Maangchi's Korean Fried Chicken

December 13, 2019
4 Ratings
Photo by Maangchi
Author Notes

"Of the hundreds of recipes that I’ve posted on my website and YouTube, this is the most popular. Over the years I’ve received many touching, funny, and happy stories from people trying, loving, and sharing my recipes with others.

Fried chicken has been incredibly popular in Korea since the 1970s, and there are many fried chicken shops around the country. There are also countless styles and variations. This version is crunchier than any fried chicken you’ve probably ever eaten. It’s quite sweet, a little tangy, with just a whisper of heat (the dried red chili peppers are more fragrant than spicy), and a bit sticky. The yellow mustard in the recipe is not a traditional Korean ingredient: Just as Korean chicken shop owners do, I like to add my own twist.

If you can’t find wingettes or drumettes, use a cleaver to cut regular drumsticks into two pieces each, 2 to 2 ½ inches long.

The fried chicken will stay crispy for hours. Covered and refrigerated, it will even stay audibly crispy until the next day." —Maangchi

Excerpted from Maangchi’s Big Book of Korean Cooking: From Everyday Meals to Celebration Cuisine © 2019 by Maangchi. Photography © 2019 by Maangchi. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Want to hear more about Korean-American food? On our new podcast Counterjam—a show that explores culture through food and music—host Peter J. Kim talks instant ramyeun hacks, kimchi-jjigae, cheonggukjang, and more with chef Roy Choi and comedian Margaret Cho—check out the episode here. Food52

Watch This Recipe
Maangchi's Korean Fried Chicken
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 55 minutes
  • Serves 4
  • For the Chicken
  • 2 1/2 pounds chicken wingettes or drumettes or small pieces of chicken (see headnote)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup potato starch
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup toasted peanuts (optional)
  • For the Sauce and Garnish
  • 1/2 cup rice syrup or honey
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown or white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced peeled ginger
  • 8 small dried red chile peppers
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • For the Pickled Radish
  • 1 pound peeled Korean radish, cut into 1/3-inch cubes
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 3/4 cup water
In This Recipe
  1. Make the chicken: Mix the chicken pieces, salt, and black pepper in a large bowl. Transfer to a large zipper-lock bag, add the potato starch, close the bag, and mix well by flipping the bag over and back again until the chicken is well coated.
  2. Place a large mesh strainer over a bowl.
  3. Heat 2 inches vegetable oil in a large, deep pan or wok over medium-high heat until it reaches about 340°F, 8 to 10 minutes. If you don’t have a thermometer, test it by dipping a tip of a chicken piece into the oil. If it bubbles, it’s ready. Carefully add the chicken to the oil one piece at a time, working in batches to avoid overcrowding.
  4. Deep-fry, turning the chicken with tongs, until all sides are light golden brown and crunchy, 10 to 12 minutes. As each piece is done, transfer it to the strainer. Once the chicken has drained, transfer it to a large bowl. Repeat with the rest of the chicken, making sure to bring the oil back up to 340°F between batches.
  5. Return the oil to 340°F over high heat and carefully add all the chicken—there’s no need to work in batches this time. The chicken will look a little soggy at first. Deep-fry, turning occasionally, until all the chicken pieces are dark golden brown and very crunchy, another 10 to 13 minutes. Transfer the chicken pieces to the strainer or a rack to drain, then place in a large bowl.
  6. If using the peanuts, place them in a slotted spoon or a small mesh strainer, carefully dip them into the hot oil, and fry for 15 to 30 seconds, just until light golden brown. Transfer to a small bowl.
  7. Make the sauce and serve: Mix the rice syrup, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, and mustard in a small bowl.
  8. Heat a large pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add the oil, garlic, ginger, and chili peppers and stir for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the garlic is a little crispy and fragrant. Add the soy sauce mixture and stir. Let it bubble for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture is shiny and a little sticky. Remove from the heat if not using right away and reheat until bubbling when ready to finish the chicken.
  9. Add the chicken and peanuts (if using) to the bubbling sauce and toss with a wooden spoon to coat nicely. Sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds and a few teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes (if using). Transfer to a large plate or platter and serve. The chicken will remain crunchy for several hours if left at room temperature, or you can cover and refrigerate it for up to 3 days.
  10. Make the optional pickled radish side: Combine sugar, vinegar, salt, and water in a large bowl and mix well until salt and sugar are well dissolved. Add the radish and stir a few times and transfer to an airtight container or a glass jar. Keep in the refrigerator at least 2 hours before serving. Refrigerate up to 2 weeks.

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  • krispychook
  • Lisa
  • Sgallegos
  • Ashley

4 Reviews

krispychook October 14, 2020
It is very useful for me.
Do you want to spice it up with some tender, moist and flavourful Korean Fried Chicken?
please click on this for more korean food

Lisa June 8, 2020
So crunchy and delish!! I didn’t use the spicy pepper, kids loved it! Is there a way to bake it or use a air fryer?
Sgallegos January 9, 2020
Delicious!!! Chicken was so crunchy! Sauce was delicious!!! Will make again!!! Couldn’t find potato starch, so I used flour and a bit of corn starch. Worked great! Double frying the chicken on high heat yields non greasy chicken! Thank you for sharing this recipe! Chicken and beer are such a Korean thing! My mother in law who was Korean would have loved this recipe! RIP Umma
Ashley December 27, 2019
Cheers? You guys mean gunbae! ;)