These Korean Fried Chicken Wings are the perfect crunchy fried chicken wing coated in a tasty, sweet, sticky and spicy Korean sauce and they’re lip-smackingly good. This post will give you all the tips you need to make them simple and delicious.

Love Asian flavours as much as I do? Try these pork gyoza and these sesame prawn toast for more Asian finger food / party food ideas too. 

Top down view of a pile of fried sticky chicken wings on a baking tray.

What is Korean Fried Chicken

Similar to American fried chicken, Korean fried chicken is chicken fried in a crunchy coating, then smothered in a sticky, sweet and spicy sauce. The spicy sauce is made use a Korean chilli paste called gochujang which is flavourful in addition to it’s spiciness.

These wings are;

  • Twice-fried for extra crunch
  • Rich in flavour
  • Coated in a very simple dry coating
  • Coated in a sweet, sticky spicy sauce
  • Not difficult to make

Just like my Japanese karaage chicken, Korean fried chicken wings are twice-fried. Once to seal and get the outside starting to crisp, then a second time at a higher temperature to get them ultra-crunchy.

The coating is a simple mixture of cornflour (aka cornstarch), salt and baking soda – the baking soda reacts with the moisture in the chicken to blister and get super crispy. If you like a chunkier batter, you can use half plain (all-purpose) flour and half cornflour.

Ingredients for Korean Fried Chicken Wings

There are a number of slight variations of the sauce for Korean fried chicken and after loads of testing this is my favourite. One thing they all must have is gochujang – a spicy Korean chilli paste and the same one I use in my Spicy Korean Chicken Tacos.

Ingredients for Korean fried chicken wings on a marble worktop.
  • Chicken wings: Just regular wings which you can get whole and cut yourself or buy them already cut into pieces.You could also use chicken breast or thigh, just make sure to leave the skin on to protect the chicken and get the best flavour.
  • Soy Sauce: A mainstay in Asian cuisine, a light soy sauce is the perfect one to use here and to keep in the pantry, in general.
  • Honey: This adds sweetness to the sauce.
  • Tomato sauce / ketchup: Depending on where you are, you might call this tomato sauce or tomato ketchup. It’s the type you put on your burgers.
  • Mirin: This is a Japanese rice wine that is slightly sweet. If you can find it, you can use some sherry in it’s place.
  • Onion, ginger and garlic: These all add flavour to the sauce. .
  • Gochujang: Gochujang is a fermented chilli paste common in Korean cooking. You can’t really make the perfect gochujang sauce without it. It’s readily available in grocery stores but if you really can’t find it, just use a good chilli paste to your taste.
  • Salt: Don’t skip the seasoning.
  • Cornflour / cornstarch: This is one of the most common ways to coat Korean fried chicken. You can also use potato start or plain / all-purpose flour or a combination of them.
A of a pile of fried sticky chicken wings on a baking tray.

Equipment you’ll need

  • A wire rack and baking tray are used to dry the wings out before frying.
  • A deep heavy based saucepan or wok for frying is essential – I prefer my large saucepan or dutch oven as it holds it’s temperature well and is deep enough to be safe.
  • I also recommend using a candy thermometer so you can regulate the temperature of the oil.

How to make them

You might be surprised at how quick these are to make.

A collage of 4 images showing how to prep the wings and sauce.
  1. Dry out the wings: After cutting the wings into pieces (photo 1), I sit them on a wire rack over a baking tray in the fridge overnight with no cover(photo 2). This makes for even crispier wings.  
  2. The gochujang sauce: Cook the onion, garlic and ginger until fragrant (photo 3) then add the rest of the ingredients (photo 4) and simmer to a thick sauce (photo 5).
A collage of 4 images showing how to coat and fry chicken wings.
  1. Fry the wings: Coat the wings in the combined dry ingredients then fry for a couple of minutes at 160C / 320F in batches. Now increase the heat to 200C / 395F and fry in batches again until they’re golden.

Tips and tricks

  • Dry out the wings: Don’t skip this step as it dries out the skin of the chicken wings and makes them extra crispy.
  • A thermometer really helps: I use a candy thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature of the oil. It’s especially useful in this recipe, since the chicken is fried twice at two different temperatures to get the perfect result.

How to serve Korean Fried Chicken Wings

These crunchy, sweet and spicy wings are wonderful served as an appetiser or game day food. They don’t require a dipping sauce due to the sticky sauce they’re generously doused in but some of the leftover sauce works well.

As a full meal, I serve them with simple steamed rice and sliced cucumber. Though the spiciness in the sauce is adjustable, cucumber and rice are a great way to cool things down if you find them spicy.

A fried chicken wing being held by a pair of chopsticks.

FAQ’s

What chicken to use for Korean fried chicken

Wings lend themselves well to crunchy coatings and sticky sauces but you can definitely use other pieces as well.

Those with bones in will have more flavour but will take longer to cook. Those pieces with skin will be more flavourful too. Boneless pieces like chicken tenders work well but be careful not to overcook them. Frying times will vary depending on the cut you choose.

Why is it twice fried?

The first fry is at a lower temperature and basically begins rendering the fat in the skin whilst partially cooking the chicken. The second fry is what cooks the chicken fully and gets that coating ultra-crispy and cold.

Can I make fried chicken in the air fryer

While you’ll never get the same crunchiness that deep-frying will you can get a pretty good result in the air fryer. Rub a little oil over them all and make sure they area spaced out well in the air fryer. Cook on 180C / 350F for 10 minutes. Turn them and cook another 10-12 minutes at 200C / 395F or until crunchy

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A chicken wing drumette in chopsticks with a pile in the background.

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A closeup of a pile of fried sticky chicken wings on a baking tray.

Korean Fried Chicken Wings

5 from 2 votes
What could be tastier than these Korean Fried Chicken Wings. Crunchy, fried chicken wings, coated in a sticky, spicy and sweet gochujang sauce. For totally addictive finger food, these wings are always a winner.

Ingredients

  • 12 chicken wings (split at joint, tips discarded)
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely grated onion (note 1)
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 3 teaspoon finely grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce (note 1)
  • cup mirin (80ml)
  • ¼ cup tomato sauce (ketchup) (60ml)
  • 2-3 tablespoons gochujang (to your taste) (notes 1 & 2)
  • ¼ cup honey (60ml)
  • 2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • ¾ cup cornflour (cornstarch) (97g / 3.4oz)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 litres vegetable oil (or enough to fill a large saucepan to 4cm depth) (2 quarts)
  • Sesame seeds and sliced spring onions (scallions) to serve

Instructions
 

  • Lay the wing pieces out on a large tray so they are all separated. Place in the fridge for 24 hours, uncovered (this step is to dry them out). You can do it a shorter time and still get great results but the longer they dry out the crispier the end result will be.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in medium saucepan over medium heat, then add garlic, onion and ginger. Stir-fry until fragrant (a minute or two).
  • Add the remaining sauce ingredients – soy sauce, mirin, tomato sauce, gochujang, honey and sesame oil – and simmer 7 – 10 mins until thick & syrupy.
  • While the sauce is simmering, heat the remaining vegetable oil in a deep saucepan to 160C and heat the oven to a warm setting (roughly 70C).
  • Mix together the cornflour, salt and baking soda. Roll 8 of the wing pieces in the cornflour to coat then gently lower them into the hot oil. Deep fry for 5 minutes until just starting to get golden. Remove from the oil and drain on rack over paper towel.
  • Repeat with two more batches, keeping them warm in oven between batches.
  • Raise the heat of the oil to 200C
  • Recoat pieces in the cornflour mix and fry for another 5 minutes until golden. Add to the warm sauce and stir to coat thoroughly.
  • Sprinkle with sesame seeds and sliced spring onions. Serve immediately with rice and pickled vegetables or sliced cucumber.

Notes

  1. I use an Australian standard 20ml tablespoon
  2. Gochujang is a fermented Korean red chili pepper paste. It’s available in most grocery stores in the Asian / Oriental section or you can find it at Asian / Oriental stores. I recommend using this if you can for an authentic and rich flavour but if you’re having trouble locating it, just use your favourite chilli sauce to taste and add a tablespoon of white miso.
  3. For a chunkier coating, try using half cornflour and half plain (all purp) flour.
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