Fry

Maangchi's Korean Fried Chicken

by:
December 15, 2021
5 Stars
Photo by Maangchi
Author Notes

"Of the hundreds of recipes that I’ve posted on my website and YouTube, this is by far 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, you can use a cleaver to cut regular drumsticks into two pieces each, 2 to 2½ 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
Ingredients
  • 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, for frying
  • 1/3 cup toasted peanuts (optional)
  • 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
  • 8 small dried red chiles
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped peeled ginger
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Pickled Radish (Optional)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound peeled Korean radish, cut into ⅓-inch cubes
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Make the chicken: In a large bowl, mix the chicken pieces, salt, and black pepper. Transfer to a large zip-top 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 fine-mesh strainer over a bowl. In a large, deep pan or wok over medium-high heat, heat 2 inches of the vegetable oil for 8 to 10 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer registers about 340°F. 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.
  3. Carefully add the chicken to the oil one piece at a time, working in batches to avoid overcrowding. Deep-fry, turning the chicken with tongs, for 10 to 12 minutes, until all sides are light golden brown and crunchy. As each piece is done, transfer to the prepared strainer. Once the chicken has drained, transfer to a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining of the chicken, making sure to bring the oil back up to 340°F between batches.
  4. Return the oil to 340°F over high heat. 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, for 10 to 13 minutes, until all the chicken pieces are dark golden brown and very crunchy. Return the chicken to the strainer or a rack to drain, then transfer to a large bowl.
  5. If using the peanuts, place them in a slotted spoon or a small fine-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.
  6. Make the sauce and serve: In a small bowl, mix the rice syrup, soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, and mustard.
  7. Heat a large pan or wok over medium-high heat. Cook the oil, chiles, garlic, and ginger, stirring, for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until the garlic is a little crispy and fragrant. Add the soy sauce mixture and stir to combine. 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 serve.
  8. Add the chicken and peanuts to the bubbling sauce and toss with a wooden spoon to coat. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds and crushed red pepper flakes (if using). Transfer to a large plate or platter.
  9. Make the optional pickled radish side: In a large bowl, mix the water, vinegar, sugar, and salt until the sugar and salt are well dissolved. Add the radish and stir a few times. Transfer to an airtight container or a glass jar. Keep in the refrigerator at least 2 hours before serving.
  10. Do Ahead: The chicken will remain crunchy for several hours at room temperature, or cover and chill for up to 3 days. The pickled radishes can be made 2 weeks ahead. Keep chilled.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Kelly Lonsberry
    Kelly Lonsberry
  • China999
    China999
  • Dawn
    Dawn
  • krispychook
    krispychook

8 Reviews

Kelly L. February 21, 2022
In South Korea they normally use rice flour for fried chicken. I was told by a tour guide that the rice flour makes it crispier. I don’t know if that is available in the US, but probably at Asian stores.
 
Epiccollision March 1, 2022
Maanchi uses potato starch and eggs and flour, this isn’t her technique.
 
China999 February 13, 2022
First timer here… didn’t have potato starch so I used corn starch.. didn’t have the dried chilis so used 1 - 1/2 t. Dried red pepper flakes. It was wonderful! A go to recipe from now on! Yum
 
Dawn November 13, 2021
Yes! Almost as if we were eating dinner out. Pro Wings. Potato starch crispiness is only the beginning. And the sauce is ridiculously delicious.
 
krispychook October 14, 2020
Nice
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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! ;)