (If you feel squeamish about re-using oil this way, just remember that restaurants re-use oil all the time, too!)

How to Make Korean Fried Chicken:

Marinate the chicken. Preferably overnight but even 30 minutes works.

raw chicken wings in stainless steel bowl

Right before frying, add the potato starch. That’s what makes it so crispy and crunchy. (You can substitute with corn starch but regular flour will NOT produce the same result.)

raw chicken wings in stainless steel bowl covered with potato starch
raw chicken wings in stainless steel bowl mixed with potato starch

Fry the chicken wings twice. The first fry will result in golden and crispy looking wings.

fried chicken wings on a sheet pan and wood background

The second fry will result in darker, golden-brown wings and a crunchier coating.

twice fried chicken wings on sheet pan with wood background

Make the sauce. Coat the chicken wings in the sauce. Garnish and serve. Enjoy!

oval platter of Korean fried chicken on wood background
Korean Fried Chicken, drumette

Korean Fried Chicken

The Subversive Table | Lis Lam
A thin, crackly batter for maximum crunch. A spicy, sweet sauce that will leave you licking your fingers. The BEST Korean Fried Chicken recipe!!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Marinating Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 40 mins
Course Appetizer, Booze Food, Party Food, Snack
Cuisine Korean
Servings 4

Equipment

  • candy thermometer
  • Cast Iron Dutch Oven
  • Cooling Rack + Sheet Pan

Ingredients
  

Marinade Ingredients:

  • 2 lb chicken wings
  • 11/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder (optional)

Frying ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup potato starch or corn starch

Sauce ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup neutral oil (Peanut or Vegetable oil)
  • 2-3 Tbsp Chinese chile flakes from Asian Grocer (depending on taste)
  • 1 inch ginger minced
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup

Garnishes (optional):

  • sesame seeds
  • 1 green onion chopped
  • 1 Tbsp cilantro chopped

Instructions
 

Instructions:

  • Place chicken wings in a large bowl. Add garlic, curry powder, and salt. Mix throughly. Cover and refrigerate, preferably overnight. If cooking right away, do not refrigerate but keep at room temperature.
    Korean Fried Chicken, marinade
  • Right before frying, add potato starch and mix thoroughly with your hands. The potato starch should stick to the chicken wings in a thin coating. Feel free to pat the starch onto the chicken wings firmly with hands.
    Korean Fried Chicken, potato starch

Prepare for deep frying:

  • Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Set aside.
  • Attach a thermometer to the side of a deep, cast iron Dutch oven. Another alternative is a regular pot with high sides. Add 2-3 inches of cooking oil with a high smoking point. (I use vegetable oil.) The goal is to add enough oil for the chicken wings to float in the pot and not stick to the bottom.
    cast iron dutch oven with candy thermometer attached
  • Wait until the oil temperature reaches 380F. Then, add the chicken wings in batches until golden and crispy, about 8-10 minutes. The temperature will initially dip but keep the oil temperature at 350F for the rest of the cooking time. Drain wings and set aside.
    Korean Fried Chicken, first fry
  • Now it’s time for the second fry. The temperature of the oil will not dip down as much as the first fry. Fry the (already-fried) chicken wings in batches until they are darker and golden-brown in color, about 8-10 minutes per batch, at 350F. The wings are done when they look shrunken and compacted with a very crispy coating. Drain and set aside.
    Korean Fried Chicken, second fry

Prepare the sauce:

  • Add corn syrup, soy sauce, and rice vinegar in a small bowl. Mix throughly with a spoon and set aside.
  • Prepare the minced garlic and ginger. Set aside.
  • Heat a wok or deep stock pot over medium-high heat and add oil. When hot but not smoking, add chile flakes, garlic, and ginger. Mix around with a spatula or wooden spoon until fragrant and crispy looking, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the soy sauce mixture and mix until the sauce bubbles vigorously, about 2-4 minutes. Turn off the heat.
  • Add the chicken wings and mix with a spatula or wooden spoon until each wing is coated in sauce. Heap onto a platter and garnish with sesame seeds and green onion and/or cilantro Serve with rice, kimchi, and beer.
    Korean Fried Chicken, platter

Notes

*I reuse deep-frying oil. When the oil has cooled to room temperature, drain over a fine mesh sieve into a glass jar with a tight fitting lid. The oil should keep indefinitely. (If you feel squeamish about re-using oil this way, just remember that restaurants re-use oil all the time, too!)
Keyword Korean Fried Chicken

More Korean Inspiration:

Korean Fried Chicken Sandwich
hands holding korean fried chicken sandwich
Korean Donuts
tray of korean donut twists with hand grabbing one
Galbi Jjim aka Korean Braised Short Ribs
bowl of galbi jjim (Korean braised short ribs) with rice on grey napkin and wood table
Korean Beef Bulgogi
Bulgogi on a plate
Budae Jjigae aka Army Base Stew
budae jjigae in electric hot pot with plate of ingredients nearby
All Recipes, Appetizer, Chicken, Dinner with Friends, Holiday, Korean, Main, Potluck

25 Comments

  1. First time I’ve ever made Korean fried chicken & it was better than any I’ve had at restaurants. Corn syrup not readily available in Australia so I used rice syrup instead. So delicious & will make again & again. Liz

  2. 5 stars
    My BF and I made this a few weeks back and about lost our minds over it. It’s too good for this world. I cooked the sauce too long so we joked that these were candy coated wings but even then, they blew our minds. Add the presentation with that vibrant green cilantro and crunchy white sesame? Seriously, I feel like I’m in a dream just staring at it. It’s my birthday this weekend, and guess what we’re making to celebrate?
    As always, thank you for sharing your amazing recipes with us, Lis! Our lives are richer for it!

  3. 5 stars
    Love this recipe! The crispiness + sticky sauciness here to me makes the perfect fried chicken 🙂 .

  4. Is radically different ,reflecting an Asian frying technique that renders out the fat in the skin, transforming it into a thin ,crackly and almost transparent crust.

  5. is the wings skinned? or do you cook it with the skin on?

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  9. these were AWESOME! definitely a crowd pleaser. Any way that you could fry them and then freeze them so u can make large batches a head of time just without the sauce? or will it lose its crunchiness. thanks!!

    • I have never tried frying and then freezing them ahead of time. But let me know if you find success with this method. If I want to make them ahead of time, I’ll do the first fry the day before. Then on the day of, I’ll do the second fry and the sauce. Hope this helps and good luck!

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  12. Would this work as chicken tenders?

    • Hi! Yes, it should work for chicken tenders but I don’t think you’ll need to cook as long. I’ve never tried it this way so the only danger is that the wings will dry out faster than with the bone and skin that come with the wings. Let me know how it goes if you try it!

  13. For the corn syrup which is better light or dark??? I can’t wait to make this recipe.

  14. These are the best wings EVER! We have brought them to our offices and everyone loves them! Thanks for sharing!

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  16. This is delicious! I just made it and it came out fabulous! Thank you!

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  18. this looks amazing lis!! if i am making this for kids who do not like any spice i can just remove the chili flakes right?

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